Free and Recommended Resources for Learning TOEFL IBT

TOEFL IBT tests our ability to understand and use English for academic purposes. There are four sections on the TOEFL: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Each of them has special directions. Just like any other test, TOEFL IBT test has specific, type, and pattern of task, passage, and question which is different from other test. So, it is important to truly understand those so that we can do the test efficiently and effectively. We can learn the pattern of TOEFL IBT from various sources such as book and video which is some of it costly and some of it is free. “The more expensive the material, it is more better”, I think this term is not completely true, because if we are dilligent enough in searching in internet, we can find a free and high quality material. Beside 4 complete free materials from official test center: ets.org, in this article, I would like to share the link that I have tried by myself and truly influence in increasing my TOEFL IBT score.

READING
The main key in reading of TOEFL IBT is that its passages are academic passages which is frequently use in university. The theme usually use are natural sciences, social sciences, arts, history, politic and its other kind. So, I recommend to read those passage as many as possible. The second one is vocabulary. The more vocabulary we know, the more our quality increases in reading, speaking, writing, and listening. When we read the passage, make sure we write the vocabulary that we don’t know. Moreover, we can download “TOEFL IBT Vocabulary List” or “Academic Word List” provided freely by various english institution in internet. Just write the connotation above in Google and just in second, we get everything we need. Download all of them and learn every vocabulary in it. I advice you to write the vocabulary in flashcard with the word in one side and the explanation and sentence example in other side. Learn the flashcards everyday and divide it into flashcard-I-already-mastered and flashcard-I-not-yet-mastered. Give more time to learn the flashcard-I-not-yet-mastered

From my personal experience, 3 months before I take the test, I have done this:
1. Get minimum 10 new vocabulary everyday, and make a sentence based on new vocabulary, try to use it when writing a journal or essay.
2. Read minimum 1 passage everyday. Try to read in limited time, do it with full concentration, and make sure to get the core of the passage. If you can, write again with your own words.

LISTENING
Listening of TOEFL IBT consist of conversation between student and authority in university or conversation between 2 students, lecture in 1 way from professor, and lecture in 2 way from professor and active participation from the students. The theme for conversation is usually the student asks the authority/professor/other student about something. While for lecture, the professor give a lecture about somehing which usually about natural science, social science, history, art or some other kinds.

The best way to increase the listening capability is by listening english as often as possible. Here is the link that I usually used:
1. Ted.com. I highly recommended Ted.com because the theme is very variative and we can find many advance vocabularies.
2. Podcast BBC. The strength of podcast is they give a vocabulary review in the end of session and also covered many theme.
3. English Passio in youtube.com. English Passio provides 4 complete playlist of Toefl Listening Full Practice Test with Answer. Do each playlist without stopping so that we can feel and visualize the situation in original test.
4. Kenton County Adult English as a Second Language in youtube.com with these material:
a. TOEFL Listening Preparation I: Overview and Conversations
b. TOEFL Listening Preparation II: Academic Lectures and Taking Notes
c. TOEFL Listening Preparation III: Academic Conversations and Review
For me, the overview of listening and the strategy of taking notes in above video are very useful.

From my personal experience, 3 months before I take the test, I have done this:
1. I download dozens of podcast. Play it wherever I am, in car, in train, and in laptop.
2. I listen to minimum 1 video form ted.com. The first one is without subtitle to test my ability to catch the core of video and to catch each vocabulary. In the second one, I listen with subtitle and write the new vocabulary
3. I do all the complete tests in English Passio and other resources from youtube. Evaluate and improve my weakness in listening.

WRITING
Writing of TOEFL IBT consist of intergrated essay and independent essay. In integrated essay, we have to read an academic passage and then listen to a lecture on the same topic. The opinion in the passage and lecture will be in contrary. After that, we have 20 minutes to plan, write, and revise our essay. A good essay requires 150-225 words. While for independent essay, we have to write (typically 300-350 words) about familiar topic in 30 minutes given.
Here is the recommended sources for writing in TOEFL IBT:
1. Notefull in youtube.com. Notefull gives a systematic way of taking notes for integrated essay and writing strategy for both integrated and independent essay
2. http://www.toeflresources.com/ . We can find the best example of integrated essay and independent essay here
3. TOEFL Resources in youtube.com. This explanation is very systematic and interesting in visual
a. How to Write a TOEFL Integrated Essay
b. How to Write a TOEFL Independent Essay (Qualities of a Good Neighbour)
c. Etc

From my personal experience, 3 months before I take the test, I have done this:
1. Write a journal of 500 words or write independent essay of 350 words everyday
2. Use various vocabulary from my flashcards

SPEAKING
In speaking session of TOEFL IBT, we will be presented with 6 speaking questions. The questions ask for a response to a single question, a conversation, a talk, or a lecture. We get limited time in each speaking session. So, it is really important to know the strategy in taking notes, and systematically arrange our speaking. My recommendations of this is Notefull in youtube.com. In Notefull, we get overview and strategy of each question. It really is systematic.

From my personal experience, 3 months before I take the test, I have done this:
1. Read aloud of academic passage everyday for 30 minutes. The purpose is to exercise my pronounciation and my tempo in speaking. I want to make sure I don’t speak to fast nor to slow
2. Speaking as often as possible with my friend, even to my ownself.
3. Answer the speaking test provided freely in youtube. Record it to my phone, listen to it, and improve it in next time.

In the end, I want to say that there is no luck in getting high score in TOEFL IBT. It is about hardwok and consistency in studying.

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