College Essay 400 Words Toefl

Developing solid TOEFL vocabulary skills can be one of the most challenging parts of studying for the exam, but it’s also one of the most important. Many TOEFL questions either ask you the definition of a word outright or require you to have knowledge of certain words in order to answer a question correctly. With so many words in the English language, which are the ones you need to know?

We’ve done the hard work for you and determined the 327 most useful TOEFL words to know. They’re all listed below, along with a definition and sample sentence for each. We also end with tips on how to use this list most effectively in order to be prepared for vocabulary on the TOEFL.

 

How Did We Compile This TOEFL Vocabulary List?

To create this list, we first read through official TOEFL practice materials and made a list of all the words a person taking the TOEFL might struggle with. This was our primary source and finds words that you’re more likely to see on the real test. Next, we cross-referenced our list with TOEFL vocabulary lists from other sites, such as Magoosh and TOEFL Vocabulary, and examined their overlap with our list.

Words that appeared especially frequently from our research was automatically added to the final TOEFL vocabulary list you see below, as well as a selection of other words deemed particularly useful to know for the TOEFL. Once the list of 327 best words was compiled, we added a definition and sample sentence to each one to help you better understand the words and how they are used.

 

The 327 TOEFL Words You Need to Know

Below are the 327 best TOEFL vocabulary words, in alphabetical order.

