Have you ever received a grade for an exam that is significantly lower than what you expected? You think you did well and the score is unfair. That can happen with the TOEFL as well, and just like in school, you get the chance to request a rescore.
There are two forms of the TOEFL: the paper-based (PBT) and the internet-based (iBT) tests. Even though the paper-based format is still used in several around the world, it is very rare compared to the places that use the iBT format. So we will look into only the iBT format in this post.
When is the best time to take the TOEFL? It is a difficult question. There is no solid, always correct answer for this question. You do not want to take the exam too early since you might be unprepared. You also do not want to take it too late, you will not have enough time in case you need a re-take for better scores. The timing for TOEFL is pretty much just guess work, sadly. However, here are a few things that you can consider when choosing a test date so you can maximize your performance while limit difficulties.
Unlike most exams or tests, the TOEFL® does not have one passing or failing. Rather, you just get your score and your success is dependent on your school of choice or the mark required of an applicant for your institution. As such it is important to secure that one aims for the highest score possible. The following is a guide that would help a student maximize their TOEFL® score.
As aforementioned, the TOEFL® is quite unlike other exams so a good start would be to ensure that you understand the test profoundly. If you are aiming for a slot in a specific university, look up their requirements to have a specific target in mind. Some require one to hit a certain overall mark while others require specific marks in particular sections for one to be accepted. That aside you must understand the structure of the test and how to prepare for each. There are numerous resources online to help one understand all they need to about the test, including blog articles on this very website.
The writing section is where candidates’ ability to express themselves in writing in the English language in an academic context is tested. In every academic situation that calls for the use of English one must be able to put their ideas down in a clear, well organized manner. Writing is an important skill as one often needs to write a paper or essay response in an exam on what they have gained in class. They then need to combine knowledge gained from listening to lectures, engaging in discussions and reading textbooks and other materials. This is referred to as Integrated Writing for which a test taker must be able to:
Take notes on what they hear and read and use those notes to organize information before expressing it in writing.
Summarize, paraphrase and cite information accurately from source material.
Write linking the information you have read to that which you have heard.
The listening section of the iBT TOEFL® test aims to measure one’s ability to listen to, hear and understand spoken in English. For academic purposes one has to listen to lectures and conversations. The Academic listening will usually be done for either one of the following three purposes:
Listening for basic comprehension: comprehension of the main idea, key points and the most important details related to the main idea.
Listening for pragmatic understanding: here, one listens to be able to recognize a speaker’s attitude and level of certainty as well as appreciating a speaker’s purpose or function.
Connecting and synthesizing information: the test-taker has to recognize the information presented and understand the relationship between ideas such as comparing and contrasting, cause and effect or just the steps in a given process.
Under this category is making inferences and drawing conclusions on the basis of what is implied in the material one is listening to. Making connections among pieces of information presented, noticing changes in topics in a lecture or conversation as well as recognizing introductions and conclusions in a lecture also fall under this bracket.
One of the four parts of the TOEFL Test is the Reading section. This is the section that measures a candidate’s ability to understand written university level academic text and passages. Academic reading has three purposes:
The first one is reading to find information which includes effectively scanning text for key facts and important information.
Basic comprehension entails understanding the general topic or main idea, important facts or details, vocabulary in context and pronoun usage.
Finally, reading to learn is about recognizing the organisation and purpose of a passage, understanding how ideas relate, Organizing information into a category or chart or summary so as to recall major points and concluding how ideas connect throughout the passage.
TOEFL® is an abbreviation for Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is a standardized test of proficiency in the English language for non-native speakers with an interest in studying in an English-speaking country. It is developed and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is one of the only two major English-language tests in the world over. On top of the test, the ETS TOEFL® Program avails tools and guides for preparing for the test and generally improving one’s skills in the English language.
The TOEFL® iBT test is a measure of a candidate’s ability to use and understand the English language at the University level. It evaluates how proficiently one is able to combine their listening, reading, speaking and writing skills for the best performance in academic tasks. Candidates are evaluated on all four levels.