How can I prepare for the TOEFL exam?
TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language
The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a standardized test that tests the knowledge of the English language of non-native speakers. The test is recognized as an admission requirement by many universities in English-speaking countries, especially in the USA. Today there are over 9,000 international universities and agencies that rely on a TOEFL test for admission decisions.
This is carried out worldwide by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). As a non-profit organization, ETS has set itself the goal of increasing global quality and fairness in education and creating ratings based on thorough research. Since it was founded in 1964, the TOEFL test has been taken by almost 20 million people and covers levels B1 - C2 des Common European Framework of Reference.
When is the TOEFL required?
Taking a TOEFL test is advisable for anyone who intends to study in an English-speaking country, as many universities require this test as an admission. In the case of Bachelor's or Master's degree programs that are held in English, some universities in Germany also require this proof.
There are two different types of tests internet-based TOEFL test (iBT) and the paper-based TOEFL test (PBT). The IBT was introduced as a new test format in the USA, Germany, France and Italy at the end of 2005 and replaced the previous TOEFL test forms. Other countries followed this change in 2006 and 2007.
In its current form, the iBT is divided into the following sections:
- 1. Reading comprehension (to capture the understanding of text sections)
- 2. Listening comprehension (for recording listening comprehension)
- 3. Speaking (to measure the ability to communicate)
- Written Expression (to measure the ability to write an essay in English on a given topic)
The grammar is taken into account in all four test forms. The answers in the first two parts of the test are given in a multiple-choice system. The test duration is a maximum of 4.5 hours.
The maximum number of points for the TOEFL iBT is 120 points, depending on the ability up to 30 points can be awarded for each of the above areas. The number of points to be achieved in the TOEFL depends on the specifications of the respective universities or companies.
- A1: 9 to 29
- A2: 30 to 42
- B1: 43 to 71
- B2: 72 to 94
- C1: 95 to 120
The old test is taken in two variants, which have different point scales, but are recognized as equivalent: PBT (paper-based test: 310 to 677 points) and CBT (computer-based test, 0 to 300 points). The PBT takes about 3.5 hours and is divided into the sections Listening Comprehension, Structure and Written Expression and Reading Comprehension. Upon arrival at the test center, a catalog of questions and a separate form for the answers will be handed out. Furthermore, the Test of Written English (TWE) is a compulsory part of the paper-based TOEFL test, which, however, is assessed separately. The task is to write a short essay on a given topic in 30 minutes. This is assessed according to the ability to structure and substantiate ideas and to use regular written English.
A thorough TOEFL preparation can take about 2 - 4 weeks, depending on your own goals. First, you should become familiar with the format of the test in order to be able to go through some sample questions. Free tutorials are available on the Internet for this purpose. Preparatory courses can also be taken or relevant works for TOEFL preparation can be used in order to be able to achieve the best possible training from home. We recommend the TOEFL preparation courses from MBAhelp as well as the “Official Guide to the New TOEFL IBT” and preparatory works by the publisher “Barron’s”.
Registration for the TOEFL test
In Germany there are several test centers where the TOEFL test can be taken. Registration can be requested either via the Internet (ETS website) or by telephone at the “Regional Registration Center” responsible for Germany. Since there is only a limited capacity available for each appointment and appointments are quickly booked out, it is advisable to register early (at least 4 weeks in advance). The costs for the test vary in the individual countries, in Germany a fee of 240 US dollars must be expected.
The TOEFL test can be taken by Germans also abroad be filed. Various language travel providers have specially designed language courses for this purpose that end in a TOEFL test. Further information can be found under English exam courses.
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