If you want to excel on the TOEFL, one of the skills you need is a strong vocabulary. 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.
The best way to learn new vocab is to use flashcards, which is why we've created printable flashcards of the 327 TOEFL vocab words you must know for the test. We'll also discuss the best method for studying your TOEFL vocabulary flashcards and give reviews of some of the other TOEFL flashcard sets that are available.
Our TOEFL Flashcards: 327 Top Vocab Words
We've done the hard work for you and determined the 327 most useful TOEFL words to know. Each flashcard includes the vocab word on the front and the part of speech, definition, and a sample sentence on the back.
We chose vocab words that appeared frequently on the TOEFL, as well as a selection of other words deemed particularly useful to know for the test. Click the icon below to access our essential TOEFL vocabulary flashcards.
The Best Method to Study Your TOEFL Vocabulary Flashcards
Flashcards are a great way to learn vocab words because they force you to study actively (you can't just drag your eyes across a piece of paper), and they are one of the most effective methods for memorizing information. We recommend using the waterfall method to learn TOEFL words. If you're not sure what the waterfall method is, we break it down for you below.
First, get your flashcards ready. 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 the words whose definition 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. Keep repeating this process until the "Struggled" pile has only a few words left.
Now, you'll move back up the waterfall. Start with the last "Struggled" pile and go through it 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 words, go through the entire pile you currently have again until you get all of the words right. This may seem brutal, but it'll guarantee that you really know the vocab words! Don't pick up more cards until you can get through the whole pile with no trouble. Continue this process until you get all the way back up the waterfall.
This is the best method to study 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.
What Other TOEFL Flashcards Are Available?
Below are three of the other most popular resources for TOEFL vocabulary flashcards. For each of these, we give the price, number of flashcards, and pros and cons of using it.
Number of Flashcards: 200
Magoosh offers a fairly solid set of TOEFL vocab flashcards, with a few drawbacks. The 200 flashcards are separated into about a dozen different sets, based on difficulty. This system can make it easier to organize your studying, but frustrating if you want to review all the words at once, since you'll have to go through each category one-by-one.
Within each set, the order of the cards is random. You'll see a word, then you'll click it to see the definition and a sample sentence. You'll then check either that you knew the word or you didn't know the word. If you knew the word, it goes into the "mastered" category. If you didn't know it, it goes into "learning." If a "learning" word comes up again and you say that you know it, it goes into the "reviewing" category. The words Magoosh uses are well-chosen, and this isn't a bad set to use. However; there are a few drawbacks.
First, because the set is online, you can't use the waterfall method. Magoosh uses its own method for reviewing cards, and you'll sometimes review cards you've already seen before getting through all the new words, which some people may find confusing. Additionally, Magoosh's cards each only have one definition, even if the vocab word has more than one meaning, so there are times when you'll be missing key information about certain TOEFL words.
Cost: About $13
Number of Flashcards: 500
These flashcards from Princeton Review are a great resource. You can study from the physical flashcard deck or access digital flashcards online. The cards come with a ton of information on them: The front of each card has the vocab word, part of speech, and pronunciation. The back of each card has the definition(s) of the word, synonyms, and a sample sentence using the word. This info is great for putting the word into context and really understanding it.
The only downside is that you'll need to pay for this set, but if you do decide to spend money on TOEFL flashcards, this is a great resource to purchase.
Number of Flashcards: Varies
Study Stack is a site where people can create and share different flashcard sets, and they have several flashcard sets specifically for the TOEFL. Some of these sets are created by using selecting the words they think are most important to know, while others are copies of already-created sets, like Barron's TOEFL word list.
Although there are a lot of flashcards available here, this generally isn't the best resource for TOEFL vocabulary flashcards. First, the set is only available online so, like Magoosh's, you can't use the waterfall method to study. Second, because different people create the different flashcard sets, they don't all have the same format. Some flashcard sets include lots of information such as synonyms and sample sentences, while others only have the word and its definition. This can make studying confusing and more difficult. Finally, because anyone can create a flashcard set on Study Stack, you don't know the quality of the flashcards or how useful the words they've chosen will be.
Summary: TOEFL Vocabulary Flashcards
If you're going to take the TOEFL, you'll want a strong vocabulary, and flashcards are one of the best ways to learn new words. Our essential TOEFL vocabulary flashcards make it easy for you to learn the 327 most important words for the exam.
We recommend using the waterfall method to study your TOEFL vocabulary flashcards which is the fastest and most efficient way for learning new words. There are several other TOEFL vocabulary flashcard sets out there, each with their own pros and cons.
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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.