The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) was established in order to measure the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers. Those wishing to apply for scholarships and government jobs in English-speaking countries are required to pass the test before they could be qualified and admitted.
Passport to Opportunities
Because TOEFL is accepted worldwide, many people consider it as a passport to opportunities. By passing the test, an applicant earns a qualification for scholarship grants and job opportunities in English language speaking nations. One of the primary objectives of TOEFL is to gauge if an individual has the capability to follow instruction and communicate in English.
Today, passing the test is not an absolute guarantee because English-speaking universities mostly require good scores from applicants. A person’s TOEFL score is good to last for two years and he may use it in applying for visa and work as well as in seeking academic grants. Other bodies that may demand the test are government agencies, businesses, licensing bodies and other organizations.
Conduct of test
Established in 1964, more than 23 million applicants have taken the test worldwide. Initially, there was a greater demand of availability test slots than the number of candidates. As a result, the candidates had to wait for several months before they could be scheduled to take the test. Lately however, there has been a remarkable development in most countries. Now, applicants can already take the test in a matter of weeks. Use of paper has also been gradually replaced by Internet-based examination method except in some select areas. Online TOEFL test offers a lot of advantages because the candidates do not have to wait longer than four weeks in order to be booked for the test.
The four-hour test is broken down to four sections with each section intended to evaluate one of the basic language skills in the language. All four sections are focused on the use of English in academic and higher education environment. Incidentally, no candidate is allowed to take the test more than once a week.
There are four test areas in the test.
1. Reading. This area covers reading and comprehension assessment in which there are four or six 700-word passaged that touch on academic topics. Related questions about the main ideas, inferences, vocabulary and rhetorical purpose come after each passage, which the applicant is asked to answer.
2. Listening. The applicant is asked to listen to six passages with two student conversations and four lectures and discussion.
3. Speaking. The applicants are evaluated on their ability to speak fluently and coherently. They first listen to a lecture or a conversation about campus situations and are later tested by answering questions about what they heard.
4. Writing. The examinee’s ability to write is assessed. In this area, the applicant is made to listen to a passage regarding an academic topic. After listening, he writes a summary about the salient points of the passage he listened to. This is referred to as the dependent task of the “Writing” area. On the other hand, the independent task requires the candidates to write an essay on their own, supporting a given issue.
Guarantee of admittance
While it is true that the TOEFL is one positive way to obtain a scholarship grant or government job, it has become competitive these days. More individuals are vying to take it and many are actually passing the test. However most colleges set their minimum TOEFL scores that range from 61 to 100. Prestigious schools such as Columbia University and Harvard University place high score requirements for applicants.
In seeking opportunities and brighter future, people are willing to take risks to try their luck. Having a good TOEFL score is one way of attaining their goals, and yet candidates must also prepare substantially for the test to avoid waste of time and money.