THE TOEFL EXAM
The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a standardised test designed to measure the English language competence of non-native speakers. Although the TOEFL is used for emigration, especially to the USA, most of those taking the test do so to be admitted to universities in which English is the medium of instruction. There are currently two versions of the TOEFL, namely the paper-based test (TOEFL pbt) and the internet-based test (TOEFL ibt). Please note though that the paper-based test has been phased out almost everywhere and can only be written in countries whose technological infrastructure is too rudimentary for a reliable computer-based test to be possible. The overwhelming majority of test takers will therefore take the TOEFL ibt.
The TOEFL is an integrated test which assesses all four fundamental skills (reading, listening, speaking and writing). In the TOEFL ibt the maximum possible score for each section of the test is 30, which means that a perfect score for the TOEFL ibt would be 120. As with the IELTS, official test scores remain valid for two years from the date of issue.
Unlike Cambridge exams such as the B2 First and the C1 Advanced, the TOEFL is not a pass/fail test. The test taker merely obtains or fails to obtain a score that is good enough to use for his or her purposes. Typically, the scores needed for further study can only be obtained by someone whose English is either at the upper intermediate level (B2) or early advanced level (C1). Especially in the United States the scores required by institutions of higher learning differ greatly, so it is important to find out exactly what is needed from the institutions to which you intend to apply. It is also vital not to take the test until you are reasonably sure of getting the score required by the relevant emigration authority or university.
The main reason why test takers fail to get the results they require is that they have not had adequate practice with the many different tasks types in the test and have not developed the numerous sub-skills needed to perform these tasks competently. This point is of particular importance in the TOEFL because both the speaking and writing sections of this test contain integrated tasks which test multiple skills at the same time, a feature which differentiates this exam from others. Our course is designed to teach the relevant sub-skills and ensure that students practice them on authentic materials of a kind that they will encounter in the actual exam. Practicing on authentic materials also enables the trainer to assess more accurately where a student actually is in relation to where he or she needs to be.
Should you decide to enrol for TOEFL preparation classes, we are also prepared to be flexible with regards to time and arrange for classes outside normal office hours. It is impossible to generalise about how much preparation will be needed as much depends on the individual student’s English language level as well as the score he or she needs to obtain. However, unless a student is already a strong upper-intermediate he or she should expect to invest a considerable amount of time in preparation as even textbooks designed for compact courses assume 50-60 hours of study. The integrated tasks referred to above make it necessary that all four skills be of a reasonably high order for the student to succeed.
The course we offer is designed to help students deal with these large blocks of complex material and to respond to the accompanying tasks in a competent and appropriate manner.
Students will learn how to separate main ideas from detail and how to cope with vocabulary and grammar they don’t understand. We will give students tactics for dealing with the writing section: they will learn how to create good opening and closing paragraphs, how to organize answers so that the message is clear, and how to use signposts and signals to show the reader how the main ideas are developing,
Students will also be given guidance with the speaking section of the test and the Trainer will provide detailed feedback on problems with pronunciation, audibility, grammar, coherence and communicative competence.
The materials used on this course mirror those of the TOEFL test so that by the time students come to take the test there will be no surprises. They will know exactly what is expected of them and will tackle all sections of the test with the confidence of prior knowledge and comprehensive practice.
Considerable practice is needed to raise language proficiency levels and we recommend a course of 60 hours (private lessons) to obtain the maximum benefit from guided practice and from detailed feedback from the tutor. The longer the course, the more conversant students can become with skills, strategies and tactics that can enhance their performance on the test and ensure that they obtain the score they need for entrance to universities of their choice. For those students already enrolled at our school, the aim would be to reach the Advanced class level and commit to a period of at least 3 months in the Advanced class.