If you’re new to studying for TOEFL iBT, one of the most useful things to do very early on is take an official practice test. My video demonstration below shows you how to do that.
ETS is the company who creates the TOEFL iBT test. They have a special website where you can log into an account and take a simulated practice test.
You get the following benefits as a result of taking this practice test:
- You pay just $46, which is just 20% the cost of a real TOEFL iBT test.
- You get to experience the way the real test looks and feels — including the control buttons for volume, the font and text size (to see if you need to improve your glasses prescription to read more clearly), the instructions and time restrictions.
- You will see your scores for authentic material. You may not have realized it but anyone can publish something on the internet and call it “TOEFL” test material… However, the company ETS hires and trains a team of people who carefully edit every single test to ensure that it conforms to their standards. Free tests which are provided on YouTube or by independent publishing companies, or which are written by random solo teachers, may not conform to ETS standards. And because you’re new to TOEFL, you don’t yet have the skills or experience to identify “inauthentic” test material… and your scores on inauthentic tests are not as accurate or meaningful as scores on authentic tests.
- You get realistic score estimates within 2-3 hours for TOEFL iBT Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing.
- With those realistic estimated scores, you can make much more intelligent choices about where to invest your time, energy and money as you continue studying for TOEFL iBT
Yes, this may be more expensive than other practice tests out there. However, when you take an official ETS test, you can be 100% confident that the material is at the same level as real tests.
"But wait... Shouldn't I study before I take the practice test?"
This can be super tempting, and lots of students and teachers fall into this same trap.
During my decade in this industry, I’ve done it both ways:
(1) allowed students to delay practice tests
(2) insisted on it early and asked students to be brave and just do their best.
As a group, the students who take practice tests early on tend to make much faster progress than the students who delay it.
You may feel it’s helpful to explore ETS’s free resources here for a few hours.
You should resist the temptation to completely delay a realistic practice test, again if only because that’s a reason I’ve seen students make much slower progress overall.