Do you need to take the Test of English as Foreign Language, also known as TOEFL, to get into a university? Most colleges and universities in English-speaking countries have a minimum TOEFL score requirement for foreign students, so it’s important that you’re fully prepared for the exam. You may feel competent in basic English conversation, but the test requires a much more in-depth knowledge of the language than is usually needed for conversation. You can improve your odds of success by giving yourself plenty of time for preparation. Here are three tips to make the most of your study time.

Make it fun. You need your brain to be fully engaged to get the most out of studying. If you get burnt out, you’ll likely have a hard time comprehending the needed information. Try to find fun ways to study that can keep you engaged and give you a break from the more tedious parts of the test.

For example, the TOEFL has a substantial listening component. You could prepare for that by listening to English talk radio stations online or watching English shows and movies without subtitles turned on. Also, you can prepare for the reading portion by watching movies with English subtitles. Turn the sound off and try to follow the movie simply by reading the subtitles. These methods can’t fully prepare you for the test, but they can provide enjoyable studying alternatives.

Schedule two tests. One of the great aspects of the TOEFL is that you’re allowed to take it as many times as you want. And you can decide when your scores are released to schools, so you can wait until you reach your minimum needed scores before you make that release. You may want to take advantage of this option and go ahead and schedule two tests in advance.

The benefit of doing this is that it takes the pressure off your performance on your first test. Sometimes test takers are thrown off by the testing setup or are rattled by the time constraints. You can treat the first test as a practice for the second. Then if you meet your minimum score the first time, you may not even need the second. You may have to pay more to schedule two tests, but having that extra safety net could be well worth the cost.

Take a class. Some people just do better when they can study with other people. If you have trouble studying alone, consider taking a TOEFL prep class. Most English as a second language schools offer some form of TOEFL preparation. You’ll also likely get several practice tests as part of the course.

For more information, contact an ESL school in your area, like the Equilibrium School. They can describe their course offerings and help you find a class that fits your schedule.