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Official Guide to the TOEFL Test With CD-ROM

Educational Testing Service (ETS), the makers of the TOEFL Test, are the publishers of this official TOEFL test study guide. Because of this, the guide is highly reliable, making it one of the most essential and best TOEFL books on the market. The guide contains authentic TOEFL questions, sample texts that were written by previous test-takers, and three previously administered practice tests with answers and explanations.

Having the “real” questions gives students an accurate sense of the level of difficulty and what is actually expected of them on the day of the test. Finally, the book concludes with a helpful section at the end, the “Writer’s Handbook,” that explains basic English language principles.

Overall, this is a great choice for TOEFL preparation, although test-takers are well advised to supplement the guide with other study aids that contain additional model exams.

Barron’s TOEFL iBT with Audio CDs and CD-ROM

Barron’s new TOEFL iBT book is with good reason one of the most popular TOEFL test prep guides. The author, Pamela Sharpe, succeeds in writing a comprehensive yet clear and accessible guide that will help you familiarize yourself with the basics of the TOEFL test and its listening, speaking, reading, and writing sections. The book includes seven practice tests with detailed notes and explanations.

There is also a section that outlines the key academic skills necessary to ace the test, such as note taking and synthesizing. In addition, studying becomes more interesting and efficient with the accompanying audio CDs, a CD-ROM with the guides’s model tests and an additional practice test, and access to TOEFL video lessons. This is clearly one of the top TOEFL books – highly recommended!

Speaking and Writing Strategies for TOEFL iBT (Book & Audio CD)

This exciting book is very different from other study guides as it focuses on increasing your TOEFL score by targeting its speaking and writing sections. First, the main strategic approach it follows in doing so is “argument mapping.” This multi-faceted innovative technique helps to effectively develop and deliver written and spoken arguments by using, for example, deductive and inductive approaches or by developing a number of sophisticated writing strategies.

Second, the guide contains instructions on crafting high-scoring responses for the test’s various speaking and writing tasks, explores rhetorical skills and opinion development, and discusses how to limit errors and improve scores by revising your responses. In sum, this is a very clever, effective, and thought-provoking manual.

TOEFL iBT High Score System

This book (subtitle: “Identify and Answer Every Question With A High Score!”) is based on easy to follow instructions on how to approach the questions on the TOEFL. For the essay section, for instance, the author introduces readers to the best ways of drafting an introduction and discusses the ideal ways to effectively support your opinion. For the speaking section, the book reduces the stress-level for this dreaded portion of the test by providing a general strategy on how to structure your answers. Finally, the guide uses an explanation of how the TOEFL is scored to explain how the various questions should be analyzed and answered. This is one of the best TOEFL study guides if you are looking for an in-depth strategic approach. However, it should be supplemented with one or more prep books that contain more exercises.

Practice Exercises for the TOEFL with Audio CDs

Practice, practice, practice – this is what this Barron’s TOEFL book stands for. Designed for the most thorough of students, this guide and its set of audio CDs – which can also be bought separately – offers over 1,000 realistic practice exercises and explanations for listening, speaking, structure, reading, and writing. This test study guide is suitable for both the paper-based and the internet-based versions of the TOEFL. Accordingly, there is one TOEFL PBT practice test and one TOEFL iBT practice test included, both of which contain answers evaluations and can be scored. Because of the amount of questions and answers, this is a good tool to supplement and boost your studies.

Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL (Book, CD-ROM, Audio)

Cambridge University Press is among the publishers with a TOEFL book/CD-ROM/audio bundle on the market. This package offers a large variety of skill-building exercises and progress checks designed to help improve grammar, vocabulary, pronunciation, and test study skills, although some of these could be somewhat more targeted towards the actual questions encountered on the TOEFL. Nevertheless, since mastering the TOEFL above all else requires a lot practice, this guide is notable for its extensive audio tracks with conversations and lectures. Moreover, this is one of the best TOEFL books when it comes to model exams, of which there are seven: four in hardcopy and an additional three on the CD-ROM, which do a good job simulating the actual test and its look and feel. This is an excellent book for those looking for lots of practice and an overall level of difficulty of intermediate to high, which should be suitable for many readers.

Kaplan TOEFL iBT with CD-ROM

TOEFL iBT with CD-ROM by Kaplan (they also offer TOEFL test prep courses)  is a well-rounded test preparation guide. It contains language and grammar exercises and explanations, instructions on test-taking strategies, and study tips. One of the most appealing parts of this book is its outline of the various types of questions that test-takers may encounter in each portion of the exam. For example, the book breaks down the Reading section into various questions types, such as not/except questions, vocabulary questions, drag-n-drop summary questions, etc. These question analyses are then followed by specific strategies to improve your score for each TOEFL section. There is also plenty of practice material. The hardcopy book contains hundreds of questions while the accompanying CD-ROM features four full-length model tests that simulate the actual TOEFL iBT interface. The CD-ROM includes audio tracks to simulate the test’s listening section. Overall, this book is one of the most complete TOEFL books available and, therefore, easily makes it onto our list of the 10 top TOEFL books.

Cracking the TOEFL iBT with CD-ROM, 2014 Edition

This TOEFL book by the Princeton Review is designed to help you “crack” the test. To that end, it features in-depth grammar reviews, practice drills with answers and explanations, and – in keeping with its title – emphasizes strategic advice on mastering the test and its different sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing). The book does not waste any time with lengthy introductions. Instead, it focuses on easy to apply techniques that make the questions and tasks manageable and promise to translate into high test scores. In particular, unlike some of the older guides, this book includes instructions on the Reading section as recently revised by ETS. Moreover, in order to give test-takers a more accurate sense of what to expect when taking the exam, Cracking the TOEFL iBT comes with a simulated TOEFL iBT test and audio exercises on an accompanying CD-ROM. In sum, although the material could be more challenging and further practice exams would be helpful, this is a very solid tool.

400 Must-Have Words for the TOEFL

While this 2005 McGraw Hill’s book is older and less “sophisticated” than others on this list, it remains one of the best TOEFL books for intermediate-level students looking to build up their vocabulary. Although not a substitute for a full-fledged TOEFL test manual, working with this handy guide will help you familiarize yourself with 400 target words that are particularly common on the TOEFL exam. The words are organized into eight categories (Nature, Science, Mind and Body, etc.) and various subcategories, which facilitates the learning of new terms and expressions. Each subcategory is organized as its own lesson. Lessons start off with 10 target words, followed by definitions, samples, and TOEFL prep exercises that require readers to correctly apply these target words. Simple, yet effective!

Essential Words for the TOEFL

This well-organized Barron’s book is another study aid meant to supplement traditional TOEFL books. As such, it contains a list of roughly 500 essential words with definitions for taking the TOEFL. It also provides an overview of the TOEFL’s most important features, offers tips on how to expand one’s vocabulary, and gives instructions on how to use dictionaries, thesauruses, and flash cards. In addition, there are practice tests that give readers a chance to apply their new knowledge and evaluate themselves.  

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