The TOEFL IBT Test, also known as the TOEFL IBT, is an English-language proficiency test that was updated to reflect today’s globalised business world. Like the old TOEFL PBT and CBT tests, it can be used by universities and colleges internationally to assess how well students have mastered the skills of reading, writing, speaking, listening and grammar.
This post will introduce you to everything you need to know about what this new format means for you (and your application) as well as give a rundown of some other testing options available.
What is the TOEFL IBT Test?
The TOEFL IBT test measures your English language abilities in four skill areas: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. Each skill area tests 10 skills. The total score on the test is between 100 and 850, broken down into a composite score of 200-800 for each of the four skills.
The following is a breakdown of the new skill areas:
Reading: This section tests your ability to read and understand passages and passages that contain unfamiliar words. It includes texts in both primary (simple) and secondary (more complex) genres. You will now be asked difficult questions relating to familiar texts, as well as questions about unfamiliar texts.
Listening: This section tests your ability to hear and understand spoken words in different situations. The categories heard in this section include speaking about yourself, speaking about others, discussing or talking about events or ideas, and reading a passage. You will also be tested on the ability to understand spoken text on computer-based media such as CDs or DVDs.
Speaking: This section tests the ability to speak in different contexts and in different situations. The types of speaking you will be tested on include speaking about yourself, speaking about others, discussing or talking about events or ideas, and reading a passage.
Writing: Students who take the IBT test will now be tested on the ability to understand and use grammatically correct English sentences. You will be tested on your ability to write sentences in a variety of situations, as well as your ability to write essays. In addition, you will now be asked questions about declarative sentences (such as those that make claims) instead of questions asking you to produce lists of words (known as multiple choice).
The TOEFL IBT was designed to take online english proficiency test and abilities of students in a globalised world, not to test how well they have learned the grammar rules of English. The test was redesigned to put more emphasis on meaning and context than it did in the past and also to put more emphasis on how well students can use English as a tool for communication rather than as a learning language only.
The new format also reduces the number of questions asked by half, from 120-150 questions in each section to 60-80 questions per section.
Test Structure Of TOEFL IBT Test :
The TOEFL IBT test is administered at thousands of testing centres around the world. It can be taken either on a computer or on paper. For many students, taking the test on paper is more comfortable although it does limit their opportunity to use the features available to students who take it on a computer. However, if you prefer taking an English proficiency test on paper you will still receive an electronic score report when you are finished with the exam.
The test has four sections. You have a total of 170 minutes to complete all four sections.
- Reading: 40 questions in 20 minutes
- Listening: 40 questions in 30 minutes
- Speaking: 12 questions in 10 minutes and 30 seconds if using a computer, or 15 minutes if using paper (the Speaking section is not included on the paper-based test)
- Writing: 2 tasks in 30 minutes and 30 seconds if using a computer, or 2 hours if you are taking the paper-based test
Each section counts for one quarter of your total score. The total time for each section has not changed. However, you are now able to take short breaks between sections as needed so you will have more time to complete the test at a comfortable pace.
The Reading section tests your ability to understand passages that require different reading skills such as speed comprehension, vocabulary, analogy, grammar and inference. You will be asked some questions about primary texts (those that are simple) and some questions about secondary texts (those that are more complex).
The Listening section tests your ability to understand spoken English in different situations.
The four types of listening presented on the test include:
- Speaking about yourself: You will be asked questions about your own background, education and employment record.
- Speaking about others: You will be asked questions about others you know such as a classmate, classmate’s family member, professor or professor’s family member. However, if you are taking the computer-based test you will not be asked any questions about someone else you do not personally know.
- Discussing or talking about events or ideas: These questions will be related to current events, including topics such as sports, politics and health. They may also be related to topics such as vocabulary, grammar and idioms.
- Reading a passage: You will be asked to read a passage that may use unfamiliar words. You will be then asked questions about the meaning of those words and their impact on the overall meaning of the text that you read.
The Speaking section includes 12 tasks which test your ability to speak in different situations. There are now four different types of speaking tasks included in the test instead of three. The new types include:
- Speaking about yourself: This task asks you simple questions about your background or education.
- Speaking about others: This task asks you questions about other people such as a colleague or friend.
- Discussing or talking about events or ideas: This is the same type of task as in the Writing section. Now they are not just related to current events, but also refer to topics used in writing such as vocabulary, grammar and idioms.
- Reading a passage: Instead of being asked questions like in the Listening section, this task is now asking you to read a passage that uses unfamiliar words. After you have read the passage, you will answer questions about it and these questions will determine your score for that particular part of the test.
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