Preparation for TOEFL

Mode of Test:

The TOEFL can be taken in two main modes, the Internet Based Test (iBT) or the Paper Based Test (pBT). The TOEFL iBT test is administered via the Internet, and the TOEFL pBT test is administered in a paper-delivered format.

TOEFL iBT Test Content:

The TOEFL iBT is a 4 hour 20 minute test (excluding the 10 minute break). It consists of four sections namely the Reading section, Listening section, Speaking section and the Writing section.

Section Time Limit Questions

Reading 60-80 minutes 36-56

Listening 60-90 minutes 34-51

Break – –

Speaking 20 minutes 6 tasks

Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks

Section Tasks

Reading – Read 3 or 4 passages from academic texts and answer questions.

Listening – Listen to lectures, classroom discussions and conversations, then answer questions.

Speaking – Express an opinion on a familiar topic; speak based on reading and listening tasks.

Writing – Write essay responses based on reading and listening tasks; support an opinion in writing.

The test also may include extra questions in the reading or listening section that do not count toward your score. These are either questions that enable ETS to make test scores comparable across administrations or new questions that help ETS determine how such questions function under actual testing conditions.

TOEFL Paper Based Test Content:

The TOEFL PBT test, administered in a paper-delivered format, takes about three and one-half hours to complete. There is also a 30-minute writing test, called the TWE® test, which is required of everyone who takes the paper-delivered test. The total time to take both tests will be about four hours.

The PBT consists of three sections plus TWE writing test namely the Listening Comprehension, Structure and Written Expression, Reading Comprehension, all of which are mandatory. At least one question in each section must be answered and one essay must be written to earn a score.

Section Description – Time Limit

Listening Comprehension – Measures the ability to understand spoken English

Structure and Written Expression – Measures the ability to recognize language appropriate for standard written English

Reading Comprehension – Measures the ability to understand non-technical reading material

TWE® Test – Measures the ability to write in English

Section Time Limit No. of Questions

Listening Comprehension 30-40 minutes 50 quest

Structure and Written Expression 25 minutes 40 quest

Reading Comprehension 55 minutes 50 quest

TWE® Test 30 minutes 1 Topic

Preparation tips for TOEFL:

TOEFL is mainly taken by students who wish to enter into American universities. The minimum scores are 550 out of 677 in the paper based test or 79 out of 120 in the iBT. Hence a student must aim for these marks to enter into a good university. Here are some tips to crack the TOEFL with high scores.

Format selection: Students are advised to register for that format (either PBT or iBT) which they are most comfortable with. For e.g., if a student is comfortable with writing over typing, he/she may choose to take the test in the PBT format.

Reading section: Reading is the best way to improve your vocabulary. Students are advised to read a lot of fiction and nonfiction books with more emphasis on reading books written by British and American authors. Vocabulary and concentration levels improve greatly by reading books. Students are also advised to regularly read newspapers.

Writing Section: To improve you writing skill, students are advised to write one essay everyday on any topic. Send emails, make notes for yourself and write down daily reminders, using new words and common expressions. This helps with sentence structure and vocabulary.

Writing regularly helps in improving writing speed and clarity in thought. By writing every day, students will also be able to improve their accuracy of writing. Students can also keep a personal diary and record their life events in English.

Listening section: To improve listening skills, students are advised to listen to music, online broadcasts, radio, television and movies in English. Listening regularly will greatly help the student develop the nuances of the English language.

The more you listen, the more you will understand vocabulary and expressions. Music helps you acquire the rhythm and stress patterns of spoken English. Listen closely to the words.

Practice tests: Students can build a lot of confidence by doing practice tests regularly. Having all the materials such as books and CDs related to the tests and using them on a regular basis will greatly help prepare for the test.

Typing: Students taking the iBT are advised to practice typing for 15 minutes every day. The faster the student types, the quicker the student will be able to complete the test.

Academic English: TOEFL tests a student’s knowledge of academic English. Academic English is the English used in an academic environment such as a classroom interaction. Students must improve on their academic English skills by reading a lot of academic textbooks and encyclopaedias.

TOEFL Website: is the official website of the TOEFL test. The website will supply you with a list of writing topics for the essay. The student can also find important information about test centres and test updates. The students will also get hints about which resources are worth buying.