Test of English as Foreign Language. That's what TOEFL means. It's carried out by the US Educational Testing Service (ETS). This is a test where students from countries other than the United States usually take before studying there. Here, I'm going to describe a thing or two about this test based on my latest experience. There are several types of TOEFL including the Paper Based Test (PBT) and the Internet Based Test (iBT). The one I took was the iBT. It's in a way more convenient because it is done in front of a computer in less than a day and can be done in shorter time as long as there's place for you to do it with the computers problem-free.

Now, let's take a short run. The TOEFL iBT consists of 4 parts: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.

The Reading Section
is a part where you are given a number of texts to read in a limited amount of time. You are required to answer questions regarding the texts you've read. The texts can be of any genre including history, story, research, discussion, economics, social, and politics.
Hint: In the software (if they don't change the format in future), you can actually scroll down the text without reading. Then, the questions will appear one by one on your click. The questions will be asked mostly based on paragraphs (they show you which paragraph too!) so you can just read what is needed to answer the question. But there are also a few questions that require you to read the whole text..that means you just have to train reading and understanding fast. :P

The Listening Section
requires you to listen to conversations between lecturer and student(s), or among students, or even lectures. You only get ONE chance to listen to the dialogue and then answer questions that follow (with time limit). It's one of the toughest if you're not used to listening to English or do not have a strong foundation in English. But the good thing is that you can write notes! And it pays if you're a good listener and can write fast at the same time.
Hint: You HAVE TO practice the listening section a lot (just like I had lecturer made me). Trust me, all that speed writing-while-listening practice gave me a 30 over 30 mark. If you have excellent memory ( can just listen once and still remember it after an hour) then this section might be fine for you. If not, learn to write fast. Create your own technique (I did doctor-like writing..I bet you won't be able to understand anything!)

The Speaking Section
For the majority of TOEFL iBT takers, this has always been the toughest part of all. In this section, test takers are given a certain time (about 15 to 30 seconds) to think of what to say with respect to the questions or instructions given. You will be entitled about 45 to 60 seconds to speak. This section requires super fast creative and critical thinking.
Hint: The only thing I can say here is..practice talking to a computer. Well, I had a software (which was a replicate of the real TOEFL test) and practiced using it. You just have to train your brain to think of ideas in a very short while and directly speak for a short while. Oh, practice with a friend or maybe a lecturer..that helps too.

The Writing Section
is where you write..or type..essays. Two essays to be precise. One essay is a a summary-like essay (not really the same as the SPM format) where you can write until a limited amount of words and the other one is the all-you-can-write essay; based on a given topic of course. Both of them have time limits.
Hint: To practice writing a lot and especially TOEFL-type questions is the best way to get through this one. Besides that, make sure your grammar and vocabulary is in tip top shape.

That's about it from me about TOEFL. For more info, visit

I have a lot of reference books here:

Don't forget to use this textbook if you have one. It's great too!
Disclaimer: This description about the TOEFL iBT here is correct with respect to the TOEFL iBT I took in 2010 and the ones my friends took in 2011. If in any case that the format is changed, then this can be obsolete. This is also not endorsed by ETS.teehee

If you're planning to take the TOEFL iBT, I wish you GOOD LUCK! ^^

1 comment:

  1. Wouldn’t you love to give in your best and get the score that you have always wanted? In order to get a good TOEFL score, it is essential that you know what exactly a good TOEFL score is, and how much you should aim for learning.

    TESOL training