TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a standarised English language proficiency test for non-native speakers which is owned and managed by a non-profit organization called Educational Testing Service (ETS).
Though initially targeted for American universities and educational institutes, TOEFL test is now one of the widely accepted English language test in more than 9 thousand colleges and agencies in more than 140 countries.
This test basically measures a candidate’s ability to use and understand the English language in a university environment. TOEFL test measures someone’s level of English in reading, writing, listening and speaking skills.
TOEFL test, also referred as TOEFL iBT test is the internet version of TOEFL test that has replaced the paper-based tests (PBT) and computer-based tests (CBT). Computer-based TOEFL test was discontinued in 2006 but paper-based tests are still available in some selected locations where iBT is yet to be introduced.
If you are planning to take the TOEFL test, you will probably sit for the iBT. However, you are advised to contact your local TOEFL test authority to be sure whether they offer iBT or not. There is a slight difference between these two test formats.
In PBT test there are 4 sections:
Listening: This section lasts for 30 to 40 minutes and has three parts. In the first part you will get around 30 questions about short conversation. In the second part you will be given 8 questions based on longer conversations. In the final and third part you will get 12 questions about lectures or longer conversations.
Structure and Written Expression: The structure and Writing Expression section contains 40 questions among which 15 will be sentence completion and 25 questions for identifying errors. You will need to complete this section in 25 minutes.
Reading Comprehension: This is the longest part of the test and you will have to answer around 50 questions which are based on reading passages. It usually takes 55 minutes.
Writing: Writing is the fourth section of the PBT TOEFL and lasts for 30 minutes. This includes a writing test called the Test of Written English (TWE) and you will be given an essay question for which you need to write a response of 300 words.
The iBT (internet based TOEFL)
The TOEFL iBT test is administered via the Internet and it measures a test taker’s ability to use and understand English at the university level. This test evaluates how well a candidate can combine his/ her listening, reading, speaking and writing skills to perform academic tasks in an English speaking country. You can take notes during your TOEFL iBT test.
Test Format of TOEFL iBT is given below for your better understanding of this test format:
|Reading||3–5 passages, each containing 12–14 questions||60–100 minutes|
|Listening||6–9 passages, each containing 5–6 questions||60–90 minutes|
|Break||Mandatory break||10 minutes|
|Speaking||6 tasks||20 minutes|
|Writing||2 tasks||50 minutes|