200+ Essential Words for the TOEFL Test

Whether you like it or not, the TOEFL will have some words and terminologies that you are not familiar with. But why do you need to prepare for it anyway? 

Here is why. As you study and enhance your vocabulary, these words gradually become part of your working language. Unconsciously, these words become part of your daily routines. They also aid you in gaining knowledge and concepts about other terminologies that are related and associated with them. THAT IS WHY. 

If you want to know and study the essential words for the TOEFL, we have gathered them here in this article so please continue reading. 

What is TOEFL?

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a standardized test that non-native speakers take to determine their English language proficiency in order to enroll in English-speaking universities. It evaluates all four language skills in the same manner that IELTS and Duolingo English Test do: 

Because it benefits candidates in each exam part, the TOEFL syllabus promotes sophisticated vocabulary.

The TOEFL is a collection of examinations, the most prominent of which are the TOEFL IBT and TOEFL Essentials. The TOEFL series also includes the TOEFL ITP (Institutional Testing Program), TOEFL Junior, and TOEFL Primary examinations

Other TOEFL forms can only be obtained through students’ schools. The TOEFL PBT (Paper Based Test or Paper-delivered Test) has been phased out in April 2021.

A Comprehensive List of Vocabulary for the TOEFL Test

Vocabulary is not something that can be acquired overnight. There are no shortcuts in this procedure; you must be patient and persistent. Therefore, you are strongly advised to work on improving your vocabulary weeks (or even months) before taking the TOEFL.

We have listed below the essential words for TOEFL that will help you get a high score. 


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
aboriginesnounA person, animal, or plant who has lived in a country or region since the beginning
allogeneicadjectiveSignifying, relating to, or involving genetically different tissues or cells that are immunologically incompatible, although being from the same species
ancestrynounOne’s family or ethnic descent
animismnounThe ascription of a soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena
belligerentadjectiveHostile and aggressive
brachycephalynounThe rear of the skull flattens out, causing the head to broaden, and the forehead bulges out on occasion
CaucasianadjectiveWhite-skinned with a European ancestry
dicephalousadjectiveA fetus with two separate heads that is teratological
diffusionismnounDissemination, rather than separate discovery or development, is the belief that some similar customs, innovations, etc. that occur among different cultures or peoples are exclusively or mostly the product of diffusion
ethnicitynounFitting to a social cluster with a common national or cultural tradition is the fact or state of belonging to that group
exogamynounThe practice of marrying someone from another group, clan, or tribe
familynounA group of one or more parents and their children who live together
indigenousadjectiveNative; originating or occurring natively in a certain location
obliqueadjectiveNot parallel nor at a right angle to be called a line
tribaladjectiveRelating to a tribe 


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
advertiseverbTo describe or call attention to (a product, service, or event) in public media in order to encourage sales or attendance
allocateverbTo distribute (resources or duties) for a particular purpose
commoditynounA raw material or main agricultural merchandise that can be sold or bought, such as sugar or rice
contractnounA written or verbal pact that is aimed to be legally enforceable, especially one involving employment, sales, or tenancy
declineverbTo diminish in strength or quality; deteriorate
equitynounThe worth of a pawned asset after deduction of charges against it
exportverbTo send goods or services to be sold in another country
importverbTo take goods or services inside a country for the purpose of sale from another country
inflationnounA universal surge in prices and reduction in the purchasing worth of money
marketnounA location or arena where commercial transactions take place
netnounThe complete productivity of a company when all expenditures and charges have been deducted from total revenue
per capitaadjectiveRelating or applied to each person
regulateverbTo regulate or sustain the degree or speed of a machine or process so that it functions right
subsidynounMoney that is given by the government or a civic body to help a business so the price of a product or service may remain low or viable
tangible adjectivePerceptible by touch


