TOEFL is a well respected standardised test accepted worldwide, created since 1964. It stands for Test Of English as a Foreign Language. The TOEFL test was developed at Princeton University, USA and has been a test that adjudges a level of English for non native speakers, seeking admission in more than 240 colleges and Universities in Canada, USA, UK, France, Germany and many others, numbering 150 countries.
TOEFL tests are valid for 2 years and usually the last score obtained is counted. Many government organizations, international organizations and educational grants, etc, seek TOEFL scores and hence are an important test to be given by foreigners. TOEFL test has undergone changes over the years and has evolved from paper-based, standard TOEFL, to the current IBT (Internet Based Test).
The Paper based test was 3 hours long and could be taken on any of the 6 fixed dates in a year that these tests were administered. There were also three sections in the test, compared to the four now. The three segments in paper based test are Listening comprehension, Grammar and reading comprehension. The maximum marks are 677 and to obtain admission to a reputed university, the usual cut-off scores were 600.
From 1998, the new TOEFL test or also referred to as Computer based non-standard TOEFL was introduced. The additional test of Test of Written English was introduced and the difficulty level was made dynamic and varied with the skills of the candidate taking the test. Thus, the test became of 4 parts. The maximum marks was revised to 300 and results declared immediately on completion of the test, with the official score being received in two weeks.
The IBT type of TOEFL test was introduced in 2005 and computer based test completely done away with, although paper-based test do continue in some parts of the world. There are four areas of test. These are Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. The test is for four hours. The test is scored on a scale of 1 to 120. Each section has a scaled score from 1 to 30 and then totalled. The entire marking process is dynamic and marks earned are in relation to the level of difficulty. For admissions to top-notch universities (eg, MIT, Harvard, Columbia) IBT TOEFL scores of 100 is necessary.
The TOEFL test has time constraints and would need extensive practice to do well in the tests. In the Reading section, there are nearly 50 odd questions and may take 60-80 minutes. The Listening section has about 40 questions and takes 60-90 minutes. In speaking area, there are 6 tasks with 6 questions and takes 20 minutes. The last section is Writing with 2 tasks and 2 questions, taking 50 minutes. Experts recommend a break of 10 minutes in between the test.
One of the important aspects while preparing for the test is to remain calm and prepared with all the writing materials, should you have to make notes. Making a good strategy for preparing for the TOEFL test is the right approach to take.