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How to pass TOEFL in the USA



The TOEFL test of knowledge of English as a foreign language will not pass by any Russian-speaking person who wants to enter an American university. Knowledge of the language at a decent level is one of the main requirements for admission. You can take the test both at home and after arriving in the United States. “Forum” has drawn up an action plan for those who will take TOEFL in America, and gathered advice from experienced professionals who have overcome the language barrier.

Why to pass

It doesn't matter whether you are a student or a graduate student, want to go to university, get postgraduate education or participate in an internship program - if your previous education was not obtained in English, take the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language).

Sometimes a TOEFL certificate may be required by an employer. And not only if you plan to work in the United States. By opening their offices abroad, American companies may require a certificate of attendance from employees.

Depending on what goals you are pursuing, the result you need to strive for will depend. There is no concept of “passing score” in the case of TOEFL. Each college, university, employer has its own requirements for the required minimum of points scored.

To pass an online test (internet-based test or iBT) in most universities, you need to earn 80 – 100 points from 120 possible, but there are educational institutions that have a much lower bar. A minimum score (71 score) is required, for example, by the University of Bowlin Green in Ohio. And the maximum (100 points) requires Harvard. Other universities usually require 74,2 points for undergraduates and 82,6 points for graduate students.

If you are taking a paper-based test (PBT), then you need to score 520-560 points. This difference in scores is due to the fact that tests are graded on a different scale. The highest passing score in this TOEFL variant is 630, the minimum is 450 points.

What to choose: iBT or PBT

The difference between these two versions of TOEFL is not limited to points.

The online version of iBT includes:

READING: in this section of the test is given from three to five texts, the total amount of which is no more than 3500 words. After reading the text, you need to answer questions (10-14 for each text), which focuses on the ability to compare and build causal relationships.

AUDIO: You listen in the recording of four to six lectures, the total time of which does not exceed 30 minutes. Six questions are asked for each lecture. In the second part you are given to listen to three conversations. Each lasts three minutes and is composed of 15 questions.

TALKING SECTION: You get six topics of conversation. Two of them are everyday, about the four remaining topics you can only have theoretical knowledge.

THE WRITING PART: you get two assignments: one on an everyday topic, the second on an academic one.

Overall maximum exam score iBT 120 points.

IBT online test:

- take several times a month and in more centers. All information about the dates and places for the delivery of iBT throughout the United States is on the official Online;

- the test date can be rescheduled without losing money;

- the test places minimal emphasis on knowledge of grammar;

- lasts 4-4,5 hours.

The paper version of PBT includes:

READING: Five texts, each of which is approximately 300 words. Up to 15 questions for each text.

AUDIO: four mini-talk, each of which lasts no more than one and a half minutes. For each listening conversation, no more than five questions are asked. In the second part, two conversations, also no more than one and a half minutes each and five questions about what they heard.

TALKING PART: it is not in the paper TOEFL version.

WRITTEN PART: you get an assignment on an academic subject.

The overall maximum score of the PBT test is 677 points. The points for the writing part in the overall result are not indicated, they are taken into account separately, and the maximum point that can be obtained is six.

PBT paper test:

- take only six times a year: where and when to take the written test, you can also find out at the official Online;

- The test date cannot be rescheduled and the amount you paid is not refundable;

- more focused on knowledge of grammar;

- lasts three hours.

What to take - you choose, in the event that, of course, if the university you plan to enter does not put forward certain requirements. Alina Borodkina lives in San Diego, and for several years she studied English at courses in her native Minsk. When I found out that to enter the University of San Diego, you need to score 80 points out of 120 in the online version or 550 points out of 677 in the paper version, I decided that I would pass without problems:

“I was trained by a teacher, we studied for four months, and I was ready to take both one and the second option. But when I was training, the conversational part was full of mistakes all the time. So I decided to take the written test - there is simply no spoken part in it. "

Now Alina is hard at work and hopes that she will be able to score the necessary number of points from the first time.

In preparing for the TOEFL, it is important to use the newest editions of textbooks. Photo:

In preparing for the TOEFL, it is important to use the newest editions of textbooks. Photo:

How to register for an online iBT test

Registration on the day of the exam, right in the testing center is not allowed. Moreover, there are usually a lot of people willing, and it may turn out that there are no more places on the date you have chosen. Therefore, it is necessary to take care of registration in advance.

You can register for an online test:

- in the Internet, Downloading the registration form on the official site;

- by phone 1-443-751-4862 and 1-800-468-6335;

- by mail, sakazav on official Online paper version of the registration form (it is called the TOEFL iBT Registration Bulletin). It must be filled out and sent along with the payment confirmation to the local registration center (the address will be indicated on the form). If the testing service does not receive your letter with a completed form and payment confirmation four weeks before the date of passing the test, you will not be allowed to take the test on the date you choose;

- personally by contacting one of the centers, where you can take the TOEFL iBT. Their addresses can be found on the official Online;

You can pay for the test by electronic check or bank card. In the USA in 2016 it costs $ 190, in Ukraine - $ 180, in Russia - $ 255. Prices in other countries can be found in a special section official website.

You can register for the PBT paper test:

  • in the Internet, true, register online Only VISA, American Express, Discover and JSB cardholders can.
  • by mail, ordering on the official Online paper version of the registration form. It is sent with the confirmation of payment to the local registration center.

The registration fee for the TOEFL PBT is $ 160.

