What is TOEFL?
TOEFL iBT test is a standardized test designed to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers who wish to enroll in English-speaking universities. The test is accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions.
What are the differences between TOEFL and IELTS?
IELTS international exam is also used for the same purposes. Both tests consist of four parts that assess your Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing skills. Neither IELTS nor TOEFL scores grammar in a separate section. Knowledge of the norms and rules of language proficiency is assessed in the sections of writing and speaking.
The most obvious difference between TOEFL and IELTS is the variant of English used. For example, TOEFL is based on American English, and IELTS is based on British. The differences between the two options are not significant, however, the peculiarities of pronunciation and spelling can cause difficulties even for those who speak the language well.
In general, TOEFL costs roughly as much as IELTS does, 250$ and 200-250$ respectively. You can change the date of the test, but it costs extra — 60$.
7 main benefits of TOEFL compared to IELTS
- You can take the test from home. This is an important benefit, considering the pandemic. You have an opportunity to stay in the safety and comfort of your own home.
- You won’t have to struggle with the British accent. In the listening and speaking sections, examinees listen to the American accent. This is a crucial moment for those who are not used to perceiving the British accent.
- Less human interaction, less stress. All the sections of TOEFL are passed only on the computer, so no human interaction is involved. The only people you will have to interact with are the test-center employees (if you take the test in the test-centre) or proctor observer (if you take the test from home). For those who get really stressed while communicating with other people and generally while taking the test, absence of the examiner helps to calm down a little.
- The TOEFL writing section is somewhat straightforward. It’s easier to get the highest grades on it than it is in IELTS. Students who passed the test note that essay topics are often easier or at least clearer than in IELTS. In addition there’s no task with graph description which is more difficult for most students.
- All questions in the listening and reading sections in TOEFL are multiple choice questions. So you’ll be able to at least cross out the options that are definitely not correct and then choose from the ones left. The questions in these sections in IELTS are open, so you will have to find the answer yourself.
- Less stressful listening. You do not answer questions while you listen to the audio records in listening, you are given time for it after each record instead. So you get more time to think about the answers.
- The results are delivered faster than for IELTS. Usually TOEFL test-takers get the results in 7-10 days, while those for IELTS will take at least two weeks to arrive. The results for listening and reading are available immediately upon conclusion of the test.
How much time does it take to prepare for TOEFL?
The preparation time for the test depends on the test-taker's current level of English and their target score. For instance, if you have an upper-intermediate level and needs around 70-85, you will need a quick prep course of several weeks to get acquainted with the structure of the test and the strategies needed for tackling the tasks.
However, if you need to get 90 and above (out of 120), you will need to focus on English level improvement first and only after that move on to the test prep itself.
In this scenario, preparation might take from somewhere around 2 months up to 6 months, depending on the amount of time and effort that you put into the preparation process. It is always a good idea to ask a professional TOEFL tutor for help with planning the preparation process.
Why is it worth getting a tutor?
There is an overwhelming number of websites with TOEFL prep materials, but, unfortunately, not all of them are equally useful. If you are sure that you’ll be able to prepare on your own, free official prep materials are available at ets.org.
A professional help is necessary if you want to prepare for the speaking and writing sections well, as feedback is crucial for improvement in these sections.
Signing up for a TOEFL preparation course will save you some time by getting only effective and helpful materials. It will not only help to boost your English, but also teach you important exam passing strategies that will save you some time and effort.