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EDUCATION REPORT - Foreign Student Series #9: TOEFL - 2004-10-28

Broadcast: October 28, 2004

This is Gwen Outen with the VOA Special English Education Report.

TOEFL is an important test for foreign students who want to study in the United States. TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. And today, it is the subject in part nine of our Foreign Student Series.

More than four thousand American universities and other schools require students seeking admission to take the test. It measures the ability to read, write and understand English.

The Educational Testing Service produces two kinds of TOEFL tests. One is taken by computer in a special testing center. This is how people in most areas of the world take the TOEFL. The second version is taken with paper and pencil.

One of our listeners, Ana Paula Pinheiro in Brazil, has written to ask us about the minimum score needed to pass the TOEFL.

Colleges and universities set their own requirements. But, in general, schools want a minimum score on the paper-and-pencil test of about five hundred fifty. This is out of a possible six hundred seventy-seven points. On the computer test, schools generally require a minimum score of about two hundred thirteen out of a possible three hundred points.

The TOEFL includes a part to test listening skills. A new TOEFL is being developed. It will also test speaking skills. This test will be given starting in September of two thousand five. The Educational Testing Service says it is still doing tests to see what might be considered a passing score.

You can take the TOEFL as many times as you wish. But you must pay each time. The cost is about one hundred thirty dollars. Experts say it is a good idea to take the test one or two times for experience.

They also say the best way to prepare for the TOEFL is to use English as much as you can. Internet users can find more information about the TOEFL at The postal address is TOEFL Services, Educational Testing Service, Post Office Box six-one-five-one, Princeton, New Jersey, zero-eight-five-four-one, U-S-A.

Our Foreign Student Series is online at voaspecialenglish dot com. And if you have a general question about studying in the United States, send it to We can only answer questions on the air.

This VOA Special English Education Report was written by Nancy Steinbach. This is Gwen Outen.