Study abroad

Study Abroad: Tips to prepare for TOEFL, IELTS by Ritu Rahul Rathod

Nancy Jaiswal
Nancy Jaiswal
Posted on 13 Mar 2023
11:10 AM

Source: Ritu Rahul Rathod

“A lot of money is involved, too, to sit for the test. Besides, you have to dedicate a long time to prepare for the test”
“Try to devote time to improving your computer skills. Now, Internet-based Test (iBT) is the most common format for TOEFL”

IELTS and TOEFL are English proficiency tests that applicants must pass to be eligible for the plethora of study abroad opportunities available. These tests are widely accepted and are usually mandatory for one to be accepted into a foreign university. In fact, even employers in English speaking countries will ask for a score from one of these tests to consider you for employment. Hence, if you are someone who plans to work or study abroad, you must prove your English proficiency by passing one of these tests. To help you navigate the journey of giving the TOEFL or IELTS exams, The Telegraph Online Edugraph brings you expert tips from Mrs Ritu Rahul Rathod.

Mrs Rathod has been mentoring students in the English language for the past 35 years in Mumbai, New York and across the world and has earned herself all-round respect and credit. Till date, she has coached nearly 10,000 students who are now proud and successful citizens of the world. She encourages independent inquiry and nurtures an open mind to help children develop a lifelong interest in language and literature to appreciate formal stylistic and aesthetic qualities of text. Read below to know her tips and strategies for cracking through the exam.

1) From your 35+ years of experience, please give our readers a guide to cracking the TOEFL exams.


Taking the TOEFL can be a very stressful experience because of many reasons. You have to get a specific score to get into your dream college. A lot of money is involved as well, to sit for the test. Besides, you have to dedicate a lot of time to prepare for the test. The test center may be located in a crowded place with a lot of noise. You may not have slept too well the previous night. Unfortunately, you cannot change any of that! But preparing for TOEFL with enough time on hand is the best you can do to lower your stress levels on the day of the test. Here are 5 TOEFL preparation strategies I can suggest:

  1. Practice Taking Notes: During TOEFL, you will be allowed to listen to the audio clips just once. Based on what you hear, you have to answer questions, speak, or write. Since you cannot replay the audio, you should take down notes and do it well.
  • Try to take down notes either in your native language or in English as much as possible. You should practice both.
  • You should try to listen carefully and learn to take down notes in real time, without missing any of the points. Try to listen to diverse audio clips of various lengths and complexity levels.
  • To check how well you have taken down the notes, you should listen to the same clip again.
  • Do not miss out on elementary things like the pattern of your notes and make sure you are able to read what you write.
  • It will help you immensely if you are able to take down notes with all the important information in real time and with confidence. This will not only help you clear your TOEFL, but also in your future studies.

    2. Take Mock Tests: When you start preparing for TOEFL, you are surely aiming for a certain score. To understand whether you are getting closer to that, you must take as many mock tests as you can. These will help you get an actual feel of the test environment, question types, and challenges that you may face on the big day. There are many ways to take mock TOEFL tests, such as using past test papers to track how you are progressing.

    3. Practice Reading Every Day: You must practice reading every day. Native English speakers, too, build their vocabularies through reading. The more you read, the more exposure you get to new concepts and words. And the more carefully you read, the more you make your reading comprehension skills stronger. Read widely and carefully to expand your range of subjects. You never know what subjects you will have to deal with in your TOEFL, so it is best to make your comfort zone wider.

    4. Listen to Podcasts: Today, there are many options available online. You get lots of English language talks, such as radio and podcasts by the BBC and NPR, besides comedy and news programs. Listening to native English speakers at their natural speed will improve your listening comprehension skill. Besides, you can improve your speaking skills by trying to repeat the words the speaker says. Understanding an audio clip is harder than understanding a video because you do not get any context clues. That is why podcasts are better for Listening Comprehension practice.

    5. Learn Typing: In the writing section, you have to type your answers on an unfamiliar computer with a QWERTY keyboard. If you take time on typing out your answers, you will not get much time to write an essay of high quality. It may be a simple skill, but many people do not spend time on it. So, even before you start preparing for TOEFL, make sure you learn to type in English quickly on a QWERTY keyboard. There are plenty of free tools available online to help you learn to type quickly.

2) Thank you for your insights on the TOEFL exam. Please elaborate on the IELTS exam as well.

Try to devote time to improve your computer skills. Now, Internet-based Test (iBT) is the most common format for IELTS. If you are not adept with the computer, it can make you nervous, and will also slow you down. Try to spend time to understand the pattern of the questions. It will help you in many ways if you can boost your memory. Try to develop your essay writing skills and, finally, learn to manage time really well.

Source: Ritu Rahul Rathod

3) What is the best way for students to prepare for IELTS after your secondary exams?

There is no ‘best way’ to prepare for IELTS after the secondary exams because it depends on individual candidates. Some may take just a few days, while others will need months. But, basically, you should take as many mock tests as possible to make sure you understand the test format perfectly. Try to be aware of the exam’s time constraints and take mock tests in real-time. Try to improve your English speaking abilities and follow a strategy to prepare for the test. Multitask when listening to audio clips in English. Try to read up as much as you can on a wide range of subjects.

4) Which are some of the best courses to study in Western countries?

There are endless study opportunities in countries like the US, UK, Canada and Australia. You can study courses such as Bachelor of Business and Management; Bachelor of Computer Science and IT; Bachelor of Electrical Engineering; Bachelor of Civil Engineering and Construction; Bachelor of Medicine; Bachelor of Architecture; Bachelor of Design; Bachelor of International Relations; Bachelor of Business Administration; Diploma in Business Administration; BS in Management Science; BA in Management Science; BA in Finance Management; BA in Accounting Management; B.Com (Finance and Accounting); Teachers’ Training Courses; Bachelor of Library and Information Science and Bachelor of Library Science and many others.

When it comes down to these two entrances for studying abroad, nothing beats the advantage of proper planning. Hence, it is advisable that instead of blindly reading all the material, plan every step for your preparation to smartly approach the entrance exam. Edugraph wishes you all the best for your career abroad.

Last updated on 13 Mar 2023
11:10 AM
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