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If you feel that you could benefit from a standardized TOEFL prep class, Varsity Tutors can place you in a private TOEFL course today. We are a leader in the TOEFL prep course industry because we offer flexible test prep options that may be adapted to any student's needs.

We can sign you up for TOEFL prep classes that include instruction from a qualified teacher, who will work with you in a one-on-one setting designed with you in mind. By taking advantage of these individualized TOEFL classes, you can receive benefits beyond what a traditional classroom setting could provide you. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of taking a TOEFL class arranged by Varsity Tutors!

How Can A TOEFL Prep Class Near Me Help Me Understand The Exam's Purpose?

The TOEFL, or Test Of English as a Foreign Language, is a standardized assessment taken by non-native English speakers in order to demonstrate their English language skills. It is most often taken by individuals interested in studying within an English-speaking country, working in an English-speaking country, or as part of the immigration process.

The TOEFL is not the only standardized exam of its type, but its blend of all four communication skills (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing) makes it the most popular. Exam scores are accepted at over 10,000 universities and other institutions around the world. It should be taken two to three months before your earliest application due date.

How Could Taking TOEFL Classes Near Me Help Me Prepare For Each Section?

The TOEFL is divided into four sections based on the communication skills above, but several of them require test-takers to blend more than one communication skill in order to do well. Here is a closer look at each section of the exam:


The TOEFL Reading section consists of 3-4 academic passages followed by questions about the material you just read. No prior knowledge of the subject matter is required. Instead, you will be expected to identify the main idea, vocabulary used, and rhetorical purpose of the piece. You may also be asked to infer conclusions based on what you read, potentially incorporating cause and effect or compare-contrast in your analysis. Finally, you may need to complete a summary or fill in a table with what you learned.

If you could retain more of the information you read, your instructor may demonstrate active reading techniques during your TOEFL prep courses to boost your retention. Something like note-taking as you go along may seem simple, but it forces you to actively engage with the material. You might also be able to refer to your notes instead of digging through the passage again for a particular piece of information, helping you conserve valuable time. You will have between 60-80 minutes to answer 36-56 questions, so you need to work quickly if you want to answer everything.

You might also consider improving your broader study skills in this phase of your TOEFL course. For example, flashcards can be an effective way to add new words to your vocabulary. If you know more words, you are less likely to get stuck on one that appears in a reading passage.


The Listening section of the TOEFL entails listening to recorded English conversations and then answering questions about them. You will face anywhere from 6-9 listening passages drawn from an academic setting, such as a professor's lecture or interaction with a student. Again, no prior knowledge is needed to answer any of the questions. Instead, you are looking for the main idea, important supporting details, implications, speaker purpose, and speaker attitudes.

The best way to improve your listening skills is to immerse yourself in the language during your TOEFL class. The old adage of "Practice makes perfect" is true, so try to hear English as often as possible to prepare for this section. Your tutor is a perfect practice partner because they can slow their speech, repeat material as needed, and emphasize the most important points with their voice if you are missing something.

The first two listening passages may be drawn from a non-North American English speaker such as somebody from Australia or the United Kingdom. If you would like some experience with accents besides your tutor's, you might want to watch English-language television. For instance, the British Broadcasting Channel (BBC) is a widely-available source of British accents you may review during TOEFL courses.

Incorporating TV into your TOEFL course may also help make sessions more engaging. If you are interested in politics, BBC World News offers a fascinating global perspective. If you enjoy science fiction, Doctor Who is among the longest-running programs in the genre. As long as you are listening to native-level English, the content doesn't really matter. Why not enjoy it?


There are a total of six tasks on the TOEFL Speaking section: two independent tasks that require you to talk about familiar topics, two prefaced by reading passages that you must incorporate into your speech, and two prefaced by listening passages for you to incorporate in the same manner. The first two are probably the easiest. You will be asked something like, "What would you show a friend visiting your home country for the first time?" and graded on how clear, concise, and spontaneous your response is. If you speak to your instructor in English during your TOEFL prep classes, you might already have a sense of what this is like.

The other four (collectively called "integrated" speaking tasks) add your ability to synthesize the material you read or heard into your grade. Unlike comparable exams, your responses are recorded and sent to at least three different graders who evaluate your work anonymously. This limits the bias that may result from being graded by one individual at a testing center.

You have a total of 20 minutes for the entire Speaking section.


Like the Speaking section, the TOEFL Writing section is divided into two separate tasks. The first is independent, requiring you to compose an argumentative essay in support of an opinion. The second is integrated, requiring you to identify the key points of a listening passage and relate them to a reading passage in an essay. You have 50 minutes to finish both tasks.

