info@bestmytest.com Looking for IELTS info?
toefl guide

A 6 Month TOEFL Study Plan for Your TOEFL Preparation Success

James Liu July 27th, 2018

Who needs a 6 Month TOEFL Study Plan

If you want to score high in TOEFL, planning out a TOEFL study schedule is a critical first step in your TOEFL preparation. The first thing you need to figure out is how much time you want to spend studying for TOEFL. To do that, you'll need to know your target TOEFL score and your level of English proficiency. Typically, there are two types of students who prepare for the TOEFL iBT: 

  • TOEFL Preparation Student Type #1: Those who already have advanced academic English proficiency and who want to familiarize themselves with the structure, format, and test-taking strategies for the TOEFL iBT.
  • TOEFL Preparation Student Type #2: Those who do not have advanced English proficiency and who want to, at least, get a score of 85 or who want to improve their overall TOEFL score by more than 15 points.

The second group of students, before they are ready to focus on test-taking strategies for the TOEFL iBT,  will first need to spend time on enhancing their vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. From the past 7 years of experience helping students prepare for TOEFL, a type #2 student needs a minimum of at least 4 months to improve their academic English abilities to a level where they are able to handle the TOEFL test comfortably. The additional 2 month of TOEFL study will further help improve their confidence and TOEFL skills and should not be wasted.

It's been shown that if you stop studying for TOEFL, even just a few weeks before your TOEFL test, your English skills become rusty and that could prevent you from achieving your target TOEFL score. Therefore, if you're a TOEFL preparation student type #2 (which is completely fine; More than 50% of our students are type #2) it's highly recommended you prepare for a minimum of 4 months using our 6 month TOEFL study plan.

6 Month TOEFL Study Plan Breakdown

This study plan was created by professional TOEFL instructors to help you organize your TOEFL studying over a six month period. This plan includes suggestions on how to study each TOEFL section and a six-month study schedule. 

This plan is broken down into 6 months and 4 phases:

  • Month 1: You will be focussing on building fundamental English skills.
  • Month 2 - 4: Using the skills you learned during month 1, you will do many TOEFL exercises, TOEFL practices, and 3 reserved simulated tests.
  • Month 5: You will review everything you learned in months 1 - 4.
  • Month 6: You will do a final reserved simulated test and review everything before the official TOEFL exam.          

Before we begin, it's important you understand how to study each section of the TOEFL during your TOEFL preparation.

How to Study TOEFL Vocabulary Section

A good command of English vocabulary is extremely important in scoring well on the four sections of the TOEFL. We strongly recommend that you utilize our TOEFL vocabulary interactive training program to study the top 1200 vocabulary words that are most likely to show up on the TOEFL. In addition, it is highly recommended that you complete 6 lessons of “Learn Common TOEFL Synonyms” series to enhance your paraphrasing skills.

While studying vocabulary words, we suggest the following:

  • Write the words in a notebook.
  • Say the words many times
  • Use the words in your speaking and writing answers.

How to Study TOEFL Reading Section

When studying the TOEFL Reading section, make sure of the following:

  • Improve your reading and comprehension speed. We explain why you should do that in the TOEFL Reading Tip section. The key to improving reading and comprehension speed is having a strong knowledge of English sentence structures and academic vocabularies. You can work on them by utilizing our TOEFL vocabulary interactive training program, our grammar lessons, and other external materials that teach you grammar.
  • Understand the 12 different types of reading questions. Some question types such as “inference questions” and “Negative factual information” are tricky. If you find yourself stuck on those type of questions, you should skip them and move on to easier questions. Our TOEFL reading lessons cover all the reading question types and offer strategies for answering them successfully.
  • When practicing reading exercises, do not just complete them and move on. If you have trouble understanding the passages, please do not skip the passages, you must put more effort toward understanding them.                                            

How to Study TOEFL Listening section                 

When studying the TOEFL Listening section, make sure of the following

  • Listen to a variety of academic topics. TOEFL listening topics are selected from a wide array of academic topics including biology, history, ecology, anthropology, etc. Few students are good at all of them. This is the biggest challenge for many TOEFL test takers. For example, you might have no clue about topics related to archaeology. But don’t worry, our listening questions cover all of the topics. You’ll just need to follow our study plan.
  • When listening to the lecture, listen for important nouns, main ideas, and key relationships, (The relationship can be comparison, contrast, or cause-effect). If you can take note of them, it would be ideal as you can refer to them when answering questions. If you can’t, make sure you understand and memorize the main ideas.
  • If you find yourself struggling with one exercise, listen to the same one multiple times until you can understand at least 85% of the lecture.
  • ALWAYS LISTEN in your daily life. Aside from our listening exercises and vocabulary listening materials, you can listen to other English podcasts or videos.               

