TOEFL FAQ

What is the TOEFL?

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is the most widely accepted English-language test in the world. No matter where you want to study, the TOEFL can help get you there. It is used by colleges, government agencies, and international organizations to evaluate the English language skills of non-native speakers.

The TOEFL is not for beginner ESL students; rather, it is designed for students who are ready to prove that they have the ability to live and study in an English-speaking environment. The competitiveness of college admissions dictates a good TOEFL score to even be considered by most universities. Score At The Top’s TOEFL preparation program is designed to help you get the score you need.

The TOEFL covers these four English-language areas:

  • Reading
  • Listening
  • Speaking
  • Writing

How is the TOEFL organized and scored?

Although there are three versions of the TOEFL, the majority of test centers use the Internet Based TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL iBT is administered via computer from a secure Internet-based testing network:

  • Instructions for answering questions are given within each section. There is no computer tutorial as in the CBT version.
  • TOEFL iBT presents questions that cover the full range of test-takers’ ability.
  • Test takers can take notes during the test. To ensure test security, notes are collected and destroyed at the end of the test.
  • For the Speaking section, test-takers wear noise-canceling headphones and speak into a microphone. Responses are digitally recorded and sent to ETS for scoring.
  • For the Writing section, test-takers type their responses which are transmitted to ETS for scoring.

For comparison, all three TOEFL formats are presented below:

Internet Based (iBT) Computer Based Paper Based
Reading
60-100 minutes
  • 3-5 passages (12-14 questions each)
Adaptive Listening
60 minutes
  • Part A: Short dialogues
  • Part B: Conversations, Academic discussions, Mini-lectures
Listening Comprehension
30 minutes
  • Part A: Short dialogues
  • Part B: Long conversations
  • Part C: Mini-lectures
Listening
60-90 minutes
  • 4-6 lectures & academic discussions (6 questions each)
  • 2-3 conversations (5 questions each)
Adaptive Structure
15-20 minutes
  • Sentence completion (approx 10 questions)
  • Error recognition (approx 15 questions)
Structure & Written Expression
25 minutes
  • Sentence completion (15 questions)
  • Error recognition (25 questions)
Speaking
20 minutes
  • 6 tasks (2 independent, 4 integrated)
Reading Comprehension
70-90 minutes
  • Approx 6 passages with a total of 60+ questions
Reading Comprehension
55 minutes
  • Approx 5 passages with a total of 50 questions
Writing
50 minutes
  • 1 integrated task
  • 1 independent task
Writing
30 minutes
  • 1 essay topic
 

Because the TOEFL iBT is significantly different than the previous versions of the test, the score scale is also different. Here is the scoring range for the 4 skill areas and the total:

  • Listening 0-30
  • Reading 0-30
  • Speaking 0-30
  • Writing 0-30
  • Total 0-120

TOEFL scores are posted online, usually within 2 weeks after the test date. They are also mailed to test-takers and the universities or institutions they selected.

Should my child prepare for the TOEFL?

YES! Your child needs to take the TOEFL seriously as colleges consider it to be an important factor in determining the admissibility of students for whom English is a second language. A good TOEFL score can provide more valuable information to college admissions officers than SAT or ACT reading and writing scores. Although the TOEFL score doesn’t replace an SAT or ACT score, a good score will show a college that a non-native English speaker has the ability to do well in an American college.

Just because a student can read, write, and speak English enough to get along in an American high school doesn’t mean he or she is automatically prepared for the TOEFL. While it is an easier test than the SAT or ACT, students still need to prepare for it.

Score at the Top offers the best in private and semi-private TOEFL preparation.

How will Score At The Top work with my child to get a "good" score?

Baseline testing provides us with excellent information about your child's needs; tutor experience brings intuitive understanding of how to help your child obtain the best test results. We carefully select the right tutor, and after measuring your child's baseline test scores, we design a test-preparation program based on a student's goals and our four-pronged approach:

  1. Test familiarity
  2. Test content
  3. Test-taking strategies
  4. Confidence-building

Your child will do an in-depth content review with one of our seasoned test-prep tutors, learn how to avoid making careless errors, capitalize on strengths and reduce weaknesses, master timing and other test-taking strategies, and develop enhanced self-confidence. You'll receive email updates about your child's progress after each tutoring session.

With more than 30 years of experience, we can tell you that test preparation can be tremendously worthwhile. At Score At The Top, we deliver your child to the door of the exam room ready to achieve a personal best, and feeling positive about facing this rite of passage. To us, and to the thousands of parents who have sought us out, this is the essence of scoring at the top!

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