Why is This Such a Widely Used Exam

Preparation for TOEFL can become difficult if you do not have sufficient information regarding the question paper format, the types of questions and how the test is different from other English language examinations. Hence, before you even start preparing for the examination, gather all the required information so that the preparation process becomes easier. TOEFL(ETS) is a widely accepted English language, proficiency test.

If you are a student seeking admission in the universities and colleges of primarily English speaking nations then your score forms an essential part of you admissions portfolio. If you wish to work and settle in UK or Australia (and some other countries) then too you will have to appear for this exam in order to fulfill visa requirements, as well as, to prove that you can follow instructions given in English. Thus, to help you prepare for the examination the various features of TOEFL are discussed in the following section.

Know the Test

There are 2 types of tests, viz, iBT and PBT, iBT or the Internet Based Test of TOEFL is administered 30 to 40 times in a year in nearly 4500 convenient locations all over the world. The Paper Based Test is held only in those places where candidates cannot appear for the iBT version due to the unavailability of internet connection. The question paper format for both the versions is similar because both of them comprise 4 parts. But, before you appear for this exam you should know about the institutes and agencies that accept these scores and why. These points are discussed below.

Features of the Test

Unlike other English language examinations, the scores of this test are accepted by most institutes, agencies and immigration departments as a true portrayal of your skills in reading, writing, speaking and understanding instructions in English. Some features of this exam are as follows:

  • The score that you receive is a true measure of your proficiency in English. Hence, it is accepted by institutes in nearly 165 countries.

  • A high score is often a pre-requisite if you wish to apply for certain scholarship programs.

  • The score is accepted by medical agencies and licensing departments as a measure of your communication and writing skills in English.

  • It is also accepted by immigration departments to analyze your capability in understanding instructions and speaking in English.

  • The most important use of the score is when you apply for further studies in colleges and universities of USA, UK, Canada and some other English speaking nations. The institutes use it to understand how well you can correspond in English in an academic setting.

Once you know the features, you will be able to plan your strategies and techniques to answer the questions more efficiently. To help you do so in a better manner the examination pattern is discussed in the following section.

TOEFL Examination Pattern

Knowledge of the question paper pattern is important if you wish to ace the examination. The TOEFL iBT as well as the PBT versions can be divided into 4 parts which are as follows:

  • Listening: For this section, in the iBT version, you will have to listen to 6 passages, each of which is 3 to 4 minutes long. The passages cover a myriad of topics ranging from conversations among students in campuses or academic settings, to classroom lectures and casual conversations. You will have to answer 5 or 6 questions on each of the audio clips within 60 to 90 minutes. In the PBT version the entire section is further divided into 3 parts. You will have to answer 50 questions, pertaining to the audio clips that you hear, within 30 to 40 minutes.

  • Reading: This section of the iBT version consists of 3 or 4 passages which you have to read and answer 36 to 56 questions in 60 to 80 minutes. The passages are taken from academic texts and hence you require a good vocabulary to understand them. You also need to have good knowledge of grammar, rhetoric and be able to criticallyanalyze the passages in order to answer the questions. In the PBT version of this section (Reading Comprehension) you will have to solve 50 questions in 55 minutes.

  • Writing: In the iBT version you will have to write 2 essays on given topics in 50 minutes. You will have to write essays after hearing a conversation or after reading passages. You will have to write a coherent essay arguing for or against the motion clearly expressing your point of view. In the PBT version you will have to write 250 to 300 words essay in 30 minutes on a given topic.

  • Speaking: In the iBT version you will have to complete 6 tasks in 20 minutes. Here you will have to speak coherently and correctly on a given topic. The topics can range from current affairs to social and legal issues to day to day matters. there is no Speaking section for the PBT version; instead, there is a Structure and Written Expression section where you will have to identify errors and complete sentences in 25 minutes./li>

The afore-mentioned list provides the question paper pattern and the types of questions you will come across in the TOEFL test. Based on them you can start preparing. Once you have gathered all the information for preparation, the entire preparatory process becomes easier ensuring good results in the examination.