WordDefinitionSample Sentence
AbundantPresent in large quantities.Living close to a lake means we have an abundant supply of water.
AccumulateTo gradually collect.Each fall, leaves accumulate in our driveway.
AccurateCorrect; free from errors.Make sure your address is accurate before submitting your online order.
AccustomedUsed to something.Having 8AM classes means I’m accustomed to getting up early.
AcquireTo come into possession of.When my grandmother died, I acquired her cookbook collection.
AdamantRefusing to change an opinion.The defendant was adamant that he was innocent.
AdequateEnough to suit your needs.Our house isn’t big, but it’s adequate for the two of us.
AdjacentClose to or next to.The park is adjacent to the school.
AdjustTo change something so it serves its purpose better.The bike seat may be too high; you’ll probably need to adjust it.
AdvantageSomething that makes it easier to achieve success.His height gives him an advantage in basketball.
AdvocateTo publicly support.My aunt is a major advocate for women’s’ rights.
AdverseUnfavorable; against one’s desires.I had an adverse reaction to my medication and had to stop taking it.
AggregateTo combine.We should aggregate our resources to share them more easily.
AggressiveAssertive and pushy.The salesperson was very aggressive when trying to get us to buy the television.
AllocateTo put aside for a specific purpose.The village needs to allocate funds for building the new school.
AlternativeAnother option or choice.If the ATM is broken, an alternative solution is to stop by the bank.
AmateurSomeone who is inexperienced or not highly skilled in a particular area.He’s an amateur soccer player and is still learning the rules of the game.
AmbiguousHaving several potential meanings; unclear and difficult to understand.When I asked the HR manager what my chances were of getting the job, she gave me a very ambiguous reply.
AmbitiousHaving large goals.My son is very ambitious and hopes to be a millionaire by the time he’s thirty.
AmendTo change for the better; to improve.I believe we should amend our country’s tax laws.
AmplePlentiful.Our new apartment has ample space for the two of us.
AnomalyDeviation from the norm.The basketball player is the team’s best free thrower, so his missing both shots was an anomaly.
AnnualOccurring yearly.The annual company barbeque takes place every August.
AntagonizeTo tease or be hostile towards a person or group.The boy loves to antagonize his little sister by pulling her hair.
AttitudeManner or feeling.After she got grounded, the teenager had a bad attitude for the rest of the day.
AttributeTo give credit.Be sure to attribute credit to your sources when writing a research paper.
ArbitraryBased on a whim or random decision.Flipping a coin is an arbitrary way to make a decision.
ArduousRequiring a lot of effort.After you cross the bridge, there’s an arduous walk up the hill.
AssuageTo lessen a negative feeling.The mother assuaged her child’s fear of the dark.
AssumeTo suppose without solid proof.I assumed he was rich because he worked as a lawyer.
AugmentTo increase or make larger.She augments her regular salary by babysitting on the weekends.
BenefitSomething positive or advantageous.A benefit of doing homework on Friday is that your weekend will be free.
BerateTo scold.Our neighbor berated us after we broke his window playing baseball.
BestowTo give as a gift.The medal was bestowed upon him by the president.
BoastTo brag or talk with excessive pride.He always boasts of his talents after he wins a game.
BoostTo help raise or increase something.I gave him a pep talk to boost his self-esteem before his speech.
BrashRude and tactless.The brash man always asked inappropriate questions.
BriefShort (in terms of time).It will only have a brief meeting, so you’ll still have plenty of time for lunch.
BrusqueAbrupt to the point of rudeness.After being away for so long, I expected more than her brusque greeting.
CacophonyA harsh, unpleasant mixture of noise.The cuckoo clock shop lets off a cacophony every hour.
CeaseTo stop.I wish they would cease arguing.
CensureTo express strong disapproval.Every parent in our district censured the education cuts.
ChronologicalArranged in order of time or date.Put the historical events in chronological order to make them easier to study.
ClarifyTo make clear; to remove confusion.I didn’t understand the instructions, so I asked the teacher to clarify them.
CoalesceTo combine or grow together.The people on the street eventually coalesced into a group.
CoerceTo force someone to do something against their will.The young boy was coerced into stealing by his friends.
CognizantBeing aware or having knowledge of something.Before mountain climbing, you need to be cognizant of the risks.
CohesionUniting; becoming one.Water molecules show strong cohesion when they stick together.
CoincideTo occur at the same time.This year Thanksgiving coincided with my birthday.
CollapseTo fall down or break down.The old building finally collapsed, leaving nothing but a pile of rubble.
CollideTo hit one another with a forceful impact.The two cars collided on the freeway.
CommitmentDedication to a cause or activity.Joining a school play is a big commitment. You’ll need to practice every evening.
CommunityA group of people who live or work together.The Chinese community in my city is hosting a New Year celebration next week.
ConcealTo hide.The mountains concealed the ocean from view.
ConcurTo agree.He believes women should be paid as much as men, and I concur.
ConflictA disagreement or fight.The conflict between the two families has been going on for generations.
ConstrainTo restrict or repress.You should move your plant to a bigger pot, otherwise you’ll constrain its roots.
ContemplateTo consider thoughtfully.I spend a lot of time contemplating what career I want to have.
ContinuouslyTo go on without stopping.My neighbors have been continuously blasting their music since last night.
ContradictTo give the opposite opinion.I told the employees that sales were down, but my boss contradicted me and said sales were actually up.
ContributeTo give something (usually money or time) to a common fund or cause.Every roommate contributes part of his paycheck to the grocery bill.
ConveyTo make known.I’ve conveyed my interest in working for that company.
CopiousAbundant.He always takes copious notes during class to study later on.
CoreCentral; of main importance.Although many employees left the company, the core leadership remained.
CorrodeTo gradually wear away.The rust corroded the paint on my car.
CumbersomeBurdensome; clumsyTrying to carry four grocery bags at once was very cumbersome.
CurriculumThe courses given by a school or program.Our school needs to add more music courses to its curriculum.
DataFacts, statistics, or pieces of information.The data from these graphs show that yearly temperatures are increasing.
DecayTo decline in health or excellence.After the tree died, its wood began to decay.
DeceiveTo trick or mislead.He deceived me by pretending to be a millionaire.
DecipherTo find the meaning of.The spy deciphered the secret code.
DeclarationAn announcement.He made a declaration to the office that he was quitting.
Decline 1. To politely refuse.

