Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in English-speaking universities. The test is accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions. TOEFL is one of the two major English-language tests in the world, the other being the IELTS.
TOEFL is a trademark of the Educational Testing Service (ETS), a private non-profit organization, which designs and administers the tests. ETS issues official score reports, sent independently to institutions, for two years following the test.
To the present day, college admission criteria for international students who are nationals of some of the Commonwealth nations exempt them from taking the TOEFL exam. Nations which are part of the English-speaking world (from most Commonwealth realms to former British colonies e.g., Hong Kong SAR or former protectorates of the United States (Philippines, Puerto Rico) where English is the de facto official language automatically grants a TOEFL exemption with some restrictions (e.g., residents of Quebec are required to take TOEFL while the rest of Canada is exempt - also inclusive of Commonwealth nations where English is not an official language e.g., Mozambique or Namibia (English is co-official but spoken by 3% of the population)). However, this does not apply to some Commonwealth nations outside the Anglo sphere, due to the IELTS, such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh etc., even though they may have English as the de facto official language.
One of the two major tests in the world, TOEFL(Test of English Academic) is a standardised test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enrol in English-speaking universities. It is a trademark of Educational Testing Service (ETS) which design and regulate the tests. The TOEFL score requirements depends from institution to institution but the total TOEFL test score is between 0–120. Results are valid for two years after the test date and you can take the test any number of times you want. TOEFL test scores are posted online within 2-weeks of the test date.
Since its introduction in late 2005, the TOEFL Internet-based Test (iBT) format has progressively replaced the computer-based tests (CBT) and paper-based tests (PBT), although paper-based testing is still used in select areas. The TOEFL iBT test has been introduced in phases, with the United States, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy in 2005 and the rest of the world in 2006, with test centers added regularly. The CBT was discontinued in September 2006 and these scores are no longer valid
Initially, the demand for test seats was higher than availability, and candidates had to wait for months. It is now possible to take the test within one to four weeks in most countries. The four-hour test consists of four sections, each measuring one of the basic language skills (while some tasks require integrating multiple skills), and all tasks focus on language used in an academic, higher-education environment. Note-taking is allowed during the TOEFL iBT test. The test cannot be taken more than once every 12 days.
- Reading (55 minutes)
The Reading section consists of questions on 3-4 passages, each approximately 700 words in length. The passages are on academic topics; they are the kind of material that might be found in an undergraduate university textbook. Passages require understanding of rhetorical functions such as cause-effect, compare-contrast and argumentation. Students answer questions about main ideas, details, inferences, essential information, sentence insertion, vocabulary, rhetorical purpose and overall ideas. New types of questions in the TOEFL iBT test require filling out tables or completing summaries. Prior knowledge of the subject under discussion is not necessary to come to the correct answer.
- Listening (30 – 40 minutes)
The Listening section consists of questions on 6-9 passages, each 3–5 minutes in length. These passages include two student conversations and four academic lectures or discussions. The conversations involve a student and either a professor or a campus service provider. The lectures are a self-contained portion of an academic lecture, which may involve student participation and does not assume specialized background knowledge in the subject area. Each conversation and lecture passage is heard only once. Test-takers may take notes while they listen and they may refer to their notes when they answer the questions. Each conversation is associated with five questions and each lecture with six. The questions are meant to measure the ability to understand main ideas, important details, implications, relationships between ideas, organization of information, speaker purpose and speaker attitude.
- Speaking (25 minutes)
The Speaking section consists of six tasks: two independent and four integrated. In the two independent tasks, test-takers answer opinion questions on familiar topics. They are evaluated on their ability to speak spontaneously and convey their ideas clearly and coherently. In two of the integrated tasks, test-takers read a short passage, listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and answer a question by combining appropriate information from the text and the talk. In the two remaining integrated tasks, test-takers listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and then respond to a question about what they heard. In the integrated tasks, test-takers are evaluated on their ability to appropriately synthesize and effectively convey information from the reading and listening material. Test-takers may take notes as they read and listen and may use their notes to help prepare their responses. Test-takers are given a short preparation time before they have to begin speaking. The responses are digitally recorded, sent to ETS's Online Scoring Network (OSN), and evaluated by three to six raters.
- Writing (30 minutes)
The Writing section measures a test taker's ability to write in an academic setting and consists of two tasks: one integrated and one independent. In the integrated task, test-takers read a passage on an academic topic and then listen to a speaker discuss it. The test-taker then writes a summary about the important points in the listening passage and explains how these relate to the key points of the reading passage. In the independent task, the test-taker must write an essay that states their opinion or choice, and then explain it, rather than simply listing personal preferences or choices. Responses are sent to the ETS OSN and evaluated by at least 3 different raters.
TOEFL iBT Test
- The TOEFL iBT test is scored on a scale of 0 to 120 points.
- Each of the four sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing) receives a scaled score from 0 to 30. The scaled scores from the four sections are added together to determine the total score.
- The reading and listening sections are tested first, followed by a ten-minute break. The speaking and writing sections are then completed following the break. A maximum amount of 250 minutes is allowed to complete the whole exam process.
- Each speaking question is initially given a score of 0 to 4, and each writing question is initially given a score of 0 to 5. These scores are converted to scaled scores of 0 to 30.
STRUCTURE OF TOEFL
|Reading||3–5 passages, each containing 12–14 questions||60–80 minutes|
|Listening||6–9 passages, each containing 5–6 questions||60–90 minutes|
|Break||Mandatory break||10 minutes|
|Speaking||6 tasks||20 minutes|
|Writing||2 tasks||50 minutes|
|Listening|| Part-1: 30 questions about short conversations
Part-2: 8 questions about longer conversations
Part-3: 12 questions about lectures or talks
|30 – 40 minutes|
|Structure and Written Expression||Part-1: 15 exercises of completing sentences
Part-2: 25 exercises of identifying errors
|Reading Comprehension||50 questions about reading passages||55 minutes|
|Writing||One essay question of approx. 250–300 words||30 minutes|
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