Students who are completing their bachelor’s degree every year apply to universities across foreign countries to pursue their master’s degree which can further help them choose a career in their field of expertise, students who want to pursue a master’s degree must possess basic English speaking and grammar skills and to test these skills the TOEFL exam is a must.
Structure and scoring
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is an assessment of English-language skills taken by university applicants who are primarily speakers of other languages. The TOEFL currently exists in two versions: the internet-based test (iBT) and the paper-based test (PBT). The latter is only provided in countries where internet testing is not available, and 97% of students take the exam via the internet. Both versions consist of reading, writing, speaking, and listening sections, although each has distinct scoring scales and timing.
The iBT is offered more than 50 times per year at test centers in 165 countries, and a mandatory 12-day waiting period between test attempts is the only official limit on multiple administrations.
The iBT takes between three hours and 20 minutes and four hours and 10 minutes to complete, including a single 10-minute break. TOEFL reading (60-80 minutes) includes 3-4 passages and 12-14 questions for each. TOEFL listening (60-90 minutes) covers 4-6 sample lectures and 2-3 conversations, with 6 questions per lecture and 5 questions per conversation. TOEFL speaking (20 minutes) consists of two independent tasks and four integrated tasks.
The TOEFL writing section includes an integrated task (20 minutes) and an independent task (30 minutes), for a total of 50 minutes. Sectional iBT scores for reading, writing, speaking, and listening are given on a scale of 0 to 30 for each, in one-point increments. The iBT total score is the sum of all four sectional scores (0 to 120). The TOEFL PBT is also built from four sections, entitled “Listening Comprehension” (30-40 minutes, scored from 31-68 in one-point increments), “Structure and Written Expression” (25 minutes; 31-68), “Reading Comprehension” (55 minutes; 31-67), and “Writing” (30 minutes; 1-6). Total PBT testing time is 140-150 minutes (2 hours and 20-30 minutes), and total PBT scores are reported from 310-677 (the writing assessment is separate from the rest of the exam and is not included in the total score).
Validity of test scores
Students taking up the TOEFL test must always keep a track of the exact date of taking up the exam, as the TOEFL scores are valid only for a limited time period of 2 years after which the test scores are no longer accessible and cannot be used to apply for foreign universities.
However, students must be aware that they can retake their exams and attain fresh marks whose validity again lasts for 2 years, students who are not satisfied with them can take up the exam multiple times within the validity period. The examination fees of $185 shall however remain the same every time a candidate decides to take up the test.
Study Smart, Not hard
The TOEFL is designed to be a rigorous assessment of English language skills in non-native speakers. In order to produce satisfactory scores, test-takers must show more than the distinct skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking – they must also demonstrate that they can combine these skills into functional communication in English.
It can be difficult to figure out how to approach the TOEFL, as there are so many TOEFL tips and strategies out there to choose from.
Before taking up the exam, try to familiarize yourself with all of the basic features of the TOEFL and its scoring system. You should know what the TOEFL sections are, how these sections are arranged, how much time you’ll have on each section, and what kinds of questions and prompts you’ll get.
Before registering for the TOEFL exam, set aside ample time to prepare for the exam and hone the English-language skills. Three to six months of study time should generally suffice. However, exact time frames will vary depending on English ability and the amount of time that can be dedicated to studying.
As you study for the TOEFL, always focus on what you don’t know rather than what you do know. Doing this ensures you’ll spend more time honing your weaknesses and will have a better chance of getting high scores on all four TOEFL sections.
None of the four sections should bring down your TOEFL score, so try to figure out what you struggle with and then study and practice it until it’s no longer a major weakness for you.
Study sessions won’t be as effective if you’re not using high-quality TOEFL resources.
By far, the best resources out there are official ones (those created by ETS).
To do well on the TOEFL, you need to have a high range of English vocabulary. Knowing different words allows you to more readily understand the English you read and hear and gives you the tools to express yourself more clearly and effectively in speech and writing. Ultimately, the best way to study vocabulary is to use flashcards. You can either make your own paper cards or opt for digital cards.
The best way to improve your reading ability is to read as many English-language texts as you can. By doing this, you’ll not only enhance your vocabulary and grammar knowledge, but you’ll also learn how arguments are structured and what ultimately makes them compelling to read.
Get rid of the overwhelming feeling
The TOEFL is a long and tricky exam, especially for first timers, so you’ll need to find ways to keep yourself from feeling overwhelmed.
Staying calm and focused is the most important step to score better. As you take the TOEFL, try to stay as focused as possible. Letting your nerves get to you can make you lose concentration or commit careless mistakes. If you find that you’re feeling overwhelmed at any moment, take a 10-second pause to stretch, breathe, and calm your thoughts.