What Does TOEFL Means and Where Can We Use It?

ETS_TOEFL_iBT_310When a Filipino tries to file a visa application in the United States or even in some English speaking countries, an English proficiency examination is a major requirement. Most of the time, the TOEFL or the Test of English as a Foreign Language is needed. Some may be familiar with this examination, while others remain clueless. What is the TOEFL?

The Test of English as a Foreign Language is an English proficiency examination that evaluates an individual’s ability, non-native English speakers, to understand and use English in its four core areas: reading, listening, speaking and writing. For the most part, the TOEFL is a requirement to non-native English speakers who wish to enroll in universities in the US and for professionals who are applying for credentialing for them to be able to practice their professions in the US.

The TOEFL test uses English in an academic environment. This means that most of the topics used in the exam are those typically used in the university and schools. The test runs for about four and a half hours. Like what was mentioned earlier, the person’s ability to comprehend and use English is tested on four different areas.

The reading consists of four to six passages. Content of the reading passages come from university textbooks. Candidates for the exam do not necessarily have an in-depth knowledge of the subject being discussed since the answers to the questions can all be found in the passage.

There are six passages included in the listening sections. These passages can be conversations and lectures from students and professors, respectively. Conversations have five questions while lectures have six. Note taking skills are highly needed in the listening section.

Independent and Integrated: these are two question types in the speaking section. Six different tasks will gauge how well the candidate can express his ideas whether personally or based on a given set of materials. Finally, the writing task involves an integrated and independent writing. In the integrated writing, candidates have to come up with an essay showing the points given in a reading passage and a lecture. On the other hand, the independent essay showcases the candidate’s ability to express his or her own idea on a given topic.

Filipinos usually use the TOEFL for applications in universities in the UK or the US. Some also need the TOEFL as a requirement in taking state board like Filipino physical therapists taking the National Physical Therapist Examination (NPTE). Whatever purpose candidates have in taking the TOEFL, a great deal of preparation and reviewing should be done and be taken seriously.


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