What’s New about the TOEFL iBT?
published by Chung-Hee Ma
With the advent of the new TOEFL iBT® (Internet-based TOEFL) and its online delivery, a new and better era of language skill assessment has been introduced. The new test includes voice-recording technology that more effectively measures your ability to both understand and to speak English. It is a better evaluation tool for assessing your overall communication skills in the English language.
So, what’s new? Well, almost everything!
1. It takes longer to complete
The computer and paper-based versions took about 3.5 hours. The TOEFL iBT is about 4 hours long. You will be required to complete all of the sections in one day, so you will not have to travel to the test center twice.
2. You can take notes
You can do this throughout the test and it will come in handy with the new format.
3. The questions are different
Because effective communication includes many skills, the TOEFL iBT introduces the concept of “integrated questions” which combine multiple language skills. You will be asked to:
• Read, listen, and then speak in response to a question
• Listen and then speak in response to a question
• Read, listen, and then write in response to a question
4. It’s more like the real thing
The listening sections include longer, more authentic conversations and lectures instead of shorter dialogues. You can take notes while listening. Test questions will ask you to determine things like the attitude of the speaker, the point of the lecture, or the speaker’s motivation.
5. The Writing section is longer
You’ll be required to write a response to material that you hear and read, and to then compose an essay in support of an opinion. Your responses are scored by human graders, as well as by the ETS Online Scoring Network.
6. It has a Speaking section
Wearing headphones, you will give verbal responses to six tasks into a microphone. Your responses will be digitally recorded and transmitted to the ETS Online Scoring Network where human scorers rate them. The scorers are carefully monitored for accuracy, so you can be assured of the reliability of your Speaking scores.
7. There’s no Grammar section
This section is gone, but your grammar will be evaluated in your speaking and writing responses.
8. They explain your scores
You’ll get a description of your performance on key points of the test. This will help you to study for future tests and to increase your English-language ability.
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