Many students practice their outlining skills during their TOEFL courses to make it easier to organize their thoughts on exam day. Working from an outline helps prevent you from staring at the screen wondering what to say next, so you can make the most of the time available to you. It also serves as a convenient reference point for all of your supporting details so that you don't forget to include any.

Taking practice exams during your TOEFL classes may also help you get a sense for the time available to you. There is really no substitute for experiencing realistic test-taking conditions yourself, so taking practice exams may improve your time management. You can also gain experience with the way exam questions are worded, potentially saving you some time on the actual test.

Can A TOEFL Course Near Me Be Tailored To My Needs?

A TOEFL class can be created around your specific needs. During the first TOEFL course, your tutor can get to know you on an academic level and figure out your strengths and unique areas of opportunity. Once they assess your current situation, they can use this as a baseline to plan out your TOEFL courses and tackle your most challenging areas. Throughout each session, your tutor can keep track of your progress and make any necessary changes to your TOEFL course learning plans immediately.

For instance, if you are more comfortable writing than speaking English, your instructor can concentrate on the Speaking section during your TOEFL class. On the other hand, if you are struggling with the reading section, your instructor can change your TOEFL class to focus more on it. The flexibility of this method helps you get the most out of your study time.

Will A TOEFL Prep Course Near Me Show Me What To Expect On Test Day?

A whopping 98 percent of all TOEFL test-takers take the TOEFL iBT, or Internet-Based Test. This exam is computer-based and administered over 50 days a year at testing centers around the world. If you haven't taken a computer-based test before, your TOEFL class may cover some of what to expect.

You may be asked to produce a photo ID when you check-in, after your scheduled break, and after any unplanned interruptions. Other than your ID, you are not permitted to bring anything with you into the testing center. Some locations may have specified storage areas for your personal effects, while others will simply shove them into a plastic bag. This includes test prep materials, so approach your TOEFL prep classes with the understanding that you will not be able to do any cramming once you sit down for the test.

The exam uses a standard English-language QWERTY keyboard, so you should practice using it during TOEFL prep classes if your country uses keyboards with a different key arrangement. Scratch paper will be provided so that you may take notes on all of the reading and listening passages, and doing so is often one of the keys to success on the test. If you have a hard time taking effective notes while paying attention to a passage, your tutor may be able to help you in this area.

If you live in a region of the world where internet testing is not available, you can take the pencil-and-paper TOEFL instead. This exam doesn't have a Speaking section as the technology simply isn't available, but it otherwise follows the structure above. Notably, this version of the test is only available if you can't take the iBT version, not because you would prefer not to.

Once you understand the structure of the exam, you might want a sense of what the questions are like. Below you will find one example of a question that could be found on the exam:

Structure and Written Expression Sample Question:

Geysers have sometimes been compared to volcanoes __________ they both emit hot liquids from below Earth's surface.

    • despite
    • because
    • in regard to
    • as a result of

Your instructor can provide you with study materials to help you become familiar with the contents of the exam, including practice questions. Additionally, each TOEFL prep course can be created using your preferred method of learning. If you respond best to visual aids, your instructor can use images, graphs, and videos to present the material.

What Grade Is Considered Passing?

The Exam is in 4 scaled section scores:

  • Reading Section (Score of: 0-30)
  • Listening Section (Score of: 0-30)
  • Speaking Section (Score of: 0-30)
  • Writing Section (Score of: 0-30)
  • Total Score (0-120)

The numbers are identical, but the scale is not the same. For example, a 14 on the Reading section does not mean the same thing as a 14 on the Listening section. Every institution has its own minimal score requirements, so there is no such thing as a universal passing TOEFL grade. That said, the "Performance Feedback" included with every score should give you a sense of what you do and do not understand based on your test results. Your score remains valid for a period of two years after your test.

If you are someone who deals with exam-day anxiety, your instructor may also teach you relaxation techniques that you can use if you begin to feel pressured or nervous. This may help you alleviate exam anxiety and improve your overall test-taking skills now and in the future. Your tutor can help you set and reach for your TOEFL study goals with personalized instruction and attention to detail. We would be happy to help you get the score you are shooting for with a TOEFL prep class.

We also try to make attending a TOEFL class as convenient as we can. Our proprietary Live Learning Platform facilitates digital study sessions, giving you face-to-face instruction anywhere with a stable internet connection for maximal convenience.

If you are ready to get the help that you deserve during your TOEFL test prep, contact Varsity Tutors today. We are ready and able to help you sign up and take advantage of your own personalized, comprehensive TOEFL prep courses. We are looking forward to helping you reach for your test score goals. A skilled advisor can be reached online or by phone, so reach out to us today!

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