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Last-Minute TOEFL Tips

toefl tipsPreparing for the TOEFL can take weeks, months, or even years. But what about days? What can you do in the final few days before your TOEFL?


If you have been studying already

If you already know the format of the TOEFL, and just want to know what to do in your last few days, then the answer is pretty simple. Keep reviewing until the last day, then stop! In the one day before your test, you can’t learn much more. But you can keep yourself healthy and happy, which will help you be confident on test day.

That’s important, because a bad day can mean a lower TOEFL score. It can be the difference between reaching the minimum score at your dream school and getting a lower score. So get a bit of exercise, do something relaxing, eat well, sleep well, and don’t stress yourself by studying!

If you have more than a day, and you want to know what is best to review, use any remaining official practice material—preferably a full test, if you have one. It’s time to bring all your preparation together and practice everything at once.

If you haven’t studied

Although you can’t really improve your English in just a few days, you can learn how to better take the TOEFL. So if you only have a short time until test day, it’s a good idea to learn the format of the exam.

Practice for your TOEFL exam with Magoosh.

The TOEFL is very structured. Every TOEFL has the same types of questions. Learning the types of questions and how much time you have to answer them can be a huge help. So the first thing you should do is see the different types of questions. The best resource for this is the free Interactive Sampler from ETS, the company that makes the TOEFL. Start your last-minute studies by answering all the questions in that sampler. That will give you a clear idea of what will be on your TOEFL.

After you do that, watch these four videos:

  1. Reading section advice
  2. Listening section advice
  3. Speaking section advice
  4. Writing section advice

Each video gives the top two tips for each section of the TOEFL, based on what students usually have trouble with.

If you can do even more before your test, then you should learn more about each specific question type and how to answer it in the best way possible. Our free eBook, Magoosh’s Guide to the TOEFL iBT, explains the test in detail, and Magoosh’s lesson videos and practice questions have helped thousands of students prepare with only days before their tests. Use that knowledge and strategy with the rest of the free official TOEFL practice. The better you know the format of the test, the more confident you can be in your performance on test day. Even with only a few days, those top tips in the advice videos above and in that eBook can mean a higher score!


On Test Day

Make sure you bring what you need! Go to the test prepared with a snack, a small sugary drink, and your passport or other identification. You don’t need anything else—in fact, anything else you bring will stay in a separate room. Even watches are not allowed in the test room. So if you are uncomfortable leaving your expensive smartphone with the test center employees, you might not want to bring it.

And be sure to arrive a bit early, too. There’s nothing worse than getting stuck in traffic or getting lost, then missing the start of the test. If you arrive too late, they may not let you take your test, so give yourself extra time to be sure.

Most important, be confident. The more comfortable you are, the better. Act like you know you will get an extremely high score, and you’ll feel more confident too. You’re going to dominate!


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9 Responses to Last-Minute TOEFL Tips

  1. Clarice August 27, 2015 at 8:34 am #

    This is great advice. I know that the TOEFL can be pretty stressful, as can any big test! I love what this post says about learning the structure of the test. It’s true that you really can’t cram for a language exam like this. It can, however, be quite helpful to know the structure of the test. At least that way you’ll know what to expect.

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas Fink August 27, 2015 at 9:44 am #

      I’m glad we’re on the same page!

    • Alisha joshi September 24, 2016 at 4:21 am #

      Tomorrow is my exam ?

  2. wokhaca December 17, 2015 at 8:08 am #

    Hi I’m really thankful to administrator for creating the useful website, I’m gonna take toefl after 3 days, for sure it helped me a lot

    • Rachel Wisuri
      Rachel Wisuri December 17, 2015 at 10:18 am #

      Glad to hear it! 🙂

  3. Fabian Yves March 24, 2016 at 2:15 am #

    Thank you for all the information. Had I seen your page earlier I might have scored better. I took the TOEFL two weeks ago and only scored 90 points (actually with no preparation). Unfortunately, not enough for the university I’m applying for. My next attempt is in two days and I’m now focusing on the structure of the test – thank you very much for highlighting the importance of the structure!

    • Manu October 7, 2016 at 7:23 am #

      Hey what was your score?

  4. suzi October 15, 2020 at 11:33 am #

    i have been reading texts and practicing reading comprehension questions for three weeks but i am still having difficulties in the reading part. i could not get more than 20. The problem is that the inference, summary, and the descriptive questions need time and a lot of thinking. I think i need an in-depth reading of the passages to solve them correctly; however, i am always ahead of time in the reading passage. what should i do?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 28, 2020 at 2:50 pm #

      Hi Suzi, I recommend that you take some time to analyze your mistakes and try to determine why you got it wrong. Did you choose a trap answer? Did you misunderstand the question? Were you looking for the wrong information? Analyzing your mistakes can help you to avoid similar issues in the future.

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