Which TOEFL Books are the Best? (2015 Edition)

This is another question that I’m often asked.  The “best” book depends on your individual circumstances and what you are looking for.  Here’s a few suggestions (updated August 6, 2016):

 The Best Textbooks for Most Students

1. The Official Guide to the TOEFL (4th Edition) is the best book for new students who need an overview of the test and some basic help. This guide is published by the people who create the TOEFL, and comes with three practice tests on CD. The tests are pretty good – the only better source of practice tests is in the Official Tests Collection (link below). Just note that the first integrated writing question (about altruism) is somewhat outdated.  There is nothing revolutionary in this book, but I do recommend it to students who are just beginning to study for the TOEFL. Many students find that this is the only book they need.  It also contains a somewhat useful grammar guide.  Amazon sells an electronic version of this guide.



nova2. Speaking and Writing Strategies for the TOEFL iBT is a great book that breaks down and simplifies the speaking and writing sections of the test.  Many students find these sections most difficult to study for. This short book details exactly what should go into a good essay and speaking answer without wasting too much space on unnecessary explanations and descriptions of the test. It assumes that you know about the test already and concentrates on giving you the strategies you will need to deliver solid answers.

The Best Textbooks for Advanced Students


1. Delta’s Key to the TOEFL iBT: Advanced Skill Practice (2011) is recommended for advanced students. This book contains page after page of practice exercises and study tips. Use this book to “fine tune” your skills, or if you need to focus on certain areas. It could help you squeeze a few more points out of your current ability level! The book also includes four practice tests, which are completed on paper (with the necessary audio provided via CD).

cracking2. Cracking the TOEFL iBT (2016) from Princeton Review is my secondary recommendation. It is perfect for students who are very confident about their overall English ability and want to focus on specific strategies and techniques for mastering the TOEFL. It contains one full-length practice test.  Don’t be dissuaded by the fact that there is just one practice test here, as the book also contains a great number of “drills” which are complete practice questions for each section.

The Best Textbooks for Practice Testsofficialtests

1. The Official TOEFL iBT Tests Collection (2012) is the best source of practice tests. This book contains five actual tests administered in the past by ETS.  Amazon sells it in a bundle with the Official Guide (above) which I highly recommend.  Note that a second volume of tests is now available.
 2. Barron’s Guide to the TOEFL is a very popular practice textbook.  It contains an incredible eight practice tests.  I recommend it, but I must point out that the integrated writing practice questions are not accurate.  Students should only use this collection to prepare for the reading, listening, speaking and independent writing sections of the test.

3. Students who are looking for graded speaking and writing practice should check out our TOEFL essay evaluation and grading service.  For a small fee, a native speaking TOEFL expert will evaluate your practice essays, correct your grammar mistakes line by line and estimate how your essay would score on test day.  Our service has been used by hundreds of students and it really works!

Best Textbooks for TOEFL Grammargrammarules

1. TOEFL Grammar Guide: 23 Grammar Rules You Must Know To Guarantee Your Success On The TOEFL Exam (2013) is a good, concise guide to the grammar skills you need to succeed on the TOEFL. This book just runs through various grammar rules, focusing on the ones that you are most likely to use on test day, while ignoring rules and tenses that you probably won’t use in your written and spoken answers. It’s very short and very cheap.

2. Ccollinsollins Vocabulary and Grammar for the TOEFL Test (2013) is a great new book that also focuses on the grammar skills that students will need on the TOEFL (and ignores rules that aren’t very helpful). It contains more practice exercises that the above pick.

Best Textbooks for TOEFL Vocabulary

1. 400 Must-Have Words for the TOEFL (2014) is a wonderful vocabulary textbook. It focuses on subject-specific words that will help students in the listening and reading sections of the test.

2. The Essential TOEFL Vocabulary flashcard kit by Princeton Review is a good way to start practicing vocabulary, though I suggest combining it with your own home-made vocabulary cards.

64 responses to “Which TOEFL Books are the Best? (2015 Edition)

  1. laura

    Which guide do you recommend? The Official Guide to the TOEFLor the Kaplan? I’ve only 6 weeks for preparinf the TOELF…

    Thank you!

    • TOEFL Tutor

      I recommend the Kaplan. The official guide is fine, but it is somewhat “basic” in its approach. If you want more detailed information, the Kaplan is a better bet. You can learn about the basic details of the test online.

  2. Imran

    Hi there,
    I need to excel TOEFL scores specially in speaking section. I am a bit senior age group with approx 10 years of field experience and so not a fresh graduate. I am opting for Masters. This would be first time to appear in an online test for me. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t got much time to prepare and practice. I have been reviewing Barron’s book 12th edition randomly and a little Grammar review. 10 days left from now and I must excel. please suggest some material and tips.
    great thanks

    • TOEFL Tutor

      Well, if you want some quick help before test day, I highly recommend signing up for evaluation of your practice essays and recordings:


      That’s all done by myself, and offers a pretty comprehensive look at your work (with specific suggestions for improvement) and an estimation of how you would score. I’ve had a lot of success with many students so far.

