The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is recognized and accepted worldwide as the proficiency standard of English as a foreign language. The TOEFL is:
- Frequently required as part of the application process for international students who wish to study in the United States.
- Taken by people who require their English proficiency assessed in order to obtain a U.S. work visa.
- Taken by someone who is learning English simply to gauge their progress, as English is a very difficult second language.
The TOEFL is administered in a hand-written and a computer-based format; however, the hand-written format is only available in areas where computer-based testing is not available. To find out where a computer-based test is available, visit www.ets.org/toefl. The computer-based test is administered on a standard qwerty keyboard; therefore, strong keyboarding skills are a must before taking the computer-based TOEFL examination.
The TOEFL examines four areas of English proficiency:
Depending on which of the four English proficiency areas, there will be between 60 and 100 minutes to answer between 35 and 70 questions.
1. The reading section of the TOEFL is comprised of three, four, or five academic texts to read, and then comprehension questions pertaining to those academic texts. Read the instructions for this section very carefully. Know how many academic texts and how many questions, and the total time allotted for the test in order to ensure enough time to answer all of the questions.
2. The listening section of the TOEFL will have anywhere from 34 to 51 questions with 60 to 90 minutes allotted for completion. First, listen to the provided lectures, classroom discussions, and conversations, and then answer the comprehension questions.
3. The oral section of the TOEFL allots 20 minutes to complete six tasks. Orally express an opinion on two familiar topics, and give four speeches on topics from the reading and listening sections of the TOEFL.
4. The writing section of the TOEFL allots 50 minutes to write two essays. The first essay will be based on the content of the reading and listening sections of the test. The second essay will be an opinion about a topic given by the examiner.