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
attitudenounA steady mode of thinking or feeling about someone or something, usually shown in a person’s actions
clusternounA group of similar goods or persons that are grouped together or occur in close proximity
communicateverbTo convey information, news, or ideas
diligentadjectivePossessing or displaying attention to detail and conscientiousness in one’s work or responsibilities
discriminateverbTo make an unjust or biased disparity in the treatment of different groups of individuals, particularly based on sex, race, age, or handicap
employeenounA person who is paid a salary, particularly at the nonexecutive level
enterprisenounAn undertaking that is tough or time-consuming in nature
ethicaladjectiveRelating to moral principles or the body of knowledge that deals with them
interestnounThe desire to understand or know more about something or someone
lifestylenounA person’s or a group’s way of life
personalitynounThe set of features or qualities that define a person’s unique character
producernounA person, business, or country that manufactures, grows or sells items or commodities
salarynounA fixed recurring payment to an employee, usually monthly or biweekly but often described as an annual sum, to an employee, especially a professional or white-collar worker
supervisornounA person who has the job of managing a person or an activity
valueverbConsider (someone or something) to be significant or advantageous; hold a favorable view of


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
assimilateverbTo absorb and integrate (people, ideas, or culture) into a wider society or culture
cremationnounThe discarding of a dead body by burning it to ashes, usually after a funeral ceremony
dialectnounA variety of language that is unique to a particular place or social group
diffusionnounThe process of anything becoming more broadly disseminated
domesticadjectiveRelating to the running of a family or home relation
folklorenounThe old-style customs, beliefs, and stories of a community, passed through the generations by word of mouth
fossilnounThe relics or imprint of a primeval creature conserved in petrified system or as a mold or cast in rock
heritagenounAn inheritance is a property that has been or may be inherited
moresnounA community’s vital or distinguishing norms and conventions
relicnounAn item enduring from an earlier time, especially one of ancient or historical interest
ritenounA spiritual or other sincere ceremony or act
rituallyadverbIn a way that is done as a religious or solemn rite
saganounA long, involved story, account, or series of incidents
traditionaladjectiveExisting in or as part of a long-standing tradition
vestigenounA trace of something that is disappearing or no longer exists


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
collegenounAn educational establishment, especially one that offers higher education or specialized professional or vocational training
curriculumnounThe subjects making up a degree of study in a school or college
distinctlyadverbIn a manner that is easily distinguished by the senses; clearly
eruditenounHaving or showing great knowledge or learning
fortifynounStrengthen (someone) mentally or physically
implicitlyadverbIn a technique that is not unswervingly stated; tacitly
literacynounBeing able to read and write
parochialadjectiveRelating to church or parish
primaryadjectivePertaining to children’s education between the ages of five and ten
rigornounAn abrupt feeling of cold with shaking accompanied by an upsurge in temperature, often with copious sweating, especially at the onset or height of a fever
rosternounA list or plan showing turns of duty or leaves for individuals or groups in an organization
secondarynounA school that offers general, technical, vocational, or college-preparatory courses and is located halfway between elementary school and college
secularadjectiveSignifying attitudes, actions, or other things that have no spiritual or spiritual foundation
suspendverbTo temporarily prevent from continuing or being in force or effect
vocationaladjectiveReferring to a job or a profession


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
biodegradableadjectiveHaving the ability to be disintegrated by bacteria or other living creatures
biodiversitynounThe diversity of life on the planet or within a certain environment or ecosystem
bushfirenounA fire in the brush or forest, particularly one that spreads quickly
climatenounThe weather conditions that prevail in a given location or for a lengthy period of time
conserveverbTo preserve (anything, particularly a culturally or environmentally significant place or object) from injury or destruction
deforestationnounThe act of removing trees from a large region
disposableadjectiveIntended to be used only once or until no longer usable, and then discarded
droughtnounA prolonged period of extremely little rainfall, ensuing in a water deficit
earthquakenounAs a result of changes within the earth’s crust or volcanic activity, there is a sudden and intense shaking of the ground, which can sometimes cause significant destruction
energynounThe physical and mental stamina required for long-term physical or mental activity
extinctionnounThe event or process of an animal or plant species, family, or another group going extinct
floodnounA spilling of a significant amount of water beyond its customary boundaries, particularly over typically dry ground
pollutionnounThe existence of a material or entity that has hazardous or deadly effects in the environment, or its introduction into the environment
recycleverbTo convert (waste) into reusable material
renewableadjectiveA spring of energy that is not exhausted by use, such as wind, water, or solar power


