TOEFL TOEIC IELTS etc. and the use of lists at LingQ

I am working to develop a course for people taking these standard English tests. I am interested in hearing ideas on what to put into the course. Here are some of my ideas so far.

  1. To me the key to success in these tests is a strong three-legged foundation.
    The ability to read quickly and understand
    The ability to listen and understand
    A large vocabulary of words and phrases

  2. If a person has a sound foundation then he/she can work on output.
    Writing an answer to a question within a limited time period
    Answering an oral question within a limited time period

For 1) what we do at LingQ is ideal. We have content on a wide variety of subjects, and our learners can practice reading, listening and accumulate a wide vocabulary.

We can take it one step further.

There are key lists of words available on the Internet
The Academic Word List
TOEIC lists
TOEFL lists
Previous questions from these tests

Here are some examples:

These can be used in the following way.

create a Collection in Import called Lists.
import each list as an item in the Collection
open them as content starting with the one that has the lowest % new words
go through and LingQ the words that you do not know
use “examples” to find appropriate phrases for the LingQ box or wait until the word appears again in another text.
if you want you can Tag these words TOEFL or TOEIC or AWL whatever you want.

This procedure has a number of advantages

  1. You can immediately input a long list of words that are necessary for these tests.
  2. You get a sense of how many you already know.
  3. These words will now appear highlighted in yellow in future texts at LingQ.
  4. You will now have the words you need in your database for review in Flash Cards
  5. You can track your progress in learning these words.

As for the output portion of standard tests, we will be working to recreate realistic tests of oral and written expression similar to what is on the tests.

I look forward to comments and suggestions.

After I get input here I will post on this subject on my blog. I believe that LingQ is a particularly useful tool for preparing for these tests, better than many of the specialized TOEIC schools etc. that charge a lot of money.

I think the same can be done for other languages and would be interested to know of what lists exists in other languages.


Very good idea ! I will do that ! What I will do with the unknown words I need to LingQ I will tag them as “Toeic” for exemple to be able to review them apart!

Yes, out of say ~1000 English words from such a list, one probably knows quite many (at least anybody who is able to participate here in the forum, don’t you think?) and thus don’t have to tag each word. Just skimming through the list, checking any immediately recognizable words, moving them to “Known” would be OK.

However, it would be super to be able to tag the entire list - perhaps something for later versions of LingQ.


There are many things we can do with lists, import, export, share, batch tag etc. once we get through all the other things we have in front of us.

In the meantime this is a way to use the Import function to study these specific lists. There is not need to move anything to know. I would just save those words that I need and then ignore the rest of the list. This gets these words onto your database to study however you want. Tagging these words is probably a good idea so you will know they are TOEIC or whatever words the next time you come across them. You may also find that many of these words are already in your database and show up in yellow.

Anyway I look forward to more comment on this subject including any lists that are in existence for languages other than English.

No need to hurry. I don’t think I’ve ever imported a list of several hundreds of words, maybe one hundred (only to find that “54 LingQs were imported”). As long as we choose “decent” content we’re likely to have already met the important words, should we decide to import a huge list.

Two lists of Swedish words (no connection to any test, though):

I think that even people who have a good mastery in English can fail on those tests. And the reason is that we have to become familiar with the techniques they use for testing us. Evaluation patterns are not the same all over the world and each country has its own culture and way of evaluation. Those international tests measure not only our four skills (that would be nice!), but, for example, retention in memory capacity and the ability for summarizing texts under a title too.


I hear the same comment from others, however, I wonder, if a person has a good foundation in reading, listening and vocabulary, I think a lot of the questions become easier. We have had a number of our LingQ members report that they have made great improvement in their TOEIC scores as a result of studying at LingQ.

I think that the ability to know what is right and wrong in a sentence, or fill in the right word, or pick the right answer out of four choices, is not so much a matter of memory, as it is matter of having fed the brain enough input so that the brain can immediately and effortlessly know what is right.

I agree that there is a need to train the ability to compose ones thoughts in writing and speaking in a way that conforms to what the corrector is expecting. This can be different from what a learner is used to in his or her own culture.

The basic abilities to read quickly and understand, listen and understand and a large vocabulary of words and phrases is needed to take these tests, but it is not enough.

I think that ,take the TOEFL for example, passages in the course of TOEFL could be set like the reading passage in the real TOEFL, and the passage also have the same copic or the same related content with the real TOEFL. The listing part of the Lingq courses could be set with the same length of the listening passage in the real TOEFL which helps the leaners perform better in the test.

Steve, I like the idea about add the TOEFL words to my new vocabulary and see them highlighted, it will show me them in the other texts. I totally agree that passing the TOEFL test requires good readers with variety of words. Good job, I’m looking forward for new ideas.

Either I’m starting to take all this way too seriously, or the importing of vocabuláry lists is an excellent idea. I am working through word frequency lists in Russian and German and its having an immediate impact on my % of known words :wink:

Hi Steve,

one of my goals for the new year is getting certified, surely by the IELTS certificate. Last week I created a collection called IELTS. I use Lingq to add study texts to this new collection and I study them as common Lingq texts. In that sense, Lingq is so powerful and versatile … I’ve downloaded these texts from the British Council web page freely.

I think your idea about creating tagged lists, ELTS list in my case, it’s a good idea to share among the community the most frequent words to remember in order to achieve the desired certificate. So by now, the system can put in common collections and list of words to prepare any sort of certificates.

best regards,


Try importing the TOEFL and TOEIC word lists that I gave links for in the first post. They cannot be so different from the IELTS lists. Otherwise search for a IELTS list and import it and use as I suggested in the first post.