Beginner’s Guide

The Beginner’s Guide to TOEFL iBT

If you are a non-native student planning to apply for a university in an English-speaking country, you must first take an examination to demonstrate your proficiency in the English language.

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) iBT is one of the most common standardised language tests, which is accepted in more than 130 countries, including the United States, Canada and Australia.

In addition, more than 10,000 colleges and universities require applicants’ TOEFL scores to evaluate their language skills.

There are two types of TOEFL tests, the iBT and the PBT. The TOEFL PBT is a paper-based test, while the iBT is an internet-based test. Nowadays, most universities accept the iBT test.

Here are the main differences between both options:

  • The scoring scales are different for both test options. The score range for the PBT is 310-677, whereas the iBT is scored between 0 to 120
  • While both TOEFL tests have four sections, the PBT test consists of a grammar section. The iBT test, on the other hand, has the speaking section instead of the grammar section. Although the iBT does not have a separate grammar section, a candidate’s grammar is checked through the speaking and writing sections.
  • There is only one essay in the PBT test, while the iBT comprises two essays. In addition, the iBT’s reading passages are longer than those in the PBT. As a result, the iBT is an hour longer than the PBT test.

Test Sections

The iBT test consists of the following four sections:

  • Reading (Consists of 3-4 reading passages, each 700 words long. The reading passage could be an academic text and answer questions.)
  • Listening (Test takers listen to an audio recording and then answer relevant questions. The recording can be a conversation, a classroom discussion or a lecture)
  • Speaking (Test takers speak on a particular topic)
  • Writing (Includes writing two essays. The first essay requires written responses pertaining to the reading and listening materials. The second essay requires test takers to express their opinions on a specific topic)

The time duration for the iBT test is four and a half hours, including check-in.

Test Scoring

Each distinct section is scored from 0 to 30 points. Anything above 100 is considered a good TOEFL test score. That being said, most educational institutions accept scores ranging from 70 to over 100.

Wherever you intend to apply, you must find out that university’s minimum TOEFL score requirement.

However, remember one thing; the test score expires after two years. Once your score expires, you will have to take the iBT test again. Even if you have a low score, you can retake the test.That being said, you cannot take the test twice in a 12-day period.

Test Registration Process

The TOEFL iBT test registration process is quite straightforward. You will need to register at an authorised centre in your country. These centres hold TOEFL tests several times each month. Select your authorised centre and book a suitable test date.

All candidates are required to pay the test registration fees, which varies among countries and is subject to change, without notice.

And, most importantly, make sure to register as soon as possible because seating is limited.

Why Take TOEFL iBT

As mentioned earlier, universities require TOEFL iBT scores to gauge the English language reading, writing, speaking and listening skills and abilities of potential applicants. Along with that, individuals applying for visas are required to take the test.

Here is why you should opt for the iBT test:

  • It is accepted in most countries and educational institutions around the world.
  • As the test comprises multiple choice questions, it can be used to assess an individual’s critical thinking.
  • The Educational Testing Service selects qualified, certified experts to check the test, which ensures fairness and transparency.
  • Candidates receive the results soon; 15 working days after you appeared for the test.
  • Candidates can retake the test as many times as they want to.
  • Candidates get some time to jot down quick notes or prepare their answers during listening and speaking sections.

How to Ace the Test

Preparing for the iBT test can overwhelm many students. With proper planning and the right mindset, you can ace the test.

  • Read, speak, write and listen to as much English as possible. Focus on academic preparation. From academic articles to textbooks, read as much as you can to improve your vocabulary and comprehension skills. Touch upon the basic English grammar rules. Converse with your friends and family in English. Also, watch English documentaries and videos to improve your listening skills. Write on any subject for a few minutes daily. This will help you  plan and structure your writing efficiently.
  • Familiarise yourself with the format of the test.
  • Register for the test as soon as possible. Keep all the test material ready in advance.
  • On the day of the test, try to reach your designated test centre at least half an hour early. Remember to carry your ID or passport, a pen / pencil and a notebook. Make sure you are well-fed and rested. Your brain needs proper nutrition and sleep to function efficiently.

It is also imperative that you practice thoroughly for the iBT test. The more you practice, the higher your chances are of getting a great score.

If you are searching for a great online TOEFL prep guide, check out uMasterexam. The website offers extensive information, resources and materials for test takers at all levels, be it a beginner or at the intermediate or advanced level.

Featuring the best books for preparation in each category, i.e. listening, reading, speaking and writing, uMasterexam is a complete, dependable online source for studying for the TOEFL exam.

Coupled with the study material, the site also lists some of the top TOEFL tutors as well as books to improve your grammar and vocabulary. Create a student account now to get started! Online registration is fast and free.

Lisa Scholfield

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