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
empiricaladjectiveRather than theory or pure logic, based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience
encounterverbAn unplanned or informal meeting with someone or something
enjoyverbTo have a wonderful time
eventnounAn occurrence, especially one of significance
existentialadjectiveConcerned with existence, particularly human existence as regarded in existentialist beliefs
lessonnounA period of learning or teaching in which a certain amount of instruction is supplied at one time                                                              
naiveadjectiveDemonstrating a lack of knowledge, insight, or judgment
nightmarenounA terrible or dreadful experience or possibility
ordealnounA traumatic or horrifying experience, especially one that lasts for a long time
passionnounA powerful and uncontrollable feeling
phenomenonnounA fact or occurrence that is observed to exist or occur, particularly one whose source or explanation is unknown
reliveverbLive through (an experience or feeling, especially an unpleasant one) over again in one’s imagination or memory
sufferverbTo go through or be exposed to something bad or unpleasant
sustainverbPhysically or mentally, strengthen or support
transcendentaladjectiveHaving to do with the spiritual or nonphysical dimension


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
adoptionnounThe act or fact of officially adopting and raising another person’s kid as one’s own, or the fact of being adopted
ancestornounSomeone from whom one is descended, usually one who is more distant than a grandmother
divorceverbTo allow a couple to formally end their relationship with someone
eligibleadjectiveHaving the legal authority to do or obtain anything; meeting the necessary requirements
estrangedadjectiveSomeone with whom you are no longer intimate or affectionate
extendedadjectiveMade larger; enlarged
fosteradjectiveTo encourage or facilitate the growth of something, typically something regarded as good
genealogynounA line of ancestry that may be traced back to a common ancestor
heiressnounA woman who has a legal claim to another’s property or rank upon that person’s death
householdnounA house and its inhabitants viewed as a unit
juvenileadjectiveOf, for, or relating to young people
marriagenounThe unification of two people in a special connection who are legally or formally acknowledged as partners
posteritynounAll people in future generations
relativeadjectiveWhen compared to or proportioned to something else
spousenounA husband or wife viewed in the context of their partner


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
acceptancenounThe act of agreeing to accept or do anything that has been provided
affectionnounA pleasant sensation of liking or fondness
agonynounA great deal of bodily or mental anguish
amazedadjectiveGreatly surprised; astounded
awenounA sense of reverent regard tinged with fear or wonder
calmadjectiveNervousness, rage, or other strong emotions are not seen or felt
certainadjectiveProven beyond a shadow of a doubt
comfortableadjectiveFacilitating physical comfort and relaxation
contentnounIn a state of blissful tranquility
friskyadjectivePlayful and energizing
impulsiveadjectivePerforming or doing anything without thinking about it
liberatedadjectiveDemonstrating independence from societal conventions or traditional notions, particularly in relation to sexual roles
receptiveadjectivePrepared to consider or accept new ideas and recommendations
thrillverbTo cause someone to experience a surge of joy and enthusiasm
understandingnounThe ability to comprehend something


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
appetitenounA natural drive to fulfill a biological requirement, particularly for food
batterverbTo strike with strong blows on a regular basis
blandadjectiveUninteresting because of lack of strong features or attributes
brisketnounA chunk of flesh taken from an animal’s breast, usually a cow’s
broilverbTo heat meat or fish by contact to direct, strong radiant heat
chefnounA professional cook, typically the chief cook in a restaurant or hotel
cuisinenounA cooking style or method that is distinctive to a certain country, area, or establishment
dietnounThe kinds of food that a creature, animal, or group consumes on a regular basis
digestverbTo break down meals into substances that may be absorbed and utilized by the body
dinernounA modest roadside eatery with a long counter and booths that were initially built to seem like a train dining car
edibleadjectiveSuitable for consumption
flaxnounA blue-flowered herbaceous plant grown for its seed (linseed) and textile fiber produced from its stalks
gastronomynounThe act of selecting, preparing, and enjoying good food
menunounA list of foods offered in a restaurant
munchverbTo eat something by moving the jaws in a continuous and typically noisy motion


