Our blogs

Get to Know the TOEFL Exam

May 9, 2019

Get to Know the TOEFL Exam

If you’re thinking of studying at a post-secondary school in Canada, doing a TOEFL practice test and taking the TOEFL exam is a good investment of time and money. The TOEFL test (Test of English as a Foreign Language test) helps you see if your English language skills are at the university level. Most university courses in Canada are taught in English, so having English reading, writing, speaking and listening skills at that academic level is important to your educational success.

What is TOEFL?

The TOEFL exam is a test for non-native English speakers who are planning to study at a primarily English-speaking post-secondary institution. It evaluates your ability to use English reading, writing, speaking and listening skills to complete university-level functions. The TOEFL test is conducted by computer in English, so your TOEFL Vancouver or TOEFL Canada experience will be the same no matter what city, province, state, territory or country you are in when you take the exam.

The TOEFL exam model allows 4.5 hours to complete the test, including the check-in process. Your English communication skills will be combined in various sections, so TOEFL preparation should be done in a similarly combined way to the test: reading sections of text then speaking or writing responses to questions about that information (60 to 80 minutes, 36 to 56 questions); listening to lectures or discussions then speaking or writing responses to questions about that information (60 to 90 minutes, 34 to 51 questions); Speak and express your opinion on a topic that you have read or listened to (20 minutes, 6 tasks); and write essays that support an opinion based on reading and listening (50 minutes, 2 tasks).

Because the exam is conducted in English via computer, it’s best to do your TOEFL practice on a standard English (QWERTY) keyboard and by listening to academic-level English. You’ll also want to familiarize yourself with a variety of English-speaking accents such as those from the U.K., New Zealand and Australia. You can access TOEFL practice segments with accents on the website at ets.org/toefl/ibt/about

Registration fees vary by country, but for TOEFL Vancouver test takers, or those in British Columbia, the fee is $245 (US dollars). TOEFL Canada test takers can expect to pay the same amount in other provinces, but it’s best to check first as the TOEFL exam fee may change. In addition to the TOEFL exam fee, late registration, rescheduling, additional score reports and other fees may be applied.

The TOEFL test online information outlines locations for the exam that can be taken at one of the authorized test centres located around the world. Each test centre generally offers a number of test dates throughout the year.

TOEFL Test Online Registration

You can sign up for your test using the TOEFL exam online registration. When you register, be sure to type your name in as it appears on your identification. Registration is open up to 7 days before the test date, or for late registration, 4 to 7 days before the test date with a $40 (US dollars) additional fee in Canada.

The TOEFL exam online registration page also explains the payment options (which credit cards can be used) as well as other information required (identification and other details) and explains how to register by phone or by mail if you prefer alternatives to online registration.

What is TOEFL Used for/Who Accepts TOEFL results?

According to the website, more TOEFL scores are sent to Canadian universities than all other English-language tests combined and the TOEFL exam model is most preferred by graduate programs in Canada. Test scores are accepted by more than 10,000 universities around the world. Visit TOEFL official website to find schools that accept TOEFL results.

Why Choose TOEFL Over Other English Language Tests

Beyond the fact that TOEFL is accepted by so many Canadian post-secondary schools, there are a great number of reasons to choose the TOEFL exam. The website notes that 90% of test takers surveyed got into their first or second choice of school. This is because the unique format of the exam and TOEFL preparation ensure students are able to succeed at university-level English.

The test scoring is completely unbiased as all TOEFL tests (no matter where they were taken) are marked through a centralized scoring facility. This includes a number of human scorers who rank the speaking section of the test. More than 35 million people have taken the test to achieve their dreams of studying abroad, tracking their English language progress or for various other reasons.

What to Expect on Test Day

Be sure to arrive at your TOEFL test center at least 30 minutes prior to your exam time to check-in and get comfortable with your surroundings. At registration your ID will be checked along with other possible identity confirmation techniques including a review of clothing and accessories – you may be required to remove some accessories and store them prior to the exam. Your photo will be taken and placed at your seat. The same photo will appear on your test score report. You will not be able to take any electronic devices into the testing room. All personal items beyond your ID and the provided test taking tools must be placed in storage.

If you need assistance during the test, you may raise your hand for help. Health-related needs (medication or food) required during the exam can be accommodated, but must be confirmed with the test centre before registering for the exam.

You will receive your scores about 10 days after completing the TOEFL test. These will be available online through your TOEFL account or you can request scores to be mailed to you and/or the institutions you select.

If you don’t do as well as you’d hoped on the exam, you can take it again as soon as 12 days after your original test.

TOEFL Exam Free Practice

Take a TOEFL practice test through one of the resources available for purchase at TOEFL Preparation. Or, for TOEFL exam free practice, on the same webpage noted above, the right hand column offers free test questions to work through. You can also seek out a variety of online tools such as academic-level lectures and documents you can read and analyze. Have a friend or family member ask you questions about this information and practice writing and speaking your responses. By working with university-level information you will be prepared to take the exam and feel confident that your English speaking, reading, writing and listening skills are at the level required by the TOEFL exam – and ultimately, the institution where you wish to study.