Nowadays, there seems to be an academic test for everything: tests to get into school, tests to get out of school, and tests once you graduate from school (you know, just in case you miss them). As such, it comes as no surprise that there is a test to test a person’s English proficiency levels if they are planning work, study, or live in a place where English is the native language.
If you have clicked into this article, you or someone you know might be gearing up to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language exam, or the TOEFL, as it is more commonly referred to. Lucky for you, we are going to give you some insight, free of charge, into knowing why and how you should prepare for the test, in addition to some sample questions similar to those that you can expect to see on the exam. Get your pencils and all of your English knowledge ready, and let’s get started!
Who Should Take The TOEFL?
The TOEFL exam is one of the only exams for the English language that is accepted at over 7,500 colleges, universities, and other institutions throughout the world. Therefore, if you are planning to go out of the country or abroad, you will need to take the TOEFL if you plan to study. Consider taking the TOEFL if:
- You are planning on enrolling in higher education abroad. For instance, at a: college, obtaining a secondary degree, or even at a high school level.
- If you want to put your English skills to use in a professional work environment abroad.
- If you need to apply for a Visa, the TOEFL will validate your English speaking skills.
- If you are applying for a scholarship or any other important documents abroad.
- Even if you are in your own country, certain work places or colleges that require a foreign language requirement may also accept the TOEFL.
What Can I Expect to See On The Test?
There are two different types of TOEFL exams that you can take, on is an Internet-Based Test (IBT), and the other is a Paper-Based Test (PBT). You can find many practice exams online that pertain to either of these types of TOEFL exams. We are going to go over the categories that you can expect to see on both of them.
TOEFL Internet-Based Test (IBT)
The TOEFL IBT exam focuses on four different sections that will test your English proficiency skills.
- Reading: The reading part of the exam offers 3 to 5 passages in English along with 12 to 14 questions for each passage. The passage subjects are generally academic related, 700 words in length, and ask you to identify such components as: cause and effect, the main idea, or vocabulary pertaining to the article. You will be given 60-100 minutes for the reading section.
- Listening: The listening section has 6 to 9 passages that you will listen to, with each on containing about 5 to 6 questions that relate to the passage. There are 2 conversation passages, and 4 that will relate to academic lectures. Remember that the audio for these will play only once, so be sure to listen in carefully the first time! You will be asked to identify the main idea, details, conflict, and resolution of the passages. You are allowed 60 to 90 minutes for this section.
- Speaking: The speaking section will require you to answer your questions aloud. It is comprised of 6 tasks and 6 questions. The subjects will range from answering questions from a conversation between students or from an academic lecture.
- Writing: The writing is the final portion of the Internet-based TOEFL, and will have 2 tasks and 2 questions. For one task, you will read a passage, listen to it being discussed, and then write a summery about what you read and heard. The second tasks will solely be writing, and you will be asked about your opinion concerning a certain topics. You will be allowed 55 minutes for this portion.
Overall, the TOEFL iBT score is measured on a scale of 0 to 120 points.
The TOEFL Paper-based test is a little different. Let’s take a look at its components.
- Listening Comprehension: You will be give 50 questions for the section that are split up into 3 parts. The first part will have 30 questions pertaining to a short conversation, and the second portion will have 8 questions based on longer conversations. The last 12 questions will be based on lectures or talks. You will have 30 to 40 minutes.
- Structure and Written Expression: This section will have 40 questions. There are 15 questions where you are asked to complete the sentence with the appropriate word or phrase, and 25 questions where you are asked to point out errors in a sentence. You will have 25 minutes.
- Reading Comprehension: This section is 55 minutes and consists of 50 questions that are based on passages that you will be asked to read.
- Writing: You will need to write 1 essay about 250 to 300 words in length for this section in about 30 minutes time.
The overall score for the TOEFL PBT is between PBT ranges between 310 and 677 points.
Tips for Studying!
Now that you are aware of the types of questions you will be presented with on the TOEFL exam, let’s go over some tips for study help!
- Improve your English skills by thinking, learning, and practicing daily activities in English.
- Write and read as much as you can in English.
- Listen to television, radio, and podcasts that are in English.
- Learn as much about English grammer as you can.
- Be able to identify certain parts of speak, and make sure that they are apart of your daily vocabulary.
- Take practice TOEFL tests. There are many practice tests that can be found online. Also, visit your local library or bookstore for some more practice help.
- Be familiar with the types of questions you might come across, how many questions are in each section, and how much time you will be allowed.
- Once you know which areas you need more help in, practice more on those until you feel like you have them down.
- Get a pen pal or English-speaking friend and write, speak, and spend time with them as much as possible to get used to communicating in English.
- Learn as many vocabulary words as you can, especially if you are new to the English language.
- Keep on practicing until your exam date! Create mock testing situations for yourself and take a break only when it would be allowed during your exam so that you mind and body can adequately prepare.
Practice, practice, practice!
Just like any other test, preparing for the TOEFL can feel overwhelming at first. However, the more you practice at something, the better you will prepare yourself come exam day. As always, check out our wonderful practice exams on Udemy.com that will help you get ready for your big day. We know you will do the best that you can!