There are several English language exams that non-native speakers might be required to be able to work, study, and live abroad. There is the IELTS, the PTE Academic, the TOEIC, and of course, the TOEFL. One might ask, “Why are there so many? What is the purpose of each?” Every international English proficiency exam has its own characteristics, which is what makes all of them essential depending on what communicating skills need to be assessed.
Here are some of the characteristics of the exam that provides reason why the TOEFL is needed.
- The TOEFL is an Americanized English examination. Test-takers who are specifically targeting the United States would need to be tested on how well-versed they are on American English. This is why the TOEFL is very important, because it is specifically for American English. The accents, slangs, and situations are those which one will encounter in American communication.
- The TOEFL requires that test-takers read between the lines. Unlike other English language tests, the TOEFL tests the test-taker’s ability to understand nuances of the language. This is true for both the Listening and the Reading test, which asks the test-taker questions of rhetoric. This means that the test-taker needs not only to derive information from the recording or the text; they should also understand the purpose of the presence of that information. This is important, as this takes into consideration the non-verbal aspect of English communication, such as intonation.
- The TOEFL is academic in nature. Non-native communicators of English who wants to complete their bachelor’s degree or post-graduate degree in the United States would benefit most from the TOEFL. This is because the examination is crafted to address the communication requirements of the academe. For instance, the Listening test uses recordings of lectures, conversations about school projects, and problems usually encountered in colleges and universities. The Reading exam makes use of studies and other academic journals. The Speaking and Writing subtests require the test-taker to synthesize a lecture and an academic reading material.
- The TOEFL integrates four communication skills. This is what probably makes the TOEFL unique from all the other English tests – it combines listening, reading, writing and speaking. This has been illustrated in the previous item. In a way, The TOEFL effectively mimics how people communicate in real life, by requiring the test-takers integrate these skills. In this aspect, the TOEFL has more precision in assessing English communication skills compared with other English tests.
The TOEFL is indeed a unique examination that is suited for a particular kind of test-taker. It is also a difficult examination that requires smart preparation.