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Part 7: TOEFL - 2001-09-10


Our VOA listener question this week comes from many places around the world. Students want to know about the TOEFL test that is required before a foreign student can attend an American college. That is the subject of our report today.

TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. It measures your ability to understand, read and write English. Each college has set a score that it will accept. Be sure to investigate the scores required by colleges you are interested in.

The Educational Testing Service now produces two kinds of TOEFL tests. One is the traditional written test. The other is given on a computer. Each is scored differently. The highest possible score on the written TOEFL is six-hundred-seventy-seven. The highest score on the computer test is three-hundred.

Both tests list a few possible answers for each question. You must choose the correct one. First, you listen to spoken English and answer questions. Next, you answer questions about the rules of the English language. Then you read English and answer questions about what you read. And last, you write a short essay about a given subject.

You can take the TOEFL as many times as you wish. You must pay each time. Experts say it is a good idea to take it one or two times to experience it. They also say the best way to prepare for the TOEFL is to use English as much as you can.

Listen to English radio broadcasts. You already are doing this by listening to our Special English programs. Listen to V-O-A’s normal English broadcasts too. Tape one, then write what the broadcast was about. Go to American movies. Read American publications. Speak English as much as you can.

TOEFL is given only on computers in most countries. Education Testing Service officials traveled to Asia earlier this month to mark the start of using the computer TOEFL in that part of the world.

But you cannot use a personal computer to take the test. You must use computers at a “Prometric Center.” The people at International Advising Centers can tell you where the closest center is. Some universities have the information, too.

You can also find it on the World Wide Web. That address is w-w-w dot t-o-e-f-l dot o-r-g Or write to the Educational Testing Service for the information. That address is TOEFL Services, Educational Testing Service, Post Office Box six-one-five-one, Princeton, New Jersey zero-eight-five-four-one, USA.