In some cases, you may need to demonstrate your English-speaking ability if you’re not a native speaker. This may be necessary for certain job positions, university admissions, and even immigration. What’s the solution? Taking the TOEFL exam! TOEFL stands for “the Test of English as a Foreign Language,” and over 35 million people globally have sat for this exam. If you’re looking to prepare for it, then TOEFL practice online can be of great use.
Here, we will cover everything you need to know about the TOEFL exam. You’ll learn about the test breakdown, where you can find free and paid practice exams, and what you should want in a practice exam.
What is TOEFL?
The TOEFL exam is used to showcase your English readiness to college admissions teams or employers. It can be taken at test centers or at home. Over 11,000 universities in more than 150 countries accept this test as a measure of readiness for the English language.
What’s on the Test?
People who take the exam will be tested on the four major components of academic English, namely: reading, listening, writing, and speaking.
The test is 3 hours long. When taking the test, be prepared for the whole process to take 3.5 hours due to checking-in. The test is broken down as follows:
- Reading (54-72 minutes), 30-40 questions
- Listening (41-57 minutes), 28-39 questions
- 10 minute break
- Speaking (17 minutes), 4 tasks
- Writing (50 minutes), 2 tasks
TOEFL costs $180-$300 (depending on testing center).
Why is the Test Necessary?
The test is necessary for non-native English speakers to demonstrate their knowledge of English. It’s most used by those looking to apply to college or graduate school abroad. It may also be taken by:
- Students going into high school in an English-speaking country
- Students attending a community college in an English-speaking country
- People seeking a professional license
- People who are immigrating and must demonstrate English abilities
- Anyone who wants to assess their English skills
While the TOEFL test can be used for a range of reasons, it’s highly focused on academic English. As such, non-native English speakers who wish to obtain a job or work visa may prefer to take the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) exam instead.
Online TOEFL Practice Resources
If you’re planning to take TOEFL, it’s best to get some practice in advance. Here are some resources where you will find TOEFL practice online:
Union Test Prep offers free practice questions. You can either download practice tests or choose from sections of the test like Listening and Reading to get started right away.
Graduates Hotline has an array of TOEFL practice tests, as well as listening tests. The site also provides some best practice for how to prepare for each section. There’s also a list of books provided that may help you along your studying journey.
Kaplan Test Prep offers a preparatory course in anticipation for the TOEFL IBT (internet-based test). The self-paced course costs $349. There are over 190 video lessons and four full-length practice exams. Kaplan will also provide you with a review of your writing samples with feedback. The course book is loaded with more than 100 practice problems to set you up for success.
Magoosh offers a full-length TOEFL test. It’s recommended to allow yourself 54 minutes for the reading section and 41 minutes for the listening section. The speaking and writing portion have their own set of instructions with time limits to follow.
What to Look for in a Practice Test
As you can see from the shortened list above, there are many online resources with practice exams. However, not all practice exams are created equally.
To get the best results from these practice tests, they should possess the following characteristics:
- Have the same structure as the official TOEFL test
- There should be sample speaking and writing responses included
- The difficulty level should match that of the real exam
- You should be able to get your score afterwards
- There should be explanations of answers
- You should have the option to learn vocabulary, too
While there’s no right answer as to how many practice exams you should take before the official test date, it generally follows that more is better. Given time and budget constraints, you obviously can’t take an infinite amount of tests. So, it’s best practice to start with an exam before you study to see where you’re at. Based on your score, you can get a sense of how much studying you’ll have to complete.
Within the 3-6 month range of time that you’ll likely spend studying, try to take roughly five or six exams. If you are only studying for three months, then try to take at least four exams.
Many universities accept the TOEFL test scores to prove English proficiency.
In fact, at the University of the People, anyone around the world can enroll in our degree programs as long as they fulfill two requirements: have a high school diploma and are proficient in English. If you’re a non-native speaker, then you can submit your TOEFL scores using our school code, which is 4577.
With any exam, preparation is key. That’s why it is worth your while to take advantage of TOEFL practice online before your official test date.