Taking the TOEFL



Kaplan International English, via Flickr

Colin Lowther and Katy Blake look at the history of the TOEFL exam. This test is very common for students who want to study in English speaking countries. Have you taken the TOEFL?

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Colin Lowther.

Voice 2 

And I’m Katy Blake. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Ankit Talwar worked on the streets of Delhi, India. He sold clothes for children. This helped him learn business skills. But this was not Talwar’s main job. He was also an engineering student. Talwar wanted to continue his studies in Europe. So he studied to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language, the TOEFL.

Voice 2 

Talwar studied very hard. And he won scholarship money to study engineering at a university in Spain. The scholarship paid many of Talwar’s school costs. Talwar won the scholarship for hard work in many areas of his life. But he mainly got it because of his high score on the TOEFL exam. Not all people do as well as Talwar on the TOEFL. But many people around the world take this test every year. Today’s Spotlight is on the TOEFL test.

Voice 1 

Experts at Stanford University in the Unites States created the TOEFL in 1964. They saw that many people wanted to study in universities in the US and other English speaking countries. But these schools needed to know that people coming from other countries could communicate well in English. The schools wanted to accept international students. And they wanted these students to be successful in English speaking universities. So, they needed to test international students’ English language skills before admitting them.

Voice 2 

There are different tests to determine a person’s English language skills. Each university decides which test it will give. However, most choose the TOEFL. Another test universities may choose is the International English Language Testing System or IELTS. To get a job or enter a school, most English speaking universities require international students to pass these tests. That way, they can learn well in classes that are taught in English.

Voice 1 

Most people who take the TOEFL are students. But some people take the TOEFL or the IELTS for other reasons. Some work places require a language test. It can be helpful for moving to an English speaking country. And many professional programs require a test too. For example, a doctor who is moving from India to the US may have to take the TOEFL. This may be needed for approval to do her job in a new country.

Voice 2 

No matter what a persons’ reason is for taking the TOEFL, he or she takes the same test - the TOEFL is standardized. There are over four thousand places that give the TOEFL. People in over a hundred different countries take it. But every person takes the same test. Experts then mark the test and give the person a score. The experts do not know whose test they are marking. This kind of test is more fair.

Voice 1 

People taking the TOEFL must go to an official testing site to take the exam. They must pay to take the exam. They usually sit in a room at a small table or at a computer. The room may be very full of other people also taking the test. For many years, students took the TOEFL on paper. Sometimes people still take the TOEFL this way. But since 2005, most people take the test on computers.

Voice 2  

The TOEFL looks at four different skills in English: reading, listening, speaking and writing. Students read or listen. Then they answer questions about what they have read or heard. They must also record themselves speaking English. And they must write some longer essays in English. It usually takes about four hours to take the TOEFL. But people prepare for much longer than that.

Voice 1  

Madison is a student from Romania. She spent six months studying for the TOEFL. After the test, she was afraid that she did not do well. She tells her story about studying on the website urch dot com:

Voice 3  

“I needed to take an English test in order to study for a degree in the United Kingdom. I bought a TOEFL preparation book. I found this book very useful. I honestly could not have prepared without it. Whatever mistakes I made, I do not think they were caused by a lack of preparation. Unfortunately, I am not satisfied with my performance. But me and everybody in the same position: we have to try again. Failure cannot get us down."

Voice 2  

Madison did not have to try again. One week later she found she had a good score on the TOEFL! But doing well on the TOEFL can be difficult for some people. They may not be as prepared as Madison. Or they may have been distracted in the testing room. Sometimes testing rooms are full of people. Many people are recording themselves speaking. It can be difficult for students to do well in this environment.

Voice 1  

Studying for and taking the TOEFL can be stressful. But many people must take it. And lots of people have already used the TOEFL to follow their plans for work or study. We end today’s program with some good advice from people who have taken the TOEFL successfully:

Voice 2  

Kim Min-Woo is a student and scholarship winner from Korea. In the Korea Times he talked about his experience. He told people taking the TOEFL that it is important to practice hearing, reading and speaking English:

Voice 4  

“Try to hear and see English often. Speak as much as possible. The best way to improve speaking is to practice. Speaking to one’s friends and English teachers would definitely help. Always keep in mind that practice makes perfect.”

Voice 1  

Ana Barbu from Romania found a way to study while enjoying television shows and films. She told US News:

Voice 5  

"Subtitles on films helped me increase my understanding of English idioms. I learned how native speakers used the language, rather than just reading whatever English manual we had or listening to a teacher"

Voice 2  

Alice Chen from Taiwan is a very successful test-taker. She won scholarship money for her TOEFL score. She gives simple but good advice to test-takers: “Take it easy... but be prepared!”

Voice 1  

What about you? Do you plan to take the TOEFL? If you have already taken it, what was your experience? What is the best advice you have heard? You can leave a comment on our website. Or email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also comment on Facebook at Facebook.com/SpotlightRadio.

Voice 2  

The writer of this program was Rena Dam. The producer was Bruce Gulland. The voices you heard were from the United Kingdom and the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, ‘Taking the TOEFL’.

Voice 1  

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

Have you taken the TOEFL test? If you have, what did you think about it? If you have not, do you think you will take it in the future?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
suong xk
said on October 06, 2014

i’m preparing to take the IELTS. And i love what i do and have a passion for learning english. I am listening english all day i also study english in my spare time as a hobby
’ if you love what you do you do a lot of stuff”  i strongly believe that if you really want you’ll work hard and you will be success soon

natasoul's avatar
natasoul
said on October 06, 2014

Hello Spotlight, thanks for this exellent story about TOEFL. I heve never passed this exem.  but i think i need hard work if i want to do this. This exam requires a lot of listerning ,speaking ,reading and writing skills.and thanks for this simple advices,take it easy but be prepared!!!

