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TOEFL (Test of English as a foreign Language)

The TOEFL is an internationally recognized Test Of English as a Foreign Language. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is used to evaluate proficiency in English of those whose native language is not English. It is a long test that usually requires several months of study and preparation.TOEFL scores are accepted by more than 9,000 colleges, universities, and licensing agencies in 130 countries.


During Listening, you will be working with two different types of audio

  • Recordings of lectures &
  • Recordings of conversations

You should expect to listen to four to six lectures that deal with academic topics. Conversations are more casual, so there are usually only two to three of these. Each bit of audio can be from three to five minutes long, followed by five to six questions. The questions may ask you about the contents of the recording. They may also ask you about what you think happened before or what could happen after. There could also be the “why” and “how” type of questions. You will hear every audio lecture or conversation only once. There is an exception: Some questions will play back a part of the recording for you to listen to again. However, you cannot depend on this. You should expect to only hear the audio once. Hearing something only once is the major difficulty with the Listening section. This is why you will need to take good notes and make educated guesses about what questions you could get.

Understanding conversational English is also one of the hardest tasks for English students, so it is very important to get used to listening to many types of talks and dialogues. The TOEFL has a policy of including different English accents in the Listening section—you could hear American, British, New Zealander and Australian English on the test! Try to listen to all these different types of English before taking the exam.


The Reading section (60-100 minutes long) assesses your ability to understand and analyze written texts on topics like science and academic discussions. The Reading section presents you with three to five academic passages (pieces of text from academic texts or talks), each approximately 700 words long. The passages may be talking about a certain topic or about comparing several points of view. They can be scientific, historic and even philosophical. Each text will be followed by 12-14 questions. These questions may ask you to do one of the following tasks:

  • Define a word (testing your vocabulary)
  • Identify an idea or argument (testing your understanding)
  • Find a false statement (testing overall comprehension)
  • You will have from 60 to 100 minutes to complete this section depending on the number of passages and accompanying questions.

The Reading section is a demanding one. It can be difficult, because the texts you will get are often complex. You should not hope for an easy passage with easy vocabulary.To do well, you need to be used to reading long and complicated paragraphs. You should learn to work with unfamiliar words to be able to infer (make a guess about) their meaning. Texts presented in the Reading section may have multiple focuses and arguments. The time limit also creates difficulty, as you will have to read fast.


Now Speaking is an important part of the test. It judges your ability to speak good English and it can be quite hard. You will not have an interviewer to ask you questions and listen to your answers, you will only have a microphone. Your voice is recorded and someone will listen to your answers later. There is very little time to answer each question, and there is even less time to prepare each answer before you start talking. Speaking is the hardest part of learning any language.

You will do your best if you know what to expect from this section.


It is the section that judges your writing ability, grammar knowledge and vocabulary usage. Writing consists of only two tasks: one Integrated Writing task and one Independent Writing task. The idea behind these tasks is similar to the Speaking section tasks. For the Independent Writing task, you will write an opinion on a casual topic. You will get a question to answer, but you will not need to listen to a long audio recording or read a long passage.

For the Integrated writing task, you will write an essay based on additional reading and listening material. You will have more time (30 minutes) to spend on the Independent task than on the Integrated task (20 minutes), so you will be expected to deliver a very good essay on the former (the Independent task) and a slightly shorter answer on the latter (the Integrated test). Taking notes and creating an outline of your answer is very useful during both parts of the Writing section.