2. To deteriorate (especially in terms of health.)

 1.  I declined his offer of a ride home.

2. Her health has declined ever since she turned 70.

DegradeTo lower in quality.My attempt at cake degraded into a crumbly mess.
DemonstrateTo show.Let me demonstrate the proper way of throwing a football.
DenyTo state that something isn’t true.He denied being the robber.
DepleteTo significantly decrease.Your shopping sprees have depleted my savings.
DepositTo deliver and leave an item.Please deposit your books in the bin outside the library.
DesirableWorth having or wanting.Bravery is a desirable trait for firefighters to have.
DespiseTo hate.I despise early morning classes.
DetectTo locate something.The police dog detected the missing child’s scent.
DeterTo discourage.The warning signs on the house deterred trespassers.
DeviateTo differ from the norm.I decided to deviate from my normal route home and took a shortcut.
DeviseTo plan or create.The coach devised a plan for winning the game.
DiatribeA sharp criticism or attack.The politician went into a diatribe against her opponent.
DigressTo wander from the main subject.The teacher digressed from the lecture to discuss the weather.
DilemmaA situation where one must choose between two difficult choices.The student faced the dilemma of attending school sick or missing her exam.
DiminishTo shrink or reduce.Sprinkle baking soda on the carpet to diminish the stain.
DisposeTo get rid of.I need to dispose of this trash.
DisproportionateToo large or small when compared to something else.The piece of pie I received was disproportionately small.
DisruptTo interrupt by causing a disturbance.The protesters disrupted the politician’s speech.
DistortTo misrepresent.The camera filter distorted the image.
DistributeTo give portions of something.Distribute the materials evenly among the class.
DiverseShowing a lot of variety.This city has a very diverse population.
DivertTo cause a change of course.Because of the accident, the police had to divert traffic down a side street.
DynamicConstantly changing.The theater has dynamic shows, so you never know what you’ll see.
EaseTo reduce unpleasantness or difficulty.This prescription will ease your allergies.
EfficientMaximizing productivity.Now that I’m following a schedule at work, I’m much more efficient.
EliminateTo remove.Our team lost the match and was eliminated from the competition.
EliteA select, above-average group.The elite detective team were also sent for when there were big crimes.
EloquentMoving speech or writing.Her eloquent writing has gained her many fans.
EmphasizeTo give special importance to when speaking or writing.The teacher emphasized the due date of the project.
EndureTo suffer through something difficult with patience.He has endured four knee operations so far.
EnhanceTo intensify or magnify.The falling snow enhanced the beauty of the small village.
EpitomeA perfect example of something.The duchess is the epitome of class.
EquivalentEqual.Twenty-four is equivalent to two dozen.
ErroneousIncorrect.He apologized for his erroneous statement.
EstimateAn approximate value.Try to get an estimate of the number of people attending the concert.
EvadeTo avoid or escape.By hiding in the bathroom, we were able to evade the intruder.
EvaluateTo assess.At the end of the class, every student will evaluate how well the professor taught.
EvidenceFacts or information that help prove or disprove something.These fossils are evidence of evolution.
EvolveTo gradually change.The small school evolved into a world-class institution.
ExemplaryWorthy of imitation.She is an exemplary student, and you should copy her study habits.
ExcludeTo leave out.The young boy was excluded from his friends’ soccer game.
ExclusiveNot admitting the majority.We may not be able to get in since that club is very exclusive.
ExpandTo increase in size.Adding air to bike tires will cause them to expand.
ExpertiseExpert knowledge or skill in a particular field.The surgeon’s expertise is knee surgeries.
ExploitTo use selfishly.The company exploited its workers by making them work long hours.
ExposeTo reveal or unmask.The emails presented exposed the company’s corruption.
ExtensionAn act of making something longer.If you’re sick on the day the paper is due, the teacher may give you an extension on the due date.
ExtractTo get or remove something.The dentist extracted one of my teeth.
FamineA time when there is an extreme lack of food.Millions of children in  Ethiopia died due to the famine there.
FeasiblePossible to do.This study plan you made for me sounds feasible, even with my work schedule.
