12 Quick Exercises to Kickstart TOEFL Studying
You might be finding it hard to start studying again if you’ve taken a break over the past few weeks.
I have gathered 12 quick exercises that have worked for hundreds of students and will definitely help you to get back into studying. None of these exercises use specific TOEFL resources. They are designed to build your language proficiency using any resources that you have.
Each quick exercise will take around 10 minutes. Choose one a day and keep practicing!
1. Watch a short video
- Choose 3 short sentences (or phrases) and say them in exactly the same way as the speaker does.
- Keep practicing these sentences.
- Make sure you repeat each one at least 5 times.
2. Listen to the local news
- Find a news report about something happening in your area.
- Listen to it carefully and then give your opinion about it.
- Make 3 to 5 sentences to explain your opinion.
- You can write or type them if it helps.
- Then, speak your opinion out loud. Make it convincing!
3. Look around you
- Look around your room or out of the window.
- Describe what you see.
- You can focus on just one thing or you can give a general description.
- Make sure you speak out loud, use as many adjectives as you can, and that you use complete sentences.
4. Read an article online
- Find an article online about a TOEFL topic (like education, geology, astronomy…)
- It's not necessary to read the whole article for this exercise.
- Read just the first two paragraphs of the article and make sure you understand them.
- Choose 3 words (or short phrases) and 2 grammatical constructions from the article.
- Write them down, then explain them as if you're explaining them to someone who doesn't know what they mean.
- You can of course read the rest of the article if you want to!
5. Pronunciation focus
- Think of a sound that you have difficulty saying.
- Write the sound on a card and write some words that contain that sound.
- Put the card somewhere in your home where you'll see it frequently (like the kitchen.)
- Every time you see the card, say the sound and the words out loud.
- Make sure you are saying them correctly.
- Repeat the sound and each word 5 times.
- You can make several cards and put them in different places.
6. Read out loud
- Find something to read so that you can read out loud for about 10 minutes.
- You can choose anything to read!
- Pretend you are reading to an audience and speak clearly so they understand you.
- Don't forget to use pauses and word stress to keep your audience engaged.
7. Describe a process
- Think about a process that you do at home or at work.
- Then, explain that process to someone who doesn't know how to do it.
- Explain it clearly and carefully, just like you would if you were showing it to someone for the first time.
8. Make an argument
- Think of something you feel strongly about.
- Type your opinion and then add a few sentences supporting your argument.
- Aim to type around 120 words.
9. Watch an interview
- Find an interview to watch.
- As you watch, focus on the way the interviewer starts each question.
- Notice the phrases they use.
- Practice speaking some of those phrases out loud.
10. Investigate a difficult topic
- Choose a TOEFL topic you find hard to understand.
- For example many students struggle with geology or astronomy topics.
- Find a website that explains something about this topic.
- Look for websites with clear explanations and lots of pictures.
- Read, write notes and build your understanding.
11. Grammar Focus
- Choose one grammatical construction that you keep making errors with.
- Go back to your notes and your old homework and find examples of your error.
- Read your teacher’s corrections carefully.
- Or find an explanation in a resource and work out why you keep making the error.
- Then write 10 correct sentences using the grammatical construction.
12. Practice using contractions
Shortened versions of words like can't, shouldn't, won't and didn't are very common in spoken English but many English language learners are reluctant to use them.
Practice using them and you will sound more natural.
- Make up 10 sentences using contractions.
- Repeat each one at least 5 times.