Today we’re going to provide you with a short review of three free iTunes apps aimed at helping students prepare for the TOEFL IBT. There are many more apps available that vary in cost, so we recommend that you browse through them all to find the ones that you like best. Here are three simple apps that have different functions.
1. ‘Prepare for Toefl’ by XuVi
This app aims to help you improve your vocabulary in the main subject areas of the Toefl test. The test itself contains academic questions on a variety of subjects, from biology to sociology. However, it’s important to remember that you don’t actually need to know about these subjects; you need to be able to respond to the questions in English. All the academic information you need is provided in the reading or listening excerpts. Often you will be asked to compare or contrast, to make inferences, or to give opinions.
Back to the app! The app contains the most commonly-used words used in the Toefl test in each of the subject matters. Each word is explained clearly. The app also has a play mode, so you can listen to the words rather than read them. If you have read other articles on our blog you may know we value this! Lastly, the app contains tests in various modes and at various levels, so you can test yourself in different ways. We think this app is great for preparing you for some of the words you may encounter in the test.
The only downside we can see so far is that it is made specifically for Vietnamese and Korean users – the words are translated into both languages. We don’t see this as being too much of a problem, though.
2. ‘TOEFL Timer’ by Adiante Ventures
This is a very simple app that times you as you test yourself in the different sections of the Toefl IBT. The timing is one of the most difficult aspects for students preparing for the Toefl, but it’s critical to practice answering questions with the correct time limit. This is especially true for some of the speaking questions, where you have 15 seconds to prepare, and 45 minutes to speak. In Toefl preparation classes I have taught, my students would get so frustrated with the timing. They would spend too long explaining one point, then not have any time left to add anything else! It’s essential to get used to the timing. We think that, for preparing for the Toefl IBT on your own, this app is simple but great, and is so useful.
This app is technically not for the Toefl IBT, but it came up in our search. It’s basically an irregular verb dictionary, with some ‘songs’. It claims to contain over 489 different verbs, along with rarely used and antiquated ones. It shows the different forms of the verbs. Unfortunately, we don’t really see the point of this app. Grammar is not the focus of the Toefl IBT. Don’t get us wrong – grammar is important – but the main focus is on your ability to answer questions fluidly, demonstrating the your understanding of the questions, and the structure of your answers. Even for the IELTS or TOEIC we fail to see it’s usefulness. If you are planning on taking one of these tests, you should be confident with your verbs by then.