The TOEFL test is the most widely respected English-language test in the world, recognized by more than 10,000 colleges, universities and agencies in more than 130 countries, including Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the United States. Wherever you want to study, the TOEFL test can help you get there.
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.
TOEFL: Reading, 60 to 80 minutes
The Reading section consists of questions on 3-5 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.
TOEFL: Listening, 60 to 90 minutes
The Listening section consists of questions on six 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.
TOEFL: Speaking, 20 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.
TOEFL: Writing, 50 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.
TOEFL: Reading Comprehension, 55 minutes
The Reading Comprehension sections has 50 questions about reading passages.
TOEFL: Listening, 30 to 40 minutes
The Listening section consists of 3 parts. The first one contains 30 questions about short conversations. The second part has 8 questions about longer conversations. The last part asks 12 questions about lectures or talks.
TOEFL: Writing, 30 minutes
The TOEFL PBT administrations include a writing test called the Test of Written English (TWE). This is one essay question with 250–300 words in average.
TOEFL:Structure and Written Expression, 25 minutes
The Structure and Written Expression section has 15 exercises of completing sentences correctly and 25 exercises of identifying errors.
The TOEFL Test may be unlike anything you have ever seen on the testing front, but try to remember that it is just another exam, and as such, is responsive to some of the same rules for effective studying. That said, make sure that in addition to the test-specific actions, you are also locking down these study basics:
Memorize the test date in advance and leave plenty of room to brush up on problem areas.
Purchase study materials and take as many practice exams as you can, especially in the last few weeks before test day.
Do a test run before the big day so you can be familiar with the testing environment as well as the required documentation that ETS makes you bring along for the date.
When studying, do so in a quiet and secluded place. Avoid the temptation to listen to music -- particularly music with lyrics -- since you will need to switch back and forth from reading to listening sections.
If possible, attend study groups with other TOEFL Test takers. There is safety in numbers, and you can learn just as much -- if not more -- from a peer as you can an instructor.
Keep these tips in mind, and the TOEFL Test will be your first step in mastering the English language and improving your marketability.