Are you looking for a great TOEFL book?
I hope so! A nice book can be your best friend when you are studying for the TOEFL.
There are a few good reasons why you should add books to your TOEFL preparation, even if you are already taking a TOEFL course or making your own practice tests.
Books are versatile study tools that can assist you with all aspects of test prep, not just grammar and vocabulary.
TOEFL is such a well-known test that there are countless (many) great books written on everything related to it, from speaking topics to note-taking strategies.
Books complement any study strategy you may consider using. You may take a TOEFL course, hire a tutor or study by yourself… but in every case, you will most definitely need a TOEFL textbook and several other books to help you.
There are plenty of books written about TOEFL in languages other than English. You can probably find a textbook written with some explanations in your native language! This is invaluable for students with an intermediate level of English or lower. What is more, a lot of books may be available entirely in your native language and sold in your local bookstores.
Here are just some examples of topics TOEFL books may cover:
- Test structure and format
- Assessment of language skills
- Targeted exercises and topics to improve grammar, writing and reading skills
So, what kind of TOEFL book should you go look for?
Top 18 Books to Get You Ready for the TOEFL Preparation 2018
These textbooks cover all aspects of the test and prepare you for all of its sections. This kind of TOEFL textbook works great as a general study guide. No matter which other books you use, you should definitely pick one of these and rely on it for your overall test preparation.
This is the official textbook released by the organization that administers the test. It gets republished fairly regularly and contains the most up-to-date information on the TOEFL and its requirements. This is the safest bet when you want to have the most relevant and useful information.
There are three good things about the Official Gide:
1. It has the most truthful description of what you see on the TOEFL iBT
2. The practice sets at the ends of the chapters
3. The three practice tests on CD (and in the back of the book)
But none of it is perfect, oddly. The description of the test comes with almost no strategy or advice. For example, there is nothing about skipping a text in the reading section or looking at the first question before you start reading. Also, there aren’t very many practice sets for some question types, such as speaking. And one of the practice tests in the back is old and imperfect, from just after ETS had started making iBT, before they made small adjustments to the format. Even the CD is imperfect—the software is not exactly the same as software you’ll use on test day, although it is similar.
But there is still no better way to get realistic practice tests for a low price, and especially to get them on the computer, like a real TOEFL iBT.
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.
This book is updated every year. It is a comprehensive resource for TOEFL preparation that has good listening and speaking exercises and sound advice on test-taking strategies. If CDs are not your preference anymore, the book also gives you access to MP3 file downloads and online exercises.
The major advantage of this well-written, academic resource by Kaplan are the practice tests. Every textbook provides test examples and mini-tests, but this particular TOEFL book includes the biggest number of practice tests available. Along with the standard CD/MP3 resources, you also get instructional videos!
Specialized TOEFL Books
Each of these books focuses on one specific element of the TOEFL and your preparation for test day. For example, some of them focus on one individual test section—either Reading, Writing (Independent and Integrated), Listening or Speaking. They may also assist with other isolated aspects related to TOEFL contents. If you feel like you need to focus on, for example, reading or writing, look into getting some of the specialized TOEFL guides.
This book will allow you to test your heart out once you have had enough studying! It is best reserved for weekly and monthly progress evaluations, but this book should nonetheless be listed close to the top of our recommendations, as it provides five more authentic tests in addition to three you get in the official ETS textbook.
This book also contains five latest TOEFL practice tests that ETS administered. Like the Volume 1 of the iBT Tests, this book also comes with an interactive CD-ROM which is similar to the real test.
Each of these books contains five complete past TOEFL exams. The TOEFL iBT books are the best to use for practice TOEFLs because they are written by the same people who make the TOEFL and the practice tests included are all retired real TOEFL exams. Like the Official Guide to the TOEFL Test, this means that you can be sure that the practice tests will be very similar in format, style, and content to the actual TOEFL which some unofficial practice tests don’t always succeed in.