How to Study TOEFL Speaking Section

Here are a few tips for studying the TOEFL Speaking section:

  • PRACTICE SPEAKING AS MUCH AS YOU CAN. Make sure you read your responses aloud and pay attention to your pronunciation, intonation, grammar, organization, and fluency. You should record your responses in our recorder and analyze your responses to see where and what you can do better.
  • Imitate responses from sample answers to improve your pronunciation, intonation, grammar, organization, and fluency.
  • Be sure to look up words that you don’t know how to pronounce or use them and learn to pronounce them correctly.
  • When listening to the lecture, listen for important nouns, main ideas, and key relationships, (The relationship can be comparison, contrast, or cause-effect). If you can take note of them, it would be ideal as you can refer to them when preparing your response. If you can’t, make sure you understand and memorize the main ideas.
  • You can use your speaking review tickets to get our TOEFL reviewer to review your speaking responses.
  • Use external materials like Youtube to teach you how to improve your English pronunciation and speak like a native English speaker.

How to Study TOEFL Writing Section                 

It takes time to develop good writing skills. Chances are a good English writer already has years of experience writing English and using English in their daily life. If you are not a good English writer, do not get frustrated. The good news is that you only need to be able to write well on TOEFL independent and integrated tasks. Here are a few things we suggest you do in order to complete the TOEFL Writing section in the most effective manner.

  • To write well, first you need to read good essays so your brain has a database of good English structures and vocabularies you can use when writing. That being said, we recommend that you read and learn from our sample essays as much as possible. When learning these sample essays, do not just memorize them, but study how a paragraph is formed with different sentence structures, what words are used, and what main ideas are included. Ask yourself “Can I write similar sentence structures?” and “Can I form a sentence with these vocabulary words?”. The more you study, the more your writing skills will improve. The next time you write about a similar topic, you will be able to utilize them in your writing and add your own ideas.
  • If you are not a good writer, spend at least an hour a day practicing independent writing and integrated writing tasks.
  • Spend some time brainstorming ideas for all independent writing essays.
  • Complete our writing lessons to ensure you know what characteristics a high-scoring TOEFL essay should have. In short, the following are key factors in scoring well on the TOEFL Writing section
  • Understand the different types of prompts that appear in the independent writing section.
  • Write a clear opinion or position on an issue.
  • Write a good introduction and a good conclusion paragraph.
  • Write 3 main body paragraphs. Each body paragraph should consist of a main idea and specific examples with details that support the main idea.
  • Make good use of transition words to connect your ideas.
  • Use a variety of words, both common and academic, correctly and appropriately.
  • Use a variety of sentence structures correctly and appropriately.
  • Master paraphrasing, synthesising, citing, and note-taking skills.
  • Utilize all of our writing lessons

TOEFL Preparation 6 month TOEFL study plan for success

TOEFL Study Plan: Month 1

English Skills Section:

1) Complete and study all exercises in the TOEFL Vocabulary Interactive training program. Write down all vocabulary words that you learn in your notebook. When studying them, do not just complete each exercise and move on. Instead, ask yourself the following questions before you move on to the next exercise:

  1. Can you pronounce each vocabulary word correctly?
  2. Can you identity these vocabulary words when you hear them?
  3. Can you use these vocabulary words correctly in your speaking and writing answers?
  4. Do you understand all the usages of prepositions and other vocabulary words in the example sentences?

2) Complete all “Academic Skills” lessons.

3) This is optional, but it would be a good idea to complete all “Grammar” lessons and study other external grammar teaching materials such as books, youtube videos, etc. Make sure you pick up the following grammar topics in the first month:

  1. All tenses including conditional tenses.
  2. Nouns (especially Countable nouns and Uncountable nouns), adjectives, and adverbs.
  3. Subject-Verb Agreement.
  4. Determiners (quantifiers, articles, etc.)
  5. Relative Pronouns and Relative Clauses
  6. Verb Complementation (Infinitive, Gerund, That-clause)
  7. Noun, adjective, and adverb clauses
  8. Prepositions
  9. Coordinating Conjunctions and Subordinating Conjunctions
  10. Joining two sentences using participial phrases    
  11. Comparative and Superlative

Reading Section:

  • Complete TOEFL Reading lessons

Listening Section:                    

