USNEWS:如何报名参加托福考试

西北大学(Northwestern University, Evanston, IL )
2018年12月25日
USNEWS:英国大学毕业后如何了解就业?
2018年12月26日
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By Josh Moody

美国大学招收了100多万名国际学生,但在到达之前,非英语母语者通常需要通过语言技能评估。这门以英语作为外语的语言技能考试,现在被称为托福考试。高分可以帮助他们进入他们喜欢的大学;低分可以要求学生参加额外的语言课程,或者通过减少招收他们的学校数量来限制他们的选择。自从1965年以来,托福考试的变体已经通过教育考试服务处被全球10000多个机构接受。教育考试服务处是一个私营的非营利组织,它以考试为重点进行教育研究。它最初是由30多个公立和私立机构合作开发的,目的是评估申请者英语水平。

自1965年以来,ETS说超过三千五百万人参加了托福考试。随着技术和教育的整体不断变化,考试也在发展。它是以纸质考试为基础的,1998年改为以计算机为基础的,2005年改为以互联网为基础的考试,称为托福iBT。虽然托福考试是基于互联网的,但托福考试必须亲自到ETS授权的测试中心参加。托福考试包括四个部分:阅读、听力、口语和写作。

由于美国是申请入学最难的大学目的地,当然原因也是因为大学最好,好大学也最多,更重要的原因是因为美国拥有巨大的就业市场,允许每年相当数量的毕业生在美国本土就业。试想一下,毕业生在每年8万美元的起薪面前诱惑有多大?这就是全球其它发达国家不能比拟的地方!

有利必有弊,美国好大学竞争激烈难申请,必然给其它国家的优秀大学有机可乘。同样是英语体系教育,以英国为首的英系教育在全球大力推广它自己的英语技能考试——雅思!由于英系教育地域很广,包括传统上的英国、加拿大、澳大利亚及新西兰,而且教育产业也是存在竞争的,所以更容易被录取的大学对于大多数有留学需求的中国学生是非常有吸引力的。所以雅思后来居上,已经在中国市场压倒托福!

但是语言考试不仅仅是一门语言技能测试,它更代表了制定规则的能力!考试题目中更多彰显的是出题者的意志,有利于推广它的文化与影响!虽然美国有部分学校已经接受雅思成绩,但是托福仍然是美国大学申请中最重要、也是最主要的语言能力参考成绩,尤其是全球最顶级的美国大学,它们是不会丢弃自己的阵地的!所以,如果有志于去美国留学的同学们,还是提前准备托福考试。

有关如何准备考试、美国大学接受的托福成绩和考试资源的指南,美国最权威的USNEWS的托福考试专栏作家给大家总结了一篇具有指导性意义的文章,希望所有同学们通读一下它的原文。

More than 1 million international students are enrolled in American colleges and universities, but before arriving, nonnative English speakers are typically required to pass an assessment of their language skills.

Many aspiring students take the Test of English as a Foreign Language, now known as the TOEFL test. A high score can help them land at their preferred colleges; a low score can require students to take additional language classes or limit their options by reducing the number of schools that will admit them.

Accepted at more than 10,000 institutions around the globe, a variation of the TOEFL test has been administered since 1965 through Educational Testing Service, a private nonprofit organization that conducts educational research with an emphasis on testing. It was initially developed through a collaborative effort among more than 30 public and private institutions as an assessment of English language proficiency for incoming students.

Since 1965, ETS says more than 35 million people have taken the TOEFL. The test has evolved as technology and education overall have continued to change. Created as a paper-based test, it shifted to computer-based in 1998 and then to an internet-based test in 2005, known as the TOEFL iBT. Though the exam is internet-based, the TOEFL iBT must be taken in person at an ETS-authorized testing center.

The TOEFL has four parts: reading, listening, speaking and writing. See below for a guide on how to prepare for the exam, TOEFL scores accepted by U.S. universities and test resources.

How Is the TOEFL Administered?

Two versions of the TOEFL are offered at ETS-authorized testing centers. The most common is the TOEFL internet-based test, or iBT.

The paper-based test is offered in some countries with limited internet access. Additionally, a few countries offer both versions of the test.

How Is the TOEFL Test Scored?

Each of the four sections of the TOEFL is worth 30 points. ETS uses both automated scoring methods and human graders to assess English language skills.

The reading and listening sections are scored by automated methods because each question has a single correct answer, while the speaking and writing portions are reviewed by human raters.

“The four sections that students are tested on are very important. Reading, listening, speaking, writing – these get directly at what classroom experiences will be at universities,” says Scott Allen, senior associate dean of admission and director of international recruitment at Emory University in Atlanta.

What Is a Good TOEFL Score?

While 120 is the highest score a TOEFL test-taker can earn on the iBT, individual schools decide what minimum score to accept. Elite institutions demand high scores, often setting the bar at 100. According to U.S. News data, the average minimum TOEFL test score accepted by ranked U.S. schools was 75 in the last academic year, though some ranked colleges and universities will admit students with a score as low as 45.

