The TOEFL is an entrance exam used by several top schools to ascertain international students’ aptitude within the English language. The test is used to determine the language abilities of non-native English speaker by testing abilities in speaking, listening, reading and writing skills in English. The exam is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), and is offered at several different locations around the country.
The test was originally a paper-based exam, but was later changed into a computer-initiated test. While paper-based tests are still available, the preferred method is computer-based. The test is four hours in length and can be taken a maximum of once a week. TOEFL scores stay valid for only two years. Since its inception in 1964, the TOELF test has been taken by over 20 million students.
Why Take the TOEFL
The TOEFL exam is required by almost every school for foreign students who want to study any subject in the US. While there are many requirements for international students to study in the US, the TOEFL is one of the most important. Schools look to the TOEFL as one of their earliest indicators to see if a foreign student is ready to study in the US. Students should put in plenty of preparation to ensure they get a top score.
The main format for testing is the IBT or Internet-Based testing, which was introduced in 2005 to replace the CBT (Computer-Based testing). The CBT was officially retired in September of 2006 and so the main two formats that are now used are IBT and PBT (Paper-Based Testing). The PBT however is rarely used and the most common format is the IBT.
The IBT format has been rolled out over a series of phases, with the USA, Canada, France, Germany and Italy as the first to get the new format and then the rest of the world was moved over in 2006. Demand for the TOEFL IBT test is often very high and it is advisable to book a few months in advance to make sure you get the date you want.
How to Prepare
Preparing for the TOEFL exam requires intensive studying. This studying should encompass all four of the main English criteria.
There are many TOEFL study books that teach students about the test and potential questions. These books provide an introduction to the exam, and go section by section to assist students in every facet of the exam. Because the exam is new to a lot of students, the books do a good job of giving potential test takers a solid look at what they can expect to see on test day.
In addition to test books, there are many different courses available for students taking the test. These courses are taught by certified instructors who know exactly how to take the test, teach students extra tips, and are able to give personal time and acknowledgment.
Many of these TOEFL courses can be found at English language centers, and they are designed to prepare students for successfully taking the TOEFL exam. Programs typically vary in length although a typical TOEFL preparation course lasts 4-12 weeks. Many programs offer curriculums that simulate the TEOFL exam, provide in-classroom discussion, offer test taking skills, and more. Check out the following English language programs for more information:
Another great way for students to prepare for the TOEFL is by take a proctored practice test offered by some of the larger test centers. Many test prep centers offer free practice tests with results at colleges and universities around the world. In addition to real scores, a student has the opportunity to learn information about courses that the center may offer.
While the many practice materials are sufficient for some students, many others do best having received one-on-one coaching from a native English speaker. From a fluent coach a student can get personalized help, and focus on areas where they are struggling most. Many students attest that having a TOEFL coach who was fluent in the language helped their scores to drastically improve. These coaches give great advice, teach students excellent feedback, and help to make sure that they can grasp some of the more complex issues with the language. English speaking coaches are not terribly expensive and many people advertise as helpers. Coaches are a great asset to anyone needing serious help learning the language.
5.Taking the Test
If you would like information on taking the TOEFL, please visit the TOEFL website as the cost and type of test you need to take will vary depending on your country. You can also register online and book your test in via this website so please visit here for more information about that.
6.Night before the Exam
After the exam day itself, the most important time for a test-taker is the right before the exam. It may sound counterproductive, but the day before the test should not be used for studying or refreshing. Students should try not to think too much about the TOEFL. Relax and try to clear your mind instead. Students often stress themselves out unnecessarily right before an exam.
Make sure all of your testing materials are ready and you have your directions to the testing center and your testing registration printed out the night before. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep the night before, but try not to deviate from your daily routine too much.
Remember to eat a good meal before you head to the testing center. This will help you concentrate, reduce stress, and make sure your mind is clear and prepared during the exam. It is always a good idea to leave a little early to ensure that you make it to the testing center in plenty of time. Check the TOEFL restrictions and requirements to make certain you are not bringing any prohibited items and that you will have the right materials to gain access to the test.