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THE IBT: TOEFL ON THE WEB

The road to studying in America is anything but easy. There are many tests you need to take and more applications to write before you get going to the land of the Stars and Stripes.

One of the prerequisite tests is TOEFL which is short for Test of English as a Foreign Language. This test is administered worldwide by Educational Testing Service and is available worldwide in three forms Ė the paper-based TOEFL, computer-based TOEFL (CBT) and the newly introduced the internet-based TOEFL (iBT).

iBT was first administered on September 24, 2005. It is now being introduced in phases in different parts of the world. It wonít be long before iBT tests will be conducted in your country as well.

Today we take you in depth into this new system of testing English and explain what you need to know about the iBT.

Test Content
The Internet-Based TOEFL measures all four language skills such as reading, listening, speaking and writing. The testing of these four skills is done in four different sections. The inclusion of the speaking section has been newly introduced and the structure secton of the test which is included in the computer-based TOELF has been removed.

Content Differences
There are some major changes made to iBT in the hope of providing colleges/institutions a better picture of the English language proficiency of the student. In this regard, lectures and conversations in the Listening section are lengthened, but note-taking has been allowed. In fact, in iBT, note-taking is allowed throughout the test.

The speeches in the listening material are made to sound more natural, and one lecture may use a British or Australian accent. Also, there has been an inclusion of new questions that measure understanding of speakerís attitude, degree of certainty, and purpose. The Reading section has a few alterations too. New questions that ask test takers to categorize information and fill in a chart or complete a summary has been added. In the Writing section, you no longer have the option of writing your essay on paper. Typing is mandatory.

The score change
While the computer-based TOEFL had a total score of 0-300, the iBT has a score that ranges from 0-120. You will receive four sub-scores from each of the Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing sections, each marked in between 0-30 and the sum of all these will be your total score.

The costs
The cost for the iBT is same as that of CBT, US n$140 (as mentioned on toefl.org). This included one examinee score record and four score reports to institutions of your choice.

Is iBT more difficult than CBT?
The integrated tasks on the TOEFL iBT Speaking and Writing sections may be considered challenging because they have been newly introduced to the test. However, candidates should not be intimidated by this inclusion as these integrated tasks in the new test only help learners build the confidence needed to communicate in the academic English speaking environments.

Benefits of iBT
TOEFL iBT has many benefits. The first being the standardized capture of speech and score responses of the test which ETS hopes to provide with better information to institutions about studentsí ability to communicate in an academic setting and their readiness for academic coursework.

Although you wonít get a score range after your test like you did in a computer-based TOEFL, taking iBT means you can view your scores online 15 business days after the test date. However, remember this will not be your official score. You will be mailed one via post. Online registration and online score reporting are also available.

By: Karuna


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