In the video Marina Mogilko, who scored 117 out of 120 in the TOEFL exam, reveals the methods she used in her preparation for the test, focusing on the Speaking and Writing sections.

Here are some of her tips:


  • Create and memorise templates for every single question. In the TOEFL exam, chances are high that you’ll have to talk about topics that are alien to you. This is the reason why speaking correct English may not be enough to help you achieve a high score in the test. The templates will help you a great deal because the questions follow the same pattern in every test.
  • Write down the templates on a piece of paper and review them just before the exam.
  • If you are unable to draw from your own experience to answer a question, talk about a friend’s experience or just let your imagination work.
  • You don't have to stick to the truth. It’s better to say something than nothing.
  • Use introductory expressions such as “In my own opinion…” or bridge words such as “first” and “second” when you list reasons.
  • Practise as much as you can with topics you are unfamiliar with.

Check out: How TOEFL Tests Your Speaking Skills


  • For the first essay, where you have to write responses based on reading and listening tasks, you can use the following pattern: “The article claims that… However, the speaker rejects the statement by providing data…”
  • Make sure you exceed the required word count.
  • Each paragraph should contain an argument.
  • Each paragraph should be relatively similar in terms of length.
  • Use simple words. Play it safe. Don’t resort to expressions or words you are not quite sure how to use.
  • Don’t use colloquialisms.
  • Don’t use contractions. Write out “have not” instead of “haven’t”.

The tutor uses a lot of examples, making this lesson highly useful for prospective test-takers. Enjoy the video and feel free to share your experience or ask questions in the comments box below.

Check out: How to Study Grammar for the TOEFL. (Video)