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TOEFL® iBT

Contents
Introduction
What Is The iBT Test Like?
Books and Software Available
Testing Your Microphones
What Can I Get For Free?
Resources on This Website

Introduction

The iBT test is NOT an Internet based test as you would expect it to be... You can't take it from the comfort of your own computer, instead you must go to a test centre and take it there. (Internet in this case, means that it is electronically delivered to the test centre...)

TOEFL® has been improved to make it a much more reliable test for universities and colleges, so what does that mean for the student? In simple terms, it's much harder to beat with exam-buster lessons, because the easy parts of the test have been taken out. If you have a choice between TOEFL® and IELTs, I'd suggest IELTs becauses its a more established test and centres know the test much better.

There are plenty of other books out there, but a lot of them have made the smallest possible number of revisions for the new exam. (If you know of a good one contact us.)

What is the iBT test like?

The new test does away with the grammar component and replaces it with speaking. Grammar is now assessed within the speaking and writing components.

In a lot of ways it is much closer to IELTs and I'd suggest using IELTs resources rather than old CBT resources.

Speaking

You speak into a microphone and you will be given the chance to talk about 2 familiar topics. (Similar to IELTs Speaking task 2) and 4 topics based on what you have heard and read.

The files are then sent back to HQ for assessment, they are NOT assessed by computer.

Listening

In the listening you will be given the chance to take notes, but remember in this exam questions come after the listening. You will listen to 4-6 lectures and 2-3 conversations. (You will also be expected to listen in the speaking and writing sections)

Reading

You will read 3-5 passages with the usual array of multiple choice questions. You will also be expected to do a note-taking task. There is now a glossary, that does NOT mean you can look up ANY word, just certain subject-specific words.

Writing

You write 1 opinion essay (argumentative) and 1 essay that is based on the material you have read and listened to.

Books and software available

There are a lot of quirks with all the software available, so make sure you do a complete run through before trying it in class and warn students that the software does crash. So far my students have told me that no crashes have been reported in the actual exam, but there are rumours of horror stories.

Kaplan 2007 edition
This is definitely the book to get, because it comes wth 4 complete tests and the software has been improved a lot. So far it hasn't crashed, but you do have to leave the CD-ROM in the drive, which is a hassle. The Writing and speaking are now much easier to retrieve.

The book itself is ok, but it is just an exam book and so teachers would have to do the extra work to create a course.

Kaplan 2006 edition
This has one key advantage over the 2007 edition, you can install the software on the PC and leave it there. The 2006 edition comes with 2 tests and I have to say the software crashes quite a lot with script errors.

If you are not technically minded ask your IT admin to make a short cut to where the files are stored. On my PC they're stored in the folder:
C:\Program Files\The Complete Guide to the TOEFL® Test

Official TOEFL® guide
There is an old edition and one updated for 2007, make sure you get the latest edition also be warned one flavour comes with an audio-CD and the other a CD-ROM. What's the point in having an audio CD, when the exam is computer based?

  • Software - Considering they're the official makers of the TOEFL® exam they certainly can't make good quality software for their book. You have to keep the CD-ROM in the drive, it doesn't come with many tests and they don't even allow you to record your speaking section...
  • Book - The book is a good reference source, but it certainly doesn't seem geared to assisting language learners.

TOEFL® iBT Books >> 

Testing Your Microphones

None of the software tests microphones and headphones adequately, so before you run the software please test them with Sound Recorder. (Found in Accessories -> Entertainment)

What can I get for free?

The best resource I have found is Online English which includes some samples and some nice little tutorials.

There is a free guide to the exam, which uses Flash. Unfortunately it can't be downloaded and the server isn't reliable enough to use in class. There are also some free downloads, which give you basic info on the exam. Please note that before trying to access the site, you should have the latest version of Flash and Internet Explorer. (This site doesn't support Firefox.)

There are also workshops, but they aren't available in every country. (I do wonder if they are ONLY available in the US)

Resources on this Website

Handouts

Other Useful Pages

TOEFL is a registered Trademark of Educational Testing Service

Threebooks
USEFUL WEBSITES

TOEFL®
Official Website with the information you need about the new Internet test.

Online English
Includes complete iBT exams. Great resource

Englishmeeting.com
A nice variety of audio resources, which are sure to liven up a class and are excellent for starting discussions and debates.

TOEFL Centre, Thailand
This Website is very helpful for those students wanting to take the exam in Bangkok. (Written in Thai.)

See more useful Websites