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
arrangeverbTo create plans for or organize a future event
associateverbIn one’s mind, to connect someone or something with something else
bracketnounA group of persons or objects that are similar or fall within certain parameters
categorizeverbTo place in a specific class or group
departmentnounA section of a big institution dealing with a certain subject, item, or area of activity, such as a government, university, corporation, or store
emblemnounA heraldic device or symbolic object used as a national, organizational, or family badge
genrenounA kind of creative creation defined by resemblances in form, style, or topic matter, as in theater or music
hierarchynounA system or organization in which individuals or groups are ranked in order of status or authority
indexnounA sequential list of names, subjects, and other objects, usually found at the conclusion of a book, with references to the places where they appear
legionnounA large group, swarm, or swarms of people or things
networknounA collection or organization of people or things that are linked together
patternnounA regular and comprehensible form or sequence can be discerned
phylumnounA group of languages that are less closely linked to one another than those that comprise a family, especially if the links are disputed or uncertain
quantumnounA discrete tiny voltage contributed to the observed end-plate potential by a single synaptic vesicle’s release of acetylcholine at a neuromuscular junction
unionnounThe deed or element of joining or being joined, especially in a political context


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
abstinencenounRefraining from indulging in something, usually alcohol
acupuncture nounA type of integrative medicine that entails pricking the skin or tissues with needles to relieve pain and treat a variety of physical, mental, and emotional problems
addictiveadjectiveCreating or likely to induce addiction in someone
anorexicadjectiveAn eating disorder marked by extremely low body weight, a strong fear of gaining weight, and a distorted view of weight
athleticadjectiveStrong, fit, and active on a physical level
cardiacadjectiveRelating to the heart
collapseverbTo faint and become unconscious, typically through disease or injury
diagnosticadjectiveInterested in determining the cause of illness or other issues
disciplinenounThe process of teaching people to follow norms or a code of conduct by employing punishment to correct the transgression
endurancenounThe ability to persevere through an unpleasant or challenging activity or event without succumbing
epidemicadjectiveA large-scale outbreak of an infectious disease in a community at a specific moment
fracturenounA hard object or material cracking or shattering
habitnounA long-standing or consistent habit or behavior, especially one that is difficult to abandon
hormonenounA regulatory chemical produced by an organism and transmitted via tissue fluids like blood or sap to activate certain cells or tissues
immuneadjectiveResilient to a specific infection due to the existence of definite antibodies or sensitized white blood cells


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
attendverbTo present yourself at an event, meeting, or function
croquetnounA sport where colored wooden balls are hammered through a series of wickets with mallets performed on a lawn
entertainverbTo bring fun or pleasure to someone
exploreverbTo learn about or familiarize oneself with an unfamiliar country or area
extremeadjectiveReaching a pinnacle or pinnacle level; enormous
gambleverbTo play sports of chance for cash; bet
hobbynounA pleasurable pastime carried out on a regular basis in one’s spare time
huntverbTo chase and slaughter a wild animal for sport or sustenance
pamperverbTo allow oneself to be spoiled by lavishing attention, comfort, and compassion
relaxverbTo reduce or eliminate tenseness or anxiety
scenerynounThe natural aspects of a landscape are valued for their aesthetic value, especially when beautiful
trailnounA mark or a sequence of marks or things left behind by someone or something who has passed through
triathlonnounA three-event sports competition that often includes swimming, cycling, and long-distance running
vacationnounA period of extended relaxation and amusement, especially one spent away from home or while traveling
winenounA fermented grape juice-based alcoholic beverage


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
adversarynounOne’s opponent in a contest, conflict, or dispute
characternounThe mental and moral characteristics that distinguish a person
cohortnounA cluster of people who have developed a bond or are considered as a unit
confidantnounSomeone with whom one communicates a secret or private subject in the confidence that they will not reveal it to others
cronynounA close acquaintance or friend
descendantadjectiveA creature that descended from a particular ancestor
foenounAn enemy or opponent
inhabitantadjectiveA person or animal who inhabits or lives in a space
mortaladjectiveSubject to death
occupantadjectiveA person who resides or is present in a house or any place at a given time
populacenounThe individuals who live in a specific country or region
residentnounA person who lives in a setting permanently or for an extended period of time
socialitenounA well-known member of elegant society who enjoys social events and entertainment
steadyadjectiveNot swaying or moving; firmly anchored, held, or balanced
youthnounThe state or quality of being young, particularly as it relates to vitality, freshness, or immaturity 


