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Want to write TOEFL? Here is what you must know

Fri, 28 Feb 2020 Source: Emmanuel Asiedu

TOEFL stands for the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

And it is a standardized test use to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers who wish to enroll in English-speaking universities.

TOEFL is accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions.

It is one of the two major English-language tests in the world, the other being the IELTS.

TOEFL test measures your ability to use and understand English at the highest level.

It evaluates how well you can combine your reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills to perform academic tasks.

TOEFL TEST

The TOEFL test is taken by more than 35 million people from all over the world.

The average English skill level varies from student to student.

There are:

Students planning to study at a higher education institution

English language learning program admissions and exit

Scholarship and certification candidates

English language learners who want to track their progress

Students and workers applying for visas

TOEFL EXAM

If you are planning to take TOEFL, then you must know that the test is held in two formats.

1. TOEFL iBT and

2. TOEFL PBT.

The TOEFL Internet-Based Test (TOEFL iBT) is the online version of the TOEFL test and It is the more preferred medium of TOEFL due to its ease of convenience and uses fewer resources.

The TOEFL Paper Based Test (TOEFL PBT) is the more orthodox method, wherein paper and pen are extensively used for the purpose of the exam.

Not a big hit among students, the paper-based model of the TOEFL exam is conducted in areas that do not have access to the Internet.

You must know that in this format of the TOEFL exam, the TOEFL Speaking Test is not conducted due to the limited availability of resources.

TOEFL ETS

ETS stands for The Educational Testing Services and it is the body mandated to conduct the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

It is responsible for setting the TOEFL questions, conducting the test, and sending each examinee their scorecard.

Students wanting to study abroad, can choose from multiple TOEFL Test Dates available round-the-year and select from the various test centres located across major cities to appear for their TOEFL Exam.

TOEFL SCORE

TOEFL scores are used by most colleges as the only one factor in the admission process.

The minimum TOEFL iBT scores for most colleges range from 61 to 110.

TOEFL iBT test is scored on a scale of 0 to 120 points.

Each of the four sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing) receives a scaled score from 0 to 30. The scaled scores from the four sections are added together to determine the total score.

The reading and listening sections are tested first, followed by a ten-minute break. The speaking and writing sections are then completed following the break. A maximum amount of 203 minutes is allowed to complete the whole exam process.

Each speaking question is initially given a raw score of 0 to 4, with 1-point increment, and each writing question is initially given a raw score of 0.0 to 5.0, with 0.5-point increment.

These scores are converted to scaled scores of 0 to 30.

The TOEFL PBT score ranges between 310 and 677 and is based on three subscores: Listening (31–68), Structure (31–68), and Reading (31–67).

Unlike the CBT, the score of the Writing component (referred to as the Test of Written English, TWE) is not part of the final score; instead, it is reported separately on a scale of 0–6.

The score test takers receive on the Listening, Structure and Reading parts of the TOEFL test is not the percentage of correct answers.

The score is converted to take into account the fact that some tests are more difficult than others.

The converted scores correct these differences. Therefore, the converted score is a more accurate reflection of the ability than the raw score is.

The TOEFL PBT was discontinued at the end of May 2017.

Official testing in areas without internet or computers now uses the TOEFL PDT.

TOEFL Practice Test

Practice for each section of the test with free sets of TOEFL iBT® questions from previous tests. You can become familiar with the types of questions and content on the actual test and understand how the TOEFL iBT test is structured and formatted.

Our TOEFL Practice Test is not an exact recreation of the TOEFL Test as it will be administered on test day, but it does offer some extensive training with the types of questions and materials you will encounter on the test, be it the PBT or iBT.

We've broken it up into five overall sections consisting of three individual Listening portions (53 questions altogether), one Reading section (28 questions) and one Structure section (30 questions).

This Practice TOEFL will help you feel more confident with the types of questions that you will encounter; but we also want to encourage you to take as many TOEFL Practice Test opportunities as you can and even consider enrolling in a test preparation course if you can afford to do so.

You want to be comfortable on test day, not just with the questions and types of materials, but also the testing environment itself. Additionally, you may want to follow this list of DOs and DON'Ts when it comes to preparing.

TOEFL Registration

TOEFL registration can be done in 3 ways:

Register Online

Register 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Be sure the name you use when you register exactly matches the identification you will bring on test day. Pay with a credit/debit card: American Express®, Discover®, JCB®, China Union Pay®, Diners Club®, Mastercard® or VISA®.

You can also use a PayPal® account, or an electronic check (e-check) if you have a bank account in the United States.

Registration closes 7 days before your test date. Late registration closes 2 days before your test date and has a late fee of US$40.

Register by Phone

Review the Registration Form (PDF) before you call. Spell your name exactly as it appears on the identification you will bring on test day.

Go to www.ets.org/toefl/contact and select your location to find the phone number for your Regional Registration Center (RRC).

Pay with credit/debit card: American Express, Discover, JCB, Mastercard or VISA; or with an electronic check (e-check) if you have a bank account in the United States or its territories.

Registration closes 7 days before your test date.

Late registration by phone closes at 5 p.m. local test center time on the business day before the test and has a late fee of US$40.

Register by Mail

Download and fill out a Registration Form (PDF). Spell your name exactly as it appears on the identification you will bring on test day. Choose 1 of the payment methods listed on the form.

If you are testing outside the United States, U.S. territories and Canada, mail your form and payment to your RRC. To find the contact information for your RRC, go to www.ets.org/toefl/contact and select the country where you plan to test. If you are testing in the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada, use the mailing address listed on the Registration Form. Forms must be received at least 4 weeks before your test date.