Each TOEFL iBT book includes a DVD-ROM so you can take the practice tests either on paper or on the computer. This means you can take practice tests in the same format you’ll take the real TOEFL in. In addition to high-quality practice tests, these TOEFL preparation books also include in-depth answer explanations so you can understand why a particular answer is correct.
Once you know what to expect from the TOEFL, you need to practice, practice and practice more. This exercise book has over 1,000 different exercises for all test sections, including sample essays and speaking task answers. There is also a full practice test, in case you do not have enough of these already!
Practice, practice, practice – this is what this Barron’s TOEFL book stands for.
Designed for the most thorough of students, this guide and its new MP3 CD-ROM offer together over 1,000 realistic practice exercises and explanations for listening, speaking, structure, reading, and writing. It is suitable for preparation for both the TOEFL iBT and TOEFL ITP(Institutional TOEFL Program).
This test study guide includes one TOEFL iBT practice test and one ITP practice test. Both contain answer evaluations and can be scored. As an added bonus, Barron’s equipped this 2015 edition of the book with a new chapter that offers an overview of the most used TOEFL vocabulary words as well as new skill-building practice patterns.
Mainly because of the amount of questions and answers, this is a good tool to supplement and boost your studies.
- “Excellent book , very well organized and explained. I would suggest it to all who are looking for a good general review for TOEFL.”
- “As an English teacher for foreign language students I truly recommend this material.
A comparison between what it offers versus the investment required will clearly show how significative it is for non native speakers.
The division among the abilities (Listening, Reading and Grammar use) is well balanced and well driven to TOEFL Test.
If you are studying for TOEFL or any other similar test, believe me it will be of great help.”
- “Took the test once and wanted to retake it. Wanted a book to give me sample questions to refresh what type of questions I see on the test. After using this book for two weeks, listening section score went up 10 points. Speaking section went up 6 points.This book comes with answers to all multiple choice questions and explanations for all answers. The answer key and CDs were all very easy to use.”
This book targets the very necessary vocabulary skills every TOEFL taker should have. The book focuses on approximately 500 essential words that will help you do well on the test. Because vocabulary building is a highly personal subject—no two students are alike in what they know and what they do not know, everyone knows a different set of vocabulary—this guide is best used as a complementary vocabulary resource rather than a primary one.
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.
240 Writing Topics is an very thorough book. It outlines and breaks apart the different components of the essay and then teaches you how to write them using a variety of common topics. This book shows you again and again how to structure and phrase your argument to support your thesis.
-120 Writing Topics
-120 Model Essays
-120 Essay Outlines
-1200 Model Sentences
-High School Students
-Test Prep Students
I would recommend this a s practice book for ESL students studying for any type of competency exam. It’s a complete education on how to correctly write an essay.
These two books share the same contents, so buy one or the other to practice your speaking and writing skills. You do not need both together, you just need to choose based one your needs. Do you need to practice writing more? Do you need to practice speaking more?
Studying by yourself for both of these TOEFL sections is challenging without a doubt, but each book can be a great assistant! Each provides over a hundred topics that you can write on and speak about out loud. All of the topics have been taken from retired TOEFL tests. The book also contains model essays, good essay outlines and a lot of examples of elegant, grammatically correct sentences. These will help improve your oral and written skills alike.
-120 Sample Answers
-480 Useful Expressions
-480 Grammar Questions
-High School Students
-Test Prep Students
True, there is no separate grammar section on TOEFL. However, grammar is essential for getting high scores on Writing and Speaking sections. You can never practice too much grammar.
Check Your English Vocabulary for TOEFL by Rawdon Wyatt provides a resource for students studying towards the TOEFL® (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam, which is a requirement for entry for non-native speakers of English at over 6,000 universities in 100 countries worldwide.
This workbook provides a resource for students studying towards the TOEFL® (Test of English as a Foreign Language) exam, which is a requirement for entry for non-native speakers of English at over 8,000 universities in 130 countries worldwide.
