toefl ibt

You’ve finished your TOEFL iBT Preparation course, taken practice exams, and registered for the test—you are ready for TOEFL! Or are you?

Apart from studying, there are many things you must do to prepare for TOEFL. Many students are unaware of the test requirements and the procedures on test day. Follow our guidelines and you will be mentally, physically, and logistically ready for your TOEFL exam.

The day before: How to prepare for the TOEFL iBT

We do not recommend studying the day before the test. (This is called “cramming”, and it never works.) Tell yourself that you did everything you could to prepare for the exam and focus on keeping yourself calm and your mind sharp for the next day.


If you must study on the day before the test, we recommend using a “cheat sheet” that you have made, which includes a list of useful terms, words, phrases, or tenses that you always have problems remembering. Use this cheat sheet if you feel that you must study, but avoid opening a textbook and confusing yourself.

Here are a few additional tips for the day before TOEFL

• Don’t drink coffee or any other types of caffeine after 12 p.m.
• For a little extra practice speaking English, try meeting an English-speaking friend for lunch or early dinner. The more you can keep your mind in “English mode,” the better!
• Make your home a relaxing place. Take a shower or a long bath to relax yourself. Light candles if this helps calm your mind. Watch a movie (in English, of course) or listen to music. Make sure you have plenty of distractions so that you’re not thinking about the test.
• Prepare your test-day breakfast the night before. Put out your bowl and utensils, set out your coffee cup and sugar, etc.

TOEFL: What to bring on test day

On the night before the test, set aside all of your test documentation so that they are ready for you in the morning, these include:

• A printed copy of your registration confirmation number (given to you when you register)
• Two forms of photo identification

o Must be original identification; no copies allowed
o Must not be expired
o Must include the name that matches the registration name
o Must include a signature

If you are taking the test in the United States, and  you are not a U.S. citizen, then your passport must be used as one of the two forms of photo identification. The second form of identification can be a U.S. driver’s license, state ID, national ID, school ID, or military ID.

TOEFL test day tips


Eat a balanced breakfast and drink plenty of water.

Dress comfortably. Remember that the room will probably be air conditioned or heated, so keep this in mind when choosing your outfit.

Don’t bring anything valuable. When packing for the test, remember that you cannot bring anything with you into the testing room except for no. 2 pencils. Even paper is not allowed in the exam. Neither are books, calculators, car keys, cell phones, food, or drinks. Everything you bring with you must be left in a separate room. It’s best to leave your cell phone at home, which means that you must know the route to your testing site very well.

Relax a little. Give yourself time in the morning. A few minutes of relaxation before your big test will help calm your mind and prepare you for the exam.

Keep your mind in “English mode.” Have some of your favorite English songs ready to listen to and play them while you are getting ready in the morning. If you can, schedule an early coffee date with a friend, or strike up a conversation with someone on the subway during your trip. Speaking and thinking in English before the test is a great warm-up.

Arrive at least 30 minutes early (and with your prepared documents), drink some water and go to the bathroom. There is a 10-minute break after the first two test sections are completed.

Try breathing exercises before the exam. This will help calm and relax you and then try a power pose! Place your arms over your head in the “victory” pose that people do when they win a race. Body language is everything! Do this before your test and “trick” your mind into being ready for whatever the exam throws your way. You can continue to practicing your breathing exercises during the exam, but it’s probably best not to try the power pose again until after you walk out the door.


What not to do when taking the test

Don’t talk to other students or make a scene. If you do, you risk being kicked out of the exam. If someone asks you a question, raise your hand and signal the examiner. Direct the examiner to the student who has an issue. Also, if another student is disturbing you, raise your hand and notify the examiner.

Don’t leave the room without permission. If you must use the restroom, you have to ask an examiner for permission to leave. You cannot use your phone during this break. Don’t forget that you’re losing testing time, and if you take too long, you risk having your exam terminated without refund.

Don’t take your testing materials home. No testing materials are allowed outside of the classroom. Return everything that you were given from the examiner before you leave.

Test Day Triumph

Following these tips can help you stay mentally calm and focused, but there is more to test day than walking in confidant.

Scoring well on the TOEFL iBT also takes a combination of preparation and perseverance. While NYEA can’t help with the latter of these two, we do have all the resources and support you need when preparing for the exam. You can learn more about our TOEFL iBT prep course here.

The best of luck to you on test day!