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Posted at: Oct 10, 2018, 12:42 AM; last updated: Oct 10, 2018, 12:42 AM (IST)TESTING TIMES: TOEFL

Put your English to test

Put your English to test

Jennifer Brown

The admissions process for studying abroad has become very competitive in recent years. Also, the number of students seeking admission to foreign universities is increasing with each day. 

Sitting for a standardised test and getting a good score are pre-requisites to study abroad. Doing well in a quality assessment test can also help an aspirant to prepare for the study programme of her choice.

Accuracy of English proficiency test

Global universities want an accurate measure of an applicant’s English-language proficiency as that will help her succeed in the academics as well. Selecting an easy, low-quality English assessment to get a high score to gain admission in a reputed institute is short-sightedness. It can send a wrong message to the university. Also, once enrolled, the student may not be able to cope with the English-language skills required in the academic set up.  This manifests itself in being unable to grasp important lectures, write effectively, or even to articulate one’s thoughts properly — skills that are critical to academic life.

 Students who are unable to succeed in the classroom often drop out, which is a blow to the students’ financial wellbeing and morale. This is also not good news for the institution either as by doing so it risks its reputation. 

Know your aptitude for language 

Find out more about the variety of preparation options that the TOEFL programme offers. Test preparation will  help you become familiar with the format of the test, the skills the test measures, and the types of questions you’ll come across. Throughout the preparation process, you can learn about your skill gaps and how to fill them. Here are important elements which could help:

  • The Insider’s Guide is a free course on edX.org. The course covers all four sections of the test: Reading, listening, speaking, and writing. During the part of the course where the speaking and writing test sections are addressed, you can complete the practice questions to have your answers scored and receive a scaled-score range to get an idea of your performance. 

  • It is self-paced, so you can join at any time and go through the course at the speed convenient to you. The course has drawn more than 7,00,000 participants from more than 200 countries and is highly rated — earning 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

  • TOEFL Practice Online is the only official practice test that gives you the experience of taking the real TOEFL IBT test. You will be able to review and answer authentic test questions and receive scores within 24 hours, with performance feedback on all four skills measured on the test. 

  • The Official Guide to the TOEFL test is the only authentic TOEFL test preparation guide created by ETS, the company that makes the test. This guide gives you tips, practice exercises and skill-building methods to help develop speed for a better attempt. Inside the official guide are four full-length practice tests, plus hundreds of valuable tips.


Preparation tactics 

  • With a bit of planning and a drive to do well, along with some prep material from ETS, you can do well in the TOEFL IBT test. Plan a schedule and stick to it. Work back from when you’d like to apply to a programme, and use the tools on www.toeflgoanywhere.org to figure out how much time you’ll need to prepare. 

  • Taking a practice test will help you understand the areas you should focus on. By planning well and dedicating time to practice, students will feel less anxious and more confident on test day. 

  • Students should make practicing the language a routine activity. For example, students who commute for long hours should practice with a co-aspirant. Visit and follow the TOEFL Facebook page, which offers tips and advice, provides motivational messages, and posts videos in English. Download the TOEFL Go!® Global official app, available from Apple iTunes or Google Play, and spend a few moments practicing during the day. Read about a variety of topics in English, including English-language newspapers and news websites. By incorporating English into their daily lives, students can accumulate knowledge.


— The writer is executive director, TOEFL Programme Educational Testing Service (ETS)

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