There are thousands of free guides and practice tests about TOEFL in the Internet. However, many free TOEFL resources on the internet are not helpful because they do not resemble the real TOEFL questions at all. To help you to choose the best ones, I have compiled this recommended list of excellent free TOEFL resources.
First, the most helpful resources are the questions from the previous tests. ETS provides a wonderful program and many practice tests that are made from previously administered test questions.
Best Free TOEFL Resources
- TOEFL iBT Interactive Sampler
- TOEFL iBT Test Questions
- TOEFL Quick Prep
- TOEFL iBT Test Planner
- English Club
- Kindle App
- Prepscholar 327 Vocab Words
- New York Times
- Popular Science
- Breaking News English
- Ted Talks
- Learning English
- Good Luck TOEFL
- New York Times
- Beat the Test
- TOEFL Resources
- Online ESL Program from Abeka
Here is the a basic list of the best free TOEFL materials available in the internet. The rest of the article is broken down into TOEFL test materials, best reading materials, best writing materials, best listening materials, and best speaking materials. I hope that you will find these best TOEFL resources to be helpful as you prepare for your test.
Helpful and Free TOEFL Resources
TOEFL iBT Interactive Sampler
TOEFL iBT Interactive Sampler is a great program created by ETS to help students adjust to the internet test format. This program contains high-quality questions from previously administered test. Also, it interacts with the student just like an authentic test by allowing students to type, listen, and speak in this program. This is an extremely helpful resource because it simulates the test-taking environment so that students can know what to expect on the test day.
As the name “Sampler” suggests, the Interactive Sampler is not a full-test but contains portions of the test. Also, there are speaking sections and writing sections, but there would be no scores since there are no graders to give you your scores. Despite these inconveniences, this program is extremely beneficial because it simulates the real test by even giving the exact directions of the test.
Sections of the Interactive Sampler
- Three reading passages and questions about those passages
- One listening section and questions about the recording
- Three speaking questions and sample responses for each
- Two writing questions and sample responses for each
How to use the Interactive Sampler
Unfortunately, using the Interactive Sampler can be quite confusing for people who are not adept in computers. When I tried to use the Interactive Sampler, I did run into problem with the screen resolution, but it can be fixed easily. In this section, I will guide step-by-step on how to use the Interactive Sampler.
- Go to ETS Interactive Sampler and download the exe.file.
- Open and run the .exe file
- After you run the file, the program will state an error message stating “your computer’s resolution is not large enough to run this program, please reset your display to 1024 x 768.
If you run into this problem, you need to change your display setting to 1024 x 768. To change your display settings, please visit this guide for Windows 7, this guide for Windows 8, and this guide for Windows 10.
Once you have changed your screen resolution settings, you will be able to run this program!
TOEFL iBT Test Questions
Toefl iBT Test Questions are another free resource from the publisher of the test. These questions are also from previously administered test which is high-quality practice materials.
Sections of Test Questions
- One reading section
- Two listening section (no audio files, transcripts are written down)
- Six speaking section
- Two writing section
Please note that listening section does not contain audio files and that the actual listening part is written down. Please visit ETS Test Questions to download the PDF file.
TOEFL Quick Prep
TOEFL Quick Prep contains four mini-tests which is like four Test Questions put together! Not only that, two of the four mini-tests contains audio files for the listening sections! This is extremely helpful because you will actually hear authentic examples of the recordings from the listening sections.
TOEFL Quick Prep contains FOUR mini-tests each containing:
- Two Reading sections
- Three Listening sections
- Three Speaking sections
- One Writing section
To download these PDF’s, visit ETS Quick Prep.
TOEFL iBT Test Planner
This is a suggested 8-week study schedule created by ETS. This Test Planner contains introduction to TOEFL and excellent tips for each section. In my opinion, you should definitely read the introductory sections, but you should not follow the suggested study schedule but just use it as a reference. I think that it is better to make your own schedule based on your free time and your English proficiency level.
To download the Test Planner, visit ETS Test Planner.
Magoosh is another valuable TOEFL site. It contains excellent free TOEFL resources such as their blog posts, practice materials for each sections, 200 word vocabulary list, and mini-test. This site should be bookmarked for prospective students.
Magoosh TOEFL Blog
The Magoosh TOEFL blog has hundreds of helpful blog posts regarding TOEFL. If you are unfamiliar with TOEFL, spending an hour or two reading their blog posts will help you to better understand TOEFL structure and test-taking strategies.
Also, The blog has articles that contain practice questions from each section of the tests. Its practice questions are well-written and even contains audio files for the listening sections! You should definitely make use of this wonderful site.
Mini TOEFL Test
Magoosh offers a Mini TOEFL Test which closely resembles the real test. To take this, please visit Magoosh Practice Test.
Magoosh compiled 200 vocabulary words that are frequently used in TOEFL. To download a printable PDF version of this vocabulary, please click on this link. It also features interactive online flashcards for you to practice, and you can access it here.
