You probably clicked on this post because you need information on what this “TOEFL” thing is all about. Being one requirement needed when applying to a study abroad destination, you not only need to get it, but you need to ace it. Wondering what I’m talking about? In this article we will enlighten you on all you need to know about TOEFL iBT and PBT, it’s exam process, registration, test format and how to get an “out of the regular” high score.
There are many misconceptions and questions about this subject, you no longer have to worry about that. We have cleared all your doubts and confusions to this regard. All you have to do is read till the end. It’s going to be an educative ride, let’s get started!!!
What is TOEFL?
Known predominantly as TOEFL, it’s an abbreviation which stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. This test is one of the two major English language proficiency test in the world, the other been IELTS.
TOEFL is an internationally recognized standardized English test with an estimated number of 2.3 million test takers every year. Its purpose is to assess the English language ability/proficiency of non-native speakers. Usually, this test is accepted by English-speaking academia and professional institutions.
TOEFL has existed since 1964 and it’s recognized by over 10,000 colleges, agencies and institutions in over 165 countries. It is conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). To register for this test, visit their official website
Types of TOEFL
There are two types of the TOEFL exam. They include internet-based Test and the paper-based Test often referred to TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT respectively.
Who needs TOEFL?
The TOEFL exam is not a compulsory test for every student rather you need this test score if it’s part of the requirements in the following areas;
- Studying abroad
- Application for scholarships
- Seeking employment abroadVisa application process.
- Students attending 2-year community college programs in an English-speaking country,
Depending on usage, the score requirements might differ. Note that this test is a more preferred English test among countries such as Germany, France, US, and Canada.
How does the TOEFL Exam Work?
The TOEFL exam tests your knowledge based on 4 parameters which includes
Most students don’t know what to expect once they enter the exam hall. The exam questions are same for TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT, just a difference in writing mode. We have carefully outlined what you will see to give you an excerpt on what you should prepare for. This section will aid you prepare more strategically. Here’s what to expect in the TOEFL test;
The Reading Section
Here, you will encounter 10 questions from each of the 3-4 passages which make up this section. Each passage approximately contains 700 words. They base the passages on academic topics such that might be found in an undergraduate university textbook.
To ace high in this section, you need to understand rhetorical functions such as compare-contrast, cause-effect and argumentation. You have 54-72 minutes in this section.
You’re expected to answer questions about details, key ideas, sentence insertion, inferences, essential information, vocabulary, rhetorical purpose and overall ideas. Recently, they have included questions requiring filling out tables and completing summary.
Note: You do not require prior knowledge of the subject under discussion to come to the correct answer. You just need to be smart, really smart !!!
The Writing Section
The Writing section tests your ability to write in an academic setting. Expect two tasks here: one integrated and one independent.
- The integrated task: You’re to read a passage on an academic topic and then listen to a speaker discuss it. After this, you are to write a summary about the key points in the listening passage and explain how it relate to the key ideas in the reading passage.
- The independent task: Here you will write an essay based on the opinion or choice of the examiners and then explain it.
You have 50 minutes for this section.
The Listening section
Here’s what to expect in this section,
- 5 questions drawn from 2 to 3 conversations each (Each conversation lasts 150-180 seconds)
- 5-7 lectures with 6 questions each. (Lectures lasts 270-330 seconds)
The conversation involves a student and either a campus service provider or a professor. The lectures are on an academic topic which may involve the participation of students. Here’s some piece of advice for you, take notes when listening to the conversations or lectures because you only get to hear it once.
Wondering what the purpose of this section is? Well, this section measures your ability to understand the English language when spoken. Also, they measure your ability to capture key ideas, implications, important details, organization of information, relationships between ideas, speaker purpose and the speaker’s attitude.
You have 41-57 minutes in this section.
The Speaking section
Like the name suggests, they test your speaking ability. This section measured your fluency and eloquence in speaking the English language. Here, you get to fulfill 4 major tasks. The tasks include;
- 1 independent (Task 1)
- 3 integrated (Task 2, 3, 4).
Let’s break it down. In task 1, you’re expected to answer opinion questions on familiar topics. This section also measures your ability to convey key ideas clearly and coherently.
In task 2 and 4, they expect you to answer questions drawn from reading a brief passage, listening to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life. Your answers should come from combining the information gotten from these different sub sections.
In task 3, you will listen to an academic course lecture and then answer questions on what you heard
Note: In the integrated tasks, they test you on your ability to appropriately synthesize and convey information from the reading and listening material. You’re giving time to prepare before you speak.
You have 17 minutes in this section.
It is in the place of ETS to issue the official score reports. They send the reports independently to your prospective institutions. They send scores free to up to four institutions that you select prior to test day.
How do I register for the TOEFL Exam?
Registering for the TOEFL test is not hard, as many students presume. The good thing about this is that you can register online, via phone, E-mail or in person. Which ever means you choose, follow these steps;
- Go to the official website of ETS and create your profile.
