How much study time is required for a TOEFL ibt test?

How much study time is required for a TOEFL ibt test?

You will hear a variety of answers: one month, two months, even three or four months, a year.  Why? It depends on your current situation.

If you are cramming, and it is one month away, you may need a pretty fixed schedule.

If you want more of a rush schedule for one month of planning, here is a resource:

http://magoosh.com/toefl/2013/one-month-toefl-study-schedule/ 

If your date is secure, and you know what you want to achieve, then the simple answer, according the official TOEFL website:

“Start preparing for the test at least 8 weeks before your test date.”

However, if you are starting from the beginning, consider this test planner which is posted for free on the TOEFL site:

https://www.ets.org/s/toefl/pdf/toefl_student_test_prep_planner.pdf

They look at:

1)Choosing a target institution where to study

2) Researching deadlines and requirements

3)Deciding when to take the test

4)Registering three to four months before the test date

5)Preparation planning

Students taking the TOEFL ibt usually want to take the test to qualify for studying at an English-speaking university next year. Once they register, there is a set date when they need to take the test.  An obvious determining factor for study time is how much time a working individual can set aside.  Students are working to save up money to make studying in a foreign country possible, and they can not commit to more than a certain number of hours a week.  There is only so much time available.

To give you an example, I had about seven students at a university here in Chile.  These students were quite dedicated.  They were taking a three and half hour class three times a week.  The level might be what you would call high intermediate, or even pre-advanced.   I would estimate that we spent about a month studying test strategy, or about 42 hours, and at the end, I still didn’t feel it was very much time.

Even though this seems like a large chunk of time, it was only a part of the preparation course they were taking, which intended to move them more securely into the advanced level.  A month is not enough to get improve the grammar of each individual student by a wide margin.  We spent time not studying grammar, but studying test strategy!

People very rarely take a four and half hour test.  It requires prolonged concentration.  It also necessitates learning specific strategies, since it requires students to understand instructions very rapidly.  The less time they spend understanding the questions, the more time they can devote to answering them.  Here are examples of subjects connected to test strategy which is about understanding instructions.  In other words:

a) Understanding the structure of each section

b) Understanding the type of content that is presented in each section

c) Understanding the types questions in each section

d) Understanding the types of answers for each

e) Practicing completing tasks in the allotted time

However, from a teaching perspective another question is: “What is the student’s current level, and what is the score they need to obtain on the test? ” Determining a student’s level will depend on their knowledge of test strategy, and also their English skills in general. These are connected but distinct skills.  If you are seriously far a way from academic proficiency, than you can study a course which prepares you for an academic level of English proficiency, or EAP.

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