Fully updated for this fourth edition, it includes a range of fun activities to help students build and improve their English vocabulary at TOEFL® level, and is suitable for both self-study and classroom use.
This is one of the most popular guides to English grammar, now in its 11th edition, and it is easy to see why everyone likes to use it. It is well-written, accessible and very concise. The grammar rules are all very clearly explained without getting too complicated. Apart from all the grammar rules that are discussed and explained, it also offers lots of examples, worksheets and tests.
Cambridge University Press is the leading publisher on TOEFL preparation books. This book is the best preparation book on the market (Barron’s close second) because it thoroughly reviews all four sections. It contains many practice skills found in Barron’s and even more.
This book is especially excellent for students who struggle in the writing section. It covers the not only the basics such as developing full paragraph essay and recognizing the main points but also the specifics such as including the specific examples from the text.
There are seven online tests included in this book. The practice tests are the most accurate representation of the test format, not the difficulty of the test. In listening sections, other programs start the clock whenever you start to listen, but on the actual test and in Cambridge, the clock starts running when you started to answer the questions. The Cambridge online tests are the most accurate representation of the test format of the TOEFL and also give your score after each practice tests.
Although the test format itself is the most accurate, the test difficulty and the practice materials are harder than the actual test just like Barron’s. So, don’t be harsh on yourself whenever you have scored lower than your average score.
The detrimental flaw of this book is the high cost. There are two versions of this book: book without audio CDs and book with audio CDs. The book without audio CDs costs around 50 dollars, and the book with CDs costs around 80 dollars. Without the audio CDs, you won’t be able to use half of the skill-building exercises, so the audio CDs are essential to buy. Compared to the cost of Barron’s book which comes with audio CDs, it is extremely expensive.
This book is for students who are aiming to receive 100+ on your TOEFL. If you are not aiming for above 100, then don’t waste money buying this expensive book. Also, if you don’t want to spend much money on practice books, the Barron’s book is an excellent substitute of this book for students who are aiming above 100. However, if you do have the money and willing to spend it, this book is an excellent choice.
When you need just a little bit of extra help with your English language studies, it is a good idea to look for resources targeted specifically at non-native English speakers. The book takes into account the most common difficulties ESL learners encounter with English grammar, using examples and accessible language to explain concepts clearly.
While dictionaries are not textbooks, they are useful book for anyone who wants to take the TOEFL! Dictionaries are inevitably found on the desk of every English language student. And for a good reason!
You cannot study a language successfully without having a good dictionary on hand. A dictionary that translates English words into your native language can be helpful when you are really confused about an English word’s meaning. However, when studying for the TOEFL you will also want to have an English-to-English dictionary, so that you can read descriptions of English words in English. This will teach you even more vocabulary and let you practice your reading comprehension. So, you will need a dictionary that is made for English speakers.
Another useful tool is a thesaurus. A thesaurus is like a dictionary, but instead it will give you lists of synonyms—different words that all mean the same thing. So, if you look up the word “happy,” you will see “glad,” “jolly,” “gleeful,” “jubilant” and more words that also mean “happy.”
A thesaurus is your best choice of book for improving your vocabulary and making sure that you do not repeat the same basic vocabulary words over and over again while speaking and writing. It is also great for practicing reading comprehension while learning new words. You can look up an unknown word and try to understand its meaning based on its synonyms.
The most authoritative and, indeed, the most well-known and therefore most easily-located dictionaries worldwide, are published by Oxford University Press. You may choose to own a different one, but any Oxford dictionary is well worth the investment due to its rigorous editing process and regularly released new editions.
- The 150-page strategy guide is very comprehensive.
- It contains many practice materials to solidify your test-taking skills.
- The audio CDs contains every recording for listening practice questions.
- The CD-ROM contains eight practice tests which simulates the actual test taking conditions.
- At the back of the book, there are comprehensive explanations for each question on the model tests. This 150-page explanation is very detailed, and you will recognize your weaknesses and strengthen them by using this book.
