TOEFL Preparation Book: Review of “Cliff’s TOEFL Preparation Guide”

Are you a TOEFL test-taker who struggles in preparing for the exam? Well, you will not have a hard time if you have Cliff’s TOEFL Preparation Guide with you! This book contains the most concise and understandable content, perfect for beginners and average students.

It has an incredible number of mini-tests, exercises, and full-length practice tests that may help you gear up for the actual TOEFL. In this article, we provide a brief review of this book in this article. We will present an analysis of its content, efficacy, pros and cons, and some user ratings.


Everything You Need To Know About Cliff’s TOEFL Preparation Guide

Cliffs TOEFL Preparation Guide Review Amazon 1

Grammar proficiency is one of the essential skills one must have to pass the TOEFL. If you are currently struggling with your grammar, Cliffs TOEFL Preparation Guide is the best book to help you. It has detailed and concise lessons and exercises regarding different structures of sentences, correct grammar uses, and the likes.

This book is also suitable for everyone looking for full-length practice tests. Worry not because every exercise has answer keys and explanations on the latter part to understand them better. Lastly, lessons have become more understandable with the help of the cassette tapes provided with the book. 

First and foremost, we will start this brief review with the basic information and details about this preparation guide. We will look at this book’s authors, contents, price, and its latest edition. 

Authors

This book has different authors since it has two versions (the Bk&Cassett and paperback book edition). 

The prominent authors of the Bk&Cassett edition are Jerry Bobrow and William A. Covino.

On the other hand, Michael A. Pyle MA and Mary Ellen Munoz Page MA wrote the paperback version.

Jerry Bobrow is the executive director of the Bobrow Test Preparation Services. He has made test preparation programs for over 25 colleges and law schools. He received his bachelor’s degree in Whittier College, his master’s degree in Cal State Northridge, and his doctorate’s degree in California Western University.

Meanwhile, William A. Covino is an English professor at the University of Illinois in Chicago who holds his doctorate’s degree. He teaches Literacy, Language, and Rhetoric graduate programs. Moreover, he is the well-known president of California State University in Los Angeles.

Michael A. Pyle has a Master of Arts from the University of Florida in linguistics and teaching English as a second language. He is a composition, grammar, and spoken English teacher at the University of Florida’s English Language Institute. Aside from that, he also became a coordinator of reading classes.

Pyle also attended various regional and national workshops, including the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Conference in 1994. Not only Pyle has excellent records, but Mary Ellen Munoz Page is also famous for her achievements.

Mary Ellen also has a Master of Arts from the Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She has been teaching since 1972 and currently teaches English to international students at Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida. She has also developed numerous English classes at Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Florida, and attended workshops with student-teachers and teachers in Costa Rica.

Book Contents

The Cliffs TOEFL Preparation Guide is famous for its thorough, concise, and understandable content, perfect for all test-takers, especially beginners. It contains a detailed analysis of the different question types and the most effective approach to answering them.

Aside from that, this guide also includes an intensive grammar review, mini-tests, and exercises. This book is also perfect for understanding and mastering various complicated sentence structures. You can match every lesson with the audios provided in the two cassette tapes found together with the book.

Additionally, you can also try its six full-length exams with questions similar to the actual ones. After answering them, you can find self-scoring charts, answer keys, and explanations on every end of the practice tests.

Latest Edition Available

This book has its latest edition published on July 1, 1995, under the Cliffs Notes and Clips Cassettes (for the audios). The Bk&Cassett Edition has 675 pages, while the paperback version has 659 pages. 

Book or Guide Contents

We present to you the official table of contents of Cliff’s TOEFL Preparation Guide 5th Edition to guide you further on what you can see in the book. 

