Student communities around the world would have heard the term “TOEFL” more often than not, during their preparation for higher studies abroad. For the uninitiated, TOEFL abbreviated as Test of English as Foreign Language is the most popular English proficiency exam used by the North American Universities to screen eligible students for University admissions. This article takes readers on a TOEFL ride to help them understand the nuances of the exam and help them give it a better shot.
Why TOEFL/TOEFL exam benefits
TOEFL exam tests the international students’ understanding and usage of North American English. So students should compulsorily give TOEFL exam if they are planning to study in the North American and allied (Canada) Universities. More than 10000 colleges in over 130 countries accept TOEFL exam score for their admissions.
Who conducts TOEFL
Educational Testing Service (ETS) is the administrative body which sets and administers the TOEFL exam. It is the world’s largest private nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization. It sends the exam givers the score once the evaluation is done.
When to give TOEFL
TOEFL is conducted year round, with as many as 50 test dates per year. Students wishing to retake the test can do so after a waiting period of 12 days.
How to give TOEFL
TOEFL is an online as well as a paper-based exam. The student has to first register himself/herself to give the exam. TOEFL exam doesn’t set out any eligibility criteria. Anyone can take the test. Please note that the Universities accepting the TOEFL score of the students will have different eligibility criteria for assessment. TOEFL as such doesn’t have eligibility criteria and that’s the reason it is open for all.
Registration for the TOEFL exam is fairly simple, and student can schedule the exam any time during the year, with a maximum of five attempts allowed each year. Steps to be taken for TOEFL registration is listed below.
• Create an online profile in the TOEFL login page
• Pay the online exam fee and the exam date is scheduled
Online registration is the easiest way to schedule TOEFL exam.
Students can even opt for offline registration. Below are the ways for offline registration
• Students can also register at any TOEFL Resource center and pay directly.
• Students can register through phone, by reaching out to Regional registration center and pay with credit/debit card as directed.
• Students can also register through the mail. Fill out the registration form and mail the hard copy along with the fee payment to the designated regional TOEFL centers.
TOEFL exam pattern
TOEFL exam pattern consists of 4 sections. Each section is allotted 30 points, with a total of 120 points for the whole exam and the TOEFL exam duration is 4 1/2 hours. The four sections are listed below with score order
Listening: In this section, the student should focus to listen to lectures, classroom discussions, and conversations and then answer the questions. There will be a total of 34-51 questions, and the duration of the TOEFL exam listening section is 60-90 minutes
Reading: In this section, the student is asked to read three or four passages from academic texts and answer the questions given. There will be a total of 36-56 questions, with TOEFL exam reading section duration of 60-80 minutes.
Speaking: In this section, the student should express himself/herself on a familiar topic by speaking based on reading and listening tasks. There will be a total of 6 tasks, with TOEFL exam speaking section duration of 20 minutes.
Writing: In this section, the student is asked to write essay responses on the given reading and listening tasks. There will be a total of two tasks, with TOEFL exam writing section duration of 50 minutes.
Note: Please note that the TOEFL test that you take may include extra questions in the reading or listening sections, which do not count towards your total score. These questions help ETS (Educational testing service) to test how the new questions framed will function under actual testing conditions.
TOEFL Test formats
TOEFL test can be given in two formats.
• Internet-based test (IBT)
• Paper-based test (PBT)
98 % of the TOEFL test takers give the exam in IBT format. Most of the universities prefer TOEFL IBT test scores. But those who don’t have access to IBT TOEFL format can give the exam in PBT format.
There are about 4,500 test centers spread across 165 countries.
Internet-based testing TOEFL exam has a total of 120 points, with each section allotted 30 points.
In Paper-based testing TOEFL exam, the three sections namely listening, structure, and reading will have a total of 310 – 677 points. Writing which is covered in a separate section contains 0-6 points, all in 1 point increments.
TOEFL score is valid for 2 years. Minimum TOEFL score for admissions should be 61 and the maximum score is 120.
TOEFL exam fee
For IBT, the TOEFL exam fee is US$ 160 TO US$ 250, depending on the country where the student takes the exam. For PBT, the TOEFL exam fee is US$ 180.
How to prepare for TOEFL exam
TOEFL is a relatively easy exam to prepare when compared to the GRE. All that the student needs to focus is on building his/her English vocabulary to prepare for the different sections of the exam. In this regards, there are many TOEFL vocabulary builder apps available. All you need to do is download the TOEFL vocabulary builder apps for free and start practicing and learning North American English with the help of these apps.
TOEFL exam is one of the prerequisites for admission into many of the prestigious institutions around the world. Though it is one of the many factors in the University admission process, nevertheless a good TOEFL score can give the student an edge over others. With a preparation time of 15-30 days, students given the help of TOEFL vocabulary builder apps can crack the exam to get admitted into colleges of their preference.