TOEFL Exam

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    TOEFL Exam

    Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) is the most popular English proficiency exam accepted at North American universities. TOEFL tests the international students’ usage and understanding of North American English as it is spoken, written and heard in college and university settings. The TOEFL test is developed and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), which sets the questions, conducts the test, and sends each examinee the score report.

    Often, students are confused if they need to prepare only for TOEFL or other exams are also required for admission to the US and Canadian universities. How many exams you need to prepare completely depends on the type of course you are applying to. For all undergraduate courses in the US and some in Canada, you need to prepare for SAT. For MBA courses GMAT scores are a requirement; similarly, for MS courses GRE scores are relevant. Along with all these exams, you have to take either IELTS or TOEFL.

    Often international students don’t know how to choose between IELTS or TOEFL, as universities abroad ask for either exam scores. Since TOEFL syllabus is designed to test your understanding of North-American English, it should be your first choice if you are applying to universities in US and Canada. For rest of the countries, especially the UK and Australia, IELTS is usually the more preferred language exam, but TOEFL is also accepted.

    TOEFL test is conducted round the year and has more than 50 test dates per year. You can retake the test as many times as you wish, but to take a re-test you have to wait for a 12-day period after attempting the first test.

    TOEFL exam fee

    The registration fee for TOEFL is $170, which would roughly translate to Rs. 11,000 to 11,500 (approx).

    TOEFL Exam Pattern

    TOEFL exam pattern is as follow - four sections, namely, Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing - along with the total score. It goes without saying that the more you practice TOEFL sample papers, the better your scores will be.

    The total score is the sum of the scores of the four skill areas. Scores will be posted online 10 days after the test date. ETS will send up to four official score reports directly to the institutions the student selects.

    Here we cover the TOEFL iBT test pattern.

    Section Duration Questions Tasks
    Reading 60–80 minutes 36–56 questions Reading 3 or 4 passages from academic texts and answering questions.
    Listening 60–90 minutes 34–51 questions Listening to lectures, classroom discussions, and conversations, and then answering questions.
    Break 10 minutes - -
    Speaking 20 minutes 6 tasks Expressing your opinion on a familiar topic and speaking based on reading and listening tasks.
    Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks Writing essay responses based on reading and listening tasks, along with supporting an opinion in writing.
    Scoring in TOEFL

    For calculating TOEFL scores, both human raters and automated scoring methods are used. This is done in order to offer a complete and accurate picture of the candidate’s ability. While the automated scoring method has the advantage of being unbiased, it does not measure the effectiveness of the language and content. Human raters are required to attend to a wider variety of features, such as the quality of ideas and content as well as form.

    The four section scores of the TOEFL are divided as follow:

    Section Score Range Mean Scores*
    Reading 0–30 20
    Listening 0–30 19
    Speaking 0–30 19
    Writing 0–30 20
    Total Score 0–120 80
    TOEFL Result

    You will receive an email when your scores are available, which would be 10 days after your test date. You can log in to your TOEFL iBT account on the TOEFL Registration website to see your scores. Printed score reports will be mailed approximately 13 days after your test date.

    Your scores are valid for two years and can be sent to other higher education institutions during that time.

    TOEFL Dates

    Your target date for taking the TOEFL exam should be at least a month before your first application deadline. This will give you plenty of time to work on your applications, and in case you need to retake the exam you can do so after 12 days of the first attempt.

    So if the deadline for your application is November, you should take the exam by October. If you feel the need to retake TOEFL, you can take it in the latter half of October again. You can retake the TOEFL after 12 days post your first attempt.

    TOEFL Preparation Tips

    There are two ways all exam-takers prepare for TOEFL i.e. self-study and attending coaching classes. Both these methods of studying have unique benefits and no one way is better than the other. If money is the prime consideration, then self-studies through TOEFL books and resources may be the better option. Similarly, if you need professional guidance to ensure you have some advantage in TOEFL exam preparation, then enrolling for a TOEFL coaching center is the better option.

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