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
affableadjectivePleasant, good-natured, or approachable
aggressiveadjectiveCharacterized by or stemming from violence; eager or likely to attack or confront
ambitiousadjectivePossessing or demonstrating a great ambition and resolve to succeed
attractverbTo cause to come to a place or participate in a venture by giving something of interest, better conditions, or breaks
behaviornounThe style in which one acts or conducts himself/herself, particularly toward others
charmnounThe ability or attribute of delighting or inspiring adoration
conductnounThe way a person acts, particularly on a specific occasion or in a specific situation
decorousadjectivePolite and restrained; in line with good taste and propriety
extrovertadjectiveA person who is outgoing and highly expressive
improveverbTo make or become better
introvertadjectiveA person who is more interested in their own ideas and feelings than with the outside world
mingleverbTo combine or cause to combine
prudentadjectiveBehaving with or demonstrating concern for the future
robustadjectiveStrong and healthy; vigorous
zanyadjectiveEccentric and amusingly unconventional


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
amuseverbTo deliver an interesting and pleasant work setting for someone
ancientadjectiveRelating to a long-ago era and no longer in existence
boutiquenounA tiny shop that sells trendy clothing and accessories
boringadjectiveUninteresting and tiresome
bustlingadjectiveFull of activity
cathedralnounThe diocese’s main church, with which the bishop is officially linked
compactadjectiveDensely packed and neatly packed together
contemporaryadjectiveLiving or taking place at the same moment
cosmopolitanadjectiveIncluding people from many various countries
crowdedadjectiveWith little or no room for movement; crammed
fascinatingadjectiveIncredibly intriguing
monumentnounA statue, building, or other structure created to honor a famous or noteworthy person or event
museumnounA structure in which historical, scientific, aesthetic, or culturally significant things are preserved and displayed
picturesqueadjectiveVisually appealing, especially when done in a quaint or lovely manner
touristnounA person who is leisurely going or visiting a location


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
advocateverbA person who openly supports or endorses a particular cause or policy
authoritynounThe power or prerogative to give orders, make decisions and requires obedience
bamboozleverbTo fool or cheat
benefitverbTo get a competitive advantage; profit
bitterlyadverbIn an angry, hurt, or resentful way
candidatenounSomeone who wants to apply for a job or is nominated for election
coalitionnounAn alliance for combined action, especially a temporary alliance of political parties forming a government or of states
contestverbEngross in rivalry to attain a position of power
democracynounA form of government in which the entire population or all eligible members of a state are represented by elected representatives
electionnounA formal and organized choice by a vote of a person for a political office or other position
inaugurateverbTo begin or introduce a system, policy, or period
incumbentadjectiveAn official or regime currently holding office
policynounA principle of action assumed or planned by a party, government, business, or individual
pollnounThe process of voting in an election
punditnounAn expert in a specific area or sector who is frequently called upon to express public thoughts about it


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
annulverbTo declare ineligible an official agreement, decision, or result
apologeticadjectiveRecognizing or excusing an offense or failure with sorrow
blazenounUsed as a euphemism for “hell” in various expressions of rage, amazement, or surprise
casualadjectiveRelaxed and unconcerned
dateverbTo go out with someone with whom one is romantically attracted
endearmentnounA phrase or word that expresses love or affection
engagementnounA formal agreement to marry
impressverbTo inspire regard and respect in someone
partnernounEither a member of a married pair or a long-term unmarried couple
privateadjectivePertaining to or for the use of one particular person or group of persons only
rivalnounA person or entity that is competing with another for the same goal or superiority in the same field of endeavor
separateverbTo leave someone else’s company
significantadjectiveSufficient in magnitude or importance to merit notice; notable
smittenverbTo be drawn to someone or something intensely
unrequitedadjectiveNot returned or rewarded in any way


