The Test Of English as a Foreign Language is a mandatory requirement for non-English speakers for admission into colleges and universities in the United States for graduate study. The test results show the admission committee how well the student can understand and use English as it is spoken in America. It tests the ability of non-native students to learn academic English with almost the same level as native English speakers. It is mandatory because the medium of instruction for these universities in North America is English, so the students who are admitted for advanced courses in the universities need to understand and excel in the language. The TOEFL is also used as a scale to measure English proficiency for government agencies, scholarship programs, etc.
The TOEFL is administered in two ways, one is the Paper Based Test (PBT) and the other is the Internet Based Test (iBT). The administration of the test used to be PBT in the past, but now most countries, with the exception of very few have the iBT. Previously, there used to be the TOEFL only for potential graduate students, but now, for the younger students, the TOEFL Junior has been introduced; but is not as popular as the former.
TOEFL Test Centers
There is a test center in every major city of every country. Online registration of the test is needed to book for the exam. Details of the same can be found at the ETS or TOEFL website. The test costs about $150 in USA and $185 in U.K for the iBT and $150 for the PBT.
What Else one Needs to Know about the TOEFL
The test takes about 4 hours to complete. One must be prepared for this. All instructions must be read and well understood before taking the test. One can take notes and use them to answer questions. It is an essential skill that will be needed during college classes also. In the speaking section, the audio will not be replayed, so pay attention and make notes simultaneously. Some questions need the candidate to understand the speaker’s tone or attitude towards the subject being spoken about. Try to figure out what it is.
For another important section, which is the reading, one has to be familiar with academic vocabulary as the test will contain academic related texts. Skimming the passage first to get a vague idea about what the test is about is a wise step which can save ample time. Titles should be read properly, and if the candidate is required to write a title for the passage, he/she must take the keywords and form a perfect heading. Each paragraph should be carefully analyzed and given sub headings while reading itself, as questions similar to that may appear.
The exam is an easy one, only for those who are fluent in English speaking, have good vocabulary and correct grammatical knowledge.