TOEFL Preparation Book: Review of “Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test”

The Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test can be an excellent guide to help you achieve a passing grade on the TOEFL test. The book includes most of the things you need: core concepts, practice questions, answers, explanations, and the likes!

This book review will have a detailed analysis of the content, pros and cons, user ratings, and basic information about this book. We will present a brief review of each aspect to determine if this book is sufficient for your preparation or not.

Everything You Must Know About Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test

Cracking the TOEFL iBT Book or Guide

The Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test has detailed explanations on four core concepts: reading, listening, writing, and speaking. Each section also has a guide about its scoring system.

Aside from that, it is an excellent choice to use this because it also includes various practice drills for each concept. You can also assess your answers using the explained answer keys on the latter part.

We will provide a detailed discussion regarding the basic information of this book. We will talk about its authors, contents, latest editions, and prices. 


Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test became possible through the joint efforts of the staff and writers of the Princeton Review Inc. This team comprises expert instructors and tutors working together to give service since 1981.

They are the powerhouse of online and school-based courses, small group tutoring, and one-on-one teaching. They often serve students and test-takers of school admissions, various kinds of tests, and examinations. 

What to Expect in the Book?

Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test can be the best when talking about TOEFL’s core concepts. It has detailed yet engaging and understandable explanations of each skill. Moreover, it also includes step-by-step strategies for each of the sections.

Aside from that, this book also assists you in basic grammar and tips on identifying main ideas in a given lecture or passage. It can also serve as your comprehensive guide to writing excellent essays for the TOEFL.

Lastly, it has one full-length practice test with accompanying audio sections provided in the CD. Worry not about assessing your answers because you can find answer explanations for drills and practice tests on the latter part of each core concept. 

Latest Edition Available

The latest edition of Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test is the Princeton Review TOEFL iBT Prep with Audio/Listening Tracks 2022. The name has changed together with some of its content.

The Princeton Review Inc. targets to release it on February 1, 2022, under the Penguin Random House, but you can already pre-order yours on Amazon

Book Contents

Here is the official content of the 2019 edition of Cracking the TOEFL IBT Test to guide you further on what you can get from this book.

Part I: Orientation


  • Welcome!
  • What Is the TOEFL?
  • What Is The Princeton Review?
  • What’s in This Book
  • What’s Not in This Book
  • How to Use This Book
  • Can I Really Improve My Score?
  • POOD—Personal Order of Difficulty
  • General Strategies to Improve Your English Proficiency and Prepare for the TOEFL
  • Study Plans

Part II: Core Concepts

Core Concept: Reading

  • Reading on the TOEFL
  • Steps to Mastering Active Reading
  • Dealing with Difficult Passages

Core Concept: Listening

  • Listening on the TOEFL
  • Challenges in the Listening Section
  • Taking Notes
  • Active Listening
  • Transcripts

Core Concept: Speaking

  • Scoring for the Speaking Section
  • Part 1: Stating Your Purpose
  • Part 2: Organizing Your Ideas
  • Putting It All Together
  • Wrapping Things Up: The Conclusion

Core Concept: Writing

  • Scoring for the Writing Section
  • Part 1: Expressing Your Purpose
  • Part 2: Organizing Your Ideas
  • Part 3: Writing the Perfect Body Paragraph
  • Part 4: Concluding Your Response

Grammar Review

  • Vocabulary
  • Root Words

Part III: Cracking Each Section of the TOEFL

Cracking the Reading Section

  • Basic Principles and Basic Approach
  • Putting It All Together

Reading Practice Drills

  • Reading Practice Drill #1 – #8

Reading Practice Answers and Explanations

  • Reading Practice Drill #1 – #8

Cracking the Listening Section

  • Listening Section Directions
  • Cracking the Listening Section: Basic Principles and Basic Approach
  • Final Tips for the Listening Section
  • Note Taking
  • The Five R’s of Note Taking
  • 6 Habits of Bad Listeners

Listening Practice Drills

  • Listening Practice Drills #1 to #5

Listening Practice Answers and Explanations

  • Listening Practice Drills #1 to #5

Cracking the Speaking Section

  • Speaking Section Directions
  • How the Speaking Section Is Scored
  • Basic Principles
  • Practice: Using Transitions
  • Answers and Explanations for Practice: Using Transitions
  • Basic Approach
  • Independent Tasks
  • Integrated Tasks
  • Appendix: Transcripts to Audio Tracks

Speaking Practice Drills

  • Questions (Template #1 – #6)

Speaking Practice Answers and Explanations

Cracking the Writing Section

  • Writing Section Directions
  • How the Writing Section Is Scored
  • Cracking the Writing Section: Basic Principles and Basic Approach

Writing Practice Drills

  • Writing Practice Drill #1 – #5

Writing Practice Answers and Explanations

  • Writing Practice Drill #1 – #5

Part IV: Taking a Practice Test

  • Evaluating Your Performance
  • What Now?

TOEFL iBT Practice Test

  • The Reading Section
  • The Listening Section
  • The Speaking Section
  • The Writing Section

Practice Test Answer Key

Practice Test Answers and Explanations

  • The Reading Section
  • The Listening Section
  • The Speaking Section: Sample Responses
  • The Writing Section: Sample Responses


Since the Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test has various editions, we provide you with the respective prices of each edition, starting from 2019 to 2022.

  • 2019 Edition – You can purchase this version from USD 10.92 to USD 51.99.
  • 2020 Edition – This one is available from USD 3.49 to USD 36.
  • 2021 Edition – You can find this edition at USD 21.95 to USD 65.93.
  • 2022 Edition – Start sending your pre-orders for this one for USD 35.99.

However, please remember that the prices vary because some books may be new or used, with highlights, or good or bad quality. Moreover, your expenses may rise due to the shipping fees and your location. 