Contents

  • Preface
  • How to Use this Book
  • Study Guide Checklist

Part I: Introduction

  • Format of Recent TOEFL Exams
  • General Description
  • Questions Commonly Asked about the TOEFL
  • Taking the TOEFL: A Successful Overall Approach

Part II: Analysis of Exam Areas

Section 1: Listening Comprehension

  • Part A, B, and C
  • A Patterned Plan of Attack

Section 2: Structure and Written Expression

  • Part A and B
  • A Patterned Plan of Attack

Section 3: Reading Comprehension

  • A Patterned Plan of Attack

Part III: Subject Area Reviews with Exercises and Mini-Tests

Grammar Review

  1. Rules
  2. Method of Study
  3. Normal Sentence Pattern in English
  4. The Noun Phrase
  5. The Verb Phrase
  6. Subject-Verb Agreement
  7. Pronouns
  8. Verbs as Complements
  9. The Verb Need
  10. Questions
  11. Affirmative Agreement
  12. Negative Agreement
  13. Negation
  14. Commands

a. Mini Test 1: Grammar Items 3 Through 14

  1. Modal Auxiliaries
  2. Adjectives and Adverbs
  3. Comparisons
  4. Nouns Functioning as Adjectives
  5. Enough with Adjectives, Adverbs, and Nouns
  6. Cause Connectors

b. Mini Test 2: Grammar Items 15 Through 20

  1. Passive Voice
  2. Causative Verb
  3. Relative Clauses
  4. That – Other Uses
  5. Subjunctive
  6. Inclusives
  7. Know / Know-How
  8. Clauses of Concession
  9. Problem Verbs

c. Mini Test 3: Grammar Items 21 Through 29

Style in Written English

  1. Common Stylistic Problems that appear in Grammar Questions
  2. Elimination of Incorrect Answers in Style Questions

d. Mini Test 4: Stylistic Problems

  • Answers for Exercises 1 Through 53 and Mini Tests 1 Through 4

Problem Vocabulary and Prepositions

  1. Common Misused Words
  2. Confusingly Related Words
  3. Use of Prepositions
  4. Verbal Idioms
  5. Common Combinations with Prepositions

e. Mini Test 5: Problem Vocabulary and Prepositions

f. Mini Test 6: Problem Vocabulary and Prepositions

  • Answers for Exercises 54 Through 57 and Mini Test 5 and 6

Part IV: Practice – Review – Analyze – Practice (Six Full-Length Practice Tests)

  • Answer Sheets for Practice Tests 1 to 6
  1. Practice Tests 1 to 6

a. Section 1: Listening Comprehension

b. Section 2: Structure and Written Expression

c. Section 3: Reading Comprehension

Part V: Listening Comprehension Scripts, Answers, and Explanations for Practice Test 1 Through 6

  • How to Use Part V
  • Converted Score Sheet
  • Practice Tests 1 to 6

a. Answer Key

b. Practice Test: Analysis Scoring Sheet

c. Section 1: Listening Comprehension Script

d. Explanations for Practice Test

e. Section 2: Structure and Written Expression

f. Section 3: Reading Comprehension

Part VI: Test of Written English

  • Planning Your Essay
  • Standard Outline
  • Cluster Outline
  • Introductory Paragraph
  • Body
  • Conclusion
  • Sample Essays
    • Sample Essay 1 to 3
    • A Patterned Plan of Attack
  • Sample Topics
  • Essay Evaluation Form

Final Preparation “The Final Touches”

Price

We provide you with this list of prices of the books. You are free to choose whether you prefer this guide’s version published in 1983 or the other published in 1995.

  • 1983 Edition : You can purchase this book’s paperback version for USD 28.30, while the audio cassette is available for USD 7.63. 
  • 1995 Edition : This edition also has two versions: the Bk&Cassett for USD 9.15 and the paperback for USD 17.09 to USD 83.19.

Remember that you may pay higher due to its shipping fees. Your location may be a significant reason for the changes in additional expenses. 


Book Review: Cliff’s TOEFL Preparation Guide

As we go further to this book’s content, let us briefly review whether the Cliffs TOEFL Preparation Guide is effective and helpful for the TOEFL preparation. We will look for various ratings and the pros and cons of this guide. 

General Overview

Before focusing on the user ratings, let us enumerate its good and bad points first. With that, the following are the pros and cons of using this book.

Pros

This book is one of the best TOEFL prep guides in terms of grammar. It can assist you to have a general comprehension of language structure and correct grammatical construction. It also contains numerous detailed lessons on how you can use English words and sentences correctly. 

In addition to that, this book also guides test-takers to the possible test content before proceeding to the lessons. It starts with a light set of reminders and topics, so you will not get shocked with average to difficult ones in the succeeding parts.