      • Imran

        Thanks for replying. I will consider the suggested options.
        Would you like to recommend anything from books or guides specially catering my situations. I mean there are many popular ones on net like for iBT 2014 like Cambridge’s, Barron’s, Princeton Review, Official ETS guide, Kaplan’s.

        Once again I appreciate your efforts

        • TOEFL Tutor

          Well, your situation is very similar to everyone else!

          If you feel that you are an “advanced” student, use one of the advanced books listed above. If you feel that you need extra help with grammar, try one of the grammar books above. If you just want to take practice tests, try one of the practice books recommended above. I’m not really sure of your specific needs so I’m not able to to suggest anything other than what I recommend in this post.

          • sunaina nirwan


            I am planning to give Toelf in November months.
            I am totally a beginner and don’t have much idea about the exam pattern , how i should prepare and what i should study.
            Can you pls suggest me which book i should refer for my preparation so that i score well.

            Waiting for the reply.

          • TOEFL Tutor

            In your case, I suggest that you try the Official Guide, linked above, as well as the official practice test book. You might also try my own guides:


            Let me know if you need any more help as you prepare for the test.

  3. Roshan


    I am a new comer to the TOEFL test. I recently gave the GRE and scored a 4 in the AWA section. Does that cover me for the writing section?
    Also, what books would you suggest that provide tests which give a close approximation to the actual TOEFL score. Could you also suggest some websites that score the speaking and writing sections.

    Thank you.

    • TOEFL Tutor

      It seems like your written English is quite strong, but I’m not sure what your target TOEFL score is.

      The official test collection (linked in the article above) has actual past TOEFL tests. That’s your best best for accurate test simulation.

      If you want to have accurate scoring of your speaking and writing practice, I highly recommend my own site! Check out the main TOEFL Resources site for our scoring and evaluation service:


      My prices are reasonable, and I am fairly confident in my ability to accurately predict scores.

      Let me know if you have any questions about the service.

  4. Adis

    Hi, what is your opinion with nova’s book? What are the strengths and weaknesses? Is it better than kaplan? As you have not mentioned about this book. I have read some website, and they give some good reason about nova’s for writing and speaking tests such as the strategic to make inductive or deductive. Thank you.

    • TOEFL Tutor

      Actually, the NOVA books are quite good. A lot of students seem to like them. They are a bit more to-the-point and are great for students who are already quite familiar with how the test works. I actually intend to add them to the above list.

  5. akash

    i am going to give TOEFL in 3 weeks. would u like to suggest me some books to read

    • TOEFL Tutor

      The books that the above article links to are all recommended! If you are new to the test, start with the Official Guide to the TOEFL. If you have any more questions, just let me know!

  6. hanaa

    Iam taking my toefl for the 4th time I need high scores my only problem is mainly in the reading section 🙁 that’s the only difficult part for me . Any recommended books!! or websites !!
    thank you .

  7. Chet Christensen

    Your advise is appreciated – I am tutor in China. I have an 18 year old (three hours per day) who wants to go to an American University. He was at first grade level, three weeks ago – he is approaching 3rd grade. He is motivated to learn, but it looks to me like he wasted much of his Chinese schooling, especially in English – which they have daily. Now, he is out of school and has figured it out – he needs an education.
    I have the ESL stuff, I have him reading ‘Step into Reading’ books, plus I have him keeping a ‘new word’ book. But when do I start TOEFL training? I am having him write answers to essay type questions, he is progressing, but I am letting him use an electronic/pronouncing dictionary. I have him reading “Step into Reading books, plus I have him keeping a ‘new word’ book. Thank you!

    • TOEFL Tutor

      Indeed, a lot of language learning is rather useless. But you can help this kid achieve his goals!

      I don’t know the ability level of the student, but you can probably start him on TOEFL training right away. Check out some of the content on our main page for tactics you might use. For example, you might have him start writing essays following our essay templates:


      His grammar and vocabulary might not be great, but it is never too early to familiarize a student with the formulaic nature of the TOEFL. We have speaking templates that you can use as well.

      Let me know if you need any more pointers.

  8. Loc Le

    Hi TOEFL Tutor!
    I’m just the new leaner TOEFL! I don’t know about the TOEFL book for studying! I’m studying in America! Can you help me?

  9. One week

    Hello all,

    i have one week to study for the exam. Ive been in the US for the past 10 months doing medical writing. What would yo recommend seeing that the exam is next Friday and I have not studied anything so far?


  10. Rahul J Byrav

    Respected Tutor
    I am Rahul from India. I wanna get into MIT, Harvard and other ivy league schools.
    So I will be taking TOEFL in approximately 5 months from now. I really need to score well in the test.
    So which book do you recommend for me? I have never taken up any english proficiency tests and I believe my english is comparable to that of majority of indian high school grads.
    I need to know in detail about this test and also a wide range of practise tests.

