TOEFL practice test

exercises to help you improve your TOEFL score


frequently asked questions about the TOEFL test

TOEFL Topics Compilation

common topics asked during the TOEFL test


basic information about the TOEFL test

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Factors That Will Determine Your Scores in the TOEFL-iBT

Taking English proficiency examinations prove how well the candidate can use and understand the English language. These English proficiency exams will determine one’s expertise in the said language through different factors using different tasks in the examination. In the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language, a variety of tasks are prepared that will surely bring out the expertise of a candidate in the English language.

Being a computer-based examination, candidates only need a computer and an Internet connection to complete the examination. In addition, the exam runs for about four and a half hours; however, the candidate can finish earlier depending on how fast he or she can finish his or her writing tasks. TOEFL test takers can get a perfect score of 120 with each section – reading, listening, speaking and writing – given a perfect score of 30.

Each section of the TOEFL follows a certain criteria that will determine the test takers score.

The reading section of the TOEFL evaluates how one can understand academic passages written in English. One important point that one needs to develop is to understand an academic reading content. The purpose of this task is to assess one's basic comprehension, the skill in finding information in a text, and the skill in reading to learn.

In the listening section, test takers are expected to showcase their skill in taking down notes. Note taking is one skill that will come in very handy during this part. Candidates are expected to write down main ideas in lectures and important details in a typical conversation. It is expected from the candidate to be able to get all the details in a recording in order to find the right answers in the choices. This means that the score on both reading and listening is dependent on how well the candidate understood the passages given.

For the speaking section, the test taker is evaluated with different criteria. First of all, general overview of the response should be considered by the candidate. Here, the response is scored on how well the response is given in terms of its content and how it directly answered the task. In addition, raters also look at the manner on how the response is delivered – its clarity. Next, language is rated – the usage of grammar and vocabulary.

Finally, in the writing section, certain criteria are also considered. The content tells us how relevant the response is to the task. Organization brings us the coherence and the flow of the essay – how the ideas are organized in a manner which is easy for the reader to understand. Language covers the proper grammar and vocabulary in the essay.

Once the test taker understands these factors in scoring the TOEFL, he or she will develop the need to address these to be able to get a good score for the TOEFL test.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

News: ETS Introduces Voice Print Security for the TOEFL-iBT

After the alleged security breach reported by BBC, ETS has rolled out a biometric voice identification system. The voice identification technology will run on pilot for two years. Visit to know more information.

For the alleged breach security results concerning TOEFL in the UK, read

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Independent Tasks in the TOEFL-iBT Plus Some Review Tips

When people are asked about their own opinions, they will always have a lot to say. Opinions matter so much in conversations. Through this, we understand how one perceives the things around him or her, how one reacts on matters, and even how one feels on certain situations.

In taking an English proficiency examination such as the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language, independent tasks are part of the examination. These independent tasks can be found in the speaking and writing sections. Independent tasks primarily check the individual’s skill in expressing his or her own ideas – how one can come up with a viewpoint and provide reasons and examples to support it. The independent speaking is good for 45 seconds each.

In the speaking section, there are two independent tasks. The first independent task requires the candidate to express his or her idea on a given statement. Topics can cover about family, work, or school.

For example:

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
The candidate then needs to think of an activity he or she likes doing. Next, the candidate has to provide at least two reasons why he or she likes this activity and give examples for this choice.

The second task is where the candidate is asked to choose one from given options. Two options are given and the candidate has to select which fits him best. For example:

Some people prefer to study alone while others prefer to study with friends. Which one do you prefer and why?

Here, the candidate has to choose one and provide reasons why he has chosen this over another option. Giving examples will make the response stronger and better.

In the writing section, there is only one independent task. The candidate needs to write his or her opinions on the statement given within thirty minutes and have to write a 250-word essay. A counter on the right side of the screen indicates the number of words the candidate already has. Questions can be an agree-disagree, opinion-based, and advantage-disadvantage type. Here are some examples:

  • Do you agree or disagree? Parents are the best teachers.
  • What do you think are the qualities of a good parent?
  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of using English in school?

The candidate needs to write a very clear introduction, at least two body paragraphs indicating his or her ideas with reasons and examples, and a very good conclusion for the essay.

The independent task is simple – candidates should think of an idea that can easily be supported with reasons and have to be straight to the point. Be clear in expressing ideas and always remember to give examples to make responses – both speaking and writing – stronger, better, and appropriate.