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About the TOEFL

According to ETS, the test’s creators, “The TOEFL iBT® test measures your ability to use and understand English at the university level. And it evaluates how well you combine your reading, listening, speaking and writing skills to perform academic tasks.” 

If you are preparing for the TOEFL, you want to bookmark these sites:

1. ETS: the creators of the test are the best source of general information about the test.

2. TOEFL Experts: the definitive list of TOEFL experts who offer online lessons, videos, evaluation services, and even a shoulder to cry on!

3. TPO: there are a lot of practice materials online, and a Chinese website has some great tools to help you.


TOEFL Insights

The TOEFL has 4 sections.

1. Reading: 36–56 questions / 60–80 minutes / Read 3 or 4 passages from academic texts and answer questions.

2. Listening: 34–51 questions / 60–90 minutes / Listen to lectures, classroom discussions and conversations, then answer questions.

3. Speaking: 6 tasks / 20 minutes / Express an opinion on a familiar topic; speak based on reading and listening tasks.

4. Writing: 2 tasks / 50 minutes / Write essay responses based on reading and listening tasks; support an opinion in writing.


TOEFL Scoring

Here is some organizational information that came from a recent ETS conference:

1. ETS employs about 1000 regular speaking scorers. Jen was one of them! Check her out here!

2. Speaking scorers must live in the US or Puerto Rico.

3. Speaking scorers must pass a “calibration test” every day to make sure they are scoring fairly (if they fail it once, they are given another chance; if they fail it twice, they cannot rate for the rest of that day).

4. Important: each speaking question is assessed by two raters. Each gives a 1.0 to 5.0 raw score. If they report different scores a scoring leader comes in and picks one of the scores


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