WHAT IS THE TOEFL?
The TOEFL is a comprehensive English language examination required by more than 3,000
colleges and universities in the
The TOEFL is a timed test that consists of the three sections listed here.
THE TOEFL Section 1 Listening Comprehension 50 questions 35 minutes
Part A Statements 20 questions
Part B Short Dialogs 15 questions
Part C Minitalks and Extended Conversations 15 questions
Structure and Written Expression Structure
Section 3 Vocabulary and
SECTION 1: LISTENING COMPREHENSION
This section of the TOEFL test your ability to understand spoken American English. You will hear taped conversations to which you will make responses. Part A and B contain samples of informal American English. Idiomatic expressions and two-word verbs are common in these parts.
In Part A you will hear a single statement made by a man or a woman. In your test booklet, there are four sentences. You must choose the sentence that is closest in meaning to the one you heard.
YOU WILL HEAR:
To get to the post office, cross the street, go three blocks, and you'll see it right on the corner.
YOU WILL SEE:
(A) The post office is right on the corner.
(B) The post office is at the next corner.
(C) The post office has a cross near it.
(D) The post office is three blocks away.
The correct choice is, which most closely gives the same meaning as the sentence you heard. It is important for you to know that if similar sounding words or the same words appear in an answer choice, that answer choice is seldom correct.
Part B contains short dialogs followed by a question about what the people said in their
conversation. Generally, key information is found in the second speaker's sentence. You will need to understand the meaning of the conversation and also the context , such as the time or place in which it could occur. The correct choice directly answers the question.
YOU WILL HERE:
(Man Did you get to go shopping last night'? (Woman) They'd already locked the doors by the timeI got there.
(Man) What does the woman mean?
YOU WILL SEE:
(A) She arrived in time to shop.
(B) She was too late.
(C) She locked the doors.
(D) She had to buy the door.
The correct choice is. Since the doors were locked when she arrived, she could not have goneshopping. Note that the other choices use words heard in the conversation. Choices that contain such words are usually not correct.
Extended Conversation / Minitalks
In Part C you will hear an extended conversation or a minitalk. The English in this section is
generally more formal and academic, typical of English conversation or lectures that take place in a university or college setting. After each conversation or minitalk, there are between four and eight spoken questions about its content. Choose your answer from among the four choices that appear in your test book-let. Look at the example here.
YOU WILL HERE:
Man: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to this tour of one of the nation's most
currently the third largest metropolitan area In the United States. The city's site is generally level, built mostly on glacial plain. The narrow Chicago River extends one mile inland from
subject to rapid changes, but generally the climate is cold and windy in the winter, and hot and
humid in the summer.
Woman: What gave
YOU WILL SEE:
(A) Its level site.
(B) Its location on
(C) Its large population.
(D) Its location along the
According to the minitalk, would be the correct choice. Remember that you will not have a written
copy of the speaker's talk or conversation and you will only hear it once. You must concentrate on
details, such as names, dates, and the main idea of the selection that you hear. Do not read the
choices as you listen to the talk. Listen care-fully and try to remember what you hear.
SECTION 2: STRUCTURE AND WRITTEN EXPRESSION
This section contains two types of questions, both designed to test your ability to recognize correct
style and grammar in written English. The sentences are academic; ones that you typically find in
college level texts, journals, and encyclopedias. The sentence topics include the social sciences,
physical and life sciences, and the humanities.
The structure questions test your ability to recognize correct structure and word order. These
questions consist of a sentence with one or more words missing. You must make the choice that
best completes the sentence. Here is an example of this type of question.
YOU WILL SEE:
__________ a short time after the Civil War,
transportation, commerce, and finance in the southeastern
(A) While rebuilt
(B) It was rebuilt
(D) When rebuilt
The correct choice is (C). The other choices make the sentence incorrect or awkward.
The written expression questions test your ability to recognize errors in grammar or expression.
These questions consist of complete sentences with four underlined words or phrases. You must
identify the underlined part of the sentence that needs to be changed in order to make the sentence
correct. An example follows.
YOU WILL SEE:
The Navajo Indians have displayed a marked ability
to incorporate aspects of other cultures into a changing,
The correct choice is (D). Flexibility, a noun, appears where an adjective must appear. In addition to
inappropriate parts of speech, be sure to check for missing words and extra words that are
inappropriate for the context.
SECTION 3: VOCABULARY AND READING COMPREHENSION
Good reading skills and an ample vocabulary are keys to doing well on all sections of the TOEFL.
This section of the TOEFL specifically test these skills. Many TOEFL test takers complain that they
do not have enough time to carefully answer all questions in this section. It is very important that
you follow the instructions in this book so that you will use all the allotted time to your advantage.
The first questions on this section will test your English vocabulary. There are 30 academic
sentences, each containing an underlined word. You must choose the word that has the same
meaning from among the four choices. Here's an example.
YOU WILL SEE:
The word that is closest in meaning to the tested word, instituted, is choice (C). Further hints for
vocabulary questions can be found in Chapter 2.
Your ability to read and understand college level reading material is test on this part of the TOEFL.
You will find five or six reading passages, each followed by four to seven questions. You must
work quickly and efficiently. Here is a sample passage.
YOU WILL SEE:
A lens has one or more curved surfaces that refract or bend, light rays passing through it to form an
image on a surface beyond the lens. Examples of such surfaces are the retina of the eye or a movie
screen. The distance from the lens to the focal plane is known as focal length. In cameras,
telescopes, and similar devices, the lens is turned on a screw-thread mounting to adjust the focal
length. This action allows focusing of images of objects at various distances. In the human eye,
focal length is adjusted by muscles that alter the lens curvature. Light rays of different colors are
bent by varying degrees as they pass through a curved surface. This causes a distortion of the
image, known as chromatic aberration. In cameras, sharp images are obtained by arranging two or
more lenses so that the aberration of one cancels out the aberration of another. Such an arrangement
of lenses is called an achromatic lens.
According to the passage, what is focal length?
(A) A curved surface that refracts light.
(B) The distance from the focal plane to the lens.
(C) Adjustment by the muscles that alters lens curvature.
(D) The degree that light rays of different colors are bent by the lens.
This is a factual question. The information needed to answer this question is directly stated in the
text. Choice (B) is the correct answer. Some questions will ask you to draw conclusions based on
material in the passage, other will ask about the main idea of a selection. Some may even ask what
information does not appear in the passage.
THE TEST OF WRITTEN ENGLISH
Most TOEFL test sessions now require the Test of Written English. The TWE will test your ability
to respond to topics that you may find on typical college level writing assignments. It will test your
express yourself as well as your organizational skills . The score on this test is reported separately
and is not used to determine your TOEFL score.
SOME HELPFUL HINTS
On all parts of the TOEFL, be sure to answer every question. If you must guess, choose choice (B)
or (C) since they are slightly more likely to be the correct choice than (A) or (D).
Watch your time! Be sure to wear a watch and be aware of the time you have remaining in each
section. Do not waste time reading directions or example in your test booklet. You should become
familiar with these before you take the test. When you are told to begin, go directly to the first
question. When time has expired on a section, you may not return to it. Work quickly and
accurately. If it seems obvious that you will not finish a section within the time limit, guess or
choose answer (B) or (C) in order to complete the section.
Prepare yourself for the test. In addition to this book, Barron's How to Prepare for the TOEFL
provides you with practical hints, tapes with sample questions, model test, and a grammar review to
help you maximize your TOEFL