FiniteHaving an end or limits.Remember that life is finite; you’re not immortal.
FlawA feature that ruins the perfection of something.I got the diamond for a reduced price since the stone had a flaw.
FluctuateTo change continually.I’m not sure what to wear since the temperature has been fluctuating so much.
FocusThe central point or idea.The program is going to focus on environmental issues.
FortifyTo strengthen.The king decided to fortify the castle walls to protect them during attacks.
FrameworkA skeletal structure designed to support something.Skyscrapers must have a strong framework to support all the floors.
FrivolousUnnecessary; of little importanceYou must stop spending your money on frivolous purchases.
FunctionA purpose natural to a person or thing.The function of petals is to attract insects to the plant.
FundamentalOf primary importance.Learning scales is fundamental to being a good piano player.
GapA space in between to objects.Be careful to avoid the gap between the two steps.
GarbledCommunication that is distorted and unclear.Our answering machine is so bad that people’s voices are always garbled.
GenerateTo produce.The fire generates heat, which keeps the room warm.
GrandiosePompous; overly important.The actress had only one small part before she got grandiose ideas of her fame.
HackneyedOverused and unoriginal.HIs poems contain many hackneyed phrases.
HaphazardLacking planning.There was no schedule, so the event was very haphazard.
HarshNot gentle; unpleasant.Her comments on my performance were very harsh and not kind at all.
HastyIn a hurry.In order to avoid the police, the robbers made a hasty retreat.
HazardousFull of risk.The nuclear reactor has a lot of hazardous waste.
HesitateTo pause, often due to reluctance.She hesitated before entering the abandoned building.
HierarchyA ranking system.In the office hierarchy, the manager is higher than the associate.
HindranceSomething that causes delay or resistance.Her hatred of public transportation is a hindrance when trying to get around New York City.
HollowEmpty inside.The dead tree is hollow.
HorrorAn intense feeling of fear.The haunted house filled me with horror.
HostileExtremely unfriendly.My ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend was very hostile towards me.
HypothesisAn unproven idea that attempts to explain something.You’ll need to conduct an experiment to test your hypothesis.
IdenticalExactly the same.The twins were completely identical.
Illiterate Unable to read.Because he’d never been able to attend school, the man was illiterate.
IllustrateTo explain by using an example.The professor illustrated the lesson with a personal story.
ImpactEffect or influence.His moving words had a large impact on me.
ImpairTo worsen.Drinking alcohol will impair your driving abilities.
ImplementTo carry out.We will implement the new schedule starting next semester.
ImplyTo strongly suggest.My mother implied that I was the one who forgot to take out the trash.
ImposeTo force upon.After the riots, the mayor imposed a curfew on the town.
ImpoverishTo reduce to poverty.These medical bills are going to impoverish me.
IncentiveA reason to do something.I hate my job, but the big paychecks are a good incentive to stick with it.
IncessantContinuing without pause.I can’t sleep because of the dog’s incessant barking.
IncidentalA minor part.Don’t worry about your grade on this quiz; it’s only an incidental part of your grade.
InciteTo urge on.The ringleader incited the soldiers to rebellion.
InclinationA preference.My inclination is to go to bed early.
IncompetentIncapable; lacking ability.The incompetent worker was fired from his job.
InconsistentChanging randomly.His pitching has been very inconsistent all season.
IndefatigableUntiring.She is an indefatigable hiker and can walk all day.
IndisputableNot able to be challenged.She’s the indisputable star of the basketball team.
IneffectiveNot producing any major impact.The drug was shown to be ineffective at curing cancer.
InevitableUnable to be avoided.Even if you’re healthy, death is inevitable in the end.
InferTo guess based on evidence.I inferred that she was annoyed based on her body language.
InflateTo increase in size.Getting a promotion has really inflated his ego.
InfluenceThe ability to have an impact of something.The older sister has been a positive influence on her younger siblings.
InhibitTo hinder or restrain.This cleaning spray inhibits the growth of bacteria.
InitialThe first.She was the initial president of the company.
