Beat the Test.

Book Recommendations

I am often asked for book recommendations. Here are some of the books I use most regularly:

#1. ETS’ Official Guide to the New TOEFL iBT


Short and sweet and full of great tips. Many other TOEFL books have out-of-date material that will just confuse you. It’s because they were published before the information about the iBT came out — many companies just wanted to be the first to release their books. But you can be sure this one has only the most recent info — it’s made by the same company that makes the real TOEFL test.  373 pages.

#2. The Complete Guide to the TOEFL Test – Bruce Rogers

This is a newer book that has up-to-date info on all sections. Which makes it a rare find. Full of general skill building activities in addition to complete TOEFL preparation. So it’s huge — 817 pages.

#3. Princeton Review’s Cracking the TOEFL


Another excellent TOEFL prep book, it very clearly explains each section and the hints on how to beat it. 575 pages.

#4. Delta’s Key to the Next Generation TOEFL Test


Another massive book with lots of guidance and practice.  Organized very well, but doesn’t explain some question types clearly. For example,  it doesn’t explain each of the 6 types of speaking questions. Still a decent book that I’d recommend. 698 pages.

#5. Barron’s TOEFL iBT

This book is severely lacking in explanations about each section, but it does give lots of practice — this book is packed with model tests. It’s an OK book if you’ve run out of practice tests and need a new supply. 807 pages.

#6. Kaplan’s TOEFL iBT

I don’t like using this book. It’s poorly organized, set around themes (history, education — why?) instead of around the four sections of the TOEFL. It gives limited explanations of question types, and no model tests. 477 pages.

Longman Preparation Course for the TOEFL Test
Longman Introductory Course for the TOEFL Test

They should burn these books. I’ve had to use them in certain classes, and they just end up making all the students angry as many questions are not ones you would find on the TOEFL. 624 and 523 pages, respectively.

링구아 TOEFL 185 


For my Korean students — this book offers well-written (through a bit short) essays on 185 different topics and translates them into Korean. Reading high-scoring examples is one of the best ways to practice for the writing section.

Oxford Dictionary of Collocations 

Has you teacher ever told you that you’ve chosen the wrong word, or that the two words you’ve used don’t go together? Chances are you’ve made a collocation error. Collocations are natural “word packages” that make up over 60% of English. Without them you have very little chance of a 5/5 essay. While this book doesn’t have any real practice, it’s a great practice and reference tool for when you’re writing and need to know which words go together perfectly.


Most of these books are available at your larger local bookstores. Here in Seoul, I’ve seen them at Kyobo and Bandi & Luni’s.

1 Comment »

  1. Thank You

    Comment by Alex — April 25, 2007 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

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