  • Complete 40 campus-conversation listening exercises. (Campus conversation exercises are easy to get started. Get yourself comfortable with the speed of native speakers and study vocabularies, idioms, and phrasal verbs used in the campus conversation settings)
  • Complete TOEFL listening lessons                  

Writing Section:

  • Complete all TOEFL writing lessons    
  • Read and study 7 sample essays from the TOEFL independent writing “Preference” questions
  • Read and study 7 sample essays from the TOEFL independent writing “Agree & Disagree” questions
  • Read and study 7 sample essays from the TOEFL independent writing “If / Imaginary” questions
  • Read and study 7 sample essays from the TOEFL independent writing “Comparison and Contrast” questions
  • Read and study 7 sample essays from the TOEFL independent writing “Description or Explanation” questions

Speaking Section:

  • Complete all TOEFL Speaking lessons
  • Work on your pronunciation

TOEFL Study Plan: Month 2

Reading Section:

  • Complete 20 reading exercises

Listening Section:

  • Complete 5 listening exercises in the “Anthropology & Archaeology” category
  • Complete 4 listening exercises in the “Astronomy” category
  • Complete 4 listening exercises in the “Sociology” category
  • Complete 5 listening exercises in the “Biology” category
  • Complete 3 listening exercises in the “Botany” category
  • Complete 2 listening exercises in the “Film History” category

Writing Section:                

  • Complete all TOEFL Integrated Writing lessons
  • Write 8 independent writing essays for the “Agree and Disagree” questions
  • Practice 8 TOEFL integrated writing questions

Speaking Section:

  • Do 14 questions of independent speaking question 1
  • Do 14 questions of independent speaking question 2
  • Do 6 questions of integrated speaking question 3
  • Do 8 questions of integrated speaking question 4
  • Do 6 questions of integrated speaking question 5
  • Do 8 questions of integrated speaking question 6

TOEFL Simulated Test

  • Complete TOEFL Simulated Test 1

TOEFL Study Plan: Month 3

Reading Section:

  • Complete 20 reading exercises.

Listening Section:

  • Complete 9 listening exercises in the “History” category
  • Complete 5 listening exercises in the “Art History“ category
  • Complete 3 listening exercises in the “Architecture” category
  • Complete 2 listening exercises in the “Human Biology” category
  • Complete 2 listening exercises in the “Ecology” category

Writing Section:

  • Write 8 independent writing essays for the “Preference” questions
  • Write 4 independent writing essays for the “Comparison and Contrast” questions
  • Practice 8 TOEFL integrated writing questions

Speaking Section:

  • Do 14 questions of independent speaking question 1
  • Do 14 questions of independent speaking question 2
  • Do 6 questions of integrated speaking question 3
  • Do 8 questions of integrated speaking question 4
  • Do 6 questions of integrated speaking question 5
  • Do 8 questions of integrated speaking question 6

TOEFL Simulated Test

Complete reserved Simulated Test 2

TOEFL Study Plan: Month 4

Reading Section:

  • Complete 20 reading exercises

Listening Section:

  • Complete 7 listening exercises in the “Earth Science” category
  • Complete 4 listening exercises in the “Literature“ category
  • Complete 4 listening exercises in the “Marine Biology” category
  • Complete 1 listening exercise in the “Marketing” category
  • Complete 2 listening exercises in the “Psychology” category
  • Complete 4 listening exercises in the “Geology” category

Writing Section:

  • Write 8 independent writing essays for the “If / Imaginary” questions
  • Write 4 independent writing essays for the “Comparison and Contrast” questions
  • Practice 8 TOEFL integrated writing questions

Speaking Section

  • Do 14 questions of independent speaking question 1
  • Do 14 questions of independent speaking question 2
  • Do 6 questions of integrated speaking question 3
  • Do 8 questions of integrated speaking question 4
  • Do 6 questions of integrated speaking question 5
  • Do 8 questions of integrated speaking question 6

TOEFL Simulated Test

  • Complete TOEFL Simulated Test 3                   

TOEFL Study Plan: Month 5

  • Review what you have studied over the past four months

TOEFL Study Plan: Month 6

  • Complete TOEFL Simulated Test 4
  • Review everything

That's It! Bookmark this page, so you can easily come back to it anytime you feel you need a reminder.

Happy Studying! :)

 
Looking for TOEFL preparation?

Check out our NEW TOEFL prep online learning tool called TOEFL Tutor.
TOEFL Tutor will help you achieve your target score with 1500+ TOEFL practice questions.

Try TOEFL Tutor Free!

Popular Videos

Check out our YouTube channel for more TOEFL preparation videos
BestMyTest on YouTube