InquiryAn investigation to determine the truth.Congress launched an inquiry after the senator was accused of taking bribes.
IntegralNecessary to complete the whole.You can’t quit. You’re an integral part of this team.
IntegrateTo combine.When making a cake, you need to fully integrate the wet and dry ingredients.
InterpretTo explain the meaning of something.I need you to interpret this German speech for me.
InterveneTo come between people, objects, or an event and change what is happening.When the toddlers couldn’t share their toys, their mothers had to intervene.
IntrepidFearless.The intrepid mountain climber reached the top of Mt. Everest.
IntricateHighly detailed.The pattern on this blanket is so intricate.
InvasiveIntrusive.We found the stranger’s questions too personal and very invasive.
InvestigateTo examine or study.The police are going to investigate the crime scene.
IrascibleEasy to anger.Even though my grandfather seems irascible, he’s actually very loving.
IronyThe use of words to give a meaning opposite to their literal meaning.“I love spending my Friday nights doing homework,” she said with irony.
IrresoluteUncertain.Not sure which direction to go in, he stood irresolute.
JargonWords specific to a certain job or group.To be a successful doctor, you’ll need to learn a lot of medical jargon.
JointlyTogether.The newlyweds jointly opened up a bank account.
KnackA special talent or skill.My brother has a real knack for solving tricky math problems.
LaborWork or effort.Building a house requires a lot of labor.
LagTo fall behind.I stayed with the front group of runners for the first few miles, but after that I began to lag.
LampoonTo mock or ridicule.The cartoonist lampooned the president’s speech.
LanguishTo become weak; to be neglected.During winter break, my plants languished since I was visiting my parents and couldn’t water them.
LectureA talk given to an audience.The professor will give a 30 minute lecture before the quiz.
LeeryWary.I’m leery of taking the dark-looking shortcut.
LegitimateLawful.The way he became mayor is completely legitimate.
LenientMerciful; less harsh.The judge gave the criminal a lenient sentence due to his bad childhood.
LikelyProbable.I don’t have much homework, so it’s likely I’ll be able to go out tonight.
LudicrousRidiculous.His claims about me are absolutely ludicrous.
MaintainTo continue at the same level.She has maintained the same weight since high school.
MajorVery important.This test is a major part of your final grade.
ManipulateTo influence, especially in an unfair way.He tried to manipulate the results of the election.
MaximizeTo increase to the greatest possible size.The store’s goal this year is to maximize its profit.
MeasureTo find the size and dimensions of something.By measuring the tree, I found it was seven feet tall.
MediocreOrdinary, average.The meal the chef made was only mediocre.
MendTo fix.My mother will mend the hole in my shirt.
MethodA way of doing something.Her method for making bread takes three days.
MigrateTo move from one place to another.Every fall, the geese migrate to Florida.
MinimumThe smallest or lowest amount possible.You need to get a minimum of 70% on the test to pass the class.
MisleadingGiving the wrong idea.The advertisement for the weight loss pills is very misleading since studies have shown they’re ineffective.
ModifyTo change.I need to modify my style so it looks more professional.
MoroseGloomy, depressed.The boy was morose after hearing he didn’t make the football team.
NegligentLazy, neglectful.The negligent babysitter invited her friends over while the children were upstairs.
NonchalantIndifferent, unexcited.I was hurt when my friend greeted me so nonchalantly.
ObeyTo follow orders or instructions.My dog always obeys me when I ask her to sit.
ObtainTo get.The spy obtained the secret codes we need.
ObviousEasily understood.The large poster of Michael Jackson over her bed made it obvious who her favorite singer was.
OpponentSomeone on the opposite side for a game or contest.The soccer player blocked her opponent’s shot at the goal.
OppressTo unfairly burden.For the past ten generations the royal family has oppressed the peasants by keeping them in poverty.
OriginThe source; where something began.The explorers are trying to find the origin of the Nile.
ParadigmA typical example of something.This work of art is a paradigm of the period; you’ll see many examples of it in the museum.
ParsimoniousFrugal, stingy.The parsimonious woman only donated a dollar to charity.
PartakeTo join in.My leg was feeling much better, so I decided to partake in the soccer match.
