What is ESL and How Does TOEFL Test Your English Language Skills?

ESL, English as a Second Language is the use of English and its study by non-native English speakers. People who come from countries where it is not the native language, have difficulty in communicating in English. This may be due to the difference in pronunciation, spellings and use of the language. The native language usually influences the English you speak.

TOEFL(ESL) is a test that evaluates your English language skills when you are from a non-English speaking country. TOEFL tests your English language skills in four different ways. It tests your Speaking, Reading, Writing and Listening skills. All the skills tested in this exam are important for communication. When you want to study in an English speaking nation, communication is the most important factor for your survival.

There are many websites that help students to study English as a second language. These websites teach you the pronunciation, grammar, easy conversation and writing skills. All these will help when you are preparing for TOEFL. Some of the websites are:


TOEFL(ESL) tests English that is required for a day-to-day living in an English speaking country. The different sections check your abilities in communication by giving both independent and integrated tasks. An independent task is aimed at evaluating a particular skill like listening, speaking, writing or reading whereas the integrated task is aimed at evaluating the use of 1 or more skills at the same time like listening to an audio and speaking about it or reading an article and speaking on it.

Reading Section

Your reading skills are tested by providing you with 3 or 4 passages to read. Questions are asked from these academic text passages. Your ability to read for information, your comprehension skill and your analysis skills are tested in this section. For testing these, different types of questions are asked. These include multiple choice questions, sentence completion questions and reading to learn questions. Partial scores are possible in the reading to learn questions as you will be asked to categorize and arrange your answers.

Listening Section

Listening is a very important skill but it is a skill that is not properly used by many. In this section you are tested for your ability to listen to understand the given information, listen to understand the speaker's views and listen to 2 or more sources information and come to a conclusion and have your own opinion on an issue.

The questions in this section include multiple choice questions with 1 correct answer, multiple choice questions with 2 correct answers, events or process ordering questions and matching the objects.

To test all these, you will be asked to listen to 4-6 lectures with 6 questions each and 2-3 conversations with 5 questions each.

Speaking Section

The speaking section has both independent and integrated tasks. 6 tasks are given to evaluate your speaking skills. Broadly, the first 2 tasks are independent wherein you have to give your opinion on a familiar topic. The other 4 are integrated tasks. Of these, for the first 2 tasks you have to read a passage, listen to a conversation or lecture and speak. The last two tasks fall in the listen and speak format. You have to listen to a conversation or lecture and give your response to the questions asked.

Writing Section

This section also has both independent and integrated tasks. There are one integrated and 1 independent task. For the independent task you have to write an essay on the given topic. For the integrated task you have to read a passage, listen to a lecture and write a summary.

TOEFL(ESL) evaluates your English skills for a practical life and is an application based test. You don't have to learn the literature of English for getting a high score. You need to know English as used by a common man for survival.