TOEFL iBT- A Brief Overview
What is TOEFL?
TOEFL is an international test that is used to assess a candidate's proficiency in English, and whether his/her command over English is sufficient for attending university-level classes. This test is recognized by numerous institutions around the world. The TOEFL iBT is the internet-based format of this test. The other format is paper-based and is also known as the TOEFL PBT. The TOEFL iBT is conducted in test centers in 165 countries across the globe. It is conducted 30 to 40 times in a year. The TOEFL PBT is held at those centers where it is not possible to conduct an internet-based test. It is conducted six times in a year.
Both formats of the test take about four hours to complete and are conducted on a single day. The iBT format of TOEFL is comprised of four sections, with a short break after the first two sections. The test is assessed in an impartial and fair manner. For instance, in the Speaking test, three or more human raters score the responses on a scale of 1 to 4. Then the average is converted to a score between 0 and 30. There are no pass or fail scores. Each institution decides the score it wants from its students. You can attempt the TOEFL multiple times, until you are satisfied with your score.
Sections of TOEFL
There are four sections in the iBT format; Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing.
- Reading Section: Four passages are given to you to read in this section of the test. You are required to answer 12 to 14 questions on those passages. The topics are highly variable and the texts themselves are taken from university text books. The passages may be technical but you are not required to know the subject before-hand. The answers to the questions will be given within the passages. The purpose of this section is to test your comprehension of texts in English. This section lasts for 60 to 80 minutes.
- Listening Section: In this section, you are asked to listen to a few short lectures and conversations, and answer a total of 34 to 51 questions on those topics. You are permitted to take notes. You are given headphones for this section. The time allotted to this section is 60 to 90 minutes.
- Speaking Section: This section is composed of six tasks in which you are required to speak on given topics. Your responses are recorded. For the first two questions, you have to give your own opinion on the topic given to you. For the next four questions, you have to speak on topics that you have listened to, or on topics that you have read and listened to. You are given a microphone to speak into. The time given is 20 minutes.
- Writing Section: This section of the test has two tasks. In the first task, you are asked to write on a passage that is given for reading, and a lecture that you have to listen to. You are given 20 minutes to complete this task. The second task is about writing an essay. You are given 30 minutes to complete this task. You are provided with a QWERTY keyboard to type your responses. You should practice using a keyboard before you take the test, unless you are already familiar with the QWERTY keyboard. The total time allotted to this section is 50 minutes.
The TOEFL is a test that can help you to fulfill your dream of studying in the country and in the college of your choice. A good score in the TOEFL can mean that prestigious universities open their doors for you, allowing you to enter their portals and pursue your academic goals.