Edusynch.com is a TOEFL prep website that offers awesome free TOEFL resources. This site contains more than 1,200 reading and listen questions, and the program itself is interactive. Also, you don’t have to answer all 1,200 question at once, but you can answer them in different chunks called sessions.
The great plus of this site is not only it contains huge number of high-quality questions, but it also analyzes your results. After each session, your results are analyzed, and the program shows your strengths and weaknesses. After you take a reading section, the program analyzes your results and shows your strengths and weaknesses in ten different areas such as vocab, reference, purpose. Also, the listening shows your strengths and weakness in different areas such as content, details, and attitude.
The program also shows your average response time per questions and your projected scores for each section. This is an excellent program to practice your English skills because of its number of questions and the detailed breakdown of your results.
English Club is a site that provides free resources for both English learners and teachers. This site has particularly helpful information regarding the TOEFL test. This blog article contains 20 helpful tips regarding how to prepare for the TOEFL. Also, it has practice quizzes for all four section of the TOEFL test: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. These contain the questions and the sample responses for every question which is very helpful.
Check Also: Available Programs for International Students
Free TOEFL Resources for Reading
Many students ask, “How can we prepare for the TOEFL reading section most effectively?” There are two ways of increasing your score in the reading section: solve as many TOEFL reading questions and read as many academic texts as you can. The first way can be done by buying books.For reading many academic texts, I will recommend free TOEFL resources that is about the same difficult as the TOEFL.
Kindle App is a free reading app that is available in both mobile devices and computers. Kindle App allows users to access Amazon Kindle Store which contains millions and millions of books. Although you need to pay for most of the books, thousands of books are free (especially the classics). These classics are excellent source for you to learn advanced vocabulary and increase your reading comprehension.
You might think that these free books are of inferior quality because they are free. However, this is not the case. These books are free because their copyright has expired, not because they are of bad quality. Excellent books such as Great Expectations, Christmas Carol, Tale of Two Cities, and Count of Monte Cristo are all free at your disposal by downloading this Kindle App.
Prepscholar 327 Vocab Words
Prepscholar made an excellent list of vocab words that you’ll need to know for the TOEFL test. To create this list, they went through the official TOEFL tests and picked words that students might struggle. Then, they reviewed other prominent TOEFL vocab lists and picked words that will appear the most on the TOEFL.
I highly recommend studying this list thoroughly since the knowledge of vocab is crucial to your reading score. Also, I recommend studying not this list only but complement this list with other vocab lists such as Barron’s and Magoosh’s vocab lists that are also listed in this site.
New York Times
New York Times is one of the leading newspaper in the United States. The articles that are featured on its website are written by the best writers in the nation. Their excellent writing style and their use of advanced vocabulary will prepare students well for the TOEFL reading. Also, the best thing is that the level of difficulty of these articles are almost the same difficulty as the texts from TOEFL reading!
If you are struggling with the scientific text in TOEFL, you should take a look at the science section in New York Times. The New York Times has a separate science section that contains many scientific articles on different subjects. By reading these articles, you will become more familiar with the scientific texts in TOEFL.
Popular Science is another resources for students who struggle with the scientific texts. This scientific magazine deals with a variety of subjects such as technology, entertainment, and science. Although other articles are great to read, only the scientific articles will show up on the actual test. If you want to read just the scientific articles, I recommend going to the animal section and reading articles from that section.
Breaking News English
All the resources mentioned above are almost the same difficulty as the actual TOEFL. For beginners, reading TOEFL-level material can be quite difficult. If you are having difficulty reading TOEFL-level materials, you should definitely take a look at Breaking News English which is specifically designed for ESL students. The great thing about this website is that it is broken into six levels from beginner to advanced. Students can pick a comfortable level at first and then gradually read materials from harder levels.
After every reading, there are sections that ask reading comprehension problems, synonyms, vocabulary, etc about the reading. These helps students to increase their reading comprehension skills. Also, a same text is written in different levels of difficulty using different vocabulary words and sentence structure to adjust the level of difficulty. This enables students to read the same text with harder or easier words. Using this tool, students can quickly change the level of difficulty to read materials that are in their comfort zone.
Quizlet is an online flashcard tool which helps students to learn vocabulary using different methods such as games and quizzes. When it is used correctly, it can become very beneficial to students preparing for the TOEFL. You can either create your own study set in Quizlet or use one of the millions of study sets that were created by others.
Quizlet has hundreds of free study sets that you can use to study TOEFL vocabulary. For motivated students, I highly recommend Barron’s 450 Essential Words for TOEFL. After you are done memorizing that set, there are hundreds of other sets that you can look into!
Free TOEFL Resources in Listening
TOEFL Listening section can be difficult for students who are not accustomed to the American accent. The best way to improve your score is to expose yourself to American accents by constantly listening them. Here are some free resources to improve your TOEFL listening score.
