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TOEFL


TOEFL means Test of English as a Foreign Language and it is a standardized test that evaluates the English language proficiency of international students who are non-native speakers but wish to enrol in an English-speaking university. TOEFL is administered by the US-based Educational Testing Service, popularly known as ETS.

Who should write?

Based on statistics, about 30 million people have taken the TOEFL test till date to demonstrate their proficiency in the use of the English language. This figure includes recent high-school or college-graduate hoping to earn a degree in an English-speaking university.

Students and workers who want to apply for visas may be required to take this test too. Moreover, some scholarship and certification bodies may also ask for TOEFL scores before a candidate is considered for an award. And if you’ll also like to track your progress as an English-language learner, then writing this test will help you achieve that.

How can you register for the TOEFL test?

Currently, the TOEFL iBT test fee is $180 across all test centres in Nigeria.

NB: The only payment method accepted for test takers in Nigeria is a VISA Card. MasterCard, PayPal, American Express; all other modes of payment are NOT allowed.

The caveat, though, is that the payment methods may change without prior notice. So you need to check the TOEFL website when you are about to register for updated information.

You also want to know if this test is administered in your area. You don’t need to kill your plans if it is not available in your area. You only need to look for another area close to yours where you can write it. If you need to travel for the test, then you’ll need to make solid plans so that you can be at the test centre at the right time and, of course, in a relaxed state.

Kindly discard the idea that you can register on the test day because there are no walk-in registration test centres. Below are the various ways to register for TOEFL:

Online

If you choose to register online, you are at liberty to register anytime you like because the registration portal is functional every hour of the day every day of the week; except otherwise announced. What you should also note, however, is that registrations close 7 days before every test date and registering at most 4 days before your proposed test date will attract a fee of $40. Please ensure that while registering, the name you submit should be typed in the exact way it appears on your international passport.

By Phone

If you want to register by phone, kindly review the registration form on the TOEFL website before you make a call. You are also required to spell your name the same way it is spelt on the identification you plan to bring with you on the test day – which is your valid international passport.

For Nigeria, the phone number for the Regional Registration Centre is 31-320-239-593.

If you’ll like to make enquiries after the test date, then you can call 1-609-771-7100 or 1-877-863-3546.

Here are a few personal information you must have with you before you put a call through:

  • Name
  • Address (include country)
  • Date of birth
  • Email address
  • Test date
  • Registration number (if you have one)

While registration closes 7 days before your preferred test date, late registration closes by 5pm on the business day before the test date and it attracts an extra charge of $40.

By Mail

The first step to registering by mail is to download a registration form from the TOEFL website. While filling the form, you are to ensure that the name you fill is written exactly the same it is on your international passport.

The next step will be to select a payment option. You will then have to send your payment and completed form to your Regional Registration Centre.

The Courier Address for Nigeria’s RRC is:

Prometric Building 3
Finnabair Business Park
Dundalk, Co Louth
Ireland

Also, note that your registration form must be received at the RRC 4 weeks before the test date.

In the unlikely event that you don’t receive a confirmation, you are to call the centre at least 3 business days before the registration deadline.

NB: If you choose to register by mail, there are some codes you’ll be required to input when you are filling the form which can be found on the website. These codes include the department codes, country and region codes, and native language codes. So don’t panic when you get there.

Contact us if you require guidance. One of our counsellors will help you out for a fee.

How is it graded?

The maximum score you can have on the internet-based test is 120 with the maximum sub-score being 30 on each of the 4 sections – Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking sections.

Contrary to popular belief that scores sent to test takers are a percentage of the questions they answered correctly, the raw scores are actually converted to a different score to factor in the fact that some tests are more difficult than the rest.

Speaking questions are initially scored on a scale of 0 to 4 while writing questions are initially given scores on a scale of 0 to 5. They are then converted to a score on the 0 to 30 scale.

Hence, the converted score is a perfect reflection of the test taker’s ability on the test rather than the raw score.

TOEFL iBT test scores are valid for 2 years. After which you’ll need to register for another test.

Till the computer-based test was phased out in 2006, TOEFL used to be administered in 3 different formats. Today, the paper-based test is also no longer being administered. However, scores from this format are valid for 2 years after the tests were taken.

What score guarantees scholarship?

When it comes to test scores, there’s really no passing or failing. Test scores are one of the many requirements necessary to win a scholarship award and it doesn’t really guarantee a win anyway. If the scholarship award you are applying for requires a certain score below which you won’t be eligible for the scholarship, then it is best you aim for a score higher than the quoted score.

