What is the TOEFL test and why is it important? The Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, is a standardized test used by many colleges, universities, and professional institutions to assess the English language proficiency of non-native speakers. This test is administered at testing centers in 165 countries. It is offered online and is known as the iBT (internet-based test).
The exam covers skills in four areas – reading, writing, listening, and speaking – with a total of 120 points – 30 points per section.
Most academic institutions consider the TOEFL score in the admission process, and each school will set a minimum required TOEFL score, which may range from 61 to 111. The cost of taking the TOEFL iBT depends on the country or even the testing center, ranging anywhere from $160 – $250. Preparing for the TOEFL test may cost much more. In today’s world, there are many classes and resources, both in-person and online that can help students successfully prepare for the TOEFL.
Preparing for the TOEFL does not have to be stressful or expensive. Here are three tips that will help make TOEFL preparation both an enjoyable and rewarding experience:
- Practice, practice, practice: It is absolutely essential to be familiar with the structure of the test and to practice each section with regularity. If you attend a class in-person, make sure to join one where the teacher does a lot of timed practice sessions on each section of the test. If you find an online TOEFL preparation program, choose one with a lot of practice for each section. When you are intimately familiar with the test, you will be able to finish within the specified time and pace yourself in such a way that you won’t grow tired and will remain alert throughout each section of the test. Just like any physical activity, such as running or working out, if you practice regularly, you will have no problem keeping up your energy and staying focused on the day of the test.
- Make it interesting: The practice tests are not your only source of learning when preparing for the TOEFL. Real material is easily accessible online and often free. Radio news shows, such as NPR (National Public Radio) or videos like Ted Talks, help students hone their listening skills and learn new vocabulary. Watching subtitled films is another great way to get more exposure to English while enjoying a good movie.
- Get in shape for testing day: Showing up on the test day rested and clear-headed is a sure way to add to your chances of scoring high. Not only do you need a good night’s sleep the night before the test, but you should also be getting a good sleep every night for at least two weeks before test day. Go to bed at a reasonable time, get up early, and eat breakfast. The TOEFL test is about 4 hours and requires a lot of concentration. If you have practiced a lot, you can channel your energy into using all the test-taking strategies you have learned to ace the test.