    Thank You in advance for your time and support.

  11. Aditya Tanu

    Hello there! My name is Aditya, I will be preparing for my TOEFL exam which will be in July 12, My target score is 110 approximately and I’m currently clueless about the patters of the exam. I was given a suggestion to buy Barrons and use it as a guide to help me increase my scores. Do you agree that this book is useful? Or is there another well improved book that I can buy to help boost up my scores and understanding? Please reply ! Thanks 🙂

  12. Shervin

    Tnx for your precious recommendation
    I wanted to know why u haven’t mentioned “Barrons”in your list

    • TOEFL Tutor

      I don’t like Barron’s because the integrated writing questions (type 1) are not accurate. They don’t resemble the real test at all. It is pretty good for the other sections, however.

  13. Ghazal

    Hello, actually I have to take TOEFL iBT within a month (October)
    I almost finished “LONGMAN PREPARATION COURSE FOR THE TOEFL iBT TEST’ and I’ve started OXFORD PREPARATION COURSE FOR THE TOEFL iBT TEST”. I’m wondering what should I do next, I mean after finishing the OXFORD book. I also enrolled for a mock test to estimate my readiness.

    Thanks for your help.

  14. Mahsa

    I ‘m a university student for master’s degree and i want to take TOFEL exam next year to apply for PHD in one of Canada or USA universities so i need a really good and high grade and my english is good ,but i have difficulty finding the best sources to start studying
    would you please recommend good sources for four skills in TOFEL?
    Thank you for your time

    • TOEFL Tutor

      Hi there! Our main site – toeflresources.com – is full of great materials that should help you get started on the test. We have a section for each of the skills. Let me know if you need more specific help or tutoring!

  15. Prem Kansara

    hello sir,
    I am giving TOEFL for first time and I have 2weeks left for the test.Which practice tests would you recommend me?Which practice tests have nearly same types of questions in real TOEFL?I have target of score above 100.
    Please help

    • TOEFL Tutor

      As I said in the above article, the best source of practice tests is the Official Tests Collection from ETS. It has the most accurate practice tests available!



    • TOEFL Tutor

      Well, my recommendations are in this very article. Given your circumstances, I suggest “Cracking the TOEFL” and the “Official Tests Collection.”

  17. ibr bal

    Hello Sir,

    I recently took the GRE and scored a 2.5 in the AWA section. I know that my argumentative part was quite weak. Could you estimate the TOEFL independent writing score (out of 5) according to the AWA point.

    Thank you in advance.

  18. Yash

    Hie, I’m new to this exam and I don’t know my level for this exam. I’m thinking I should start with very basic and move towards advance level. Suggest me what you think and if I’m thinking in right direction then what books would you and if I’m wrong then what else should I do and which books should I prefer.
    Thank !

    • TOEFL Tutor

      I suggest that you start with the Official Guide for a good overview, and the Official Tests Collection for some good practice material. Good practice material is important, as a lot of textbooks have terrible practice materials!

  19. nadu

    Hi, I am having my TOEFL test on Saturday. bit nervous….please advice.

  20. sonoo vk

    hello sir

    im vry confuse i dont know what kinds of TOEFL BOOK i have need for my usa work and live
    sir please suggest me

    i shall be
    very thankful

    • TOEFL Tutor

      Well, my recommendations are in the guide above! If you don’t have any idea which is best for you I suggest that you buy the “Official Guide to the TOEFL.” It is a great general guide.

  21. fayaz

    what is the best book for writing strategies in toefl ibt

  22. Hakkı

    is there any book that contents of its are literally harder than real TOEFL


    I know English so so, but I wanna study in USA. So, do you think that is any way to prepare to get high score in one year? And if it were any chance, could you give any advice?

    • TOEFL Tutor

      Yes, it is possible!

      If you have some specific questions feel free to ask, but in the meantime everything I know about the test is contained on toeflresources.com

  24. Mohanna

    I have all the programs for the TOEFL prep. from ETS, Longman, Cambridge to Kaplan and Complete guide.

    I what I really need to know which of these programs test is closer to the real TOEFL test as I usually score higher in Longman and lower in Cambridge 🙂

  25. Yunus

    I want to take toefl 3 month later.
    i confused which book or books better for me.Must i use one book or combination of two books? If i use combination,which books necessary for me?
    Thanks in advance

  26. amera

    what about complete guid to toefl exam for Bruce roger ..I mean what about the practise test on the CD is it similar to the tofel exam?

  27. amera

    ok..what is about hooked in toefl is it useful resource?

  28. rohi

    i am looking forward to give the TOEFL the next month and it would be my first attempt . is there any book that gives the basic format’s introduction as well as helps me enhance my skills ?

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TOEFL Resources

This blog complements TOEFL Resources, a collection of guides to the TOEFL iBT.