TOEFL iBT preparation tips and tricks

7 min readTOEFL iBT – Preparation Tips & Tricks

TOEFL is the Test of English Foreign Language. TOEFL PBT- Paper-based test and TOEFL iBT- Internet-based test was always available. However, due to the pandemic, ETS has launched the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition wherein you can give the test right in the comfort of your home.

TOEFL Special Home Edition is a safe and convenient option for students who are unable to take the TOEFL iBT test at the center due to the spread concerns of the novel CoronaVirus. TOEFL Home Edition is available wherever TOEFL iBT was available. Here’s some TOEFL TOEFL iBT Preparation Tips to help you!

TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition- Key Highlights

  • TOEFL Home Edition is available wherever TOEFL iBT was available.
  • The Special Home Edition TOEFL test is very identical in content, format, and on-screen experience to the TOEFL test taken at test centers.
  • All you need is a functional computer/laptop and a moderately stable internet connection.
  • However, Human Proctors will monitor you through ProctorU® throughout your test.
  • TOEFL Home Edition is available 24 hours a day, 4 days a week, through September 30, 2020, with appointments as early as 24 hours post-registration.

So all in all, the TOEFL Home Edition is the same TOEFL test that you take at the test center. Human Proctors and use of your equipment are perhaps the only differentiating factors.

TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition- Prerequisites

To take the TOEFL iBT test at home, you will need the following pieces of equipment:

  • A desktop or laptop computer. It can be either one of a PC or a Mac.
  • A camera that is movable so that the proctor can have a look at the entire room
  • A microphone.
  • Since headsets are not permissible you will be needing a speaker.

After ensuring that you have all the equipment in place, you’ll have to download and install the ETS® Test Browser on the same computer that you will be using for the test. Once that is done, the next step is to fully install the browser and run the file after downloading it.

After that, you will have to check your equipment by running the ProctorU® system check. This system check is to confirm that all your equipment viz-a-viz the computer, camera, microphone, and speaker meet the needed requirements for the test.

For the TOEFL iBT Special home edition, the candidate will have to make sure that their room qualifies for taking the test. It has to be preferably a quiet room in your home because this TOEFL exam is not allowed to be taken in public spaces. The screen has to be placed on a table and there has to be a standard chair for you to sit. Once your equipment and testing room are verified, you are all set to register for the TOEFL Special Home Edition.

Read all about TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition

TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition- The Registration process

The TOEFL iBT registration process is divided into two steps.

Step #1- The first step is to register in your ETS Account. To put it simply, this step is the ETS Login step. After you log into your ETS Account, click on register and select Special Home Edition. Follow the instructions and pay for your test. After this, you’ll receive a confirmation email from ProctorU® in a few hours.

Step #2- The next step is to complete your registration in your ProctorU® account by selecting the date and time for your TOEFL iBT Home Edition. Follow the instructions to reset your password to the ProctorU® account, schedule a time and date for your TOEFL test. Once this is done, you’ll receive a confirmation by email and also on screen.

TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition- Test day

It never hurts to have a fair idea as to what your test day will look like. Knowing what to expect on your TOEFL test day will only help you be best prepared and all set to ace it. Here are a few insights that can help you on your test day.

Before the test session

  • Resolving all the issues before appointment time- Before the test starts, it is highly advisable that you run a final ProctorU Systems Check and fix any issues that might be there.
  • Preventing bandwidth issues- Make sure that none of the other devices in your home are using the internet and that all the unneeded tabs on your computer are closed
  • Gather all the materials you need for the TOEFL test session. This might include:
  • Passport or other acceptable ID
  • Acceptable note-taking materials, such as a whiteboard or plastic transparency sheet, that can be erased in view of the proctor
  • Cellphone or hand-held mirror for check-in
  • Test Room Requirements- It is very important to make sure your testing area meets all the needed requirements for TOEFL iBT Home Edition. These include:
  • The test room should be quiet and well lit.
  • Clean, neat and clear table and surrounding area
  • Dressing Properly- Because you’re giving the TOEFL exam at home does not mean that dress inappropriately. Dress professionally and avoid wearing flashy accessories.

During the TOEFL iBT Test

Timely check-in- You’ll have 15 minutes before your appointment to check-in. Do it before time so that any glitches can be solved.

  • Authentication process- After you check-in, you’ll have to go through the authentication steps.
  • Proctor Evaluation- Once your authenticity is established, the proctor will evaluate the necessary things like the testing room requirements and computer screen testing, etc. Post this, an ETS ID and password will be provided to you to access the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition Test.
  • Solving technical issues- In case you lose the internet connection momentarily, it’ll connect back to the test when the connection restores. If the test doesn’t open for you, the proctor will do so for you. If you still face more face technical issues, there are several things that you can do :
  • Use the chat function
  • Call +1-855-772-8678 for assistance.

TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition- Testing policies and procedures

For the special home edition, you are prohibited from using any mobile devices or any pre-written books or notes.

  • Carrying personal recording devices are strictly against the rules.
  • Communication with anyone else other than the proctor is strictly against the rules.
  • Headsets are not allowed for the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition. If there are any references made in that direction, you are required to ignore them.
  • You will get a 10-minutes break time once the listening section is over. However, avoid cancellation of your exam at all costs by returning to your seats within time. Plus, you can’t take any unscheduled breaks.
  • After you’re done with the test, unofficial scores for the Reading and Listening sections will be in your purview. You have the option to report or cancel these scores.

TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition- TOEFL Score and Retesting

Mostly the procedures post the test for TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition are the same as the TOEFL test taken at the test centers.

  • You’ll receive your TOEFL scores in your ETS account in between 6-10 days.
  • In case you request a paper score reporting, you will get it within 1-2 weeks depending on the CoronaVirus situation in your area.
  • The universities you select during your registration will receive your TOEFL iBT Home Edition scores.
  • If you want additional score reports, you can order it from your ETS account.
  • If you want to retest, you can follow the same procedure and apply for the TOEFL iBT Home edition again. But you cannot test more than once in 3 days.

TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition- Study Tips

  • Start preparing well in advance- Last minute preparations are hasty and can come in the way of you not achieving the desired score for the TOEFL exam. So start early, plan all the stages of preparation and take ample practice tests.
  • Take ample practice tests- Track your development through daily testings. Hence take timed practice tests and take many of them. These tests will give you a very fair idea of which areas of the test you’re good at and which areas need more work.
  • Read every day- One of the most important parts of preparing for the TOEFL test is to read, read, and read every day. Your exposure to concepts and vocabulary will improve if you continue reading. And the more closely you read, the more likely you are to build strong reading comprehension skills.
  • Take good notes- Make a habit of taking notes while you’re preparing for the TOEFL iBT. Keeping it for the test day can bring out a lot of last-minute glitches. Hence make it a habit while you practice so that you get better with it by the day. And don’t go for word-to-word note-making. Write key pointers and try to save as much time as possible.
  • Listen to Podcasts- Since exams like TOEFL iBT come with listening sections that use varied accents, listening to podcasts in these accents can help you speed up your understanding and avoid any confusion on the test day. Hence, listening to native language podcasts will develop your listening comprehension.

TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition- Section-wise Preparation strategy

When it comes to competitive exams like TOEFL, a good strategy can take you a long way. Strategic preparation is what these exams call for. It’s not about knowing everything that the exam has to ask. It’s about strategizing what’s worth knowing while preparing and what’s worth putting your time into when you are attempting the test. Let’s look at a section-wise strategy for the TOEFL test:

Reading Section

  • Work on improving your vocabulary. Read voraciously, especially on subjects like business, arts, sciences, and social sciences. More so, focus more on suffixes, prefixes, and common roots of words.
  • While you are reading passages from any academic text, try to come up with a concrete headline and summary.
  • Time yourself while reading. Track your performance and focus on increasing your speed.
  • Try to skim through a passage in a timed fashion to get a general impression of the main idea so that you can save time
  • While you’re practicing, pick up unfamiliar words from the passage and work on their meanings from the given context. Later do confirm them.
  • Make sure you instill a habit of creating tables, lists, and diagrams to construct summaries of the passage.

Listening Section

  • Listen to a wide variety of topics. Make a mix of familiar and new topics.
  • Range on the difficulty level. Go from easy to intermediate to advance
  • Start listening with subtitles and then gradually move on to listening without subtitles.
  • Try to create a distinction between facts and opinions.
  • Make a note of new words that you hear
  • Gauge the purpose of the lecture to establish more clarity. Hear, connect, and synthesize ideas.
  • While you are practicing, stop recording in between and sum up what you’ve gathered till now.

Speaking Section

Establish a strong command over the language to give opinions, explain, and draw conclusions.

  • Work on punctuations, idioms, and intonation.
  • Do take into account free speaking. Prepare for some non-academic topics and practice talking about them.
  • Learn about new things as much as possible.

Writing Section

  • From the beginning, practice typing on a QWERTY keyboard.
  • Look out for synonyms while you study paragraphs and essays.
  • Make it a practice to write down your explanation while you listen to lectures or talks online.
  • Play the conversion to and fro from nouns to verbs
  • Learn to paraphrase. Start with sentences and then gradually move on to paragraphs.
  • Read your textbooks and then try and answer the questions.

Testing policies and procedures- Study Materials

ETS has the best FREE study resources of all times when it comes to TOEFL iBT. Some of them are:

  • Full-Length Official TOEFL Practice Test
  • TOEFL Go!® Official App
  • Practice Sets for TOEFL iBT
  • TOEFL Talks, TV & Planner

Also, there is one more thing that can help you get your desired TOEFL score. It’s the free email course for TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition preparation.

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