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What Is TOEFL?

An essential part of the application to study abroad is The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The test is to prove to colleges that you are capable of studying in an English-speaking environmentThe TOEFL was created to test non-native English speakers to see if they can study in the U.S. The first TOEFL test was administered to 190 students at Princeton University on June 23, 1962. You will need to pay $160 to the ETS To register for the TOEFL. You must also pay to take each part of the TOEFL separately.

The whole process of taking (and preparing for) the TOEFL can be long and arduous. Depending on how quickly you read, listen to instructions and write essays, it may take four to five hours to complete all four sections of the test. And if you are not yet proficient in English, it is likely to take even longer than that! The computer-based version may only require 90 minutes but requires additional fees to take.

What Is On The TOEFL Test?

There are four sections to the TOEFL: reading, listening, speaking and writing. There are also two optional parts to the test that some colleges may require or recommend for applicants to take. One of those is a computer-based section of the test, while the other is an oral exam to prove proficiency with language skills required to communicate in English.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

How to Approach Studying for TOEFL

Studying for the TOEFL is a combination of improving your vocabulary and familiarizing yourself with the test format. But, it’s hard to know where to start when you’re a busy college student with homework and other responsibilities! So, here is a list of five good places to start.

  1. Make a study schedule. To improve your score on the TOEFL, make a study schedule that fits your needs as comfortably as possible. That way, you can prepare slowly over time instead of pushing yourself too quickly or getting overwhelmed by studying all four parts at once – which would be counterproductive because there are just so many things you have to learn!
  2. Take a practice TOEFL. You should first take an unofficial mock test to find out your current strengths and weaknesses. This will give you a general idea of your problem areas, so you know where to put most of your time and energy as you study.
  3. Practice vocabulary as often as possible. The best way to improve high-level English is by learning new words regularly! You can do this through flashcards or just by incorporating new comments into your daily conversations with friends and family. You can also read articles on sites like Pop Sugar and the Huffington Post (which, by the way, has some excellent reading material!) whenever you have spare minutes throughout the day – for example, when you’re waiting for class to start or in between breaks at work.
  4. Practice the speaking section of the test with a native English speaker. This will help you improve your diction and pronunciation along with your general fluency. If possible, ask a friend who speaks English outside of class to practice with you; this is especially helpful if they are also taking the TOEFL soon because you can share each other’s materials! Just be sure that they know what the speakers mean when they give instructions so that there is no confusion about which part of the test you are practicing at any given time!
  5. Get yourself familiarized with the format of the test itself. The TOEFL has four parts, the TOEFL iBT (computer-based) and TOEFL PBT (pencil-and-paper), which each have their format. The easiest way to get familiar with the test is by using official resources provided by ETS. Although these resources can be very costly, they are worth it for future test takers because they include!

However, there are also some free resources you can use too! You can go to collegeboard.com or edx.org to find practice tests online and instructional videos for each section of the test. The most important thing about studying for any standardized test is finding a study method that works best for you!

TOEFL Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I register to take the TOEFL?

A: You can find a registration guide to the TOEFL on ETS's website at https://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/register/.

What time should I schedule my appointment to take the test?

A: The test usually takes four to five hours to complete, so while you have to pay for your appointment, it is best to set aside a block of time to finish all four sections in a single sitting.

Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to study in the U.S.?

A: Not necessarily! Many countries have agreements with universities in America that allow students to go to America to learn.

What is the difference between the paper version and computer-based versions of TOEFL?

A: The paper version is divided into three sections, plus an essay at the end, while the computer-based test consists of two parts (reading and listening) plus a separate writing section. The speaking part of both tests is done in front of a screen using identity verification to prove it's you taking the TOEFL exam!

How do I prepare for TOEFL? Should I take formal classes or practice at home on my own time?

A: Different students have different experiences with how to study for TOEFL. Some people find it helpful to sit at home every day after school, or hire an online private tutor.

Discover our TutorOcean marketplace with affordable, vetted TOEFL Tutors that fit your budget.

How Do I Become a TOEFL Tutor?

If you have a passion for teaching others and love teaching English, becoming a TOEFL tutor is easy. You need a minimum of a high school degree or GED to start teaching kindergarten and middle school grade levels. You may need a degree in a specialist subject for higher-level TOEFL courses depending on the level of practice you plan to teach. The costs of TOEFL tutors vary because you will set your pay rates and time schedules depending on your own experience and circumstances.

Your first step will be to decide which topics you’d like to tutor. Then choose the age groups and grade levels you want to teach. Learn the curriculum and critical concepts for those grade levels. And lastly, establish your teaching methods, tools, and eventually, you will create your own course materials over time as you get more experience working with students.

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