How to find out your result

When you fill out the registration form, you specify which school or employer is required to take the test. Within two weeks, the test results appear online and are sent by mail to the educational institution that you specified.

If you want the exam results to be delivered to you personally, you can send a request to the center where you took the test. There is no additional charge for this, and the test results arrive within 7-10 working days. TOEFL test results are valid for two years.

How to start training

There is no universal recipe for preparing for TOEFL. Someone can study himself, someone needs a teacher or specialized courses. Before you begin training, it is worth making sure that your basic knowledge is enough to be tested. If the level of proficiency in the language of household, do not rush to take TOEFL.

If you are preparing yourself, do not save by buying old edition textbooks. In 2006, the system of building tests has undergone dramatic changes, and from year to year it is supplemented and changed. For example, if in your TOEFL preparation textbook you see an assignment in which you are asked to choose synonyms and antonyms, you are clearly in front of an instance of the past generation, which has nothing to do with the test items.

The wisest thing is to start by registering with the official Online and test your knowledge for free.

Tips experienced

The Educational Testing Service, which is the test maker, has its own Materials for the preparation of. These are examples of assignments, and comments on them from the authors of the test themselves, and audio recordings, and materials for the conversational part. There are paid books, free programs, and online tutorials. You can also practice online at free “simulators”With examples of tests.

However, those who have experience of surrender or who are now in full swing lining over textbooks, consider that you can prepare for the TOEFL on your own only if you already have strong basic knowledge.

Ksenia from Minsk (she asked not to give her last name), now lives in Florida and is preparing to take the test - she plans to take it in the spring to continue her education. “I prepare myself from books and online resources because the level of the language is good. I taught it at school, at the university and in the USA when I came here on the “Work and travel” program in my student years. There are many mobile apps to help you prepare, but if you are just starting to learn the language, I think it will be difficult to prepare on your own. ”


Ksenia from Florida advises to use mobile applications that will help prepare for the TOEFL. Photos from the personal archive

Natalia Furman from Washington, when she wanted to get a law degree at the Catholic University of America, took the test several times. She prepared herself, her basic knowledge was at a very good level - Natalia was a translator from French and English. But I didn’t manage to get the necessary points right away: “Instead of the prescribed 95 points I scored only 89, but I passed it again and already scored 96. Then I found out that I needed 100 and more. Then I passed it for the third time, already by 101 points. I prepared myself: I went to the bookstore, bought a textbook with disks and studied it up and down for two months. "


Natalia Furman had good basic knowledge, so she prepared herself for the test. Photos from the personal archive

Boris Degtyarenko from Sacramento also took the test three times: “It took me a while to realize that I was preparing for the test completely wrong. I relied on free resources on the Internet and ended up with outdated versions of written tests. When I was preparing for the first time, I put a lot of emphasis on grammar, but it turned out that the online test that I was going to take had no grammar section at all. As a result, I simply lost time in preparation and did not prepare properly. When I took the test for the second time and reached the module with colloquial speech, such a nervousness began that I simply could not put two words together. After the second failure, I began to study with the teacher, and we focused on the spoken part. I bought The Official Guide to the New TOEFL iBT and practiced using the CDs that came with it. Only then I was able to fully understand the principle, I think that's why I passed the exam. "

Yegor Pilch from Washington prepared for the test for nine months. For six months I attended courses, studied in a group of five, came to the conclusion that it was unrealistic to prepare well in a group, and for another three months I studied with a teacher. The result is 100 points - five more than it was necessary for admission.

“The exam was difficult, but I was not afraid of those moments that turned out to be difficult in the end. I knew that my pronunciation was not perfect, but I still got a high score. Although I know for sure that I made a few mistakes. Then, when discussing my test with the teacher, he explained that it is more important for the examiner that a person is able to speak coherently.

In general, a lot of emphasis is placed on logic in the test. For example, in listening, they almost never offer a text in which there are many dates or names, because the purpose of the test is not to test memory, but the ability to logically connect your thoughts and draw conclusions. The same situation is with essays. When I was preparing for the test, the teacher immediately said - this is not a school essay from the sixth grade. No water and unnecessary phrases - you need to fit your thoughts into 150-200 words, ”says Yegor.

10 useful links

If you have decided to prepare yourself, these books and collections can help you:

Official TOEFL iBT ® Tests with Audio, volume 1 Is a collection of tests that you can use to prepare for the exam.

Cracking the TOEFL iBT (edition of 2014 of the year). The book details the tasks and dismantled given dozens of exercises for each module of the test.

WordPlay Review The book significantly fills up your vocabulary with exactly the vocabulary that is useful for understanding the texts of the test.

GoodluckTOEFL - a site that will help you understand what's what. Organizational issues are clearly described here, the features of all TOEFL modules are explained. Is a collection of free and paid video tutorials.

TestPrepPractice и i-Courses - a resource for those who are afraid not to meet the minutes set aside for the test. Interactive tasks on this site are just designed for the time.

Toeflgoanywhere Is a site from the TOEFL creators themselves with video tutorials, crosswords and a chat, where you can communicate with the same conquerors of this test.

Mobile app TOEFL Incorrect Word created in order to prepare you all for one of the tasks of the test. You will practice identifying incorrectly used words in a sentence.

Download the application TOEFL Essay You can read more than fifty perfect essays on various topics. This will help you understand how to write an essay and expand vocabulary.

See also:

How to learn English in the USA

Top 10 mobile applications for learning English

How to get an education in the USA and how much it costs

higher education English Educational program toefl Editor's Choice
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