Guide to TOEFL for International Students

Guide to TOEFL for International Students

If you’re aiming to study at a college or university in the United States, you’ve probably already got a checklist of documents to gather for your application. High school transcripts, essays, teacher recommendations, and sometimes even SAT or ACT scores are among the usual requirements. But for international students, there’s often an extra item on the list: proving your English skills.

Colleges use various methods to gauge language proficiency, and one popular option is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). This test, run by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), has become a go-to for many institutions.

Why? Well, it’s all about showing that you’re ready for English-based studies. Some U.S. schools prefer TOEFL over other exams like the International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

But here’s the thing: each college sets its own rules. So it’s essential to research which tests your dream schools accept.

Now, let’s talk about the TOEFL exam itself. It’s been around since 1964 and has gone through some changes over the years. Originally, it was a paper test, but now it’s all done on computers. Thanks to the pandemic, there’s even an option to take it from home, with a live proctor watching over you.

The TOEFL has a new sibling too – the TOEFL Essentials Test. It’s shorter and focuses on both academic and everyday English skills. More and more universities are starting to accept it, so keep an eye out!

So, how does TOEFL compare to IELTS? Both tests cover reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills, but TOEFL leans more towards academic English. IELTS, on the other hand, mixes academic and everyday English.

When it comes to length, cost, and scoring, they have their differences. For example, TOEFL is a bit shorter than IELTS, and the scoring methods vary.

Now, let’s talk money. Both tests cost roughly the same, but prices can vary depending on where you are. It’s usually easy to register online – just visit the TOEFL or IELTS websites.

Once you’ve taken the test, you’ll get your scores. TOEFL scores range from 0 to 120, while IELTS scores go from 0 to 9. These scores are crucial because they’ll determine where you can apply.

TOEFL is accepted at over 12,500 institutions worldwide, including every U.S. college. IELTS is also widely recognized, with over 12,000 organizations accepting it globally.

But here’s the bottom line: do your research and aim for a strong TOEFL score. Many U.S. colleges look for scores above 100, but requirements vary. For example, Cornell University requires a minimum of 100, while the University of Idaho accepts a score of 70.

So, with the right preparation and understanding of the TOEFL, you’re on your way to unlocking exciting opportunities for your academic journey in the United States!

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