How to prepare for TOEFL IBT?
Key Preparation Tips for TOEFL IBT
As an individual who scored 117 out of 120 on the TOEFL IBT test (30 reading, 30 speaking, 30 listening, 27 writing) it's my pleasure to share the strategies that I followed during my process of preparation.

1) The following 5 steps are incontrovertible,

#1: Get to Know the TOEFL IBT Format
#2: Set a Goal Score
#3: Give Yourself Ample Time to Prepare
#4: Personalize Your Study Plan.
#5: Choose an Early Test Date

What do you need to know?
A) The TOEFL Internet-Based test (iBT) is a direct measure of the test taker's communicative abilities in all four skills - reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The TOEFL IBT measures integrated skills. In the Speaking and Writing sections of the test, there are several questions in which you must read and/or listen, then speak or write based on what you read and heard. Your knowledge of English grammar is measured within the skills sections of the test. For instance, you must correctly apply rules of English grammar when speaking and writing on the test. Therefore, the TOEFL IBT contains no structure section, meaning that it includes no discrete-point testing.

B) In August 2019, ETS revised the TOEFL IBT to create a shorter test. Following the update, the TOEFL follows the same general format and contains the same question types, but with fewer questions overall.

C) TOEFL IBT has four sections:
     SECTION                                     TOTAL TIME                                                                     TASKS
     Reading                                     54-72 minutes                                                         Read 3-4 passages
                                                                                                                               Answer 10 questions on each passage
     Listening                                   41-57 minutes            Listen to 2-3 conversations, answer 5 questions on each conversation
                                                                                                  Listen to 3-4 lectures, answer 6 questions on each academic lecture           
     Speaking                                   17 minutes                  Speak about a familiar experience (random topic, independent task)
                                                                                                 Summarize a reading and/or a listening passage (3 integrated tasks)
     Writing                                      50 minutes          1 integrated task: write an essay based on a reading and/or a listening passage
                                                                                            1 independent task: write an essay based on a prompt only (30 minutes)
Each of the four sections of TOEFL IBT is scored on a scale of 0 to 30. The four-section scores are then added together for a total test score of 0 to 120.

2) Sections
Reading passages: this section measures the ability to read, understand, and analyze long reading passages similar in topic and style to those that North American college and university students encounter in their courses. Each passage is roughly 625 to 725 words in length.

Listening: This section contains two or three conversations between two people, each followed by five questions, three or four lectures, each followed by six questions. Some of these lectures will include student comments and questions. The section measures the ability to understand English as it is spoken in North American academic settings.

Speaking: At the beginning of this section, an instruction will appear, asking you to give a short sample of your speech in order to adjust the recording equipment to your voice. This preliminary exercise does not count towards your mark; it is only used to ensure that the computer can record the volume of your voice accurately. The first speaking task is independent, meaning that you speak about a familiar topic without listening to or reading any extra material. You have 45 seconds to give your independent response. The remaining tasks are integrated, meaning that you must listen to and/or read material before you speak: one or two of the tasks include reading passages and a conversation or lecture, and the remaining one or two tasks include a conversation or a lecture only. You have 60 seconds for each integrated task. The timing throughout this section is preset. The speaking section contains four tasks on a range of topics...

In both the speaking and writing sections of the TOEFL test, you will encounter independent questions. There is one independent question in the speaking section and one in the writing. An independent question is a general inquiry into your opinion on an array of various issues. While the possible issues that may arise on test day vary tremendously, these 100 questions have been grouped into 12 different subjects:

● Campus Life
● Education
● Parenting
● People
● Community and Government
● Science and Technology
● Work
● Money
● Travel
● Lifestyle
● Entertainment
● Volunteering

The topics vary, but all questions aim to know your opinion on the subject. When asked advantages and disadvantages style questions, pick one side of the argument, and express yourself in favor of it. Don’t try to see both sides. While recognizing both sides of an issue is an important skill in life, having a nuanced opinion on an independent TOEFL question usually leads to more language mistakes and less focused responses.

Samples (for the independent speaking task):
-Do you agree or disagree that it is important that young people need to learn some domestic skills, like cooking, sewing, and taking care of children?
-Some teachers allow students to use cell phones in class, while others strictly forbid it. As a student, which policy would you prefer?
-Some parents believe that it is a good idea for their children to have a pet since it can teach them how to be responsible. Other parents feel that pets distract children from more important tasks, like studying or spending time with friends. Which do you believe?
-Most citizens have the right to vote. What do you believe is the type of background best suited for someone who will become a national leader? (S/W)
A. business background
B. legal background
C. military background

You have 45 seconds to give your independent response.

Writing: there are two tasks in the writing section. The first writing task is integrated; it requires you to read a passage (you have only 3 minutes to read) and listen to a lecture (2 minutes), so you should keep your headphones on until you begin writing your essay for the first task.  You have 20 minutes to organize and write a response. The second writing task is an independent task - you write an essay on a familiar topic based on a short prompt. You are scored on how well you address the topic, as well as on how well you write.

Sample question prompts:
-Which of the following choices do you think has the greatest impact on environmental protection? (S/W)
A. governmental regulations
B. environmental awareness groups
C. individual effort

-Do you think scientists should be given the freedom to test and experiment however they please, or should they be limited in what they can study? (S/W)

-Climate change is a growing concern around the world. Changes are taking place at local, national, and global levels to reduce the world’s carbon footprint. The school administration has decided to change some aspects of campus life to help reduce their impact on the environment. Which of the following new policies do you think the school should implement? (S/W)
A. Increase the amount of free shuttle buses to campus
B. Increase the amount of garbage cans and recycle bins on campus
C. Increase the amount of locally grown food in the campus cafeteria

-Consider a situation where you are asked by your supervisor to participate in a group project at work. Your supervisor wants you to work with someone who has opinions that are very different than yours. Moreover, they feel very strongly about these opinions. Do you think that working with this person is a good idea? (S/W)

-Is it better to use your extra money to buy products, like clothes and electronics, or is it better to use the extra money to invest in experiences, like going on a vacation or to a concert? (S/W)

Explaining the difference between each type of question is beyond the scope of this handout and unnecessary to know in order to answer the questions.

Keep following for more, I'll be getting into the intricacies of the test in the following days.