Published: 18th August 2023
TOEFL iBT test: Getting Ready for the Enhanced TOEFL iBT test
TOEFL is designed as a truly international test, allowing the usage of either the United States (US) or the United Kingdom (UK) English
In alignment with the evolving demands of test takers and educational institutions across the globe, the enhanced Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT offers multiple advantages to students aspiring to study abroad. As a result of recent changes, TOEFL iBT is now the shortest English language test of the three most popular tests, with test time now reduced to less than two hours compared to the previous three hours. In the enhanced TOEFL iBT test, the instructions and navigational aspects have been streamlined, ensuring a more fluid and intuitive examination experience. These enhancements aim to enable candidates to deliver their best performance and effectively demonstrate their English language skills.
Highlights of the new format
The updated TOEFL iBT test introduces several key alterations that benefit test takers. The new "Writing for an Academic Discussion" task replaces the previous “Independent Writing” task. The Reading section has been condensed by removing one reading passage and associated questions, enabling candidates to effectively showcase their comprehension abilities within a more manageable timeframe. All the unscored questions in each section of the test have also been removed. This revamp continues to reflect the practical academic communication skills required within university environments.
The TOEFL iBT test will now notify candidates about the official date of results upon completion of the test, thereby, reducing the anxiety of students and parents in terms of the date of result and enabling them to plan the application process efficiently. The TOEFL iBT will continue to offer immediate scores for the Reading and Listening sections to provide candidates with a predictive measure of their final scores. These score reports will now be available in less than a week’s time. Furthermore, unlike other computer-based tests, the enhanced TOEFL iBT test now facilitates question reviews at the end of each section, allowing applicants to revisit and revise their responses. To ensure fair and unbiased results, scoring throughout the test combines both AI and human assessment.
Moreover, TOEFL is designed as a truly international test, allowing the usage of either the United States (US) or the United Kingdom (UK) English. For Indian candidates, a significant discount of 25% is available for a limited period when registering for both the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) and TOEFL exams, resulting in savings of up to INR 8,900. In addition, localised INR payment options have been introduced for added convenience and an India-based toll-free number is available for additional support during test registration.
Strategies for optimal performance
To achieve the best possible result on the enhanced TOEFL iBT test, implementing effective preparation strategies is essential. Firstly, candidates should thoroughly familiarise themselves with the revised test format, question styles and timing requirements. Furthermore, candidates can utilise the new TOEFL Go! App which provides digital practice and feedback in all four sections of the test. Test takers can recognise areas of strength and those needing improvement allowing for efficient test prep planning.
The inclusion of the Writing for an Academic Discussion task necessitates honing skills such as articulation, critical thinking and effective argument presentation within an academic context. Test takers must also practice assigning appropriate time to each section and question, maintaining a steady pace to complete all tasks. Crafting an effective time management strategy ensures optimal performance during the test.
Should a student finish a section ahead of time, they can use the balance time to review their answers and confirm all questions have been attempted, given that there’s no negative marking in TOEFL iBT. Applicants should also cultivate skills that extend beyond taking the test, engage in immersive language experiences such as reading academic articles, watch educational videos, and converse with native English speakers. This comprehensive approach will bolster candidates’ overall language skills and contribute to sustained preparation.
TOEFL Go App
The newly launched TOEFL Go! app can assist test takers to bolster their preparedness for the exam. The app uses the same rubrics as the test to provide Artificial intelligence (AI)-powered scoring for each section. This allows candidates to get a grasp of the scoring pattern. To help candidates familiarise themselves with the new format and level of answers, the app provides coaching tips and high-level sample responses for the Speaking and Writing sections. The app further entails digital practice and feedback for all four sections of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.
Leverage official TOEFL resources
An array of valuable resources is available on the official website of ETS India to guide test takers on their TOEFL iBT journey. The TOEFL iBT Free Practice Test can be utilised to assess readiness, offering real past test questions with correct answers and sample responses. The website also offers free practice sets for each section — Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing — providing essential opportunities for practice and skill development.
The official website offers various test prep resources such as the Official TOEFL iBT Prep Course, TOEFL Practice Online, and the Official Guide to the TOEFL Test. These comprehensive resources cover test sections, strategies and authentic practice tests, enabling students to hone their skills. A resource library is also accessible, providing easy access to informative videos and essential pages on the test-taker website. A self-learning course, TOEFL® Test Preparation: The Insider’s Guide, is also available on the edX platform to help students pace their learning.
With these extensive resources at their disposal, students can prepare confidently for the TOEFL iBT test. The TOEFL test serves not only as a stepping-stone to educational opportunities but also as a reflection of a candidate's ability to flourish in English-speaking academic settings.
Leveraging TOEFL iBT for Canada’s SDS stream
The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) recently approved the use of the TOEFL iBT test in Canada’s Student Direct Stream (SDS). SDS is an expedited study permit processing programme for international students who plan to enroll in Canada’s post-secondary designated learning institutions. Industry insights suggest that Indian students account for more than 96% of all SDS applications since 2019.
The approval rate for Indian SDS applicants in 2022 was three times higher, at 62%, compared to their counterparts in the regular stream, making SDS extremely popular for students aspiring to study in Canada.
TOEFL iBT is the world's most widely accepted English-language test and is recognised by over 12,000 institutions across 160 countries worldwide, including 100% acceptance in the US, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand among others, making it the premier choice for students aspiring to study abroad.
(The author of this piece is Sachin Jain, Country Manager, ETS India and South Asia. Views expressed are his own)