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Format and contents | Criticism | Resources (External Links) |



From Wikipedia

The Test Of English as a Foreign Language (or TOEFL, pronounced "toe-full", or sometimes just "toffle") evaluates the potential success of an individual to use and understand Standard American English at a college level. It is required for non-native applicants at many American and English-speaking colleges and universities.

The TOEFL is administered worldwide by Educational Testing Service (ETS). The test was first administered 1964 and has since been taken by nearly 20 million students.

Formats and contents


The computer-based test (CBT), divided into four sections, measures language proficiency in listening, structure (grammar), reading and writing.

Listening Comprehension
Objective: To test the candidate's listening capabilites
Type of Questions: Conversations between two or more people in academic environments. Short conversations between students, and lectures may be possible conversations. Questions are basically of the who said what type.
Duration: 45-70 minutes
Objective: To check the candidate's knowledge of English grammar.
Type of Questions: Identify the erroneous word(s) in the sentence. Fill in the blanks using the appropriate word.
Duration: 15-20 minutes
Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary
Objective: To test the candidate's reading and vocabulary skills.
Type of Question: Three or four long passages, typically 300 words long are given, and questions based on the content, intent of the author, and ideas inferred from the passage. Generally prior knowledge of the subject under discussion is not necessary to come to the correct answer; though a priori knowledge may help.
Duration: 70-90 minutes
Essay Writing
Objective: To test the candidate's writing skills
Type of Question: To write an essay on some general topic, and your position towards it. eg: "Is stem cell research necessary? Explain your stand?"
Duration: 30 minutes.
The Listening and Structure sections are computer-adaptive, meaning that the difficulty level of each question depends on the correctness of previous responses.

Three subscores are obtained, each of which is given on a 0-30 scale: Listening, Structure/Writing (combined), and Reading. These subscores are averaged to obtain the final score, which is in a 0-300 scale. The Writing score is also reported separately, on a 0-6 scale.


In areas where the CBT is not available, a paper-based test (PBT) is given. The PBT tests essentially the same skills as the CBT, albeit with some differences. For instance, the PBT has more questions than the CBT. The score scales are also different. The final PBT score ranges between 310 and 677, and is based on three subscores: Listening (31-68), Structure (31-68) and Reading (31-67). Unlike the CBT, the score of the Writing section (referred to as the Test of Written English, TWE) is not part of the final score; instead, it is reported separately on a scale from 0 to 6.

ETS has released tables to convert between CBT and PBT scores.


The CBT and PBT are being replaced by an Internet-based test (iBT). It is being introduced in phases, with the United States, Canada, France, Germany, and Italy in 2005 and the rest of the world in 2006. Unlike the older tests, there isn't a separate Structure section; however, a Speaking section has been added, thus removing the necessity for a separate speaking assessment.


TOEFL, like many standardized tests, has come under increasing scrutiny as a measure of the ability to use English effectively. There is an increasing number of major English speaking universities that now only accept alternate tests or their own test as a measure of whether a student will be capable of using English in an academic milieu. Some of its weaknesses are:

Because English does exhibit some orthological patterns (such as the use of -ing on the end of many verbs), test takers can be taught strategies to look for the patterns without having an understanding of the underlying grammar involved.
Native speakers of English who take the test often find themselves with mediocre results, even in multiple choice questions. Ideally, a test for English proficiency should be simple and straightforward for a native speaker. Instead, such tests often focus on obscure rules of grammar and "proper" uses. For example, the use of "can" and "may" does have a formal use, but native English speakers not only ignore the formal use on most occasions, they are never confused when another speaker switches the two.
Until recently, TOEFL did not test the ability to speak English. In most environments, the ability to speak intelligibly and without undue delay is vital. Because TOEFL did not measure this, learners may neglect this part of their education to focus on the skills the test does measure. As a result, many universities request incoming teaching assistants who are not native English speakers to take additional tests (such as the Test of Spoken English or university-administered tests) to ensure their ability to communicate with their students. The TOEFL iBT, which does test speaking skills, seems to address this issue.


Resources  (External Links)

         Source: Dmoz ( Open Directory Project)


  • Achievement Data, Inc. - Online testing and management systems for schools and organizations. The web site offers the Minnesota Online Basic Standards Tests (8th grade version), which anyone can take free of charge.

  • Advantage Education - Courses and online tutoring for major standardized tests. Located in East Lansing, MI.

  • AFN Publishing - Information about the eleven plus examinations in the UK and details of eleven plus practice tests available from this publisher. Stockist information and customer comments.

  • American Book Company - State exit exam preparation books and software for middle and high school graduation, assessment training and proficiency development in all major subjects.

  • American Guidance Service - Choose from several of AGS's test preparation materials.

  • Audio Learn - Offers study material and test prep for the MCAT, PCAT and DAT on audiotapes.

  • - Publisher of test-prep books for the New York State Regents exams, ASVAB, COOP, SSAT, CHSPE, and many other standardized tests.

  • Brainchild Learning Tools and Online Assessment - Preparation for state standardized tests, including FCAT, SAT 9, TAAS.

  • California Exam - Interactive tutorials, practice tests and study aides for the California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE). Includes advice for speakers of English and Spanish.

  • Cambridge Educational Services - Test preparation materials for teachers and students for standardized assessments in the US.

  • Career Avenues on the Web - Preparation for aptitude tests in India. Articles on management, finance and marketing. Mock tests, quizzes and message boards for those studying for MBAs.

  • - This is a discussion forum for candidates preparing for Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA), USMLE, ECFMG certification.

  • Dallas Medical Entrance - Training and preparation for the UMAT for students entering medicine or dentistry. Details of courses and venues and student comments. Based in Australia.