Then again, because TOEFL scores show how well you are able to communicate in an English academic setting, a high score will give you an idea of how well you’ll fair with communicating. And if you are looking to work as a research, graduate, or teaching assistant during your program, you should aim for 90 and above on the internet-based test.

Ultimately, what truly matters is being able to meet the requirements made by the scholarship body and/or the university who needs your scores – bearing in mind that section scores also matter.

Which schools admit with TOEFL?

If you are looking to study in the U.S, Canada, New Zealand, or Australia, there’s a high chance you’ll need to take the TOEFL test. However, we cannot overemphasize the need to check with the school(s) of your choice before registering for the test. This is because, while some schools accept TOEFL scores among other English proficiency tests, others have preferences.

Also, if you are applying for a business, skilled migration, post-study, or student visa in Australia, TOEFL iBT scores can suffice for the language requirements.

They are also accepted for the UK Tier 4 student visas under certain conditions. Although the TOEFL iBT scores are no longer recognized by the UK Home Office, universities in the UK are now allowed to assess the English-language abilities of their applicants based on the criteria the school deems. If the applicant meets the school’s requirements, the school can then issue a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) for English proficiency test scores including those from the TOEFL iBT that are not included on the Secure English Language test (SELT) list.

Please note that one of the conditions for which this is valid is that you must have met the TOEFL iBT scores at the B2 level of the Home Office which is a total test score of 72 with sub-scores of 18 in the Reading section, 17 in the Listening section, 17 in the Writing section, and 20 in the Speaking section.

When will my scores get to score recipients?

Your scores can be mailed or sent electronically to your score recipients approximately 2 weeks after your test date. If the score recipient’s location is outside the United States, ETS recommends a time frame of 4 to 6 weeks.

How many versions of my scores will my test fee provide?

Here are the various versions of your scores you’ll get on a single test fee:

  • Scores in your TOEFL online account
  • A paper copy (if you request this before taking the test)
  • A downloadable PDF copy that will be accessible from your account
  • 4 official reports to be sent by ETS to the schools or agencies you select before taking the test.

Nonetheless, once your scores are available online, you can apply for additional score reports 10 days after the test date. Each report will attract a fee of $20.

You can choose to cancel your test scores after a test session but you can’t cancel for individual test sections. E.g. cancelling the Listening section score only.

Which courses can I study with a TOEFL?

Undergraduate and postgraduate programs often name taking a TOEFL examination as a part of the eligibility criteria to be enrolled. So, ensure you check the eligibility criteria of your program before you decide on the test.  You should also look out for your program’s accepted scores

What's the best way to prepare for a TOEFL?

It’s all about speaking, reading, listening to, and writing English. So one way to prepare for the test is to listen to English broadcasts, TV shows and movies that will help you appreciate the English language and improve your mastery of it.

You can also create a study group of friends or colleagues who are also planning to take the TOEFL test soon or enrol in a certified tutorial or study centre where lectures are given.

In all these, you can’t take away the place of actually studying with the right resource materials, including past questions and prep books. ETS offers some online resource materials that simulate the actual test so that you have an idea of what to expect on the test day.

Which centres provide tutelage for TOEFL?

There are several centres that provide tutelage for TOEFL across the country and you can find a good list here. Pay attention to the ones we have verified as they are the centres that our team have visited and can vouch for. For those we have not verified, you can check them out nonetheless.

What are the best books for TOEFL?

The official TOEFL prep book is usually recommended for test takers. However, based on feedback from students who have used this book, it appears it is not as explanatory as many would love a prep book to be especially for students who would love to be self-taught. You may want to check our exhaustive reviews on the best unofficial TOEFL prep books and how to get the one that is suitable for you.

Are there accommodations for health-related needs and disabilities?

Health challenges shouldn’t stop you from achieving your dreams. Which is why the TOEFL iBT accommodates test-takers who have health-related needs and disabilities. However, because ETS is not a seer, provisions to accommodate you will not be available to you except you give a notice before your scheduled test date. To apply, you’ll need to submit all completed forms from the Bulletin Supplement for Test Takers with Disabilities or Health-related Needs to ETS. Please note that your accommodation must be approved before the test date.

Typically, reviewing documents for accommodation requests takes about 6 weeks after submission. And if you’ll like to add additional documents to the ones you sent earlier, the new ones will also take the same length of time to be reviewed. So it is best to have all the requisite documents submitted at once and in good time too.

Important: If you are requesting accommodations, you cannot register for the TOEFL test online.

