Preparation for TOEFL: coursebooks and resources

When a teacher starts preparing students for any exam, they face loads of materials and resources for preparation. They do not know which ones are official, effective and useful. I prefer to use official materials as they are “closer” to real experience students will have. In addition, they provide past exam papers which is quite essential for preparation. So let’s start preparation for TOEFL.

Official ETS materials

TOEFL iBT® Test Prep Planner

It is an 8-week planner that includes general information about the test and scoring system, test preparation tips, skill-practice activities, sample questions and guides.

Link: TOEFL iBT® Test Prep Planner

TOEFL® Test Preparation: The Insider’s Guide

This is a free online course made by test creators and instructors. It includes videos, past papers, free resources, sample questions, short quizzes, discussion boards and tips on how to do your best and get the highest score. For Speaking and Writing sections all the participants will receive scores for their test responses.

Link: TOEFL® Test Preparation: The Insider’s Guide

TOEFL Go!® Official App

This is the only official application for test preparation. It includes practice tests by skills, sample questions, tips from test makers, progress check.

Link: TOEFL Go!® Official App

TOEFL® Practice Online

These are official authentic tests students can take anywhere they have an Internet connection. This test provides learners with the opportunity of taking the real test. They get the results within 1 day including feedback on all 4 skills. There are several volumes that give students a chance to practise several times.

TOEFL® Practice Online Speaking Series

This resource is similar to the previous one but it focuses on the practice of speaking skills. It’s based on past papers and creates the real testing experience too. The speaking part is assessed by “ETS’s SpeechRater®, a speech recognition technology that assesses pronunciation, fluency, vocabulary and grammar” © ETS. You get the results and the feedback during 1 day again.

The Official Guide to the TOEFL® Test

This is the most-known book that includes 4 tests and lots of skill-building tips on test preparation from the exam experts.

Official TOEFL iBT® Tests Volume 1, Volume 2

Each book includes 5 tests each previous exams. There are answers, sample responses, scripts and DVD that has all the tests in an interactive format.

TOEFL® Online Prep Course

It is 80 hours course available for 6 months. It develops a personalized way for each student to prepare for the test. There are diagnostic tests with automated scoring, self-assessments, extra exercises and a grade book.

TOEFL iBT® Free Practice Test

This resource provides you with free access to 1 test including keys and sample answers with examiner’s comments for Speaking and Writing sections.

Link: TOEFL iBT® Free Practice Test

TOEFL iBT® Practice Sets

These are questions from previous exams divided by skills. It gives students opportunities to get to know the exam format, questions’ types, the test structure, etc.

Link: TOEFL iBT® Practice Sets

Other publishers’ materials

Longman Preparation Course for the TOEFL Test: iBT

This course includes diagnostic tests to identify strong and weak points; mini-tests; complete practice tests, extra exercises for four skills to give students extensive practice. Moreover, interactive materials simulate the real exam situation (test format, timing) to improve learners’ test-taking skills.

Link: Longman Preparation Course for the TOEFL Test: iBT

Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL® Test

This book includes tips and strategies on test-taking, diagnostic test, progress checks, skill-building exercises, seven practice tests; supporting skills section; website for teachers to save and track students’ scores. The practice tests that simulate the exam format can also be taken online.

Link: Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL® Test

Oxford Preparation Course for the TOEFL iBT™ Exam

This course uses a skills-based communicative approach. It includes theme-based units with relevant topics, engaging news, classroom presentations, etc.. There are a diagnostic test and three practice tests that can be done in different modes: test mode or practice mode with study support (feedback, scripts, use of the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary). There is a companion website ( with the information and tips on exam preparation, extra resources, study cards, presentations and checklists. There is an opportunity to organise peer teaching, evaluation, group interaction activities and games.

Link: Oxford Preparation Course for the TOEFL iBT™ Exam

Building Skills for the TOEFL® iBT

These Series consist of three levels: Intermediate, High Intermediate and Advanced. See the content, scope and programme components for each level on the website above. Each level includes tips and strategies on test-taking; ten thematic units with lots of tasks to develop students’ skills; authentic practice tests; evaluation tools to track learners’ scores and responses on speaking and sections. Here you can have a look at sample pages. Here you can read how the target skills of this programme correlate with TOEFL tasks.

Link: Building Skills for the TOEFL® iBT

Good luck with the exam preparation! Hope your students will get the highest scores!

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