Saturday, April 14

Bye bye TOEFL PBT (paper-based test)

Read the lastest news from the ETS. The PBT (paper-based test) will end in mid-2012.

TOEFL® Paper-based Test to Be Phased Out

The TOEFL® PBT test, administered in a paper-based format, will be phased out starting in mid-2012. In some regions, the last TOEFL PBT test administration will be in May 2012. You can take the TOEFL PBT test until that time and submit your scores to institutions and agencies for two years after your test date.

When the TOEFL iBT® test was launched in 2005, ETS established a transition period to allow continued use of the paper-based test in countries where infrastructure issues limited our ability to offer the TOEFL iBT test. These issues included unreliable electrical service, Internet connectivity issues and other factors.

Currently, 96 percent of TOEFL test takers worldwide take the TOEFL iBT test and access continues to expand. Also, the TOEFL iBT test is desired by universities because it measures all four communication skills — reading, writing, listening and speaking. For these and other reasons, we feel it is time to end paper-based testing.
ETS remains committed to providing access for anyone who wants to take the TOEFL test. Please be assured that ETS is making every effort to ensure that individuals living in areas where the TOEFL PBT test is currently administered will be able to test.
Learn more about the TOEFL iBT Test.

Friday, April 13

Should you use your own experience on the TOEFL iBT?

Yes. Four constructive tasks on the TOEFL iBT measure your ability to use your personal experience ("personal knowledge") when developing an argument.

1. Independent speaking task #1
2. Independent speaking task #2.
3. Integrated speaking task #5.
4. The independent essay.

Remember: The constructive tasks (speaking and writing) are designed to measure your ability to speak and write (develop arguments) both subjectively (first person) and objectively (third person) This is one way the TOEFL iBT measures grammar proficiency. The reading and listening tasks are designed to test both your active vocabulary and your passive vocabulary, as well as grammar. This is another way the TOEFL iBT measures language use proficiency.

WARNING! If a TOEFL instructor (or a TOEFL online pay site) tells you not to use your personal experience on the TOEFL iBT, it is time to find another instructor.

Want to learn more? Click on the book.

Monday, April 9

TOEFL Tip #1

You cannot pass or fail the TOEFL iBT or PBT.

TOEFL simply measures English proficiency (skill + knowledge) on a scale from 0 to 120 with 120 being the highest proficiency level. 

If a TOEFL instructor says, "Hey, I can help you pass the TOEFL test," start looking for another instructor.

Remember: You cannot pass or fail the TOEFL test.

The Pro

Sunday, April 1

iBT or PBT? Which TOEFL test should you take?

PBT means paper-based test. The PBT is the original TOEFL test started back in 1963. There are four sections: listening, structure, reading, writing. 

With the popularity of computers, the PBT changed to the CBT, the computer-based test. The CBT was replaced in September 2005 by the iBT, the internet-based test. The CBT is no longer available. That means you have two choices: the PBT or the iBT. Which is right for you?

First, check with your school, agency or institution to find out which TOEFL score they require, PBT or iBT. Most North American schools, agencies and institutions accept only iBT scores. Why? Because the iBT tests speaking proficiency (why test speaking read the article). North American schools, etc., want to know if you can speak English. 

Remember: The PBT does not test speaking. 

Also, the iBT is arguably the more difficult test.

Why is the iBT harder than the PBT? 1) Because of the speaking section, and; 2) because you must write two essays. The PBT has only one essay. Also, with the PBT you can look at the listening section answers as you listen. For the iBT listening section, however, you see the answers only after you listen. Much harder.

So what should you do? Don't take the PBT simply because you've heard it is easier. Take the iBT. Only take the PBT if the iBT is not available. And remember: check with your institution first. Don't take the PBT, then apply, and find out that Princeton only accepts the iBT. You will waste your time and your money.

The Pro