One Month TOEFL Study Plan | How to Prepare for the TOEFL

TOEFL One Month Study Schedule - image by Magoosh Update: The 1 Month TOEFL Study Plan has a new look (but the same great resources!)

If you have any questions or comments about this TOEFL study plan or TOEFL preparation in general, please leave them at the bottom of the post and we will get back to you right away. Happy Studying! 🙂

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30-Day TOEFL Study Plan

This one-month TOEFL study schedule is designed for self-studiers looking to prepare for their TOEFL exam date. I highly recommend that you seek out other opportunities to practice, especially conversation with English speakers, but that is not included in the schedule because it depends on what opportunities you have.

This month-long TOEFL study plan is mostly designed to get you familiar with the TOEFL format and question types, but with the ultimate aim of getting your TOEFL scores to an acceptable level. That means some of the material focuses on academic English in general. But if you’re concerned about your overall level of English, one month of study for the TOEFL may not be enough time. In that case, consider taking some time to get your English ability high enough beforehand, studying grammar, vocabulary, and practicing the four skills (reading, listening, speaking, and writing) outside the context of the TOEFL.

Each week, there are 6 days of TOEFL prep. One day per week will be a rest day, which isn’t included in the schedule. Use that day to relax!

if you have more time to devote to your studies, then buy the book Official TOEFL iBT Tests for additional practice.

TOEFL Prep Resources

To follow this schedule fully, you’ll need four things:

  1. A computer with speakers and Internet access
  2. Magoosh TOEFL Prep
  3. The Official Guide to the TOEFL iBT, 6th Edition with the accompanying downloadable software. If you don’t have the time or ability to quickly access a print version of the book, don’t worry! Just purchase the ebook version which comes with the same software donwload.
  4. Magoosh’s free Study Timer app for iPhone/iPad for timing yourself on exam sections and keeping yourself on pace. Currently only available in iTunes.

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Optional Materials

If you have over two hours to spend studying each day, you can supplement the below schedule with these materials:

  • Quick Prep (Note that Quick Prep is older and slightly out-of-date. Quick Prep is currently hosted by Archive.org and a number of students have indicated that the content loads slowly. Before you use Quick Prep, check out Magoosh’s guide to using older TOEFL prep.)

Plan on spending about one or two hours each day to stay on this schedule, although some days will be less, and the practice tests will take longer.

Using Magoosh’s TOEFL Essay Feedback Service In Your Study Schedule

Magoosh offers TOEFL essay feedback to our premium subscribers. Those with a six-month Magoosh TOEFL subscription can get up to four of their essays scored. The one-month plan includes one scored essay. While we don’t strictly require the use of essay grading in our TOEFL study schedules, it can definitely be useful.

If you have just one essay credit, it’s good to use that credit in the first week of your study plan. That way you can check your Writing “baseline” and get some feedback on how you should improve over the course of your study schedule.

If you have four essay credits, it’s still get one essay scored at the beginning. However, from there, you should space your remaining essays evenly throughout the rest of your schedule. That way, you can periodically re-check your progress. And the feedback you receive can help you decide which Writing skills to focus on in a given week. 

Using Magoosh’s TOEFL Essay Feedback Service In Your Study Schedule

Magoosh offers TOEFL essay feedback to our premium subscribers. Those with a six-month Magoosh TOEFL subscription can get up to four of their essays scored. The one-month plan includes one scored essay. While we don’t strictly require the use of essay grading in our TOEFL study schedules, it can definitely be useful.

If you have just one essay credit, it’s good to use that credit in the first week of your study plan. That way you can check your Writing “baseline” and get some feedback on how you should improve over the course of your study schedule.

If you have four essay credits, it’s still get one essay scored at the beginning. However, from there, you should space your remaining essays evenly throughout the rest of your schedule. That way, you can periodically re-check your progress. And the feedback you receive can help you decide which Writing skills to focus on in a given week. 

