The Test Of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL is one of the two major English language tests in the world. The exam is accepted by most of the academic and professional organizations/ institutions in English speaking countries.
Understanding the TOEFL exam pattern is necessary as it can help you be prepared for the exam and in return, achieve a high score.
Every section of the test will have different questions or tasks to be performed and some of the tasks may be new to you. Hence, to get a high score, continuous practice is required. The topics in the examination will keep changing, but the format of the questions will remain the same. Thus, getting some information about TOEFL is really important.
Sections of TOEFL
There are 4 sections in TOEFL, each explained below:
The reading section of TOEFL goes up to 60-100 minutes during which you will be given 3-5 academic passages with each passage being around 700 words long. There will also be 12- 14 questions based on the passage. This section is to test your ability to grasp and analyze the written content given to you. The content topic will be related to science and academic discussion. To do well in this section you must read complex passages daily to get a hold of the vocabulary and grammar of the same.
The listening section of TOEFL goes up to 60-90 minutes long and this section tests your ability to understand the content given to you orally. Each of the recordings played will have different accents. This section will have 4-6 lectures with different information followed by 4-5 related questions along with extra how and why questions. The audio will be played only once but the questions along with them can be played twice or thrice. This section tests your ability to understand the information given as well as how you can understand the tone and emotions of the speaker.
The speaking section of TOEFL goes up to 20 minutes long. You will be given six tasks that you’ll have to complete by speaking on the microphone. In the first two tasks, you’ll have to share your opinions on everyday topics and the remaining 4 tasks will be based on integrated speaking where you will have to read a short passage or listen to a recording, based on which, questions will be asked. This section will test your ability to showcase your ideas and thoughts in the English language.
The writing section of TOEFL goes about 50 minutes long. It consists of two tasks: one is an integrated task and the second one, an independent task. In the independent task, you will have to write your opinion based on a casual topic, while in the integrated task, you will have to write an essay on listening and a reading material. You will have more time on the independent tasks than as compared to the integrated tasks. So, you can try to focus on independent tasks. The writing tests is to assess your grammar and vocabulary ability while writing in English.
Each section of TOEFL is out of a total of 30 marks and the marking of all the sections together will be out of 120 marks. Thus, in TOEFL, 120 can be considered as a perfect score. All the sections of TOEFL will be done in one day and altogether it will be a four and half long test with a short break in between listening and speaking sections.
Points to be kept in mind while attending the test:
- You can make notes on the paper while attempting any section of the TOEFL test. You will be given paper and pencil to take notes. But, while leaving the test centre you’ll have to submit all the used and unused paper to the concerned authority.
- There will be a 10 minutes break during which you can have a drink or snack.
- If you want to go for a break in between the examination you can do that too, but the time will not be paused for you.
- Mobile, tablets and other electronic gadgets will not be allowed in the examination hall. You won’t be allowed to use it during the break time either.
Advantages of TOEFL
There are a few reasons as to why the TOEFL test is important. Some of them are discussed below:
- It helps you to get noticed by the Admission officers as it improves the English speaking skills just as the way they are used in the classroom.
- Other speaking tests are rated by one person, whereas the TOEFL test is rated by multiple trainers.
- You can test your scores online within 6 days of your examination and also get feedback on the parts you need to improve on.
- It is accepted by 9000+ institutions and about 130 counties and also the top 100 universities in the US.
Scoring of TOEFL test
The total marking of all the sections together will be out of 120 marks. More details relating to the scoring is given below:
- Each section of the TOEFL test is scored from 0-30 and the overall test is scored out of 120 marks.
- The marks will be available after 6 days of your TOEFL examination and will be valid for 2 years.
- Your score report will also include your best scores, i.e your highest score from all the sections.
- If the score is not suitable for the institution that you wish to go to, you can take several attempts of the exam until you get a better score, but there must be a waiting period of at least 3 days before taking the next attempt.
- You are eligible to choose 4 institutions of your choice where you wish to take admission and the TOEFL scores will be directly sent to those institutions.
- You must check the institution’s website to find out the score requirement set by them.
TOEFL is a very complex test and it is advisable to start practising for the test at least 2 months in advance, to be able to get a good score in the examination. You just have to practise improving your English language, and you’ll easily be able to get the score you aiming for.