- The cost of this book is inexpensive compared to other TOEFL preparation books.
Barron’s book is one of the best TOEFL books for test preparation. To help you to determine if Barron’s book is right for you, I will breakdown each section of this book.
This book begins with frequently asked questions about the test, general test-taking tips and advice, how to use this book, and study habits to prepare for TOEFL. These are very informative for new test takers to know what to expect on the test day which will make them confident on the actual test.
B. Detailed breakdown of each section and specific strategies for each section
This book does a wonderful job of listing every possible type of questions in each section and checklists that you should follow for each type of questions. For example, the reading section has fourteen possible types of questions such as interference, classification, and insert; the listening section has ten possible types of questions such as purpose, main idea, and connection; the speaking section has six different types of questions such as experiences, preferences, and examples; the writing section has two different types of questions which are synthesis of opposing ideas in integrated essay question and opinion in independent essay.
Not only does the book list every single possible types of questions that could appear on the test, the book gives specific detailed checklists for each possible type of questions. For example, there are about twelve items on checklists for each types of questions. Also, the book lists the point value and the frequency that a certain type of question appears on the TOEFL test.
After the strategy guide, the book enforces those strategies and checklist through many practice problems. The detailed explanation at the back is really helpful because you will know which types of questions are your weaknesses and focus on those weaknesses to strengthen them.
C. Academic Section
After the Barron’s book has gone over specific strategies for specific sections, it has a section called Academic skills that apply to all four sections.
Campus vocabulary is a list of approximately 200 academic vocabulary that are frequently used in TOEFL. It includes the word’s definitions, example sentences, and the grammatical use in the sentence. There is also an interactive program which includes all the campus vocabulary in this book. If you are interested in this free program, visit this site.
The Barron’s book has excellent guides about taking notes and exercises to practice this skill. These excellent strategies teach students to properly take notes such as dividing the paper into columns, separating content into major and minor points, noticing key words and phrases, and using abbreviations and symbols for faster note-taking. Also, the comprehensive lists of keywords, key phrases, abbreviations, and symbols are very helpful.
Paraphrasing is rewriting the idea into your own words. This skill is important in all four sections because those sections contain questions about paraphrasing. Skills such as substituting synonyms, using different grammatical structures, and using key phrases help you to improve your paraphrasing skills greatly. After the guide, it has many practice questions to reinforce this skill.
Summarizing is using your own words to shorten an idea into few words. Summarizing is like paraphrasing but using fewer words than paraphrasing. Barron’s book teaches many summarizing skills such as condensing the ideas, combining sentences using clauses of addition, result, contrast, and reversal, and identifying the main points. After the guide, it contains questions to strengthen your skills.
Synthesizing is combining two ideas into one which is important for integrated speaking and writing tasks. This book gives useful advice on synthesizing such as recognizing key words and phrases that denote relationships and step-by-step guide on reading and writing synthesis tasks.
D. 8 TOEFL Practice Tests
Barron’s book contains 7 practice tests and 1 extra test on the CD-ROM which is a total of 8 practice tests. The CD-ROM simulates the all 8 practice tests accurately like the actual tests. Also, in the back, there are two audio CDs for skill-building exercises for each sections.
The test questions in the Barron’s book does not accurately reflect the difficulty of the real TOEFL test. Barron’s questions are little harder than the real TOEFL test which could be beneficial because the actual test will seem easier than the questions in Barron’s. So, do not be discouraged if you miss more questions than you normally would. For books that contain questions with same difficulty as the actual tests, keep on reading!
One aspect that I absolutely adore in the Barron’s Test is the detailed answer explanations of every question in every practice test. The explanation section itself is over 150 pages long! This section contains very detailed explanation of the reason behind each answer. For example, it will state that a certain answer is right because of this specific phrase. Also, it contains sample answers and checklists for every speaking and writing section so you can check your answer. The detailed explanation will help students to recognize their weakness and to strengthen their weakness through constant practice.