One Month TOEFL Study Schedule Breakdown

How to Prepare for the TOEFL: Week One

TOEFL Preparation Week 1
Week 1, Day 1:

  • Lessons:
    • Watch the first five videos in Magoosh: under Introduction to the TOEFL, from “Overview of the TOEFL” to “Listening Section.”
    • Watch the video “Using the Grammar Lessons” in Introduction to TOEFL Grammar.
    • Watch any 4-5 grammar videos in Magoosh of your choice according to your weaknesses.
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Start working on Magoosh’s TOEFL flashcards. Begin with the “common” deck. Master 20 words at minimum. If you believe this deck is very easy for you, finish it today. (Note: focus on the flashcards for the vocabulary words you are the least familiar with. Plan on finishing as many flashcards as you need to by the end of Week 2, and then reviewing those flashcards by Week 4.
    • Complete Magoosh TOEFL Blog Reading Practice Set Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride (the second set in the linked PDF).
  • Official Practice:
    • Complete Listening Practice Sets 1 and 2 on the ETS TOEFL Listening Practice sets. You will need to download the second set, complete with audio file, by clicking on the download link under the “Need More Practice?” heading at the bottom of the first set.
    • Complete Reading Practice Set 1 on TOEFL Reading Practice PDF. Your goal is to become familiar with the format of the test—don’t worry too much about how many right and wrong answers you get.

Week 1, Day 2:

  • Lessons:
    • Watch the next four videos in Magoosh: under Introduction to the TOEFL, from “Speaking Section” to “TOEFL Skills.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Reading” button on your Dashboard. Answer 10 questions, until the text changes to a new topic passage. Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
    • Click the “Practice Listening” button on your Dashboard. Answer all of the questions associated with four different recordings (about 23 questions). Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong. If you start a fifth recording, return to the dashboard by clicking “Magoosh” at the top left of the screen to exit your practice.
  • Official Practice:

Week 1, Day 3:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the first three videos under Reading, from “Pacing While Reading” through “Sample Passage: Clonal Colonies.”
    • Watch any 3-4 grammar videos in Magoosh of your choice according to your weaknesses.
  • Official Practice:
    • Take the “Reading” section of Practice Test 1 from the software that accompanies the Official Guide. The format is not identical to that of the iBT, but it will give you a more authentic practice session than the practice tests in the book. Use the self-scoring chart in the back of the book to see where you stand. Review your wrong answers carefully so that you understand why you made every mistake.

Week 1, Day 4:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the first four videos under Speaking, “How to Practice Speaking,” “Pacing Your Speech,” “Pronunciation,” and “Other People Talking.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Speaking” button on your Dashboard. Answer 4 questions, one of each of the four Speaking tasks. Watch the explanation video for every question.
    • Master at least 20 more words in Magoosh’s TOEFL flashcards. Again, if you believe the deck you are working on is easy for you, finish it today.
    • Complete Magoosh TOEFL Blog Reading Practice Set The Legacy of Edmund Wilson (the first set in the linked PDF).
  • Official Practice:
    • Take the “Speaking” section of Practice Test 1 from the software that comes with the Official Guide. Use either your phone or this online recorder to record your answers. Don’t worry about grading them today. You will listen to them on day 6.
    • Complete Reading Practice Set 2 on TOEFL Reading Practice PDF. Review your incorrect answers carefully, learning from your mistakes.

Week 1, Day 5:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the first three videos under Listening, the “Sample Recording” videos.
    • Watch any 3-4 grammar videos in Magoosh of your choice according to your weaknesses.
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Writing” button on your Dashboard. Complete one essay, and watch the explanation video.
  • Official Practice:
    • Take the “Listening” section of Practice Test 1 from the software that comes with the Official Guide. Use the self-scoring chart in the back of the book to see where you stand. Review your wrong answers carefully so that you understand why you made every mistake.

