If you intend to study abroad, then you need to take an English proficiency test. One such assessment tool is the Toefl. If you have been exposed to good English, then acing the test is not a battle. There are a host of resources available to prepare for the test, from its owners as well as from others.
Mumbai boy Parjanya Joshi didn’t really need to slug it out to score a 110/120 in his TOEFL, reason being that he finished is Class 10 from the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations which gives students a good academic grounding.
“I finished my class 10 under the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations where we had a high level of English. Therefore, for TOEFL, I just went through the guide books available in the market. I read a few sample essays,” says Joshi, going for a BSc (hons) astrophysics at the University of Alberta, Canada, this year. Talking about his test experience, he says, “The speaking section was tough because you speak into a microphone. One had to be fast.” As far as preparation goes, you need to get your grammar right, he says. “Don’t use long, hard-to-pronounce words. Use shorter sentences in the speaking section. We are so exposed to Hollywood movies that the listening part didn’t seem too difficult. I think there’s no need to go for classes to prepare for the test.”
To date, 25 million students globally have taken the Toefl. (ETS does not provide annual global or country-specific numbers of Toefl candidates.) The test is accepted by about 8,000 colleges, universities and agencies in more than 130 countries. It is offered as internet-based (iBT) as well as paper-based. Currently in India, only the Toefl iBT is available. The four-and-half hour online test covers reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Here’s more about the test (iBT) meant for people whose native language is not English:
. Reading — 60-100 minutes, 36-70 questions
. Listening — 60-90 minutes, 34-51 questions
. Break — 10 minutes
. Speaking — 20 minutes, 6 tasks
. Writing — 50 minutes, 2 tasks
US-based ETS, which administers the test, provides preparation material, free as well as paid. www.TOEFLGoAnywhere.org has free sample questions. Other resources include:
TOEFL Go Anywhere-India Facebook page: Designed for Indians, the site (http://www.facebook.com/toeflgoanywhereindia) offers study tips and access to preparation materials, as well as local education events taking place in India.
Customer Call Centre for Indian students: ETS has launched the TOEFL India Customer Support Centre available by phone at 000-800-100-3780 (toll-free) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Free study questions: ETS offers free sample TOEFL questions to assist students in preparing for the test. The questions are available on toeflgoanywhere.org
TOEFL TV Channel on YouTube: The channel (www.youtube.com/TOEFLtv) features videos created by the TOEFL TV team and other YouTube users.
Test day video: A six-minute “Welcome to the TOEFL iBT Testing Site” video takes students through the “test day” experience
Lexile Measures: Lexile Measures (www.lexile.com) match a student’s Toefl iBT Reading section score to current books that reflect his/her reading ability and interests to help monitor and strengthen their English reading skills.
At a glance
. Visit http://www.ets.org/Media /Tests/TOEFL/tclists/IBT_i.html to check the test dates at a centre close to you
. The test score is valid for two years.
. Fee: $165, students can also purchase vouchers at local resource centres and pay in Indian currency
. How to apply: You can register online, by phone, via mail or in person at a centre. Apply online at www.ets.org/toefl
. Register over phone at 0124-4147773/4
. The test schedule is given on ets.org.
. Forms are also available at the US-India Educational Foundation (USIEF)