If you need to get ready for the TOEFL exam and you've looked at different books to help you get prepared, you may have gotten overwhelmed.
There's a sheer number of books out there, but if you're just starting out, the absolute best book to start with is the Official Guide to the TOEFL iBT (4th Edition).
IT PROVIDES A DETAILED OVERVIEW
OF THE FORMAT AND CONTENT
The Official Guide to the TOEFL begins by explaining the format of the test and giving information about the content, number of questions, and the time for each section.
After that, the book goes over the reading, listening, speaking and writing section in deeper detail by:
- explaining each specific question type
- giving examples of how the question will be phrased
- providing sample questions for each type
- providing the correct answer with an accompanying explantion
- providing scoring rubrics for the speaking and writing responses
This overview is useful because it can help test-takers understand their weaknesses by seeing which question types they are getting wrong.
IT PROVIDES AUTHENTIC PRACTICE MATERIAL
This book is published by ETS, the creators of the TOEFL test and if you study the material in this book, then you will feel more comfortable when you take the TOEFL exam. Why is that? This is because the material matches the format and the type of content that's presented in the book.
Not only that, but you'll get a CD which will include a program that you can install on your computer so that you can take three real TOEFL tests.
There are a lot of books out there and many times, the practice material is poorly written. Although you can practice English this way using some of the other books, they do not help with getting a higher score on the TOEFL.
IT PROVIDES SAMPLE ANSWERS FOR SPEAKING AND WRITING
The best part of this book is that it provides real answers from real TOEFL test-takers and it can show you the difference between a high-scoring speaking or writing response from a low or mid-level one. For instance, high level speaking responses are typically faster, include idioms, and have clear pronunciation while lower level speaking responses have more pauses, grammatical errors, repetitive phrases, and are harder to understand.
After my students write an essay or record a speaking response, I show them the real sample responses and then ask them to compare their own responses. This provides a great way to see if your response is on par with the high level responses or if you need to practice more to correct mistakes with your grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary.
Get this book if you're starting off with the TOEFL. If your English is at a high enough level, it may be the only book that you need. The only drawback is that if your English is at an intermediate or low-intermediate level, this book may be too difficult for you to start with.
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