Week 1, Day 6:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the first six videos under Writing, from “The Five-Paragraph Essay” to “Integrated Introduction Sample.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Reading” button on your Dashboard. Answer 10 questions, until the text changes to a new topic passage. Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
  • Official Practice:
    • Take the “Writing” section of Practice Test 1 from the software that comes with the Official Guide.
    • Listen to the recordings of your answers that you made on day 4. Compare them to the sample answers that come with the OG.

 

How to Prepare for the TOEFL: Week Two

TOEFL Study Plan Week 2
Week 2, Day 1:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next three videos under Reading, the “Question Type” videos from “Vocabulary in Context” to “Except.”
    • In Magoosh, watch the next four videos under Listening, from “Question Type: Main Idea” to “Using Your Notes.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Spend 10-20 minutes working on Magoosh’s TOEFL flashcards.
    • Click the “Practice Listening” button on your Dashboard. Answer all of the questions associated with four different recordings (about 23 questions). Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong. If you start a fourth recording, return to the dashboard by clicking “Magoosh” at the top left of the screen to exit your practice.
  • Official Practice:
    • Read the essay that you wrote on week 1, day 6. Compare them to the sample answers explanations in the book. Grade yourself based on which sample essays yours was most similar to. Edit both your essays to improve them.

Week 2, Day 2:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Speaking, “Task 1 – Choose One from Two” and “Task 1 – Sample Answers.”
    • Watch 4-5 new grammar videos in Magoosh.
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Speaking” button on your Dashboard. Answer 4 questions. Watch the explanation video for every question.
  • Official Practice:
    • Complete Listening Practice Sets 3 and 4 on the ETS TOEFL Listening Practice sets. To get these later sets, complete with audio files, you’ll need to scroll to the bottom of that page and click the download link under the “Need More Practice?” link.
    • Complete speaking practice questions 3 and 4 from the TOEFL Speaking Practice Questions PDF. Record your answers to the speaking section. Review your incorrect answers to the speaking section carefully. Listen to your recordings, and note what could be improved. Then, answer the questions again with those improvements.

Week 2, Day 3:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Speaking, “Task 2 -Conversation and Reading” and “Task 2 – Sample Answer.”
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Writing” button on your Dashboard. Complete one essay, and then watch the explanation video.
    • Spend 20-30 minutes working on your vocabulary either with Magoosh’s TOEFL flashcards or these vocabulary exercises. (The easiest set of words is sublist one; the most difficult is sublist ten.)
  • Official Practice:

Week 2, Day 4:

  • Lessons:
    • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Writing, “Integrated Structure A” and “Integrated Structure B.”
    • Watch 3-4 new grammar videos in Magoosh.
  • Magoosh Practice:
    • Click the “Practice Listening” button on your Dashboard. Answer all of the questions associated with four recordings (about 23 questions). Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
    • Complete the passage and question set entitled “The Caravaggio Mystery,” which is the third set in the Magoosh TOEFL Reading Question Types PDF.
  • Official Practice:
  • Week 2, Day 5:

    • Lessons:
      • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Writing, “Integrated Body Sample (Structure A)” and “Integrated Body Sample (Structure B).”
    • Magoosh Practice:
      • Click the “Practice Writing” button on your Dashboard. Complete one essay, and then watch the explanation video.
    • Official Practice:

    Week 2, Day 6:

    • Lessons:
      • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Reading, “Inference” and “Purpose.”
      • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Listening, “Question Type: Function” and “Getting in the Speaker’s Head.”
    • Magoosh Practice:
      • Click the “Practice Reading” button on your Dashboard. Answer 10 questions, until the text changes to a new topic passage. Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
      • Spend 10-20 minutes working on your vocabulary either with Magoosh’s TOEFL flashcards or these vocabulary exercises.

     

    How to Prepare for the TOEFL: Week Three

    How to Prepare for the TOEFL Week 3
    Week 3, Day 1:
    Congratulations–you’ve now reached the halfway point of your one month of TOEFL study.

