Last-Minute TOEFL Tips

toefl tips Preparing 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.

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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  • Lucas Fink

    Lucas is the teacher behind Magoosh TOEFL. He’s been teaching TOEFL preparation and more general English since 2009, and the SAT since 2008. Between his time at Bard College and teaching abroad, he has studied Japanese, Czech, and Korean. None of them come in handy, nowadays.