The Test of English as a Foreign Language, commonly referred to as TOEFL, is a standardized test that evaluates students’ English language proficiency. It is used to assess the ability of students and job candidates to communicate in English. Conducted by ETS, the test is necessary to pass to gain admission to undergraduate and postgraduate courses and obtain a job in universities in the UK, the U.S., Canada and other countries. ‘Is TOEFL difficult’ is a common question that individuals who take the test for the first time are asked.
It’s not surprising to observe test-takers wanting to know the answers to other related questions, such as “Does TOEFL have a hard time for Indian students?” and “what is the TOEFL’s difficulty level?”, to name a few. If these concerns are troubling you, the repository of information will assist you in preparing for one of the most difficult exams of a language around the world.
Is TOEFL Hard?
The Educational Testing Service, or ETS, conducts the exam to assess the international student’s ability to utilize English and comprehend it at the college level. The test has four parts: Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Listening. Each section of the test has a 0-300 range, and the total TOEFL score is 0-120.
Unlike IELTS, TOEFL has only an academic version that is available in either a paper-based (PBT) or internet-based (iBT) format. Because of the pandemic, some countries have adopted the PBT format for TOEFL, but the majority of candidates prefer the iBT format.
There is no singular answer to the query of whether or not the TOEFL test is difficult. The reason is that the TOEFL is a language assessment tool, and scientifically, it’s difficult to determine the difficulty level of a language assessment tool. Experts believe that students from English-speaking countries have no trouble passing the test. Conversely, students who have a difficult time communicating well in English and are at the nascent stage of learning the language may struggle to pass it.
The exams are divided into 4 categories namely: reading, speaking, writing and listening.
The reading portion of the TOEFL exam analyzes students’ comprehension of reading and skills. Not only students from India, but American students also find the TOEFL exam difficult. This is because the vocabulary of academic classes and the subject matter of the exam are different from the topics Americans encounter in common situations.
The TOEFL exam is primarily concerned with academic subjects and vocabulary that is rooted in Latin during college. As a result, students whose native languages have Latin roots (such as Italian, French or Spanish) will have a competitive advantage over students whose native language doesn’t derive from Latin. The encouraging news is that students who have already completed the GRE may have a simple, if not easy, opportunity to score high marks in the reading section of the TOEFL, as the difficulty level of the passages in the reading section of the GRE is equivalent to the TOEFL.
However, the short time available is one factor that makes the exam difficult for every student, regardless of their background or origin.
Students are encouraged to regularly read journals to improve their vocabulary. Solve TOEFL practice papers at least once a week to get a good idea of how much time you take to complete them. Prepare a list of new words and their meanings and improve on them.
The listening section involves answering questions associated with classroom discussions and short lectures. This is one of the most difficult parts of the TOEFL test because of the following reasons:
The recordings are sluggish compared to natural speech. Additionally, the listener needs to comprehend the speaker’s attitude and presentation by filtering out necessary information or significant details from words like ‘like’, ‘you know’, and ‘umm’.
Students must pay attention to the recordings. Only one recording is played, regardless of how long it is. In the limited timeframe, they must take notes via audio and participate in active listening, which is a difficult undertaking.
You can begin listening to English songs and podcasts and watching movies at least two to three months before the exam. Inactive listening is the opposite of active listening. Develop the habit of remembering information while listening, as not all important details can be written down.
The writing section demands that students write on any academic page in English. This portion evaluates students’ abilities to present their opinions or ideas in a well-categorized manner. The students must complete the two tasks, independently and integrated, in a set timeframe.
The individual writing task is to write an opinion or share a personal experience about a particular topic. Conversely, students are expected to take a short lecture or read a passage in an integrated writing project. Based on their analysis, they need to answer specific questions.
The only definitive answer to this question is that of ‘how difficult is the TOEFL writing section’. This is because there is no correct or incorrect answer to questions. The accuracy of each question in the speaking and writing sections is dependent on how students organize and express information. Additionally, the difficulty level increases when no one answers correctly.
The TOEFL Speaking section tests a candidate’s ability to communicate in English effectively and accurately. This section consists of six tasks that evaluate a candidate’s ability to use spoken English in various contexts, such as lectures, conversations, and discussions. The tasks range from expressing preferences and opinions to summarizing information and providing explanations. By taking this exam, candidates can demonstrate their ability to understand spoken English and use it effectively in academic settings.
The TOEFL exam is an important part of the admissions process for many universities and colleges around the world. It is a standardized test that assesses the English language proficiency of non-native speakers who wish to study in an English-speaking country. The exam evaluates reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills and tests a candidate’s ability to understand academic material as well as communicate effectively in English. By taking the TOEFL exam, students can demonstrate their proficiency in English and show their readiness for further study in an international setting.