PartialPreferring one option over others.We can get strawberry ice cream, but I’m actually more partial to chocolate.
PaucitySomething existing in very small amounts; scarcity.During the drought, the town had a paucity of fresh water.
PeakThe highest or most important point.Winning the championship was the peak of his career.
PeripheralLocated on the side or edge.There are some peripheral fights going on at the outdoor concert.
PermeateTo penetrate or pass through.Let the maple syrup permeate your waffles before eating them.
PersistTo continue, especially when facing opposition.I may have lost my last six games, but I will continue to persist trying to win.
PertainRelate.How does your question pertain to the lecture?
PhaseA period or stage in a process.In high school, I went through a phase where I only wore black clothes.
PollA record of opinions or votes.The polls show that my candidate is going to win the election.
PotentPowerful.Only take one sleeping pill since they’re very potent.
PragmaticPractical, sensible.Your boyfriend is too dramatic. I think you need a more pragmatic man.
PraiseTo give approval or admiration.The book is the best I’ve ever read; I can’t praise it enough.
PrecedeTo come before.The flower girls preceded the bride when they walked down the aisle.
PreciseExact.When collecting data, it’s important that your measurements are very precise.
PrestigiousHaving a high reputation.Harvard is one of the most prestigious colleges in the United States.
PrevalentWidespread.If more people don’t start washing their hands, disease will become more prevalent.
PrimaryFirst; most important.Maeve’s primary goal in life is to become a doctor.
PriorPrevious or earlier.Prior to becoming a teacher, Elena worked as a book editor.
ProceedTo continue doing something.I’m sorry for interrupting; please proceed with your speech.
ProgenyOffspring.The dog’s progeny all have yellow fur.
PromoteTo further to progress of something.I’m promoting this new indie movie so that more people will buy tickets to it.
ProsperTo do well.Dave hopes his new business will prosper and make him a millionaire.
ProximityNearness in time or space.The twins hated to be apart, so they bought houses in close proximity to each other.
QuarrelDisagreement or fight; to have an argument.Nina and her boyfriend always quarrel over money.
RangeThe distance between two things, often the maximum and the minimum.The range of ages at the concert spanned from 12 to 65.
RankAn official position or station.Archibald was promoted to the rank of first captain.
RebukeTo sternly disapprove or reprimand.After staying out too late, Grace received a rebuke from her parents.
RecapitulateTo give a brief summary.At the end of his speech, the politician made sure to recapitulate his main points.
RecedeTo retreat.Two days after the flood, the seawater finally began to recede from our house.
RecommendTo present someone with confidence and approval.I need to ask Mr. Smith if he’ll recommend me for this leadership position.
ReformTo make changes that improve something.Melanie’s father is in charge of reforming to school system.
RegulateTo supervise or control a process so that it functions correctly.Ben needs to regulate how much he eats in order to stay at a healthy weight.
ReinforceTo strengthen with added support.The builders reinforced the house’s wooden frame with steel beams.
RejectTo say no to something that is offered.Lydia rejected my invitation to the homecoming dance.
ReleaseTo free; to allow to be known.The CEO decided to release the company’s profits from last year.
RelyTo depend on.I rely on coffee to get my through my mornings.
ReproachTo express disapproval or disappointment.The coach reproached the players for failing to play their best.
RequireTo need for a specific purpose.The camping trip requires that every participant bring their own food and sleeping bag.
ResentTo feel bitterness or anger towards someone or something.I’ve always resented my sister because she is my mother’s favorite child.
ResignTo give up an office or position.Due to his declining health, the mayor decided to resign from office.
ResistTo withstand the effect of.Resist the impulse to have ice cream for breakfast.
ResolveTo come to a firm decision.Matt resolved to get better grades next semester by studying every night.
RestrictTo confine or keep within limits.My doctor told me to restrict myself to one glass of wine a day.
RetainTo continue to do something or keep something.I’ve decided to retain my normal hairstyle.
Retract 1. To draw back in.

