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Best Tips for TOEFL/IELTS Success

Your TOEFL or IELTS exam date is just around the corner! As an international student interested in attending university abroad, It’s important to improve your English, prepare thoroughly, and create personal testing strategies to help you achieve the score you’ve been working hard toward. Here are a few additional tips to help you get ready for the big day:

1. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. Take advantage of the free and paid practice tests that both the TOEFL and IELTS exams offer on their websites. The more practice tests you take before the real exam, the more comfortable you will be with the specific testing style, various questions and sections of the exam and the overall experience of taking an English language test. You don’t want to be bombarded with unfamiliar questions and foreign material when you arrive at your exam.
2. Because both exams have listening comprehension sections that require you to take notes and then answer subsequent questions, English note-taking is an important skill to hone before test day. You should be able to take notes as you listen to the audio. In order to keep up with the pace of the speaker, take down only shorthanded keywords that will be important later. Writing in shorthand with abbreviations and symbols will help you take crucial notes faster. Develop your own system of writing shorthand, and familiarize yourself with it so that on test day you don’t waste time trying to decipher your own notes. Good note taking skills are also useful for the future when you need to take English notes in university classes in the US.

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3. In order to expand your vocabulary and get comfortable with reading English, read high quality and engaging content that you’ll enjoy. News outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Forbes and The Economist will not only help you improve your English, but will also provide you with a deeper understanding of US news, politics, economy, culture and lifestyle. Reading best-selling English books can also advance your understanding of the English language.

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4. Practicing listening to English is also an essential step in getting ready for TOEFL or IELTS. You will want to feel prepared for all of the English you’ll be listening to during the test, rather than feeling unfamiliar with the academic and informal jargon. Listening to podcasts such as NPR, BBC, TED Talks, and RadioLab will keep you engaged with intriguing topics while you learn spoken English.

All of the preparation and studying that you do for the TOEFL or IELTS will not only help you get a high score and improve your chances of acceptance to universities abroad, but will also strengthen your English reading, writing and speaking for university in the US.

Have your TOEFL or IELTS score already? See how it impacts your chances with our admissions predictor.

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