| Oct 23, 2012
It is the goal of many students across the globe to enroll in college or post-graduate studies at a United States university. It is already a challenging proposition to enroll in higher studies and many of these students have additionally taken on the responsibility of attaining at least a sufficient level of spoken, read and written English language to be admitted and be successful in obtaining the degree they seek.
The test that most universities use to evaluate the language level of non-english speaking applicants is the Test of English as a Foreign Language of TOEFL, for short. This test is accepted as a standard in 110 countries in the world at 6,000 colleges, universities and licensing agencies. It can be taken at more than 4,000 centers around the world, with great consistency.
These days, the test can be taken on paper or over the internet. There is no passing or failing score, per say. Each institution sets the score levels needed for admission according to their own criteria.
It used to be that the only way to prepare for the TOEFL was to find an ESL school that would offer a specialized course geared toward people interested in taking the examination. However, it is now possible to purchase learning programs and practice lessons online from the people who bring you the TOEFL - ETS.org (Educational Testing Service). There are other companies that offer TOEFL training services, such as www.stuff.co.uk/toefl.htm – a free, timed version of what TOEFL questions may look like.
As with every standardized test, there are two parts to effective preparation. One of them has to do with the subject itself, in this case the English language. Of course it is highly recommended that those preparing increase their vocabulary, grammar, writing and speaking skills. Achieving proficiency in the language is the intrinsic goal and what should be pursued at all times. However, there is a second part to preparing for the TOEFL or any other standardized test and that is learning about the test itself.
The TOEFL, whether in its internet or paper version, is an extensive test designed with a certain style and construction of questions. It is a timed test, so being familiar with the way questions are posed and the way to answer them is very important. There are exercise books available in the market, which contain questions phrased and posed in a very similar manner to those in the actual test. The online resources mentioned before are also a useful alternative. When it comes to learning about the test, the most important thing is to familiarize oneself with the way questions should be read, the placement and writing style of instructions, and the time it should take to answer each type of question.
Fortunately for test-takers, there is a vast array of resources – both online and offline – to prepare for the mother of all English tests, the TOEFL.