Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Do I Need To Take TOEFL Exam?

This is the exact question I asked myself a year ago, and I am thankful that I did take the TOEFL.

Working as a physical therapist here in the Philippines, I found myself stressed with the workload and with the salary I was getting. Prior to that job, I had worked as a volunteer to some rehabs. I did not have any problem doing the work since this is what I love most. I actually enjoyed being with my coworkers and patients. It was my supervisor rehab who encouraged me to try my luck finding work overseas.


When I started to work on my papers for my credentialing for the NPTE (I had to take this examination as a licensure to work professionally in the US), I was particularly unaware that I had to undergo an English proficiency examination which was the TOEFL exam. I did not understand why I needed this; all I knew was it was on the list of requirements.

By doing a little research online, I was enlightened about the examination. So, I started gathering materials to review for the test. Honestly, it was not easy balancing work and review. I usually skipped reviewing for the TOEFL; I procrastinated a lot. Then, my supervisor recommended enrolling to a TOEFL review. I could not see why I should not, so I went to a review center that she suggested.

Reviewing for the TOEFL with a TOEFL review program woke me up to a reality: the TOEFL was difficult. I had a hard time getting a good score particularly in my reading and speaking sections. My instructor was patient enough to explain in class why such answers were the right ones. I was specifically amazed on how well he could give responses to speaking questions without even preparing for it. I guess it was because of the years of experience he has had teaching TOEFL.

We had daily speaking activities in class, and I was happy that I saw my progress every week. There were still times that I was left clueless with some speaking questions, yet my instructor would always have everybody the chance to speak in class, so I was able to get some ideas on how to create responses to any given questions. On Fridays, we usually had mock exams. These exams were somehow a gauge on how ready we were already to take the final examination.

When my scores become consistent, I did not hesitate to book for an examination. A week before the exam, I had intensive review with my instructor. They bombarded me with practice exams and one-on-one coaching. I could say that I took the examination feeling ready and confident with my TOEFL skills.

Simply put it this way, without the TOEFL, I would not be working here in New York as a physical therapist. The TOEFL was not just an examination or a requirement for PTs for their credentialing. It was a training ground of how to survive in an English speaking country. I needed the TOEFL not only as a requirement but as a practice of what kind of life awaits me here in the Big Apple. TOEFL is the key to my success, and I am hoping that you make TOEFL an importance to your preparation for your future.

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