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2 Important TOEFL Preparation Tips
So, you have chosen the Anglophone country where you want to study, you have decided the university you want to attend and even the course you wish to complete. You know you need a TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) certificate to make your application, as this is accepted in 7,500 colleges in 130 countries worldwide. You have started revising your grammar, increasing your vocabulary and speaking regularly with native English-speaking friends, but what else do you know about TOEFL?
The first thing to remember is that the TOEFL exam isn’t just a test of your knowledge of the English language, it’s also about strategy.
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So, what is your strategy? You might be pretty happy with your English but do you know what’s in store for you on the day of your exam?
Tip One: Know The Format
Ok, so you are taking the TOEFL exam, but will you be sitting the TOEFL iBt or TOEFL PBT format?
It is very important that you check with the institution where you will be sitting the exam regarding the format they will be giving you.
There are some important differences between the two formats that could affect your performance on the day should you not be aware of them beforehand.
- The internet-based test is 4 hours 30 minutes long while the paper-based test is 3 hours 30 minutes long.
- The paper-based test does not include a speaking test while the internet-based test does.
- The internet-based test is offered 30 to 40 times a year but you will only be able to take the paper-based test on six days in the year.
Tip Two: Know The Structure of The Test
Once you know whether you will be taking the internet-based or paper-based test it is important to know the structure of the test. TOEFL is called a ‘standardized’ test which means it follows a set pattern in all exams. As a result, the format of the exam should not be a surprise to you when you sit down to take the test!
TOEFL iBT Test Structure
Section Time Limit Questions Tasks Listening 60 – 90 minutes 34 – 51 questions Listen to lectures, classroom discussions and conversations, then answer questions. Reading 60 – 100 minutes 36 – 70 questions Read passages from academic texts and answer questions. Break 10 minutes — — Speaking 20 minutes 6 tasks Express an opinion on a familiar topic; speak based on reading and listening tasks. Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks Write essay responses based on reading and listening tasks; support an opinion in writing.
TOEFL PBT Test Structure
Test Section Description Time Limit No. of
TOEFL PBT Listening Comprehension Measures the ability to understand spoken English 30-40 minutes 50 TOEFL PBT Structure and Written Expression Measures the ability to recognize language appropriate for standard written English 25 minutes 40 TOEFL PBT Reading Comprehension Measures the ability to understand non-technical reading material 55 minutes 50 TWE Test of Written English Measures the ability to write in English 30 minutes 1 topic
It is important to pay attention to the amount of time that is suggested on the paper you spend on each section and not go beyond this. If you do, you might not finish the test and this will be detrimental to your overall score.
Remember that you might have wonderful listening and reading skills but if you do not get to the written section you will not successfully complete the test.
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