What is the TOEFL test?

General information about the test

Test of English as a Foreign Language is a standardized test for admission to bachelor’s, master’s, MBA, EMBA programs in English-speaking educational institutions. The test is used to assess the academic level of English proficiency of candidates for whom English is not their native language. The results are accepted in more than 150 countries in 11,000 thousand universities, including the USA, Australia, France, Germany and Canada. Also, in addition to bachelor’s and master’s programs, TOEFL is used as a criterion for selecting candidates for internships in many international companies.

The test can be taken in three ways:

  1. Online or TOEFL iBT,
  2. On your computer TOEFL cBT,
  3. Paper or TOEFL pBT.

The last 2 versions of the test are no longer practiced. The exception is countries without access to the Internet. Since 2006, in the test centers of Russia, TOEFL can be taken only in online format.

The exam has 4 main blocks, for which a total of 3 hours are allocated:

  • Reading (3-4 texts, 30-40 tasks for them);
  • Listening (6-9 entries, 28-39 questions);
  • Speaking (4 tasks);
  • Writing (2 essays).

For all 4 sections of the iBT test, you can get from 0 to 120 points, while each block of tasks is evaluated in the range of 0-30 points.

To pass the TOEFL, you need to pre-register on the www.ets.org website.

Payment for passing the test in Russia is $ 260.

The TOEFL is allowed to be taken as many times as necessary, with no limit on the number.

Preliminary results will be available on the website in your personal account approximately 6 days after the completion of the exam. You will receive an email letting you know when your results will be available. Within 8 days after passing the test, you can download and print your result, the exact dates can be checked on the official website.

The certificate is valid for 2 years.

Test sections

The first block of the TOEFL is Reading. It defines the skills of meaningful reading of academic texts and reading comprehension in English. In section 3-4 texts of 700 words each. The texts are accompanied by 30-40 questions The amount of test work is determined by the computer. In the course of the test, it is allowed to make notes, skip questions and return to them again.

The main requirements for candidates passing through this block of questions: to understand the essence of the text, to briefly characterize the passage of material, to find the main idea, to answer questions regarding the content of the text, to choose synonyms for the word / words.

To successfully pass this block of the test, we recommend reading scientific and fiction literature, periodicals in English. It is better if the subject matter is different, with a different concentration of industry vocabulary: humanitarian, natural science, technical. It makes sense to work on the speed of reading, since the time to complete tasks is limited – often candidates devote most of the time to reading, not leaving enough in reserve to complete tasks. Try to also pay more attention to the key points in the text and determine its main idea. You have 54-72 minutes to complete this block.

The Reading section is rated in the range from 0 to 30 points.

TOEFL Listening

The Listening block helps to assess the candidate’s ability to understand oral speech, analyze and delve into the details of what he heard, separate the important from the secondary, perceive information by ear and justify his opinion about what he heard. As part of the section, candidates receive audio files to listen to. Additional questions are given to the entries. As a rule, the following are used for listening:

  • dialogues on everyday topics,
  • academic lectures,
  • academic lectures with students’ comments.

You can listen to the recording once, but it is allowed to make notes during the listening. For the successful delivery of this block, it is important to correctly determine the topic of the dialogue, to understand the purpose of the conversation and the attitude of the interlocutor in the problem.

Listening sessions take from 41 to 57 minutes.

The maximum score that can be obtained for a section is 30.

TOEFL Speaking

This section tests the spoken language skills and the ability of candidates to express their thoughts on a given topic.

The section presents tasks in English, independent and integrated.

When answering independent questions, it is necessary to formulate your opinion on the general topic and justify it by explaining the action or behavior. To answer integrated questions, candidates are given small excerpts and fragments of audio files. When reading and listening, it is allowed to make recordings.

Answers to questions are spoken aloud, on the microphone. The candidate has 15 seconds to prepare an answer to a common question and half a minute to prepare an answer to an integrated one.

45 seconds are allotted for reading the text. Audio files take about the same amount of time. The answer itself should be given in 45 seconds in the case of a general question and in 1 minute in the case of an integrated one. After this time, the recording is automatically interrupted.

In TOEFL Speaking, response records are evaluated according to several criteria: logic, completeness of the disclosure of the topic and development of the idea, including the examples given and the actual justification, the volume and complexity of vocabulary, the practice of using synonyms, fluency of speech, the absence of pauses and the presentation of answers, the overall impression, including the relevance of the answer to the topic, the use of information from the task.

A total of 17 minutes are allocated to the section.

The Speaking block is rated from 0 to 30 points.

TOEFL Writing

The Writing section is the last part of the test that assesses a candidate’s writing skills.

In the Writing section there are 2 tasks:

  • Writing an integrated essay;
  • The answer to the question is in essay format.

The first task is integrated. To perform it, it is necessary to read a small text and listen to a lecture on the same topic. 3 minutes are given for reading the text, 2 minutes for listening to the lecture (depending on the recording). When listening to a recording, it is important to make notes, since you can listen to it only once. The essay is written on the basis of the information received. The volume of the essay should be 150-225 words. There are 20 minutes to complete the task.

In the second task, the candidate must write an essay in the form of an answer to the question presented. The candidate is required to clearly and competently express his opinion, supported by various arguments and examples. The volume of the essay should be 300-350 words. Try to ensure that the essay has a clear structure: an introduction that reveals the main idea, then the main part, containing examples and arguments in favor of the main idea and conclusion. You have 30 minutes to complete the task. In order to correctly distribute the time, we advise no more than 2-3 first minutes to allocate to drawing up an essay plan. Thus, it will be easier for you to understand what and how you should write in an essay. Take 20 minutes to write the essay itself. And leave 5 minutes in reserve for the final check and correction of errors.

The total time to complete tasks in this section is 50 minutes.

For this section you can get from 0 to 30 points.

Preparation for the TOEFL takes from 1 to 6 months, depending on the level of English proficiency.

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