TOEFL or Test Of English as a Foreign Language is a language proficiency test to assess an individual’s ability to read, write, speak and comprehend the language. TOEFL is conducted almost four times every month by the ETS(Educational Testing Service), barring some holidays. So, in a nutshell, an individual can take the test every week. The test has a wide range of subjects that assess non-native English speakers’ communication skills who wish to study in the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, etc. The test is conducted to ascertain whether a student will be able to adapt among the native English speakers or not.
The scores given by TOEFL are not restricted to native English-speaking countries. Universities in Europe and Asia also accept TOEFL scores. One needs to chalk out the right strategy and then stick to it. Staying away from myths associated with the exam is yet another thing that one has to take care of.
What is TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT?
TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT are two mediums in which the exam is conducted, and it is made sure that students are allowed to take the test in whichever medium they prefer. Almost 95% of students choose the TOEFL iBT mode of the test as it is a computer-based test, while a small section of students takes the TOEFL PBT test. The rationale behind giving both the option is to accommodate students living in areas of poor or no internet connectivity. There is undoubtedly a degree of advantage to those giving the test in the iBT format as the question paper is set in a more compatible way with the computer-based test.
Both TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT are accepted by universities. TOEFL iBT tests a student’s ability to read, write, speak and listen. The TOEFL PBT test is also similar, with the only difference being that it doesn’t test the reading, writing, and listening test, but it somehow lacks test the speaking skills due to the technical inviability of the test format.
For detailed information on TOEFL, read TOEFL Guide
What’s the structure of the TOEFL Exam?
The test is structured to get a complete assessment of all the aspects of a language. The test is crafted in a way so that those qualifying with good scores are the ones who are good at reading, writing, speaking, and understanding the language of native English speakers. Not knowing the language can be a significant obstacle in studies so as to avert any such possibility, the test is conducted in the following manner:
In the reading section, the timing is around 54-72 minutes, and it has 30-40 questions. The test is designed to assess the student’s ability to read and understand the academic resources. There are 3-4 passages, each of 700 words and ten questions. The reading material is taken from university-level textbooks thus, one shouldn’t get the impression that it will be overly burdensome.
In the listening section, the timing is around 41-57 minutes. Each section has 28-39 questions. This test is intended to check a student’s ability to understand the language. Understanding the native language when spoken in a native accent is important to get the most out of the studies. The listening section includes:
- basic comprehension
- pragmatic understanding (speaker’s attitude and degree of certainty) and connecting and synthesizing information
The listening section is a comprehensive section that takes into account the understanding of lectures and conversations in the English language. The test includes:
- 3-4 lectures, each 3-5 minutes long, with six questions per lecture
- 2-3 conversations with two speakers, each 3 minutes long, with five questions per conversation
The ability to speak a language is of significant importance when it comes to academics. This section of TOEFL tests an individual’s ability to communicate in English with native speakers in academics as well as in public. It has four tasks that assess an individual’s ability to talk in English. The time limit will be 17 minutes, and there will be four tasks.
- 1st Question: It has an “independent speaking task”. In this question, one has to independently frame an answer based on personal experiences, ideas, and opinions.
- 2nd to 4th Question: It has an “integrated speaking test”. In this question, an individual is expected to showcase the reading, speaking, and listening skills simultaneously. This helps in ascertaining whether an individual will be able to communicate properly in a class or not. The response time will be one minute and the time to think for each response will be around 15 seconds.
The art of writing is of paramount importance in any academic set-up. A student must be in a position to write and express clearly his ideas and thoughts. Thus TOEFL tests the writing ability through these two tasks:
Integrated Writing Task: The time for this section is 20 minutes. It assesses the reading, writing and listening skills all at once. The test takers have to read a short passage, listen to a short lecture, and then express it in their own words.
Independent Writing Task: An essay has to be written based on personal experience or on any other topic that is given at that time.
How is the TOEFL scoring system designed?
TOEFL has a very efficient scoring system, and it is developed after much deliberation by the experts at ETS. The system gives a score in the range of 0-120, wherein each section has 0-30 marks. The table provides explicit details on different score ranges that help in ascertaining the preparation level of a candidate. Those getting scores in the Advanced category should be assured of getting their desired college since these are the best scores. However, there is no concept of a pass or fail in the TOEFL Exam, and each university sets the benchmark score.
What’re the prospects after the exam?
Those students who get good scores have a high chance of getting admission, and this test is also required for those who wish to take up jobs in English-speaking countries. A dedicated preparation of 2-3 months will suffice to get a good score in TOEFL. Taking guidance from experts is another piece of advice that toppers give as there is so much to be covered, and it can only be done by figuring out the precise areas of weakness. Taking as many possible notes is crucial to get a good score in the first attempt itself. Nowadays, there are plenty of paid and free resources that can be accessed for the TOEFL Exam.