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Talking TOEFL

Authored By: 
Touria Ghaffari

There are many tests to evaluate your ability in the English language. One such test is the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is the test most widely used during the admission process by schools, colleges, and universities in the United States to evaluate a non-native English speaker’s proficiency in English.

There are two types of TOEFL currently being administered worldwide--the Paper Based Test (TOEFL PBT) and the Internet Based Test (iBT) that replaced the Computer Based Test (TOEFL CBT) in 2006.

According to the official TOEFL website, 97 percent of TOEFL test takers worldwide take the TOEFL iBT. This is because it measures all four skills of reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The PBT TOEFL does not test speaking. All TOEFL scores remain valid for 2 years after the test date.

To get a desired score, you must study strategies related to each skill. For example, to improve reading, you must know how to skim, scan, and find the meaning of words you do not know from the context. For speaking, you must be able to identify and take note of the information that is crucial in understanding the topic of the listening passage. The first writing task requires you to report in writing the similarities or differences between listening and reading passages. The second writing task tests your organizational skill and how well you are able to develop a topic of general interest.

It goes without saying that you need to practice authentic test materials within the time limits to improve your competence on this test. Some speaking sections also require you to read or listen to part of a lecture and summarize it as a verbal report.

You can find practice materials, a test center, and register for a test on the official TOEFL website.

Just a reminder: practice makes perfect.

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