However, rest assured that everything will not be confusing because this book is concise, detailed, and understandable. Lastly, this book also recommends various study plans and schedules for your preparation. 

Cons

Fortunately, there are no other drawbacks found in this book. The only problem is that this guide is already old, and it still uses cassette tapes. It can be inapplicable and impractical to test-takers who do not have cassette players. 

Ratings

Sadly, there are not many user ratings found about this book. However, we will still present these ratings and reviews from two platforms or sources.

Goodreads

The Cliff’s Preparation Guide to TOEFL received a user rating of 4.32 out of 5 in Goodreads. Some users commented that this book is an excellent guide for test-takers and that the grammar section is beneficial. However, one of them said that the book is already out-of-date due to its cassette tapes. 

Cliffs TOEFL Preparation Guide Review Goodreads 1
Cliffs TOEFL Preparation Guide Review Goodreads 2

Amazon 

Users from Amazon gave this book a rating of 4.7 out of 5. They commended its complete content, several tests, and excellent writing parts. Moreover, they said that the cassette tapes were helpful, and they were able to prepare a lot for the TOEFL thanks to this guide. 

Cliffs TOEFL Preparation Guide Review Amazon 1
Cliffs TOEFL Preparation Guide Review Amazon 2

Is This Book Right for You?

If you are looking for a prep book that can contribute a lot to your grammar proficiency, this guide is the most suitable for you. It provides step-by-step lessons to different sentence and grammatical constructions that can improve your mastery of English.

Moreover, you won’t need to worry about the book’s complexity because it is clear, concise, and detailed.

Additionally, this book also has six full-length practice tests similar to the actual TOEFL. You can try answering them to see if your skills are enough for the exam. Aside from that, it also includes mini-tests and exercises with answers and explanations in the end.

  • Ensure to take all the practice tests provided in the book. However, please do not force yourself to finish all of them immediately.
  • Use the listening comprehension cassette tapes found together with the book.
  • When you are already halfway through the book, we recommend rereading the Suggested Approach to each question type in Part 2 and reviewing the Successful Overall Approach in Part 1. 
  • Chart your test results regularly and carefully to know if you are improving or not.
  • Practice writing essays. You can ask a composition teacher to check and grade your papers afterward.
  • Do not hesitate to go back to the lessons you did not understand at first.
  • Do not forget to read the introductory material in Part 1 of the book. The first part is essential because it will guide you to the general descriptions and formats of the TOEFL. 
  • Remember to read Part 2 also. It contains the ability tested, basic skills necessary, directions, and suggested approach with samples. It can give you an idea about the types of questions that may appear in the three sections.
  • Plan your sessions. Check your availability and make a schedule of your study time.
  • Divide the book parts and tasks by the days of your availability. Try to finish the book with equal hours every day, and do not try to finish them all in one go. 

How To Get the Most Out of Cliff’s TOEFL Preparation Guide?

We recommend doing the listed things here to get the most out of Cliff’s Preparation Guide to the TOEFL.

  • Ensure to take all the practice tests provided in the book. However, please do not force yourself to finish all of them immediately.
  • Use the listening comprehension cassette tapes found together with the book.
  • When you are already halfway through the book, we recommend rereading the Suggested Approach to each question type in Part 2 and reviewing the Successful Overall Approach in Part 1. 
  • Chart your test results regularly and carefully to know if you are improving or not.
  • Practice writing essays. You can ask a composition teacher to check and grade your papers afterward.
  • Do not hesitate to go back to the lessons you did not understand at first.

Final Thoughts

As we go to the end of this article, we can conclude that this book is one of the most excellent prep guides for the TOEFL. It can improve your grammar proficiency, which is an essential factor in the English language.

Without the mastery of grammar, you will not be able to construct sentences for writing, understand listening passages, comprehend reading materials and create speeches for speaking.

However, if you do not have cassette players and won’t bother to find one, you won’t be able to use the cassette tapes provided in the book. Moreover, this cannot also suit you if you are not into old books.

Nonetheless, despite its age, it can still contribute a lot to your preparation. Do you have any thoughts and experiences you want to share? Feel free to do so below!


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