The “TOEFL” in “TOEFL Test” stands for Test Of English as a Foreign Language. Like the more popular IELTS exam, the TOEFL is a standardised test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to migrate to Australia under a visa class where evidence of competency in English is required.
TOEFL has only played a role in the Australian Migration process since its introduction in 2017, however since then, it has started to gain in popularity.
Who runs the TOEFL test?
TOEFL is a trademark of the Educational Testing Service (ETS), a private non-profit organisation, which designs and administers the tests. ETS issues official score reports, sent independently to institutions, for two years following the test.
TOEFL Examination Format
In a similar guise to the IELTS exam, the TOEFL examination is broken down into several key areas, those being reading, listening, speaking and writing. We’ll break down each of the critical sections in a little more detail below.
The Reading section consists of questions on 3-4 passages, each approximately 700 words in length and with ten questions. The passages are on academic topics; they are the kind of material that might be found in an undergraduate university textbook.
Passages require an understanding of rhetorical functions such as cause-effect, compare-contrast and argumentation. Candidates answer questions about main ideas, details, inferences, essential information, sentence insertion, vocabulary, rhetorical purpose and overall concepts.
New types of questions in the TOEFL iBT test require filling out tables or completing summaries.
Prior knowledge of the subject under discussion is not necessary to come to the correct answer.
The Listening section consists of questions on 2-3 conversations with five questions each, and 5-7 lectures with six questions each. Each talk is 2.5-3 minutes and lectures are 4.5-5.5 minutes in length.
The conversations involve a student and either a professor or a campus service provider. The lectures are a self-contained portion of an academic lecture, which may include student participation and does not assume specialised background knowledge in the subject area.
Each conversation and lecture passage is heard only once. Test-takers may take notes while they listen, and they may refer to their notes when they answer the questions.
The listening questions are meant to measure the ability to understand main ideas, important details, implications, relationships between ideas, organisation of information, speaker purpose and speaker attitude.
The Speaking section consists of 4 tasks: 1 independent (Task 1) and 3 integrated (Task 2, 3, 4).
In task 1, test-takers answer opinion questions on familiar topics. They are evaluated on their ability to speak spontaneously and convey their ideas clearly and coherently.
In task 2 and 4, test-takers read a short passage, listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and answer a question by combining appropriate information from the text and the talk.
In task 3, test-takers listen to an academic course lecture and then respond to a question about what they heard.
In the integrated tasks, test-takers are evaluated on their ability to appropriately synthesise and effectively convey information from the reading and listening material. Test-takers may take notes as they read and listen and may use their records to help prepare their responses.
Test-takers are given a short preparation time before they have to begin speaking. The responses are digitally recorded, sent to ETS’s Online Scoring Network (OSN), and evaluated by three to six raters.
The Writing section measures a test taker’s ability to write in an academic setting and consists of two tasks: one integrated and one independent. In the integrated task, test-takers read a passage on an academic topic and then listen to a speaker discuss it.
The test-taker then writes a summary about the critical points in the listening passage and explains how these relate to the key aspects of the reading passage. In the independent task, the test-taker must write an essay that states their opinion or choice, and then explain it, rather than only listing personal preferences or choices.
Responses are sent to the ETS OSN and evaluated by at least three different raters.
TOEFL Test scores
The TOEFL test is scored on a scale of 0 to 120 points.
Each of the four sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing) receives a scaled score from 0 to 30. The scaled scores from the four sections are added together to determine the total score.
The reading and listening sections are tested first, followed by a ten-minute break. The speaking and writing sections are then completed following the break. A maximum amount of 203 minutes is allowed to complete the whole exam process.
Each speaking question is initially given a raw score of 0 to 4, with 1-point increment, and each writing question is initially given a raw score of 0.0 to 5.0, with 0.5-point increment. These scores are converted to scaled scores of 0 to 30.
Accepted TOEFL Scores for Australian Migration
Australia views your English as proficient if you have TOEFL scores of 24 for Reading and Listening, 23 for Speaking, and 27 for writing.
For superior English, you need a 29 in Reading, a 28 in Listening, a 26 in Speaking, and a 30 in Writing. Superior English scores are a huge bonus as for many visa classes, superior english will attract additional points.
This is better demonstrated in the table below.
|English-language Proficiency Level||Test Component||TOEFL iBT Score|
Overall Score: 35
Overall Score: 60
Overall Score: 94
Overall Score: 110
Receiving Your Scores
Score reports are available and can be viewed online in your TOEFL iBT account approximately six days after your test date. If you requested a paper copy, it will be mailed to you about 11 days after your test date. Please allow sufficient time for postal delivery from the United States.
Are you taking the TOEFL test?
Are you looking to take the TOEFL test or have you already completed it? Let us know how you got on using the comments below.