2. To withdraw something after it’s found to be untrue.

 1. I felt calmer after the lion retracted its claws.

 2. After numerous errors were found, the newspaper retracted the story.

RetrieveTo bring back.Alexis got out of the car to retrieve the ball her little brother had thrown.
RhetoricalUsed just for style or impact.You aren’t expected to actually answer rhetorical questions.
RigidStiff; unyielding.The boys’ father was happy to see the base of the treehouse was rigid and sturdy.
RotateTo turn.Rotate the sculpture so I can see the other side.
SafeguardSomething that serves as protection or ensures safety.A retirement fund is one way to safeguard your finances for the future.
ScrutinizeTo very carefully examine.The judges were looking for perfection, so they scrutinized every entry.
SectionA part of the whole.This section of the stadium dressed completely in red.
SelectTo choose.Jane selected a blue dress to wear to the wedding.
SequenceThings that follow each other in a certain order.Librarians need to know how order books in the correct sequence.
Severe 1. Harsh or strict.

2. Grave, critical.

 1. The robbers suffered severe consequences for stealing.

2. My uncle is currently battling a severe illness in the hospital.

ShallowNot deep.You don’t need to worry about getting your dress wet. The water is very shallow here.
ShelterTo protect from something harmful.The empty barn gave the men shelter during the storm.
ShrinkTo become smaller.Hopefully this cream will cause my scar to shrink.
SignificantImportant, noteworthy.The Gettysburg Address was a significant event during the Civil War.
SourceA person, place, or thing where something was obtained.You shouldn’t use Wikipedia as a source when writing school papers.
SparseThinly scattered.The farm was almost empty; there were just a few sparse trees here and there.
SpecifyTo clearly indicate which one.You need to specify which size shirt you want before I can order it.
SpeculateTo form a theory without strong evidence.My sister loves to speculate on the private lives of celebrities.
SolitaryAlone; without others.The hermit lives a solitary existence deep in the mountains.
SomberGloomy; depressing.After losing the competition, the chess players were very somber.
SootheTo calm or comfort.The mother sang a lullaby to soothe her crying baby.
SqualidFilthy and unpleasant.The shelter was squalid and overcrowded.
StableUnlikely to change or fail.We’re lucky to live in a country with such a stable government.
StagnantSluggish, showing little movement.With few new jobs created, the economy has remained stagnant for the past five years.
StrategyA plan to reach a desired outcome.The football team will need a good strategy to win the game tomorrow.
SubsequentComing after something in time.The first king was a good ruler, but subsequent kings have all been corrupt.
SubstituteA person or thing acting in place of another.If you don’t have sugar, honey makes a good substitute for this recipe.
SubtleDifficult to notice right away.Maya’s perfume was very subtle; you had to get close to her to smell it.
SufficientEnough to serve a particular purpose.Make sure you have sufficient food for the camping trip.
SummarizeTo briefly give the main points.The class didn’t have time to read the book, so the professor summarized it for them.
SuperviseTo oversee work or a process.My dad didn’t think we were old enough to build the fort on our own, so he supervised us.
SupplantTo take the place of something else.The king was supplanted by his treacherous younger brother who locked him in the dungeon.
Suspend 1. To temporarily stop.

2. To hang something from somewhere.

 1. The power outage suspended the school concert.

2. The lamp is suspended from the high ceiling.

SuspiciousHaving the belief that someone is doing something dishonest or illegal.The couple became suspicious when they saw strange men removing their neighbor’s expensive electronics during the night.
SustainTo keep going.I stopped trying to sustain the friendship after he made fun of how I looked.
SymbolicServing as a symbol.A cross is symbolic of Christianity.
TechnicalRelating to a specific subject or craft.The laptop manual is full of technical terms only a computer expert can understand.
TerminalSituated at the end.Everyone on the train must get off at the terminal stop.
TolerateTo put up with.I tolerate the rude man since he is my husband’s best friend.
TransferTo move from one place to another.Ben’s work is going to transfer him from Chicago to Detroit.
TransitionChanging from one state or condition to another.The transition from student to employee can often take awhile to get used to.
Transparent 1. See-through material.

2. Easy to detect.

 1. The glass vase is completely transparent.

2. Her attempt to flatter the movie star was very transparent.

TuitionThe fee for instruction at a school.College tuition prices have gone up in recent decades.
UnobtrusiveNot attracting attention.The prince’s bodyguards had mastered the art of being unobtrusive.
UnscathedUnharmed.Ian was lucky to walk away from the car crash unscathed.
UpbeatHappy; optimistic.Even when she’s having a bad day, my mom always has an upbeat attitude.
UnjustUnfair.Since I tried my hardest on the exam, I felt my teacher’s criticism of me was unjust.
VacillateTo waver or be indecisive.She vacillated between the two dresses before finally deciding to wear a skirt.
ValidJust; well-founded.The soldiers had valid concerns about the battles they’d be facing.
VanishTo disappear quickly.The plane vanished behind the clouds.
VaryTo be different from something else in a group.
VerdictA judgement or decision.The jury delivered a guilty verdict.
VestigeA small trace of something that is disappearing or has already disappeared.The empty castle still had a few vestiges of its former wealth.
VialA small container used to hold liquids.The chemist carefully filled the vial with the bubbling solution.
VilifyTo speak poorly of; to slander.Mark was vilified by his angry ex-girlfriend.
VoluminousTaking up a lot of space.The puffy wedding dress had voluminous sleeves.
WhereasOn the contrary.I always save my money whereas my brother is constantly in debt.
WhollyCompletely.The monk is wholly devoted to his faith.
WidespreadOccurring over a large region.There is widespread poverty across that country.
WiltTo droop and become limp.Plants will wilt if you don’t water them regularly.

 

How to Use This TOEFL Vocabulary List

First, you should read through the list and identify any words you don’t know or are unsure of. If you’re even slightly unsure of a TOEFL vocabulary word, you’ll want to study it. Be sure to read the definition and sample sentence of words you feel confident on to be sure you understand them fully.

Once you have your TOEFL word list that you need to study, you’ll want to work on memorizing their definitions. You don’t need to memorize the sample sentences, but you should review them to ensure you understand how the word is used. You can also search for individual TOEFL words in Google news to find articles that include the word and give you an even better idea of how the word is actually used.