    • Lessons:
      • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Speaking, “Task 3 – Lecture & Reading” and “Task 3 – Sample Answer.”
      • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Writing, “Essay 2 -Independent” and “Independent Introduction Sample.”
      • Watch 3-4 new grammar videos in Magoosh and review 1 more.
    • Magoosh Practice:
      • Click the “Practice Listening” button on your Dashboard. Answer all of the questions associated with four recordings (about 23 questions). Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
    • Official Practice:
      • Complete the first three reading practice sets in the Official Guide, in the Reading chapter. Carefully review your wrong answers, learning from your mistakes.

    Week 3, Day 2:

    • Lessons:
      • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Reading, “Reference” and “Paraphrase”
      • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Listening, “Question Type: Attitude” and “Tone of Voice.”
    • Magoosh Practice:
      • Click the “Practice Speaking” button on your Dashboard. Answer 4 questions. Watch the explanation video for every question.
      • Spend 10-20 minutes working on your vocabulary using these vocabulary exercises.
    • Official Practice:
      • In the Official Guide, read the first example Independent Writing task in the Weiting chapter. Outline your own answer to the question (don’t write the essay yet—just prepare for it). Then, read the sample essays that follow the prompt in the OG. After you read each essay and before you read the rater comments, critique the essay yourself. What are its strengths and weaknesses? What would you have done differently? What aspects of this essay might you try to incorporate into your own writing? Then return to your outline, and write your own response.

    Week 3, Day 3:

    • Magoosh Practice:
      • Click the “Practice Writing” button on your Dashboard. Complete one essay, and then watch the explanation video.
    • Official Practice:
      • Do the Reading section of Practice Test 2 from the software that comes with the Official Guide. Give yourself exactly one hour to complete it. Score yourself with the table at the back of the book. Review your incorrect answers carefully.

    Week 3, Day 4:

    • Lessons:
      • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Reading, “Insert Text” and “Summary.”
    • Magoosh Practice:
      • Click the “Practice Reading” button on your Dashboard. Answer 10 questions, until the text changes to a new topic passage. Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
    • Official Practice:

    Week 3, Day 5:

    • Lessons:
      • In Magoosh, watch the next two videos under Writing, “Independent Structure A” and “Independent Structure B.”
      • Watch 3-4 new grammar videos in Magoosh and review 1 other lesson of your choice, grammar or TOEFL-based.
    • Magoosh Practice:
      • Click the “Practice Listening” button on your Dashboard. Answer all of the questions associated with four recordings (about 23 questions). Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
    • Official Practice:
      • Do the Speaking section of Practice Test 2 from the software that comes with the Official Guide. Record your answers so you can review them later.

    Week 3, Day 6:
    Today, you’re going to take a full practice test. If you don’t have a full four hours to spend, then switch this day with a day next week when you will have the time. You need four hours with no interruptions at your computer.

    Take the practice test 3 from the software that comes with the Official Guide. Do not take breaks during a section, and be careful with the clock. The software will give you the timer for most parts, but here is the timing for reference:

    • Reading section: 54 minutes
    • Listening section: 16.5 minutes total to answer the questions of all five recordings. Stop the timer when you are listening to the recordings.
    • BREAK: 10 minutes (have a quick snack!)
    • Speaking section: (You will need to time yourself and record yourself in the speaking section, so be prepared.)
      • 15 seconds to prepare, 45 seconds to speak.
      • 30 seconds to prepare, 60 seconds to speak.
      • 30 seconds to prepare, 60 seconds to speak.
      • 20 seconds to prepare, 60 seconds to speak.
    • Writing section:
      • 20 minutes
      • 30 minutes

     

    How to Prepare for the TOEFL: Week Four

    TOEFL Prep Week 4
    Week 4, Day 1:

    • Lessons:
      • In Magoosh, watch the last three videos under Writing, from “Independent Body Sample (Structure A)” to “Independent Conclusion Sample”
      • In Magoosh, watch the next four videos under Listening, “Question Type: Organization,” “Structural Key Words,” “Question Type: Inference,” and “Don’t Go Too Far.”
    • Magoosh Practice:
      • Click the “Practice Writing” button on your Dashboard. Complete two essays, watching the explanation videos.
    • Official Practice:
      • Review all of your answers from the full practice test you took at the end of last week. Pay careful attention to your wrong answers in reading and listening, learning from your mistakes. Grade your speaking and writing tasks by comparing them with the examples that come with the OG.

