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English proficiency, or your ability to speak or perform in English, is often measured subjectively—that is, until you apply to a U.S. university. When pursuing a college degree, your English proficiency is usually measured by one of two tests: the IELTS and the TOEFL. Although these tests aim to accomplish the same thing, they do have their differences, as highlighted in this U.S. News article.

But how do you study for these tests? How can you set yourself up for success? We at U.S. News Global Education have compiled a list of trustworthy resources that are designed to help you improve your score, whether you are taking the IETLS or the TOEFL. The following resources are listed in no particular order; they are all excellent assets for improving your test scores.

Free TOEFL Resources:

1. ETS

ETS, the makers of the TOEFL, include a free resource that includes questions used in previous tests. This allows you to become familiar with the content and formatting of the actual test. ETS also offers a comprehensive free mobile application that includes in-app purchases for even more study practice. You can find the link to that app here!

2. Magoosh

Magoosh is a well-known and trustworthy resource when it comes to familiarizing yourself with the formatting of the TOEFL. Magoosh offers a set of free test prep questions, which can be found here. It also has a paid offering to brush up on specific topics such as test prep, study plans and video explanations.

3. Testden

Another free resource is Testden, a company that has been helping tens of thousands of students achieve their language learning goals since 1997. Tesden offers a 30-minute practice test that poses reading, listening, speaking and writing questions. You can access that practice test here.

Paid TOEFL Resources:

1. Kaplan Test Prep

Kaplan Test Prep is one of the most renowned programs available. Kaplan offers a couple of paid options at different price points. A good place to start is “The Self-Paced Course for the TOEFL iBT,” which Kaplan offers at a special introductory price of $349.00. This course is designed for students with busy schedules who need flexibility when it comes to studying. To learn more about this course, check out the Kaptest page. Additionally, Kaplan offers an in-person TOEFL Prep with groups of eight or more students. These classes cost $1,299.00, and you can learn more by filling out the form on the Kaptest page.

2. PrepScholar TOEFL

PrepScholar TOEFL offers a comprehensive guide to assist students in understanding, studying for, and acing the TOEFL test. PrepScholar TOEFL is so sure about its method that it guarantees students will improve their scores by 15 points, or the process is free. While PrepScholar TOEFL has a premium option, the true value comes with its “Best-Selling” and “Lifetime” options for $597.00 and $800.00 respectively. The difference between these two packages is that “Best-Selling” allows for one year of access versus the “Lifetime” option that offers unlimited usage.

3. TPO TOEFL Tests

TOEFL Practice Online, or TPO tests, are the official, full-length TOEFL practice tests. Each TPO is a real test that ETS has used previously. This makes TPO tests one of the most dependable TOEFL practice items. It is worth noting that upon purchase, students have 18 months to take their tests. Once a test is completed, students only have 30 days to review their results. Most important, students can take TOEFL TPO tests only once. Each test represents a different volume or expired exam. They cost $49.95 each and can be purchased here.

Free IELTS Resources:

1. IELTS Buddy

When it comes to free online IELTS resources, there aren’t many sites that provide as much assistance as IELTS Buddy. The site breaks down all of the test’s modules one by one so you can better understand the format and flow. Additionally, IELTS Buddy provides lessons and tips, practice tests, model essays and graphs.


Are you a visual learner? If so, engVid is the free resource for you! While this is not an IELTS-specific site, it contains hundreds of excellent videos that touch on all topics from grammar to vocabulary to idioms. In addition, if you’re working on your pronunciation, these videos can be a huge asset. There are 11 engVid teachers who each specialize in English proficiency learning. This allows you to follow along with the teacher who resonates with you.

3. IELTS Liz

Elizabeth Ferguson (or Liz) is an all-star teacher with 17 years’ experience, including the last decade focusing exclusively on IELTS. Liz includes a wealth of information on her website and YouTube channel. Her website covers everything from writing, to speaking, to vocabulary, for a wide range of skillsets. Make sure to check out her fantastic free resources!

Paid IELTS Resources:

1. iPass IELTS

If you’re looking for a customized approach to IELTS learning, with multiple available price points, iPass IELTS is the site for you. The site offers 20 packages ranging from IETLS test preparation to professional English courses. Courses range from roughly $37.00, which buys you 20 video lessons and language worksheets, to $150.00 for 1-2-1 coaching, speaking and writing. This also includes five Skype interviews and six iPass writing assignments.

2. The IELTS Teacher

When it comes to helping you master your writing, nobody does it as well as the IELTS Teacher team. Launched by Matt Rainsbury in 2013, the IELTS Teacher leverages technology to provide an interactive learning experience. The IELTS Teacher connects with students over Skype and works one-on-one to maximize results. With incredibly competitive pricing, lessons start as low as $27.00. The site even allows you to engage in a free 20-minute demonstration, so you can see how everything works before you commit.

3. IELTS Online

Since 2005, IELTS Online has been a leading resource for IELTS preparation. The product, designed by Macquarie University in Australia, offers three course packages for prospective test takers. The first product, IELTS Express, costs $38.00 and is intended for fast preparation to get you exam-ready. The next step up, IELTS Master, costs $76.00 and is built for a more comprehensive preparation. Last but not least, the IELTS Master Plus package incorporates personal instruction from qualified English language tutors. This final package costs roughly $230.00.

Completing either the TOEFL or IELTS exam is a great achievement, and you should feel proud regardless of the score you receive. Most important, you can retake either test as many times as you like.

These are some of U.S. News Global Education’s favorite resources.

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Students who want learn more can contact Brianna Alonso at