  • - Practice tests for state-mandated K-12 assessment tests. Immediate scoring and feedback available.

  • Evans Newton, Inc. - ENI works with school districts to help increase test scores. ENI will create tests that help prepare students for state and national standardized tests.

  • Exam-Central - Offers NCLEX, firefighter, EMT, EMT-I, paramedic, law enforcement, civil services, and military exams by subscription.

  • ExamWeb - Started as a way to study at home that is more effective than reading books, taking paper-based practice exams,  listening to audio tapes and gazing at the VCR.

  • FCAT - FCAT 4th Grade Reading: A Staff Development Tool is a program designed to help teachers prepare students for the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

  • FCATPrep - Test preparation for Florida's standardized tests in reading and math for grades 3-10. Practice tests, interactive lessons and test-taking strategies.

  • Fun Education - Offers testing materials for the State Standards SAT-9 tests.

  • GMAX - Preparation for the SAT, GMAT, TOEFL, and GRE. Also offering spoken English courses. Based in Tel-Aviv.

  • Inspirica - A one-on-one tutoring firm that specializes in all standardized tests, academic tutoring and admissions support. It is based in Manhattan and will send any of its tutors anywhere in the world.

  • Kaplan - Live test preparation classes and college admissions consulting in most major US cities.

  • - Provides test preparation material for K-12 achievement tests, custom and pre-made flashcards.

  • - Academic and professional test preparation and career resources, including grade school, SAT, ACT, law enforcement, firefighter, EMT/Paramedic, real estate, postal worker and military.

  • MCAS Preparation Software - Information for preparing for the MCAS Examination.

  • Minnesota Basic Standards Test in Mathematics Practice Tests - Practice tests for the Minnesota Basic Standards test in Mathematics. Currently five 68 question tests.

  • New York State Regents Test Preparation - Helps students and teachers prepare for the various NY State Regents exams. Customizable practice tests are generated from a database of actual questions from past Regents exams.

  • Nova Test Prep - Prep materials for standardized tests.

  • - Free tutorials and practice materials for the SAT, ACT, and GRE.

  • NY High School Regents Exam Prep Center - Offers practice exams, writing guides and study strategies to prepare for the New York State Regents high school graduation requirements.

  • OASIS - Web-based software for TAAS (Texas Achievement Test) objective alignment.

  • Pass CSA Philadelphia - Review courses for CSA Clinical skills assessment.

  • Patent Bar Exam Testing Center - Online testing format to learn Patent Office (USPTO) rules and regulations.

  • Personal Cutts Tutorial - Individual offering personal preparation for major standardized exams.

  • Prep USA - Offers on-line and nationwide SAT and ACT test preparation classes and information. Also college and scholarship help.

  • Preparing for the TerraNova - Provides the essential tools you need to ensure student readiness and success.

  • The Princeton Review - Provider of SAT, ACT, PSAT, SAT II, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, USMLE and TOEFL test preparation information and products.

  • REA Online - Test preparation for a wide variety of college and graduate school standardized tests including AP exams and the SAT.

  • Richardson Exam Prep - Offers live prep courses in Toronto, Canada and test information.

  • - A UK exam revision service for schoolchildren. Covers all the main subjects from KS1 SATs and GCSEs through to A Levels.

  • ScholarStuff - Test preparation books, links and resources about preparing for the SAT, GRE, LSAT, MCAT, and TOEFL tests.

  • Scholastic Testing Systems - Comprehensive SAT, ACT, PSAT preparation with Studyguide, support tools and scholarship search software. College entrance test programs available for students or entire schools.

  • - Downloadable practice tests, preparation guides and online tutoring.

  • - Online skills courses for adolescents and adults preparing for the GED and state exit tests.

  • So You Wanna - Tips for the GRE, SAT, and LSAT.

  • SSAT - Information and online registration for the Secondary School Admission Test. Independent schools using SSAT listed.

  • The Steppingstone Foundation - Educational opportunity programs for students in Boston and Philadelphia, including programs preparing inner-city children for independent and public-exam schools.

  • TABE Test - Test of Adult Basic Education (TABE). A practice exam covering all versions of the test is available to buy. Testimonials and FAQs.

  • Taking the Terror out of the Stanford 9 - Offers books and transparencies to prepare for the Stanford 9 Achievement Test Grades K-9. Includes pretests, postests and activities.

  • TCYonline - Correspondance and online tests for the MBA, MCA, GRE and GMAT exams. Site gives sample questions, strategies and advice.

  • Teachers' Treasures, Inc. - Provides teachers and parents educational resources to assess students mastery of essential skills. Offers the TAAS Busters and TEST Busters product lines.

  • Test Professor.Com - The goal of this site is to provide online content to help teachers, parents, schools and students to better prepare students to pass state assessment exams.

  • - Prep information for standardized tests: includes MCSE/MCSD, SAT, ACT, CLEP exams, LSAT.

  • TestTools, Inc. - The FCAT Simulation - Benchmark assessment and test simulation software for the Florida Comprehensive Test, FCAT and HSCT

  • TestTrade - Test repository for universities in the United States. Option to upload your own tests or read those from other students.

  • TestU - TestU provides a series of standardized tests such as the FCAT, MCAS, TAAS, New York Regents, and Ohio Graduation Test, among others.

  • Tree Foundation - Classes to prepare for a range of standarized international assessments. Also courses in computing and English. Information on how to approach computer-adaptive tests, exam dates and summer schools. Based in Athens, Greece.


Entry from Open Directory Project


Entry from Wikipedia


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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "TOEFL".



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