    Week 4, Day 2:

    • Lessons:
      • In Magoosh, watch the last two videos under Speaking, “Task 6 – Lecture” and “Task 6 – Sample Answer.”
      • In Magoosh, watch the final video under Reading, titledCategory,” and the final two videos in Listening, “Question Type: Filling in Tables” and “Easiest to Hardest.”
    • Magoosh Practice:
      • Click the “Practice Reading” button on your Dashboard. Answer 10 questions, until the text changes to a new topic passage. Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
    • Official Practice:
      • Do the Listening section of Practice Test 2 from the software that comes with the Official Guide. Score yourself with the table at the back of the book. Review your incorrect answers carefully.

    Week 4, Day 3:

    • Magoosh Practice:
      • Click the “Practice Listening” button on your Dashboard. Answer all of the questions associated with four recordings (about 23 questions). Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
    • Official Practice:
      • Do the Writing section of Practice Test 2 from the software that comes with the Official Guide. Grade your essays by comparing them with the examples that come with the OG.

    Week 4, Day 4:

    • Magoosh Practice:
      • Review all your vocabulary from both Magoosh flashcards and these vocabulary exercises.
      • Click the “Practice Speaking” button on your Dashboard. Answer 4 questions. Watch the explanation video for every question.
    • Official Practice:
      • Return to the speaking task recordings you created on week 3 day 5. Repeat the same tasks better than the first time, attempting to include new vocabulary in every answer.
      • Return to the essays you wrote yesterday. Edit them and add to them to make them even better.

    Week 4, Day 5:

    • Magoosh Practice:
      • Click the “Practice Writing” button on your Dashboard. Complete one to two essays, watching the explanation videos.
    • Official Practice:
      • Complete the last three reading practice sets in the Reading chapter of the Official Guide. Give yourself no more than 18 minutes per passage (including the questions). Carefully review your wrong answers, learning from your mistakes.

    Week 4, Day 6:

    • Magoosh Practice:
      • Click the “Practice Reading” button on your Dashboard. Answer 10 questions, until the text changes to a new topic passage. Watch the explanation video for every question you get wrong.
    • Official Practice:
      • Complete the five listening practice sets in the Official Guide, from the Listening chapter. Carefully review your wrong answers, learning from your mistakes.
    • Listen to Amy Cuddy’s TED talk about posture, and consider how this could help you on your test.

    Download TOEFL 1-month study schedule - magoosh

    If you have time remaining:

    • Review Magoosh videos and practice questions daily.
    • Review vocabulary that you’ve already learned.
    • Plan 10 essays based on the questions at the end of the Writing chapter in the Official Guide. Write 1 or 2 of them. Set them aside for a day or two, then come back and edit/improve those essays.
    • You can also complete additional free practice materials from ETS.
    • Regularly listen to TED talks and read articles from New York Times or Newsweek. After every article or talk, summarize what you learned either in writing or in speech. If you speak your summary, record yourself.

     

    The day before your TOEFL test:

    Tell yourself you’re a rock star who’s going to ace the test. Don’t study today—you’ll just build up anxiety! Instead, find out what to expect on test day by reading about what you need to bring on test day and reading ETS’s TOEFL Test Day Tips. If you’ve followed this one month TOEFL study schedule, you should be in good shape for the test. Get a good night’s sleep, and have a healthy breakfast in the morning. Good luck!

    Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2013 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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    Author

    • 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.