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TOEFL Test Prep

The American college and graduate school admissions process is challenging enough for students from the United States. For international students whose native language is not English, this process can be that much more demanding.

What Is On the TOEFL?

The TOEFL is given in English and most often administered on a computer, though pencil-and-paper is an option. The exam consists of four sections: Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing.

Altogether, the TOEFL contains about four and a half hours worth of material. Each section receives a scaled score from 0-30 points. All four section scores are then added together to create a total score ranging from 0-120. Most schools expect students to achieve a score of at least 90, though the most competitive will definitely be looking for scores over 100.

For all of its diversity, keep in mind that there are really only three forms of questions on TOEFL:

  • Read, listen, and then speak in response to a question
  • Listen and then speak in response to a question
  • Read, listen, and then write in response to a question

You can take notes throughout the test. Our advice: take notes.

Listening

  • Length: 60-90 min.
  • Item Types: Conversations, classroom lectures, and discussions
  • Score: 0-30

This section consists of six to nine audio passages, each three to five minutes in length, each with five to six questions. Passages in this section include student conversations, academic lectures, or discussions.

Reading

  • Length: 60-100 min.
  • Item Types: Long passages
  • Score: 0-30

This section is made of up three to five passages, each approximately 700 words in length, on various topics. There are twelve to fourteen questions per passage, which test basic reading comprehension.

Speaking

  • Length: 20 min.
  • Item Types: Six oral opinion and text-based questions
  • Score: 0-30

In this section, you must orally present your opinion on a certain subject, as well as answer questions orally on written and spoken passages.

Writing

  • Length: 50 min.
  • Item Types: Two essays
  • Score: 0-30

The writing section consists of two essays. For the first essay, you will read a passage on an academic subject and then listen to a discussion on the same topic; you then will be asked to write a summary of the important points from each. For the second essay, you will write an argumentative essay stating and defending your opinion on a given subject. The writing section tests the student’s ability to write in a clear, organized fashion and tests the student’s ability to write in an academic setting.

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