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Practice the TOEFL with Movies and TV

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Announcement! As of August 1, 2019, the TOEFL Reading, Listening and Speaking sections will be shortened. The TOEFL will also make changes to its prep materials and scoring system. Because of this, some of the info in our blog posts may not yet reflect the new exam format. We cover all the changes here.
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Guest Poster ABA English has already given you a great overview on learning English from movies. Both movies and television shows are a fun and interesting way to learn English in everyday use.

But movies and TV can also help you learn English for TOEFL use. The trick is to find movies and TV shows that have TOEFL-like features.

In TOEFL Listening, Speaking, and Writing, you need to listen to academic lectures. In a lecture, a single speaker talks for a long time. So you’ll want to look for movies and TV where a single character talks for a long time. This kind of speech is called a monologue.

Finding a movie that is mostly monologue is difficult. However, there are a few. One of my personal favorite movies, The Man From Earth has lots and lots of monologue speeches. As an added bonus, the main characters are all university professors, so the speech is very academic. .

man from earth on deadly ground

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More often, a movie will have one or two scenes where a character gives a speech to a group of people. Some of the best TV and movie speeches can be found online, in that are useful for TOEFL practice. The from the action movie On Deadly Ground () has been especially good practice for my students.

forrest gump button

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The most common type of long movie/TV speech is narration. Narration is a voice you hear in a movie or TV show, explaining the story. and are two popular narrated movies. Television shows like and are narrated too. Paying special attention to the narrator’s voice can help you build your TOEFL skills.

scrubs gossip

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Documentaries (already recommended to you by Clemmonsdogpark TOEFL blogger Rita) usually have monologue, speeches, and narration! These three things are found together on TV too, especially on and .

community big bang theory

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In the TOEFL Listening and Speaking Sections, you listen to conversations in addition to lectures. These conversations focus on academic life, so movies and TV shows about college and university are especially good TOEFL practice. On TV, I recommend the , a comedy about university researchers, and , a funny show about college students. On the movie screen, I recommend and . These award-winning dramas have a lot of good character conversations about university life.

good will social network

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I’ve given you a few examples of things you can watch to build your TOEFL skills. But you should also look for movies and TV on your own. I recommend looking through the website. IMDB has lists of and with narration, , and movies about

YouTube channels like actually let you watch clips of movies and TV. This is another way to discover new things to watch and practice English listening. You can even find full TV episodes and movies are on YouTube. Some of them are free. Others can be watched for a small fee.

Preparing for the TOEFL is hard work. But with all of the movies and TV available on and offline, it can also be fun and convenient.
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