Do you want to learn English while you are being entertained? Movies is a great way to both entertain yourself and learn English. If you are relatively a beginner, watch your favorite movies and TV shows first with subtitles in your language. Once you are familiar with the plot, trying watching it in English subtitles. To increase the level of difficulty, watch movies without any subtitles! Movies are great way to learn everyday conversations and enjoy it at the same time!
Elllo is a great site for ESL students (English as a Second Language) because it contains over 2,500 free lessons and recordings made specifically for ESL students. Elllo features many accents around the world, but you only have to be familiar with the American accents for the TOEFL. In its website, there are flags beside every recordings that represent the dialect of the recordings. To listen to American accents, look for recordings with American flag beside it, and you can also search for just American accents in their search box.
Elllo presents not only a great variety of everyday conversations but also one-minute English talks and recordings called mixers in which six people answer a same question and give their answers to that same question. These mixers are also helpful in the speaking section where students have to answer questions about a familiar topic. Students can answer a question in the mixers and listen to answers of different people. So students can improve both their speaking and listening skills at the same time using elllo.org.
Ted Talks is a really great program that has over 2,400 free talks on a variety of subjects. Since it covers a variety of topics, you can choose the topic that you are interested in or explore new topics for fun! These talks are delivered by professionals in their respective fields and are usually shorter than 18 minutes. Since these talks are short and excellent, you should listen to them whenever you have free time.
BBC is an excellent resource for listening section. Especially, the 6-minute podcasts are helpful for the listening section. This site not only include podcast but also include the text, vocabulary, and questions for the podcasts. Please keep in mind that the podcasts are not being updated, but there are still hundreds of excellent podcasts available for use.
LearningEnglish is an excellent free toefl resource for a beginner. This site is speaks news article very slowly which helps many beginners to comprehend what is being said. Also, different news articles are divided into three levels of difficulty to help navigation. There are many news articles in this site, and it is an excellent resource for listening, especially for beginners.
Free TOEFL Resources for Speaking
Speaking is a hardest section for most students preparing for the TOEFL because of the lack of practice materials available in the internet. The only way to increase your speaking score is to practice and practice. Here are some great resources to practice your speaking skills.
I have mentioned Elllo previously for the reading section. I will mention this site again because this site is also great for speaking. Not only they contain a great variety of everyday conversations, one-minute English talks, they also offer mixers which are recordings of six different people answering a same question. Mixers are very helpful because you can answer the question first and listen to others respond.
Free TOEFL Resources for Writing
There are two types of writing in TOEFL, integrated and independent tasks. Integrated task is writing after you have listened to a recording and read a reading prompt. Independent task is writing about any given topic. To prepare for these tasks, you should use these following resources:
Good Luck TOEFL
Good Luck TOEFL has hundreds of sample writing prompts that is categorized into five question types. This is helpful for independent task where you have to answer a specific question. Although there are many writing prompts, there is a lack of sample answers. Also, this site contains tips on every section of the TOEFL, so you can read it if you are interested in the extra help.
New York Times
I have previously mentioned New York Times in the reading section, but this is an extremely beneficial resource in writing section also. You can use the New York Times in two ways to improve your writing. First, the writers of this newspaper are excellent in writing, and you should analyze their writings. For example, locate their topic sentences, supporting sentences, and conclusion sentences. Also, take a look at their use of descriptive adjectives and nouns to paint a picture with their words. Second, you should summarize their articles after you have read them. This will improve your reading comprehension and summarizing skills which are crucial in TOEFL writing.
Beat the Test
Beat the Test has a list of 155 TOEFL Independent Writing questions that was used in the real TOEFL test by the ETS. This is a fantastic resource for students who want extra practice in writing with authentic TOEFL questions. You should note that this site does not give you sample responses for these questions, but it is an excellent resources nonetheless.
TOEFL Resources is an excellent guide to the writing section. First, it has 40 sample TOEFL essay questions with answers. This really helps the student to prepare for the TOEFL writing section by writing their own answers and comparing to the sample answers. Second, it provides students with TOEFL writing templates which helps the students to form structured essays and to save time.
Although these free TOEFL resources are great, they have their limitations. First, you will notice that there is no free, complete, and authentic TOEFL test. Solving these mini-tests will help you to be familiar with the format, but it is not sufficient to simulate actual testing conditions. Second, there are not many writing and speaking questions and sample answers in these free resources.
It is possible to entirely prepare for the test with these free TOEFL resources. However, your scores could be better with supplemental books. Although books cost money, buying them will be more economical in the long run because you will achieve your target score by taking fewer tests or by taking just one! Think of hundreds of dollars you can save by taking fewer tests! You should check out 5 Books to Dramatically Increase Your Score!
I hope this article on TOEFL Resources was helpful to you. To know more information on studying abroad, check out the Available Programs for International Students.