Are TOEFL Skills Useful in Real Life?
- January 12, 2018
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There is a question most of us ask as students. It doesn’t matter if it’s Mathematics, General Science, Geography or English.
We always want to know the point of studying it. Why are we doing this? How is it relevant? Does this even have any real-life applications?
It isn’t much different when you’re immersed in your TOEFL test preparation. Amidst the TOEFL study guides and practice tests, we wonder: what good is it all? Is any of this useful in real life?
We’re going to address that question.
How TOEFL Helps You Academically
The TOEFL is set and geared to assess your English language proficiency, particularly in a functional classroom setting.
If you come from a background where English is not spoken natively, clearing this test means you are equipped to function in an academic environment where English is the medium of communication.
What this means is it is not just simple reading of theory and listening to lectures that is required of you. Conversations between peers and faculty members are also predominantly conducted in English.
University notices, schedules, memos and alerts are also all written and communicated in English. It stands to reason that your assignments too will have to be submitted in English. Finally, most of your correspondence with friends and acquaintances who do not share your native tongue will likely all be conducted in English.
What the Test Sections Mean Academically
TOEFL is divided into reading, listening, speaking and writing (both to express and respond).
These sections are designed to enable you to gain experience with the language in a situation similar to what you would face in the outside world. All the aforementioned are crucial to staying at par academically and functioning in a foreign university environment.
On the note of speaking, reading and writing, these sections do not just work to sharpen the obvious stated skills. They also serve to address the students’ abilities of comprehension and inference. These sections expose students to various forms of academic content delivered in different styles. Students must then respond appropriately to questions related to the topic. Appropriate response is near impossible if you do not understand the language. This mimics general university and classroom conversation. Understanding and expressing yourself are both important skills!
In a casual setting, we have all the time in the world to listen and respond to people.
There are times however that we might be unable to linger. We could be hearing an instruction from an employer over the phone, trying to follow an important piece of news on TV or even addressing a crowd for a five-minute speech. The TOEFL time restraint helps teach us how to navigate such situations!
Listening Skills: Golden Words
There’s a saying about golden words not being repeated.
The TOEFL tests your knowledge of listening to and comprehending information—a skill that is essential in a classroom or professional setting.
Communicating with just Words
Human beings communicate both verbally and non-verbally. This being said, the TOEFL gives us practice with situations where we have only words of which to make sense, relying less on non-verbal cues.
In the Long Run…
So we know how the TOEFL helps us at university. We know how some of the most burdensome aspects of it such as time limits could actually be useful. How, though, does it help us in the long run?
Firstly, the TOEFL is one of the things needed for you to take part in an English based higher education. Receiving a higher education is extremely important for future success. One can say that the TOEFL does act as a stepping stone in this respect as it gives you access to the education you want.
To clear the TOEFL, there is a degree of preparation that is involved. This practice and preparation is what equips you with basic language and comprehension skills.
You learn to navigate the language and use it effectively in a classroom setting. The more you use the language, the more fluent you become.
It stands to reason that if your English is good enough for university, it will likely be good enough to get you around in the outside world too. TOEFL equips you with certain basics which you can then add on to and improve upon for the real world.
Working Under Pressure
Sure, you might never have to give another multiple choice iBT in your life, but pressure is something we experience well past university! Coping with pressure both while preparing for your TOEFL iBT and while taking the actual test helps put you in a position to cope with other stressors to come.
Human beings are social animals. We’re all about connecting and communicating. English is possibly the third most spoken language on the planet.
The TOEFL equips you with the basics to learn to communicate in English effectively. When you enter the real world, this becomes a professional, social and personal benefit. English is a tool. If you use it right, you can get things done! Further, more languages mean more people for you to engage with!
If you were trying to decide if this test was worth taking and this blog has given you that final push, check out our free student resources and our run-down on online practice tests! Not all we learn when we’re young is applied in real life, but it is all pretty important as a base to learn new things!
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