Preparing for the TOEFL Exam

Preparing for the TOEFL Exam


Several students in Hong Kong are willing to complete their higher studies abroad. However, the students need to clear the TOEFL examination to learn in their preferred institution. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) evaluates a non-native English speaker’s communication ability. The test score is accepted in more than 8500 universities worldwide, which also include the top universities in the UK, Canada, US and Australia.

Students who have received their education in a non-English speaking countries often have to demonstrate certain level of English proficiency in TOEFL, in order to get admission to their dream colleges and universities abroad. TOEFL can also be required when applying for a company in English speaking nation. Though, TOEFL is accepted in more than 130 countries, always confirm with the institutions you are applying to which test they would prefer.

How to prepare for the test?

There are many preparatory courses, books and companies to choose from. No matter whichever route you select, make sure to keep ample time for practice tests over the course of your studies. Since the four part tests take about three and half hours, mimicking the real test process can help to boost your stamina manifold. In Hong Kong only the internet based tests of TOEFL is available.

The private tutors there ensure that you are familiar with the test structure and enable to achieve the appropriate grade required. You may either visit a center to develop your English proficiency or improve the language skills in the guidance of an online tutor. The tutors will always ask to take practice tests. You may begin with taking practice tests on certain parts. However, as the day for the final exam approaches, make time to practice the entire test. You will have an idea of your TOEFL score. There are software for the practice test as well. Try to practice as much as you can.

Along with seeking guidance from experts, you may learn different books. The books will be especially helpful to write essays. Watching English movies with subtitles will also help you to understand the local idioms. The more you will practice, the more you will be confident on the test date.


  • Plan to take your TOEFL test 2-3 months before your first application deadline
  • Log on to your TOEFL account and check the details of your registration confirmation
  • Reach the test centers at least 30mins early. Ensure that you are carrying the ID and Registration Confirmation along with you
  • 10 days after the examination, you can check the score from your online TOEFL account


How to register for a TOEFL test?

If the university you are applying to, do ask for the TOEFL score, register for the test online. You can visit the official website of TOEFL and complete the registration procedure.

What can be the Exam Structure?

The TOEFL exam is divided into following parts:


This section varies between 60 and 80mins. The candidates have to answer 36 to 56 questions about 3-4 text passages. The texts will be academic in nature, similar to those which you come across in degree level courses. Usually, there are multiple choice questions.


The listening part is 60 to 90mins long. The candidates usually have to listen to 4 to 6 academic lectures and 2 to 3 conversations, and then answer questions about the content that you have just heard.


The writing section is of 50mins. You will be given two tasks: one integrated writing job and another independent writing task.

The integrated writing task is 20mins long. You have to give responses after you read or listen to short passage or lecture. In the writing task, the candidates can also be asked to find out the points of differences between the passage they have read and listen to.

The independent writing task is of 30mins. In this section you have to plan and write an essay in response to a given topic.


It takes just 20mins to complete the section. This can be the toughest part of the examination as candidates do not have time to think about the responses. You will only have 45secs to respond each question. You have to speak fluently and with appropriate vocabulary.

For each section of the exam, the student will receive a score out of 30. In addition to these individual score, you will also receive an overall score of 120.

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