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how to prepare for TOEFL

things to know before appearing for TOEFL exam

#1

background

#2

reading section

#3

listening section

#4

speaking section

#5

writing section

#6

scoring system

#1

some background on TOEFL

TOEFL preparation isn’t as hard as it seems. If you’re nervous on your way to the examination center, sweating buckets upon buckets, don’t panic! Everyone goes through it. Being nervous is a positive sign of you taking the task at hand seriously.

The TOEFL is essentially one of the most important tests in every student’s academic life. A great TOEFL score adds immense value to your academic achievements and can also help you with several scholarship opportunities. Preparing well and going the extra mile will help you ace the test. More than 35 million people sit for the TOEFL exam every year with the high hopes of getting into a good institution.

Always remember to do your share of research. Sometimes the test can be unpredictable and will often dish out more questions to specific candidates. ETS does that to make test scores comparable across administrations, or it can even be a new question they are trying out to see how it performs in real testing conditions. Either way, questions that are extra do not usually count towards your score.

#2

reading section

The reading section of the test consists of 3-4 multiple-focus passages (compare/contrast, cause-effect). Each passage consists of 10 questions. The time allotted to this section can vary between 54-72 minutes, depending on the number of passages given in the test. The scores for this portion of the test can range between 0 and 30. You can take a look at the TOEFL practice test for reading right.

#3

listening section

This section contains 3 to 4 lectures, and some lectures contain classroom discussions. Each lecture is around 3-5 minutes long, and at the end of each, you will be asked 6 questions. Also included in this portion are normal, daily-life conversations. You’ll get to listen to 2-3 conversations, each being 3 minutes long. You’ll be asked 5 questions at the end of each conversation. The accents used in the listening portion are those of native-speakers from all over North America. Apart from North American accents, you might also hear some accents from other English-speaking countries like:

  1. Australia
  2. New Zealand
  3. The United Kingdom

The total time allotted to this section can vary between 41-57 minutes and the score for this portion of the test is between 0 and 30. A sample of the listening section can be found here.

#4

speaking section

This portion of the test consists of 4 tasks. You’ll be assigned 1 independent task to express your opinion on a topic you’re familiar with. You’ll have 30 seconds to prepare your response. Apart from that, you will have 3 integrated speaking tasks based on reading and listening. You’ll have 1 minute to prepare your response. The total time allotted to this section is 17 minutes. You’ll be scored out of 0-4 points, and then your points will be converted to a scale between 0 to 30. An example of the speaking section can be found here. This example is 11 seconds long and you have 45 seconds to respond.

#5

writing section

You’ll have two tasks in this section of the test.

Section 1- An integrated task based on what is read and heard. You’ll have 20 minutes to complete this.

Section 2- An independent task to support an opinion on a topic. You’ll have 30 minutes to complete this.

The total time allotted to this section is 50 minutes and you’ll be scored on a point range of 0 to 5, which will then be converted to a score scale of 0 to 30.

#6

scoring system

The total score for the TOEFL test can range between 0 and 120. The authorities responsible for checking the test include a combination of certified Educational testing service raters and AI. You will receive your scores online 6 days after the test date. You will get a hard copy of the reports within 11 days of your exam.

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