Avatar Spotlight
Amma
said on October 06, 2014

i’m a student in university and my major in English. so you know to graduation i must to take a TOEFL. I learn it everyday and every time. Even when i sleep at night i also listen English. it’s like a part of me. maybe i dont have ability , don’t have enough skills and knowledge to success. but i will learn hard and long time. i always believe a miracle will happen. when you believe some how you will.

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Luckyman...
said on October 06, 2014

in vietnamese, almost student take toeic examination to find a good job after graduation. i learn english everyday but my english does not well. why?

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Mss Flamboyant
said on October 06, 2014

Hardworking, brain storm are keys to success and practicing is the main way to get high mark :)

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hfc - diep
said on October 06, 2014

To Vietnamese student, in general almost of student are not sucessfull in Eng even they try hard. focusing in which skill (listen, writing…) is a pivot. As a baby, before doing other skills they should hear 1 year from their parents. We are the same, besides listening increase the vocabulary quickly v.v… Grammar is last one we should study,in Toefl exam Grammar is 10% of valuation. What is your idea? let us know, thanks.

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suong xk
said on October 07, 2014

I know many people get a high score TOEIC but they are not speak english fluently because you only focus on reading skills and do a lot of grammar, they almost did not have an enviroment to practise speaking. Further, most of company in Vietnam just requires a particular score so they choose taking TOEIC with two skills: reading and listening (just about economic vocabulary) these things leads to people who get a high score still not speaking english well and spent a lot of time and money

Avatar Spotlight
Thanhtuyen
said on October 07, 2014

I found out there are many Vietnammese like Spotlight. Me too. I want to find some friends to practise speaking English based on Spotlight programme. Please contact me via email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Thanks

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suong xk
said on October 07, 2014

Flexibility of approach is an important prerequisite to successful learning

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ttdc
said on October 08, 2014

I have taken the TOEFL ITP many times, such many times that I can’t remember exactly. But the result that I take, make me unhappy. My achieved highest score was 440 and lowest about 390. I am very disappointed myself cause I do not achieve the point that I expect.

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thuydzung
said on October 09, 2014

i have learnt English in many years, but now, my english is not good as i want.

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thanhdung07121985@gmail.com
said on February 01, 2015

I’m going to learn English communication course to improve my speaking and listening.I’d to find another job better.I’m bored with my current job although it’s very spare and unpressured.Because I work alone.I don’t communicate other people by English.My job is very passive.I hope my English will be great and work in dynamic working enviroment!

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Drnato
said on July 15, 2015

Well, I love this program, and i was thinking take this test, but first, I need to prepare anyway is pleasure heart you. thanks

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Nghia Van
said on August 31, 2015

I am prepering to take the TOEIC. It is very hard and I am very stress @@

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nguyenthengoc
said on November 11, 2015

I have not taken any TOEFL test. Maybe I’ll try it in the future.
I know, taking the TOEFL and IELTS test makes you felt stressed. But each one having a obvious target in taking the TOEFL test. There is no way to achieve the good results without trying hard. Study, study more, study forever. I think we should improve English skill everyday if you want to be a winner.
Good luck.

By the way, thank Katy Blake so much for your help ito get password back. Nowaday, I can leave comments here.

Avatar Spotlight
fritzkobus
said on November 24, 2015

I have not taken it yet, I would like to take it to know if I really have a high level of english I think is stressed to take the TOEFL test inside a room but it is necessary if I want to work or study in USA. Thanks for sharing this topic with everybody and it is useful to listen to the advices and counsels delivered for other students who have taken the test.  Practice and listening spotlight english listening programs is my way to practice english daily , also reading the website Today’s Bible reading and checking the website VOA news,  Have a good day my friends, good bye.

Avatar Spotlight
KatyBlake
said on December 15, 2015

nguyenthengoc I am very pleased that you left a comment.  We are making a ‘Listener Mail’ programme. ‘Taking the TOEFL’ will be featured. And your comment should be included. Listen out for it in a few weeks time.

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on December 13, 2016

I have not taken the TOFEL test.
I want and need to take it in future but I dont know how!
God bless you

Avatar Spotlight
NgoNgoc
said on December 13, 2016

Something’s wrong here. I can’t listen to this article. Please fix it.

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KatyBlake
said on January 03, 2017

NgoNgoc - I have checked this audio and it is working. Please check your computer.

Avatar Spotlight
KatyBlake
said on January 03, 2017

Kaleb Kolaibi - look at this website https://www.ets.org/toefl
It has details about the test. It also has information about test centres all around the world.

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on January 16, 2017

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the questions above
Date: Monday 16, January 2017
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Katy Blake, Rena Dam, Colin Lowther, and Bruce Gulland:

At first, I want to thank you for bringing us readers and learners of English more one great article, thanks!
No, I have not taken the TOEFL test.
Yes, I do or No, I do not. I do no know. It is a difficult test to do well and It is a very expensive test to do it here in Brazil.
The schools that have been preparing students to do TOEFT test charge a lot of mony of the students to do the TOEFT test. Some schools charge more than five hundreds dollars to prepare a student to do the TOEFT test. I sought a school to prepare me to do the TOEFT test. However, I gave up it because it is very difficult and very expensive.

God bless you
Severino Ramos
Brazil