If you are considering attending a college or university in an English-speaking country, you must first take an examination to demonstrate that your English language proficiency is sufficient to allow you to do so. One of the most widely accepted tests is the TOEFL iBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language, Internet-Based Test), which is accepted in over 130 countries worldwide.

Before you decide whether the TOEFL iBT is right for you, here are some things you need to know about it.

  1. The TOEFL iBT is a timed, online test that takes approximately four hours to complete. The test is created and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
  2. More than 9,000 institutions accept TOEFL scores as proof of English language proficiency, including most colleges and universities in the United States.
  3. Each learning institution has the ability to set is own scoring requirements for the TOEFL. If you want to find information about a particular school, you can visit the ETS website here and search for the schools that interest you. Keep in mind that graduate schools may have additional testing requirements, including GRE examinations
  4. It is broken down into four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. The sections are each timed as follows:
    1. The reading section takes between 60 and 100 minutes to complete and consists of reading 4-6 passages.
    2. The listening section takes between 40 and 60 minutes to complete and consists of listening to several conversations and lectures.
    3. The speaking section takes approximately 20 minutes to complete, and involves answering six questions. Some questions are conversational while others are in response to written or spoken material. The answers are recorded.
    4. The writing section takes about fifty minutes to complete and involves writing two short passages, one in response to a recorded lecture and the other an essay about an assigned topic.
  5. All of the questions on the TOEFL iBT are multiple choice questions. They require some degree of critical thinking in addition to English comprehension.
  6. The accents used on the TOEFL iBT are all North American accents.
  7. The TOEFL iBT is offered more than any other English language test, with more than 50 dates each year. It is offered at various locations around the world.
  8. You may take the test as many times as you wish. The only restriction is that you may not take the test twice within one twelve-day period.
  9. The testing fees for the TOEFL iBT may vary from location to location. You can visit the ETS website here to get more information about the location closest to you.
  10. You will receive an electronic copy of your scores. You may also request one hard copy for your records. In addition, you can specify that official scores be sent to up to four institutes of higher learning. However, you should know that scores sent to colleges and universities may not be disputed.
  11. After you receive your results, you may order additional copies of them from the ETS website at a cost of US $19.00 per copy.
  12. Seating is limited, so you will need to make sure to register for the TOEFL at least three to four months prior to taking the test. Partial refunds are given for cancellations if they are received within four days of the test.

The TOEFL iBT is a good choice for any student who wishes to attend a school where English is the primary language. The test is comprehensive, and the chances are good that any school you wish to attend will accept the TOEFL as proof that you have the English language skills necessary to succeed.

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