If you do not receive a confirmation, call the location where you mailed your paperwork — at least 3 business days before your registration deadline. If you register by mail you will need to enter certain codes manually that are input automatically online.

TOEFL Test Dates

The TOEFL iBT® test, taken via the internet, is offered more than 50 times a year at approved test centers around the world.

To find available test centers, dates and times, create or sign in to your ETS account online or via the TOEFL® official app, and click "Register for a Test." You will not need to complete the registration process to see available centers and dates.

You can also see a list of testing locations, dates and fees. However, for the most complete and up-to-date test center information, please sign in to your ETS account online or via the app.

TOEFL Preparation

To perform well in the TOEFL test, you must possess fairly high English skills.

The average minimum required TOEFL iBT score for U.S. universities is 78. This means you’ll most likely need to score around 20 on each TOEFL section in order to gain admission into a U.S. school.

That said, the exact TOEFL iBT score you’ll need will vary depending on the school.

For instance, many Ivy League institutions require total TOEFL scores in the 90-100 range which is markedly higher than the average of 78.

At the same time, many smaller or less highly ranked schools require total TOEFL scores in the lower 70s or even 60s.

Whatever the case, you’ll want to ensure your English ability guarantees you the TOEFL score you’ll need for admission.

Here are simple tips you can use to help strengthen your English-language skills before sitting for the TOEFL.

Read and Listen to English News

One of the best ways to improve your English reading and listening skills is to pay attention to the news. The news allows you to improve your vocabulary, learn advanced English grammar, and listen to spoken English at a natural, conversational pace.

If you’d just like to hone your language skills, start with popular American news outlets, such as CBS and The New York Times. Should these resources be too difficult for you, however, you can instead opt for news stories specifically aimed at English-language learners. One website I recommend is VOA Learning English. This website is an excellent language-learning resource that offers a variety of English news stories in article and video form. Each story is assigned one of three difficulty levels: one (easy), two (medium), and three (hard).

Another solid resource is BBC Learning English. This website maintains a helpful animated series called “English at University” to teach common words and phrases students should know when studying in an English-speaking country.

Converse With Native English Speakers

Because there’s a speaking portion on the TOEFL, you’ll need to ensure your speaking abilities are up to par.

The best way to practice speaking English is with native English speakers. Native English speakers are people whose first language is English, regardless of the country in which they grew up.

If your country or community doesn’t have many native English speakers, try to see whether there are any English-speaking groups or classes you can join instead.

Meetup is a fantastic website that lets you search for (and even create) language-learning groups in local areas.

Alternatively, if you’re OK with paying for a service, you can try video chat language lessons.

Naturally, rates will vary depending on the tutor or teacher you select.

Improve Your Vocabulary

To excel at both English and the TOEFL, you’ll need to master many tough vocabulary words. A large part of the TOEFL is knowing lots and lots of English words, especially academic vocabulary, so it’s important you know which words you’ll need to study for the TOEFL.

These words are some of the most commonly encountered vocabulary words on the TOEFL.

If you want a great TOEFL score, definitely take some time to memorize words!

You can also incorporate your vocabulary lists for other tests, such as the GRE and ACT, into your TOEFL studies.

How should you study these vocabulary words?

One excellent method for improving your vocabulary is to use flashcards.

You can start by making your own flashcards using the words on your TOEFL vocabulary list.

Then, as you study, add other words to your flashcards, such as those you encounter online, in newspapers, or in books.

You can also opt for digital flashcards. Anki is a free software that allows you to create your own flashcards and download pre-made flashcard decks from other users. This program uses spaced-repetition software (SRS) to show you challenging flashcards more often than easier ones, thereby helping you to master difficult words more quickly.

A website called Memrise works similarly and offers both SRS and a large assortment of high-quality flashcards. Unlike Anki, though, Memrise uses a more colorful, game-like approach to make learning languages fun and easy.

Use a Language-Learning App or Website

Finally, you can learn English even faster through language-learning websites and apps.

These resources track your progress and give you key words and grammatical patterns to study.

One popular example is Duolingo, a free language-learning website that’s also available as an app for iPhone and Android.

Duolingo uses an effective game-like atmosphere to teach foreign languages to users. It’s mostly helpful for reviewing fundamental grammar patterns and vocabulary words at the beginner and intermediate levels.

Another good website is English Central, which teaches all levels of English entirely through videos.

You can even focus on specific types of English, such as academic English or business English, so you can better target the kind of English you’ll need to know for the TOEFL.

Depending on the amount of access you want to this website, the cost ranges anywhere from free to 89 USD a month.

Hire a Private Tutor

Hiring a private tutor may sound weird but can be the greatest support you might ever have.

A good tutor is truly priceless. They’ll help you make a study plan, identify your weaknesses, explain concepts you’re unstable on, and help you come up with an strategies that works best for you.

Home tutoring will provide you with an expert to guide you and takes the guesswork out of the equation.

Additionally, a tutor can help keep you motivated!

If you are looking for a tutor to help you from home, visit www.excellenthomeclasses.com, call/whatsapp 0501457284 or email: info@excellenthomeclasses.com.

Take your time to explain all your needs and an expert tutor will be connected to you.

Choose your days and times for tuition and start with the lessons immediately.

Conclusion

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.

Make sure that in addition to the test-specific actions, you are also checking these study points:

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.

Feel free to leave a comment and also share with your social platform.

Columnist: Emmanuel Asiedu

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