If for any health reason you will need to have extended breaks or bring snacks and beverages to the test centre, it is important that you also follow the procedures for accommodation request.

Here are some of the accommodations available:

  • Screen magnification
  • Selectable foreground and background colours
  • Kensington Trackball mouse
  • IntelliKeys® and Ergonomic keyboard
  • Sign language and oral interpreters for spoken directions only
  • Oral interpreters for Listen section only
  • Test reader
  • Writer/recorder of answers
  • Braille test
  • Audio and script version of test
  • Large and regular print version
  • Omitted Listening and Speaking sections
  • Extended testing time etc.

You are to send all completed request forms through one of the following media:

Mail:

ETS Disability Services

P.O. Box 6054

Princeton, NJ 08541-6054 U.S.A.

Courier Service:

ETS Disability Services

225 Phillips Boulevard

Ewing, NJ 08628-1426 U.S.A.

Email:

disability.reg@ets.org

If you don’t receive a feedback at least 4 days before your scheduled test, the onus is on you to contact the ETS Disability Services

Can you write the TOEFL test again after one sitting?

Sure thing! You can take the test as often as you want, but not more than once in 12 days. Also, if you have already scheduled a test date and wish to schedule another for a later date at the time you are registering for the first one, you must ensure that the first date is more than 12 days away from the second one. Even if sanctions are not meted immediately after a violation of this rule, be sure they will come anyway.

If violation is detected before the test date, your appointment will be cancelled without test fee refunds. If it is detected after your scores have been sent to you and/or your proposed schools, you and your score recipients will receive a cancellation letter notifying you of cancellation of the scores – without refunds as well.

Trust us, you are better safe than sorry.

How many testing centres are there in Nigeria and where are they?

The TOEFL iBT test is written almost every week of the month in 8 locations in Nigeria. They are Abuja, Asaba, Benin City, Lagos, Ibadan, Effurun-Warri, Owerri, Enugu and Port Harcourt.

The following are ETS-recognised test centres where you can take the TOEFL test:

ABUJA

Galaxy Uniprep Centre

N 3, Al-Khums Close 1st floor,

Lingu Crescent,

Opposite Red Cross by NNPC station

Abuja

ASABA

Initiative for development Education and Learning Asaba

37 Jesus Saves Road

Beside Cornerstone School

Off Summit Road

Asaba

PORT HARCOURT

Jephthah Schools LTD

KM4 East-West Road

Between University of Port-Harcourt and Rumuokoro

Academic Bldg.

First Floor Computer Lab/Resource Centre

Port Harcourt

LAGOS

Electronic Test Company

JKK HOUSE

229 Ikorodu Road

Ilupeju

ITTS Lagos (c/o Workforce Group)

The Zone,

Plot 9 Gbagada Industrial Scheme

Beside UPS,

Gbagada Expressway,

Araromi

OWERRI

Swintec Computer Institute

No 5/9 Hospital Road

(Hospital/Orlu Road by warehouse bus stop)

Owerri

JOS

CETRA Computers Limited

Eliel Conference Center

Gold & Base, Rayfield

Jos

ENUGU

AfriHUB International ICT Resource Centre

Institute of Management & Technology [IMT]

Campus 3

Independence Layout

Enugu

Finally, must-haves and mustn’t-haves for the test day?

It’s ok if you get study inspiration from some good ole music or comfort food of some sort. ETS has zilch issues with that. However, ETS will be all smiles till you decide to bring your inspiration to a test centre.

So, what exactly are we saying? For starters, you cannot have your iPod, mp3, or home theatre system at the test centre. May we also remind you that TOEFL is an English test that has nothing to do with BODMAS. So you really won’t be needing a calculator.

Food, snacks, and drinks are also not allowed into the centre. However, considering the fact that you are going to be doing a great deal of brain work for 250 whopping minutes, we advise that you eat properly before the test time.

Errm… that’s not to say you should go gaga with 8 wraps of pounded yam and egusi soup just because.

We can tell you for free that the tale that involves nodding off in the middle of an all-important test like the TOEFL, even if you were 100% ready for the test, hardly ends well.  So, you will do well to have a good but not heavy meal.

What’s even more important than the aforementioned is the fact that you must have a valid means of identification on the test day, or you will not be allowed to write the test. Sir, there’s no degree of pleading that can grant you entrance into the examination hall, neither will you get a pass with a student’s ID or driver’s license.

The only valid means of identification if you plan to write in a Nigerian test centre, is a valid international passport.