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
beliefnounAn acknowledgment of the truth of a proposition or the existence of something
churchnounAn institutionalized religion as a political or social force
cultnounA tiny group of people whose religious ideas or activities are considered weird or malevolent by others
deitynounA god or goddess in a polytheistic faith
divineadjectiveOf, from, or like God or a god
faithfuladjectiveRemaining loyal and steadfast
fastingnounRefrain from all or some types of food or drink, particularly as a spiritual observance
ontologynounThe study of metaphysics dealing with the nature of being
pantheonnounA group of people who are highly regarded, well-known, or influential
preachverbTo deliver a sermon or religious presentation to a congregation, typically in a church
prophetnounA person who is thought to be an inspired teacher or proclaimer of God’s will
sacredadjectiveRelated to God (or the gods), or dedicated to a religious goal, and so worthy of respect
spiritualadjectiveIn contrast to material or physical things, connected to or influencing the human spirit or soul
theorynounA hypothesis or a set of ideas meant to explain something, particularly one based on general principles unrelated to the subject of the explanation
worshipverbTo respect and admiration for (a god); religious practices to honor

Social Media

WordPart of SpeechDefinition
campaignverbTo work toward a specific goal, usually a political or social one, in an organized and energetic manner
clickbaitnounA content whose primary aim is to entice attention and boost visitors to click on a link to a particular web page
feednounWidgets created by social media aggregators and include content from a variety of social networking accounts
filterverbTo classify one’s social media networks
followernounRefers to users who have subscribed to a specific piece of material, as well as other users, interests, or businesses.
hackverbTo get illegal access to data in a system using a computer
hashtagnounA word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#) that is used to identify digital content on a given topic on social networking websites and applications
memenounA funny image, movie, prose, or other pieces of media that is quickly reproduced (typically with minor alterations) and distributed by internet users
netizennounAn internet user, especially one who is a frequent or passionate user
platformnounA method of sharing information to a select set of followers over the Internet
postverbTo make something public, to share something on social media
trendingadjectiveCurrently popular or widely discussed on the internet, particularly on social media platforms
trollnounPeople who post controversial or unpleasant remarks on the internet with the goal of attracting attention, causing difficulty, or upsetting someone
viraladjectivePertaining to or involving an image, video, item of information, or other media that is quickly and extensively sent from one internet user to another
vloggernounA person who maintains a vlog by posting small videos on a regular basis


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
amateuradjectiveNonprofessional; participating or engaged in without money
arenanounA level area where there are seats for spectators, in which sports, entertainments, and other public events are held
competeverbTo attempt to gain or win something by defeating or outperforming those who are attempting to do the same
cuenounA phrase or action that instructs an actor or other performer to commence or begin their speech or performance
defeatverbTo win a battle or other conflict against someone
defendverbTo fend off an attack on someone or something; keep someone or something safe from harm or danger
drawnounA game or contest that concludes with the score even; a tie
dugoutnounA low shelter with seating by the side of a baseball field from which a team’s coaches and non-playing players can watch the game
fitnessnounThe condition of being physically fit and healthy
gymnounA club where you can use machines, weights, and other equipment to exercise
leaguenounA group of individuals, countries, or organizations that band together for the same goal, usually mutual protection or collaboration
loseverbTo fail to win
professionaladjectiveAffianced in a precise activity as one’s key paid career
quiververbTo tremble or shake with a sudden motion
spectatornounA person who watches at a show, game, or other events


WordPart of SpeechDefinition
destinationnounThe place to which someone or something is heading or being directed
embarkverbTo board a ship, plane, or other vehicles
extravagantadjectiveLacing of self-control when it comes to spending money or utilizing resources
foreignadjectiveOriginating in, occurring in, or resembling a country or language other than one’s own
globetrotternounA person who goes on a lot of trips
keepsakenounA tiny object retained in the memory of the person who gifted it or was the first owner
luggagenounSuitcases or other bags are used to transport personal belongings
memorableadjectiveWorth remembering or easily remembered, particularly if it is unique or remarkable
passengernounA traveler who is not the driver, pilot, or crew on a public or private transport
postcardnounA card with a picture or other image on one side for writing a message by mail without an envelope
routenounA route or path is taken to get from a starting point to a destination
scenicadjectiveViews of remarkable or magnificent natural scenery are provided or related to
visa nounAn authorization on a passport demonstrating that the bearer is permitted to enter, depart, or remain in a country for a set amount of time
voyagenounA long journey that includes maritime travel or space travel
wanderverbStride or move in a leisurely, casual, or drifting way

Understanding TOEFL: Vocabulary and Reading Comprehension Section in Practice

To do well on the TOEFL, you will need strong reading skills and an extensive vocabulary. This component of the TOEFL focuses on these abilities. 

