The TOEFL test (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a standard test that certifies the level of the English language a person has. This test is focused on students whose native language is not English. The TOEFL certification is accepted by many educational and professional institutions as a way to determine the applicant’s knowledge of the language. The obtained certification has a validity of two years, after which there must be performed a validation test. As you can see in the University Studies in the USA page, many prestigious universities reserve the right to perform another test to their students, although most of them accept this certification in order to have a global evaluation about the student.
Frequently asked questions about the TOEFL test
What types of TOEFL certificates exist?
Within this accrediting standard, there are different models of valid exams internationally.
- Internet Based TOEFL (IBT): It is the online modality of the exam and the one which I’ll focus on. This test is taken on a computer and is commonly used by most centers and institutions. This certification is the most complete one, since it evaluates both grammatical and oral knowledge.
- Paper Based TOEFL (PBT): This type of paper certification was the first one that came into effect. Nowadays it is being set aside in countries with difficulty to perform the IBT test. This format is not available in Mexico since 2013.
- TOEFL Junior: This type is also developed on paper; it was created for high school students or for a similar level (11 to 15 years old).
How is the IBT TOEFL test evaluated?
The grade of the exam is based on the accuracy of the answers. The duration and punctuation of the different parts is the following:
Reading: 60-100 minutes 0-30 points
Listening: 60-90 minutes 0-30 points
Speaking: 20 minutes 0-30 points
Writing: 50 minutes 0-30 points
You must answer at least one question from the reading and listening areas. The writing section will ask you to write at least one text and perform an oral activity..
Things to bear in mind before, during and after the test
Before the test
- Arrive 30 minutes before the beginning of the test. A delay may result in the refusal of the test.
- ETS can use electronic detection devices to protect the content of the exam. Using any scanning device would mean exam expulsion.
- You have to sign a confidentiality agreement before starting the test.
- During the development of the test, you can only have your ID documents on the table. Watches, computers, phones or any other electronic device cannot be present.
- Your seat will be indicated by the exam team.
- You could be requested to have a fingerprint verification or any other method.
During the test
- If due to sickness or any other reason you have to take a medical process or something similar, you must request a previous application. This link will show you the application process.
- The test will be performed with a standard English keyboard, it would be a good idea to be familiar with it, especially if it is not the type you normally use.
- You will be given white papers to do drafts. You must return all the documents at the end of test.
After the test
- The grade will be published 10 days approximately after the test.
- You may consult your result online through your TOEFL account in the “View scores” section.
- You will receive a hard copy of your grades both in your postcode and your study center of choice.
- Remember that you can attend the exam again to improve your grade after 12 days.
What is the required grade to be admitted by a University?
As I explain in the University studies section, each educational institution has its own access requirements regarding knowledge. In the Graduation Search page, you may look for the University of your choice and see what the required grade is.
The ETS qualifications are corrected partly by a human team and also by an automated process. This way, they make sure that the student has the fairest evaluation.
When does the exam take place?
The tests are organized throughout the whole year, you can see the exams calendar taking place in Mexico during 2016 in this link. Here you will find the different centers where the TOEFL test takes place, as well as the dates and timetables.
Can I take every part of the test on the same day?
Yes, the exam is done on the same day and has a total duration of four hours.
Can I retake the test if I don’t pass?
Yes, you can retake it as many times as you want, as long as you wait 12 days between one exam and another. Otherwise, your request will be dismissed.
How do I apply for the exam?
You can send your application the following ways: online, face-to-face, by phone or postcode. The online registration is the most effective and simple way. You can choose the time and city where you want to take the exam in the online form. Make sure your web browser is updated when you do the application.
Before registering, take the following into account:
- Have your ID and credit cards or PayPal account that you will use to make the payment.
- Think about your preferred institutions, because they will receive your grades. You can add up to four University destinations.
How far in advance is it recommended to prepare for the exam?
Start studying and practicing the different sections at least 8 months in advance. Don’t wait unitl the last moment to prepare everything, because it will be very difficult to pass this way. If you believe you are not prepared enough, you can request a reimbursement four days before the test. You will receive half the quantity you paid for the exam.
How do I prepare for the exam?
First of all, you must bear in mind that you will need to have the appropriate knowledge of the English language to face any type of situation both outside and inside the University environment in order to pass the exam with the required grades.
It is important to reach that level before registering for the test.
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