13 Top Free Resources For TOEFL Preparation in 2018
Have you been taking the TOEFL exam multiple times but still cannot get the scores you want?
The secret to getting through exams like TOEFL is improving English overall, without just focusing on the exam.
This is the best way to prepare for anything.
Think of it this way – if you are preparing for a singing competition you will get best results by improving your music skills overall, not by just learning to sing 1 or 2 songs.
Same concept applies to preparing for an exam like TOEFL.
Today, we are going to share some free resources that we feel will help you overcome the TOEFL exam, specially the speaking section of the test.
Before we get any deeper, for anyone new to TOEFL preparations, let’s give a quick over view.
What is TOEFL exam and why is it a big deal?
The TOEFL is an English test that assesses your proficiency in English used in an academic environment.
The TOEFL exam integrates four basic skills – reading, listening, writing and speaking.
Any given question on the TOEFL can asses one or more of these four skills.
For exam, you might be asked to write an essay based on a paragraph you were asked to read or an audio that you had to listened to.
The TOEFL is used widely by universities and colleges, specially in the US and Canada to decide whether you have the necessary skill set to study in an Academic setting in English.
Although a good TOEFL score is only factor in admission decisions and does not guarantee admission, a low TOEFL score can jeopardize your chances of getting in to an university or college.
Practice for TOEFL Speaking
Now, let’s get started on the 13 Top Free Resources For TOEFL Preparation in 2018
Today, we are going to give you a list of 10 FREE resources you can use to study for TOEFL.
Remember, the secret to getting a good TOEFL score is to improve English all round – Speaking, Writing, Listening and Reading, without just cramming for the exam.
TED Talks to improve Listening
TED Talks are a great free resource for practicing for TOEFL Listening.
On average, most TED Talks are done by people from Academic backgrounds. (Of course there are a ton of TED Talks done by non academics too).
Due to this, the level of English used in these videos is perfect for preparation for an Academic English test such TOEFL.
And since TED Talks cover a wide spectrum of topics ranging from science and technology to arts and humanities, there is a lot of materiel to pick from. On top of all this, you can access TED Talks free of charge.
If you are a TOEFL student trying to improve English listening, TED Talks is a great daily activity that you can add to your preparation.
Start with listening to the audio of a TED Talk and taking notes. Then, next time watch the video with the subtitles or transcript.
This simple two step process will help you identify where your listening needs improvement.
The New York Times’ Learning Network to improve Reading
If you want to improve Writing and Reading skills for TOEFL, and also want to widen your vocabulary, the New York Times’ Learning Network is an excellent free resource.
The New York Times Learning Network articles utilize the kind of advanced sentence structures that you typically find in the Comprehension section of exams like TOEFL.
Also, there is vocabulary quizzes every week that are great for intermediate level students.
Finally, reading and immersing in articles that the New York Times Learning Network publishes will allow you to improve your writing skills significantly.
Studies show that if you demonstrate that you know how to use English idioms accurately, you can score higher for the Writing and Speaking sections of TOEFL.
There are tons of free resources to learning idioms but our favorite is is the Spoken English Practice blog. The Spoken English Practice blog publishes weekly articles on advanced and intermediate level idioms. These articles are constructed in a very simple format so you can get them bookmarked or printed out very easily.
Remember, use Idioms in moderation at the exam, whether it is in Speaking or Writing. If you overuse idioms, your communication will make no sense and will not sound natural.
Use a Forum such as URCH.com
Have a quick question while studying for TOEFL? URCH.com is a great gateway to thousands of fellow exam takers. URCH.com is a forum that caters to students who are preparing for Academic English exams such as GRE, GMAT, SAT and TOEFL. So it is a great community to meet international students who are seeking admission in Phd and MSc programs in countries like the US, UK and Australia.
Another advantage of a forum like URCH.com is that it helps you understand the structure of a complex exam like TOEFL. Test administrators might change the style of questions and the time allocated and online forums are typically the first to react to these changes. Knowing the semantics and structure is critical for cracking an exam like the TOEFL.
Try Sample Tests at ETS.org
ETS.org is the official website for ETS so it should be part of any list of free TOEFL resources
It is the governing body for academic English exams such as GRE and TOEFL.
One of the most of important sections of the ETS website is the section dedicated for exam preparation. For example, student can download this TOEFL IBT Interactive sampler free.
Use the Purdue Online Writing Lab to practice TOEFL Writing skills
The Purdue Online Writing Lab offers a lot of free writing guides and has tutors to answer any questions related to writing. It is a wonderful free resource to practice for TOEFL Writing free of charge, at your own pace.
Practice Speaking with a Native English Teacher (www.SpokenEnglishPractice)
This is a great way to test your English speaking skills for past exam questions.
Your teacher will give you a past TOEFL speaking question and will ask you to talk about it.
Then he or she will give corrections and feedback on how to improve.
You will get exposed to the accent of a native English speaker, speaking at natural pace. This will also help you improve Listening skills as well.
Spoken English Practice may not be a free resource for TOEFL directly but it is the most logical way to improve your TOEFL speaking score.
The Best Way to improve English Speaking
BBC Learning English (www.bbc.co.uk)
This is a free website that has tons of free tips to learn and improve English. Also, there is good free resources on how to practice vocabulary and grammar.
If you are an beginner, BBC learning has a o lot to offer. Once you become intermediate a more advanced English speaking course is better suited.
This also helps improve your listening and includes activities and videos. This website focuses on what is happening in the news on a daily basis and will teach you new vocabulary and help with pronunciation.
Voice of America (www.voanews.com)
This is a free resource that can be downloaded onto mobile phones and tablets. It is light weight and free hence a handy app to keep if you are preparing for an exam like TOEFL.
This is also a listening app giving news both in America and worldwide and is a good way to improve your listening skills. As you know, listening is also a critical part of TOEFL.
Want to try a trial lesson with a native English Teacher?
Next let’s take a look at a few free resources for TOEFL that are good for beginner level students.
This is a free mobile application which can be downloaded onto your mobile phone within seconds.
There are various activities including quizzes and games which will help you learning new vocabulary on a variety of topics which you will use on a daily or regular basis.
However, remember that Duliongo will not be beneficial for you if you are already an intermediate or advanced student.
Babbel is also a good resource to practice for TOEFL and IELTS.
Although the first lesson is free, after this there is a monthly charge. This app is like Duolingo (see above) and also includes lessons on speaking reading, writing and listening so there is no harm in trying.
But remember, Babbel is also not be beneficial for you if you are already an intermediate or advanced student.
Talk English (www.talkenglish.com)
Talk English is a free resource that has been online for ages. This website contains lessons to help you improve speaking, listening and reading and also contains many different lessons to suit all ages and abilities with some lessons being free.
Like the previous mentioned websites, the articles and practice tests are best suited for beginners.
Open Learning (www.open.edu)
This can be downloaded onto your computer and includes many free courses on a variety of subjects. This will help you improve your English skills.
What other free resources for TOEFL do you know about?