The Barron’s book is extremely helpful because of the thorough strategy guides for each section and the detailed explanation on the back. Although Barron’s book has its flaw of not reflecting the actual difficulty of the test, you will be much more prepared for the actual tests.
Barron’s book should be your first-choice strategy guide because of its thoroughness and its low cost. This book costs around 25 dollars on Amazon which is very cheap compared to other strategy books on the market.
For a student who is studying for over a month and needs some more substantial practice, the Complete Guide is the fastest way to get more high-quality practice material and good skill-building material. It’s not cheap, and it can be a little hard to find, but this book has almost everything a good self-study book should have: loads of material, easy-to-read explanations of strategy, step-by-step training exercises, and audio included (online, for free.) The biggest problem is that there are no answers in the book—you have to buy a separate answer book for that.
This book is really an amazing tool for you to encounter detailed questions in the listening section. The practice tests require you to listening carefully and pay attention to detail. There are many questions related to the order of facts given in the lecture or true/false questions. Hardly could people choose the right answer without grasping the whole passages. This kind of question is the most difficult one in listening, so people who have mastered other types should work on this book to complete all of the skills.
This classic McGraw Hill’s study guide still 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.
In its current updated 2013 edition, 400 Must-Have Words for the TOEFL even comes with an app featuring flashcard-style vocabulary quizzes.
Simple, yet effective!
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.
Delta’s Key to the TOEFL iBT is a complete test preparation course. It represents an excellent, feature-packed resource for anybody looking to boost their TOEFL score.
The guide is organized in thirty-five learning units that cover the TOEFL’s Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing sections. Each unit begins with an exercise to focus the reader’s attention, followed by introductory explanations, strategic advice for each section, and thirty-four timed quizzes. The quizzes in particular give the guide a playful and fun component and make studying for the test less stressful.
Another helpful feature is the book’s sample study outline with suggested topics and quizzes or tests that should be covered each week. Students can elect to use this outline to structure 15 weeks worth of TOEFL test preparation. The book is also accompanied by a CD with nine hours of MP3 tracks that can be played on iPods and similar devices. The CD contains the audio portion for all exercise, tests, and quizzes that are part of this guide.
Overall, an excellent choice and good alternative to TOEFL books by the major publishers such as Barron’s or Kaplan.
“Strengths: The biggest strength of this book is the amount of practice. The book contains numerous practice exercises for each and every type of question. This puts it heads and shoulders above other books in that regard. If you have a weakness for listening inference questions, this is really the only book where you can flip the appropriate section and isolate that question type. There are dozens of exercises for each and every type of question. In addition to the individual question types, there are practices that combine two or three question types, as well as all question types, plus four full practice tests. It gets a big A+ for the sheer number of practice questions. Another strength of the book is that the information about question types and answer formats is, for the most part, quite accurate. It may be strange, but this is not necessarily the case for some of the other major TOEFL prep books. If you follow the instructions and examples in this book, you’ll fare pretty well for the real test. Finally, this book has a detailed answer key that provides pretty good explanations of why a given answer is correct. In this regard, a book really can’t compare to a teacher or tutor, but the Delta book does a good job.”
Some say that once you understand humor, you have mastered the language. It is up to you to decide whether that is the case or not! A lot of jokes from this book, while being funny, will also help you improve your understanding of American English idioms and puns. Have fun with it!
There are thousands of books on TOEFL and hundreds of thousands of books for ESL students. How can you choose the best one for you?
By simply deciding exactly what you need. What are your weaknesses? What do you need to learn more about? What are the hardest parts of the TOEFL practice exams for you?
One of the easiest ways to get more knowledgeable about a particular aspect of the English language is to find a book about it. A specialized textbook may help you address the weak spots of your English, while also preparing you for the test.
Books cost relatively little and nowadays they are easily accessible online. They can be an attractive option if you want to study by yourself or do not have the means to take a whole course.
You are sure to find a useful one for your TOEFL journey—just start with the books recommended above!