Many TOEFL test-takers say that they do not have enough time to carefully answer all of the questions in this section. That is why you must follow the recommendations in this article to utilize the time you have given. 

The first questions will put your English vocabulary to the test. There are 30 academic sentences with a highlighted word in each. You must select the word from the four options with the same meaning.


This portion of the TOEFL assesses your understanding of words and phrases that are regularly used in academic and non-academic contexts. Each word contains a sentence with one word or phrase underlined, which may or may not be taken from a published source.


The sense of smell receptors is positioned at the top of the nasal cavity.
  1. mouth
  2. division
  3. upper end
  4. inner edge

It is hard to convince young people to plan for their retirement years, which seems distant.

  1. fearful
  2. far away
  3. impossible
  4. observable

Reading Comprehension

This component of the TOEFL assesses your ability to read and comprehend brief paragraphs that secondary students who study English as a Foreign Language are most likely to come across. You will read a range of brief pieces on a number of academic topics. The test is followed by a sequence of material-related questions.


A new atomic clock for navigation satellites is being created that will outperform previous models. To create a tiny and lightweight package, the clock will use a new microwave cavity design and innovative electronic approaches to preserve long-term stability.

Because it is steady to one second in three million years, the clock can provide exact navigation information. The time difference between four satellite signals arriving at one location can be used to calculate that location's position to within a few yards.
Which of the following features of the clock do you think will be the most impressive?
  1. its weight
  2. its accuracy
  3. its compact size
  4. its ability to measure distance
What is the passage's main purpose?
  1. To teach a lesson
  2. To back up a theory
  3. To impart knowledge
  4. To make a product sale

How to Study Vocabulary Words

While preparing for the essential words for the TOEFL, there are a plethora of ready-to-use vocabulary lists available online and in books that you could choose from. 

However, we suggest that you compile your own list. Every student absorbs these words at their own pace; some people may pick up on word definitions quickly, while others may struggle with new concepts.

  • Determine your present vocabulary level: 

Taking a practice test is the simplest method to do this. That way, you will be able to determine your weak spots and the vocabulary categories you need to brush up on.

  • Make your own unique vocabulary list:

This will save you time and effort in the long run. 

Remember that no English test has a specific vocabulary component, but these lists are a wonderful place to start when constructing a personalized vocabulary list so you can face the test with confidence. You will be appraised on your ability to use the proper words rather than how many you know.

  • Start slowly but surely: 

The majority of these vocabulary lists have up to 5,000 words on them. That may seem like a lot, but do not worry, no one expects you to memorize 5,000 words in one sitting! 

You should learn five new words every day.

  • Categorize your words: 

This is both an efficient and effective method. Have a list of words classified into certain situations, dialogues, or themes. 

This will make it easier for you to remember the words and their meanings because they are connected and related. 

  • Utilize the words you learn in your daily routines: 

Lastly, studying these words is useless if you do not use and apply them in your daily conversations. 

Ensure that you use them in the right context and by the time you have to take the TOEFL, you are good to go. 

Tools to Help improve Your TOEFL Vocabulary

Make sure you are revising your vocabulary on a daily basis, but also that you are having fun while doing so! 

There are many words memorizing games and applications available you can utilize to help you prepare for the essential words for the TOEFL. 

Remember, however, that what works for others might not work for you. Pick the one that works best for you. 

Here are some of our favorite apps that will help you study for the essential words for the TOEFL. 

