TOEFL Tuesday: Most Important TOEFL Skills and Practice

Welcome to our first TOEFL Tuesday video post! From now on, you can check the Magoosh TOEFL Blog every Tuesday for a new video lesson.

Don’t forget to leave a comment with any questions or topic suggestions that you may have. We hope you enjoy the video! 🙂


Basically, there are three ways to study for the TOEFL:

1. Learn the format of the test
2. Practice the skills and vocabulary that are specifically helpful for the TOEFL
3. Get more English experience in general

Of those three ways, the most important is the first. Everybody who takes the TOEFL should first learn the format of the test and how to best answer each type of question. If you don’t learn the format of the test, you will receive a lower score than you should.

And in order to learn the format, it is extremely important that you practice with some official practice questions. There are a few resources from ETS, the people who make the TOEFL, that are free.

But there’s not very much free material. For full-length practice tests and more practice in general, the official ETS books are the best sources. There are two official books:

The Official Guide has three full practice tests and a CD that has all three tests in digital format. Those three on-CD tests are the best approximation of the real TOEFL other than “TOEFL Practice Online” (TPO) tests, which are much more expensive. The low price of the Official Guide makes it the number-one resource for self-study. In a classroom, it’s not great, but for studying alone that book is absolutely necessary.

The book of Official TOEFL iBT Tests is paper-only. There is no CD to simulate the actual TOEFL iBT experience. But the test questions are top quality, from real, past TOEFL tests.

Using the official material, you can learn the format of the test quite well. There is no better practice material to bring you to a higher TOEFL score! (Though this PDF of Magoosh TOEFL Practice Questions is the next best thing.) 🙂

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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.