The Best TOEFL Books of 2020 – 2021

TOEFL preparation is an extensive process if you want to score high. The key here is to understand the exam pattern. Here’s a secret: Each section in the TOEFL exam tests one major skill. All the sections are timed, which means you have to hone those core skills to perform well in every section.

With the market flooded with numerous TOEFL preparation books, it can be a hard task to choose the best TOEFL book. There are some factors that you help you pick the best. Here’s another useful tip: One book is not sufficient to prepare for TOEFL, especially if you are aiming at scoring high. Each book has its own strong sections. We recommend the following books, after detailed analysis, for your TOEFL preparation.

TOEFL Overview

The best TOEFL book to get an accurate overview of the TOEFL exam is ‘The Official Guide To The TOEFL Test’, by ETS. This book is highly recommended as it is known to provide excellent descriptions of the types of questions that can be expected in the test. The practice tests are reliable. Try to get your hands on the latest edition because as of August 1, 2019, the Reading, Listening and Speaking Sections of TOEFL will be shortened. There will be minor changes in the scoring rubric as well.

Reading Section

The reading section is best explained and tested in ‘Mastering the Reading Section for the TOEFL iBT’ by Kathy Spratt. An e-book of the 2nd edition, 2019 is also available. It will prepare you for the TOEFL Reading Test format and also help you to identify ‘traps’ that are designed to trick you into choosing the incorrect option. It also contains examples that are questions that have appeared previously in TOEFL. Again, try to get a hold of the latest edition so that you can stay updated.


Grammar is one of the core areas tested in the TOEFL Exam, in all the sections involved. The best TOEFL preparation book for Grammar is ‘English Grammar In Use’ by Raymond Murphy. The latest edition is the 5th Edition, with updated questions and examples to help you sharpen your grammar. Ensure that you complete all the practice tests in this book as they are very effective.


If you are on the lookout for the best TOEFL book for vocabulary, there is no one best book to choose from, for the simple reason that each person’s vocabulary is different. It is sufficient if you are able to solve the previous years’ papers, but if you are really keen on getting some study material that is dedicated to vocabulary, then the best TOEFL book for vocabulary is ‘1800 TOEFL Essential Vocabulary’ by Darakwon.

General Books Recommended

For those who wouldn’t like to invest in different books, but would prefer using one book for their complete preparation, the following books are recommended.

‘Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL Test’  is published by the well-known Cambridge University Press. This book focuses on skill-building across various topics: pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary, comprehension, and so on. You can also access the online test to get a feel about how the actual exam is going to be conducted. These simulated tests generate scores and feedback so that you can work on areas that need improvement.

‘The Longman Preparation Course for the TOEFL iBT Test’ by Deborah Phillips is a great book for you if you are someone who learns from extensive examples. The explanations are simple and structured in detail. You can clearly see the gradual increase in the difficulty level as you move from one example/question to the next. This is effective for many students who prefer to study this way.

‘Speaking and Writing Strategies for the TOEFL iBT’ by Bruce Stirling is one of the best TOEFL preparation books because of its strategic approach that involves both deductive and inductive approaches. Opinion development is given the utmost importance in this book. It also teaches you to effectively cut down on your errors. It is highly recommended for students who are preparing for the TOEFL.

‘Check Your English Vocabulary for TOEFL’ by Rawdon Wyatt is one of the best TOEFL books. This book is specially designed for non-native speakers as it teaches you exactly what you need to know, in a simple manner. By reading this book and taking up practice tests, you will be on par with native speakers before you even know it. It is suitable for both classroom teaching and self-study.

Irrespective of the book that you consider buying, try to get the latest edition because it will be up to date.

If this article has helped you make your choice of best TOEFL book, let us know in the comments section below. It will help other aspiring students as well. We wish you luck. Feel free to get in touch with our experts for further queries.

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