- Fill all the information like your name, address, and email id, etc.
- Make sure the information you provide is the same as it is on your passport ( Most important, your name must match your ID exactly.)
- Pay the application fee.
- Expect an E-mail informing you of the date and test center.
- Viola!!! You’re done
On the D-day, the only item you are to take to your test centre is a valid and acceptable ID.
How to Get a High Score in TOEFL?
The desire of every student is not to repeat one exam over and over again. Who wants that??? Absolutely no one. Though there are no limits to the number of times you write this exam, but what happens if you ace it at first trial?
Having a high TOEFL score is achievable it all depends on how prepared you are. To aid you make that a reality, we have outlined some strategic, result proven steps that will help you get a high TOEFL score.
After taking a decision to write this exam, here are some tips to ace your test;
- Understand TOEFL testing format
- Choose a writing format either TOEFL iBT or TOEFL PBT and practice with such mode.
- Learn how to take notes fast and efficiently. Trust me, you will need this skill!!!
- Incorporate (More) English into your daily life
- Practice speaking and writing English in a distracting environment
- Brainstorm some speaking and writing topics before the exam date.
- Practice using TOEFL preparation books and materials.
- Focus on Grammar and Vocabulary (Learn extra words and use them!!!)
- Learn how to write an English essay (Don’t assume you know it!!!)
- Practice using a timer. This will help you manage your time well. (You don’t have the entire day)
- Track your progress, identify areas where you need to improve and work on it.
- Take notes during the test
- Accustom yourself with the QWERTY keyboard
- On the exam day, be calm and confident
Hey, nothing beats preparation. Do not make the mistake of preparing in a week and expect a “wow result”. Take your time to prepare, apply these strategies and smash over 330!!!
Are there Official TOEFL Preparation Materials?
Yes, ETS has made provision for some books and online platforms to aid you prepare for the test. Unlike IELTS and GRE you can get these materials. Some of them include;
- TOEFL Practice Online
- TOEFL Go! Official App
- TOEFL Test Preparation
- TOEFL iBT Free Practice Test
- The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test
- Official TOEFL iBT Tests with Audio
The practice materials for iBT is same for TOEFL PBT. Follow the link to get more information.
Frequently Asked Questions About TOEFL
Is TOEFL same as IELTS
Often mistaken as IELTS, it’s expedient you know that although both serve the same purpose, they are not the same. It all depends on usage and the one required by your prospective university or institution.
What’s the Mode of the Exam?
Depending on your choice, exam centre and country, you can either write on paper or via the computer. Either ways, both are acceptable.
What’s the duration for the TOEFL Exam?
Depending on the mode you’re writing, the duration differs. The internet-based test (iBT) lasts between 2 hours 47 minutes to 3 hours 23 minutes (this excludes the 10-minute break in-between) whereas the TOEFL PBT lasts between 2 hours 20 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes.
We advise you to choose the one you’re comfortable with and is consistent with your pace.
What Score / Grade Range should I aim for in TOEFL?
Every university has their own TOEFL score range. We advise you know your prospective school requirement to work with their own grade point.
Aim at 120 for iBT and 310 for TOEFL PBT. This gives you a better chance to be considered via the TOEFL score.
How Long does my TOEFL result lasts?
Your TOEFL results last for 2 years, after which the result becomes invalid. What that means is that after 2 years, you can’t use that result again.
Where can I write my TOEFL test?
You can only write this test in an ETS accredited test center in your country. Currently, there are 4,500 test centers in 165 countries. Just find out the closet centre close to you and register with them.
What’s the Eligibility criteria for writing TOEFL?
If you’re wondering if you need to meet some criteria to stand a chance to write TOEFL then you should read keenly. There are no official prerequisites, no age limit all you have to do is register if you need it.
How much is TOEFL Registration Fee?
The registration fee for TOEFL exam differs from country to country and depends on your mode of writing. TOEFL iBT costs $185 whereas TOEFL PBT costs $185. Verify for increment or additional costs at the official website.
What’s the Score range for TOEFL?
They score the TOEFL iBT test on a scale of 0 to 120 points, whereas the final PBT score ranges between 0 to 677. They base the PBT test on three scores: Listening (0–68), Structure (0–68), and Reading (0–67).
Unlike the iBT, the score of the Writing component of PBT (referred to as the Test of Written English, TWE) is not part of the last score; instead, it is reported separately on a scale of 0–6.
How do I see my TOEFL Result?
This is super easy!!! Your result should be ready 6 days after the exam. An email will be sent to you informing your of your result is ready.
Log in to your TOEFL account via the website and click on ‘View scores’ to see your result.
It’s easy to ace your test on first trial, all you have to do is follow the strategies outlined in this article. Also, follow the instructions outlined on the test paper.
We hope you found this piece enlightening, get back to us once you make an unusually high score in TOEFL test. Share to friends and family!!!