Emory is one such institution where the TOEFL score minimum is 100, Allen notes. Emory is in the minority of ranked institutions with such high TOEFL score requirements, according to U.S. News data.

Florida Institute of Technology, which had the largest percentage of international students in 2017-2018, requires a minimum score of 79 for regular admission. According to U.S. News data, 32 percent of Florida Tech’s student body in 2017-2018 was comprised of international students, which Florida Tech associate director of international and graduate admission Stacey Reeder credits to thriving programs focused on STEM, the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

The University of Oregon, in contrast, requires a minimum TOEFL score of 61 for entry into the school’s Academic English for International Students program, which offer a mix of language and regular academic courses. Students scoring below 61 on the TOEFL may be offered conditional admission, beginning regular courses after completing UO’s Intensive English Program.

How Do I Prepare for the TOEFL Test?

ETS offers both free and paid TOEFL practice materials on its website.

Other options include test preparation services such as Magoosh and Kaplan, and a MOOC, or massive open online course, offered through the edX platform. Magoosh provides some free resources on its website as well as paid programs ranging from one week to six months in length. Kaplan offers free online test preparation and paid programs both online and in person. And edX offers its MOOC, in partnership with ETS, through free or paid options.

Lucas Fink, senior product manager at Magoosh, says his company focuses on teaching test strategies.

“Our goal is not to teach the English basics that the students need as the foundation for the test – it’s to teach how to take the test so we can remove that aspect of it entirely,” Fink says.

Galvan describes “the culture of taking a standardized test” as Americanized, adding: “There are many societies around the world where that standardized test model is just unfamiliar.”

For that reason, experts suggest TOEFL preparation strategies like using free or paid resources through ETS and other providers, seeking out English immersion experiences, interacting with native speakers as often as possible and consuming pop culture in English.

“Do as much as you can in the language you’re trying to learn,” Reeder says.

Taking practice tests can also give students a good indication of where they stand and help improve their chances of achieving a higher score. “Practice tests are really important, with enough time (scheduled) in advance to make adjustments,” Galvan says.

Roy Ricaldi, a student from Lima, Peru, now studying at the University of Kansas, scored a 96 on the TOEFL. He says the exam is nerve-wracking for those not used to standardized testing.

“A lot about taking the TOEFL is mental readiness. Spanish speakers normally get nervous taking English tests. All of my friends dreaded it. What you have to keep in mind is that you do not have to earn a perfect score, like in the SAT,” Ricaldi wrote in an email.

How Do I Register for the TOEFL?

Students can register for the TOEFL on the ETS website, which will direct them to the nearest testing center. Students already registered for the TOEFL test can log in to their account here.

How Much Does the TOEFL Test Cost?

The cost of the TOEFL exam varies by country. ETS lists costs as low as $180 to a high of $300 in Australia.

When Is the TOEFL Offered?

The TOEFL is offered more than 50 times a year at test centers around the world. ETS recommends registered users log in to their accounts for the most up-to-date information.

How Long Is the TOEFL Test Session?

According to the ETS website, students are given four hours to complete the exam as well as a short break.

The reading section is 60 to 80 minutes long with three to four reading passages, which come from textbooks taught at the university level, and 12 to 14 questions for each passage.

The listening section is 60 to 90 minutes long, with four to six lectures and two to three conversations. Lectures range from three to five minutes and conversations are three minutes each.

Fink notes that students will receive either a long reading or listening section but will not have extended sessions for both.

The speaking section is 20 minutes long and students must answer six questions for the iBT by speaking into a microphone on a headset. Recorded responses are then sent to ETS to be scored by human raters. It’s the speaking section that experts flag as one of the more difficult sections on the TOEFL.

“One of the most common (stumbling blocks) is the speaking section. It’s a pretty artificial experience,” Fink says. “It’s not a lot of time to get across a point, and when you’re looking at a timer and talking into a microphone on a screen, that can be a big challenge for a lot of people. It’s performance pressure.”

Ricaldi agrees, saying it was the speaking component of the test he found most difficult. “I would have felt a lot better if the speaking portion was evaluated by an actual human,” he says, adding that he felt the technology provided at his testing center was outdated.

Test-takers are given 50 minutes on the writing section to complete two assignments. Students have 20 minutes to write a response to a short reading passage and lecture for the first task, and they are then given 30 minutes to complete an essay on a selected writing topic.

How Long Does it Take to Receive TOEFL Results?

It typically takes up to two weeks to receive TOEFL test results following the exam. Users can log in to their account around 10 days after they complete the iBT to check their scores, while printed reports are expected to arrive around 13 days after the test date.

“Because some fundamental parts of the test require nonautomated grading, human graders – the speaking section and the writing section – it takes longer for them to return that,” Fink says.

How Long Are TOEFL Scores Good For?

According to the ETS website, TOEFL scores are valid for two years. The test can be taken an unlimited number of times in an effort to improve the outcome, but only once per 12-day period.

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