  • Taboo
  • Scrabble
  • Quizlet
  • Words with Friends
  • Learn Vocabulary with Wozzol
  • Vocab Victor English Word Game

Best Apps for TOEFL Test Preparation

Additionally, you can also make your own flashcards to help you prepare for the essential words for the TOEFL. 

Make it a point that you write the words in different paper colors depending on the category. You can perform this alone and repeat it when required. 

Why is Studying Vocabulary Important for the TOEFL Exam?

One of the most dreadful aspects of studying for the exam is developing your abilities regarding the essential words for the TOEFL, but it is also one of the most vital. 

Many TOEFL questions either ask you to define a word or require you to know the definition of a word to answer a question correctly. Which words do you need to know out of the millions in the English language?

Both understanding and output of language on the exam are dependent on vocabulary. You must comprehend a wide range of academic and everyday terms. On the test, you will also need a wide range of vocabulary that you can use fluently in your speaking and writing.

Additionally, many are concerned about how many essential words for the TOEFL they need to master. This is an excellent question to which there is no simple answer. 

Your TOEFL score rather than any set vocabulary word count determines the number of new words you need to learn. While vocabulary is crucial on the TOEFL, your exam success is primarily determined by two factors: vocabulary range and technique.

Additional FAQs TOEFL Vocabulary —

How many words are considered essential for TOEFL preparation?

Essential Words for the TOEFL” by Steven J. Matthiesen is a popular vocabulary book designed to help students prepare for the TOEFL exam. The book features 500 essential words that are commonly encountered in the TOEFL. Each word is accompanied by a definition, example sentences, and exercises to reinforce understanding and usage.

Is it possible to score 120 on the TOEFL?

Yes, it is possible to score 120 on the TOEFL, but it is extremely rare. Achieving a perfect score requires near-native proficiency in English and exceptional performance in all four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Most high scorers fall just below this mark, highlighting the difficulty of attaining a 120.

What is the recommended vocabulary range for the TOEFL exam?

The exact number of words needed to perform well on the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) can vary depending on individual skill levels and goals. However, it is generally recommended that students have a strong grasp of academic English vocabulary. Here are some guidelines:

Basic Vocabulary: For basic comprehension and everyday conversation, knowing around 2,000 to 3,000 words is typically sufficient.

Academic Vocabulary: Since the TOEFL focuses on academic English, a working knowledge of 5,000 to 8,000 words, including academic and subject-specific vocabulary, is beneficial.

Advanced Vocabulary: For higher scores and more confident comprehension of complex texts and lectures, knowing 10,000 or more words, including nuanced and sophisticated terms, can be advantageous.
Books like “Essential Words for the TOEFL” often highlight around 500 key words, but it’s important to build on this foundation with a broader vocabulary base, including synonyms, antonyms, and related words, to ensure comprehensive preparation for the test.

What Level of Fluency is Expected from You?

There are four proficiency levels in the TOEFL. They are Advanced, Intermediate, Low Intermediate, and Below Low Intermediate. 

For you to be able to pass the TOEFL, your fluency level should either be in the Intermediate and Advanced level. 

That means that out of the 30 questions in each component – Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing, you should at least get a score of 20.

Why is it Important to Have a Vocabulary List Based on Categories?

You should have your vocabulary classified based on different categories because it is just what is both efficient and effective. Memorizing a 200-word list is difficult. 

However, memorizing 20 sets of topics with 10 words each is way easier. It also paves for better comprehension because the words are connected and related.

How Can I Memorize the TOEFL Vocabulary?

Memorizing the essential words for the TOEFL is not as challenging as it seems. You just have to do it slowly and continuously. Try learning 5 words a day. 
If you feel like you are improving and need to level up your pace, you can have 6 then 7 and 8 words per day. It is up to you. Just keep in mind that constant practice is the key.

Do I Need to Learn Words for TOEFL?

Yes, you need to learn the essential words for the TOEFL. The TOEFL is a vocabulary test, so you must enhance your vocabulary before taking the test. 

Read magazines, newspapers, and articles. Watch the news and the television. 

Listen to podcasts and, more importantly, have a list of words based on different categories. These are the best ways to prepare and study for the essential words for the TOEFL. 

Additional Reading – TOEFL Vocabulary