Flashcards are a great way to study TOEFL vocab words because they allow you to easily flip between the word itself on one side and its definition and sample sentence on the other side. You can make your own TOEFL flashcards or use a site such as Quizlet which lets you make online flashcards for free from your TOEFL vocabulary list.

 

 

The Best Way to Use Your TOEFL Flashcards

We recommendusing the waterfall method to learn TOEFL words. If you’re not sure what the waterfall method is, we break it down for you below.

Once you have your TOEFL vocabulary flashcards, you’ll go through those cards one by one. For each card whose definition you know easily, you’ll put it in a “Know It” pile. If you don’t know the definition of a particular TOEFL word, put it in a “Struggled” pile.

After you’ve gone through each of the cards once, pick up your “Struggled” pile. You’ll now go through this pile again. For words where you know the definition, place them in a second “Know It” pile next to (but not combined with) the first “Know It” pile. For words you don’t know, make a new “Struggled” pile. Repeat this process, placing new “Know It” piles in a row from left to right. This creates your waterfall. Repeat this process until the “Struggled” pile has only a few words left.

Now, you’ll move back up the waterfall. Starting with the most recent “Struggled” pile, go through the flashcards until you know all the words in the pile. Then, add the most recent (the rightmost) “Know It” pile. Go through those words. If you miss any, go through the entire pile again until you get all of them right. It may take awhile to get through the entire pile, but this method will guarantee that you learn those TOEFL words! Continue this process until you get all the way back up the waterfall.

This is the best method to study vocab flashcards because you’ll spend the majority of your time reviewing the words you struggle the most with, as opposed to just studying the entire stack over and over.

 

Conclusion: Studying TOEFL Vocabulary

Vocabulary is an important part of the TOEFL, and many questions on the exam require you to have a strong vocabulary. Use our list of the 327 best TOEFL vocabulary words in order to guide your studying.

Flashcards are one of the best ways to learn your TOEFL vocabulary list, and the waterfall method is a great method to use with TOEFL flashcards. Don’t stop studying a word until you’ve memorized its definition and understand how it’s used in sentences!

 

What’s Next?

Vocab is an important part of the TOEFL, particularly the Reading section, but it’s not all you need to know. Get all the info you need to ace the Reading section here!

Want more information on how the TOEFL is scored?Check out our guide to learn exactly how the TOEFL is scored so you can maximize the number of points you get.

Practice tests are one of the best ways to prepare for the TOEFL. We’ve gathered information on the highest-quality TOEFL practice tests into one place so you have access to the best study materials!

Related

There is a score range for each skill measured on the test. There are 3 or 4 proficiency levels for each skill.

ETS administers some TOEFL iBT® test forms with 1 or more sections omitted. When 1 of these forms is administered, scores are given only for the sections that were included, and no total test score appears on the score report. If an institution receives such a score report and desires more information about the circumstances under which the test was administered, the institution should contact the test taker.

TOEFL iBT® Test Scores

View score descriptors.

SkillScore RangeLevel*
Reading0–30Low (0–14)
Intermediate (15–21)
High (22–30)
Listening0–30Low (0–14)
Intermediate (15–21)
High (22–30)
Speaking0–30Weak (0–9)
Limited (10–17)
Fair (18–25)
Good (26–30)
Writing0–30Limited (1–16)
Fair (17–23)
Good (24–30)
Total Score0–120 

revised TOEFL® Paper-delivered Test Scores

For tests taken July 2017 or later.

SkillScore RangeLevel*
Reading0–30Low (0–14)
Intermediate (15–21)
High (22–30)
Listening0–30Low (0–14)
Intermediate (15–21)
High (22–30)
Writing0–30Limited (1–16)
Fair (17–23)
Good (24–30)

TOEFL® PBT Test Scores

For tests taken prior to July 2017.

SkillScore Range
Listening31–68
Structure/Written Expression31–68
Reading31–67
Total Score310–677

TWE® Scores

The TWE® test was a 30-minute writing test that was part of the TOEFL PBT test.

  • Test takers would write an essay on 1 topic.
  • The essay was rated for organization, development and support of a main idea (thesis); word choice; vocabulary; clarity; coherence; syntax; grammar; usage and style.
  • The TWE score was reported on a scale of 1 to 6 and printed in a separate box on the TOEFL PBT score report. It was not added to the total score.
  • A score between 2 points on the scale (5.5, 3.5) was also sometimes reported.

* Data taken from test taker score reports.

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