Book Review: Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test

Different views and opinions are arising about the Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test. Some say positive ones, while others say negative. 

To have a brief review of the efficacy of this book, here are its pros and cons and a few user ratings. 

General Overview

First, we will see if this book is advantageous enough for test-takers. On the other hand, we will also identify its disadvantages to know what to look at in other TOEFL books. 


The book Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test is famous for its understandable and engaging style. It is easy to follow and comprehend, making it more advisable for beginners.

Aside from that, this guide breaks each section and provides uncomplicated questions while progressing to the difficult ones. It explains each core concept thoroughly and presents various tips and strategies for answering the questions.

Lastly, the computer-based practice test has similar to the actual TOEFL exam format. With that, you can prepare for the exam properly beforehand.


However, you may still find disadvantages in this book. First, it only has one full-length practice exam, making it fewer than other TOEFL books. The practice questions are also more unchallenging than usually present in the actual examination.

Due to the easy questions, you can be surprised at how hard the actual test is on the exam day. What makes it more challenging and complex is that there is not a lot of advice for difficult questions. It also lacks research and editing because some parts are inaccurate and out-of-date.


Next, we will look at what people usually say about the Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test. Here are some user ratings from various platforms. 


Users from Goodreads gave this book a rating of 4.07 out of 5. Even though only one person wrote a review, the user has commented with a detailed one.

He stated that the book starts with a few uncomplicated drills. That strategy is advisable for beginners in TOEFL. Moreover, the writing section is also accurate and excellent, especially the integrated writing.

However, the speaking section includes only a few question types. Considering that, it can lead you to be unaware of other question types that may appear on the actual test. Additionally, there is only one sample test, which is also out-of-date.

Cracking the TOEFL iBT Review Goodreads


Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test received a rating of 4.6 out of 5 in the Amazon. The users commented that there are excellent tips and strategies provided in the book. Some also stated that there are detailed examples, which are helpful for them.

Nonetheless, they also said that some of the contents are out-of-date. They also wished there would be more practice tests to try.

Cracking the TOEFL iBT Review Amazon


Lastly, users from Flipkart gave Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test a rating of 4.1 out of 5. They said that the book was excellent and well-organized, but no CDs were attached to it.

Cracking the TOEFL iBT Review FlipKart

How To Use The Book Effectively?

To achieve the maximum efficacy of the Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test, here are some tips and advice we recommend for you to try.

  • Do not hesitate to jot down vocabulary and critical points on your notes to remember essential things easily. 
  • Accomplish the book in proper order to understand its content better. It is better not to read it disorderly because you will get confused.
  • Finish all the core concepts and activities provided in the book, even though you are already comfortable with some. However, if you are strongly confident about some topics, you may skip them. 
  • If you did not learn enough from a specific concept, consider repeating it until you fully understand it. 

Is This Book Right for You?

If you are a beginner in preparing for the TOEFL, this book may suit you. It works best on people who are not yet confident in their English skills. The understandable core concepts and uncomplicated questions are perfect as an introduction to the TOEFL preparation.

Nevertheless, if you are looking for a TOEFL book with complex questions and content, we recommend finding another supplementary material. This book is not advisable for test-takers aiming for perfect or near-perfect scores. Moreover, there is also an insufficient number of full-length practice exams here.

How To Get the Most Out of Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test?

We present you with these strategies for getting the most out of the Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test.

  • Practice as much as possible because practicing makes everything perfect. Repeat the core concepts until you are strongly confident about your knowledge of them.
  • Use the strategies and techniques presented in the book. You may find them boring and weird at first, but they are worth it once you understand their purpose.
  • Use the CDs and audio tracks provided in the book. These materials will help you understand the lessons better.

Final Thoughts

Using the Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test can be one of your best choices when preparing for the exam. It can gear you up in the basic knowledge and information on the core concepts, and practice your skills with its practice drills and questions. It also has tips and strategies that you can use in taking the test.

However, do not rely on this book alone. It lacks full-length practice exams, and some practice questions are out-of-date. Moreover, the questions are also too uncomplicated compared to the actual TOEFL. You can get surprised by the content of the real exam.

With that, try using other supplementary books to help you. You need to find ones that can fill in the book’s gaps. You can always get a high grade in the TOEFL if you know how to study for it.

Do you have any experience in using this book or taking the exam? Share us your experiences and thoughts below!

Additional FAQs About “Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test” Book

Is the Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test Good?

This book is excellent prep material for beginners just starting their TOEFL preparation. It has detailed explanations on core concepts with practice questions and drills on the latter part. The format is uncomplicated and engaging too.

Aside from that, one excellent point of this book is that it does not start with difficult questions already. It focuses first on the easy topics before proceeding to the complicated parts.

Nevertheless, consider looking for other TOEFL books if you are looking for more complex questions suitable for average or advanced test-takers. Even though this book has difficult questions, they are still way too easy compared to the actual TOEFL. 

Which Book Should I Buy for TOEFL?

You can choose from many books when preparing for the TOEFL. Nonetheless, we recommend using the Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test while complementing it with other supplementary materials. This book is best for tips, strategies, and detailed explanations of the core concepts.

However, you can also try purchasing the Official Guide to the TOEFL iBT Test to fill in the lapses of this book. Since the Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test does not have enough full-length practice tests, you can buy the Official Guide to make your preparation perfect. 

How Many TOEFL Books Are There?

There are over 35 TOEFL books available on different platforms and sites. Some examples of popular TOEFL prep guides are the Cracking the TOEFL iBT Test, Official Guide to the TOEFL iBT Test, Momentrix TOEFL Preparation Book, Barron’s TOEFL iBT, Kaplan’s TOEFL iBT Prep Plus, and many more. 

However, there may also be some reading materials that are not famous.