If in-person or online TOEFL tutoring through Manhattan Elite Prep is not a possibility for you, study guides for this exam are critical. Many students often are confused as to what medium to pursue in regards to a TOEFL study guide: textbook, audio CDs, Internet practice program or computer-based practice tests and quizzes. It’s highly recommended that you get some practice with this exam on a computer, since most of you will be taking the iBT version, which is solely computer-based. After all, reading an academic article on a monitor is a very different experience from reading on regular paper. Often times, it’s easier to get lost in our reading when we read on the computer, in addition we tend to slow down. Even if you are just reading encyclopedia articles online, it will be useful practice for you in the long run.
In regards to TOEFL study books, here are some options for you with comprehensive breakdowns to help you find your way in the bookstore!
The Official Guide from ETS just went through an overhaul and is now in the Fifth Edition. Since ETS is the maker of the TOEFL exam, their book contains questions taken straight from previous TOEFL tests. The accompanying CD-ROM contains three authentic practice TOEFL tests, as well as additional speaking and listening prep tools. No TOEFL preparation is complete without this guide from the actual test-makers!
This book also comes with a CD-Rom, so you are able to get your practice both on the page and on the screen. This book is broken down in our test sections (reading, listening, speaking & writing), first with a broad overview with general suggestions, and then complete breakdowns and subsequent exercises with skills. Also included are two complete, full-length TOEFL tests, in addition to three appendixes: Cohesion, Sentence Structure and Error Correction. In the very back of the book, in addition to a very clear answer key, is a final section about diagnosis, assessment, and scoring. Please note, the audio CD for this textbook is sold separately, so keep that in mind when purchasing this book.
While this is a practice test-only book, Delta publishes some great material about the TOEFL that is used all over the world. In particular, many students claim the Delta TOEFL exercises are somewhat harder than the actual TOEFL exam, so in many ways it sets the bar high prior to test day. (Please note, Delta publishes an "Advanced Skills" book, as well, for advanced students.) CDs for the listening, speaking and writing sections must be purchased separately, but are well worth it, as the lectures make great additions to your mp3 or i-pods to buff up your listening skills.
Practicing every day is certainly important, but keep in mind that you don't want to burn yourself out. Students can sometimes grow overwhelmed very quickly with the academic listening and reading material this tests contains, so too much of this work all at once can have an adverse affect. Also, focus on a skill-by-skill basis, devoting so many hours a day to reading, writing, speaking or listening. (However, feel free to add some variety by warming up your study session with independent speaking questions or outlining independent essays.)