An Introduction to International English Language Tests
1. Outline of the IELTS and
TOEFL – Listening and
Dr. Wahaj Unnisa Warda
2. Measures the language proficiency of people where
English is the language of communication.
Fair to all
Avoid all cultural bias
Accepting all standard varieties of native-speaker
English, including North American, British, Australian
and New Zealand English.
4. General and Academic -Both versions assess the four
language skills: listening, reading, writing and speaking.
Is for those who are going to English speaking countries for
secondary education, work experience or training programs
For those migrating to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and
The test focuses on basic survival skills in broad social and
workplace contexts. or applying for secondary education,
training programmes and work experience in an English-
5. For people applying for higher education.
Professional registration in an English speaking
It reflects some of the features of academic language
and assesses whether you are ready to begin studying
6. IELTS Academic and IELTS General Training-
Listening and Speaking are the same for both tests
The subject matter of the Reading and Writing
components differs depending on which test you take
The Listening, Reading and Writing components of all
IELTS tests are completed on the same day, with no
breaks in between them
The Speaking component, however, can be completed
up to a week before or after the other tests. Your test
centre will advise
The total test time is 2 hours and 45 minutes.
7. Four recordings of native English speakers and then
write your answers to a series of questions.
Recording 1 – a conversation between two people set
in an everyday social context.
Recording 2 - a monologue set in an everyday social
context, e.g. a speech about local facilities.
Recording 3 – a conversation between up to four
people set in an educational or training context, e.g. a
university tutor and a student discussing an
Recording 4 - a monologue on an academic subject,
e.g. a university lecture.
8. Assessors will be looking for evidence of your ability to
understand the -
detailed factual information
the opinions and attitudes of speakers
the purpose of an utterance
evidence of your ability to follow the development of
9. The speaking component assesses your use of spoken
English. Every test is recorded.
Part 1 - the examiner will ask you general questions about
yourself and a range of familiar topics, such as home,
family, work, studies and interests. This part lasts between
four and five minutes.
Part 2 - you will be given a card which asks you to talk
about a particular topic. You will have one minute to
prepare before speaking for up to two minutes. The
examiner will then ask one or two questions on the same
Part 3 - you will be asked further questions about the topic
in Part 2. These will give you the opportunity to discuss
more abstract ideas and issues. This part of the test lasts
between four and five minutes.
9 Expert user The test taker has fully operational command of the language. Their use of
English is appropriate, accurate and fluent, and shows complete understanding.
8 Very good user The test taker has fully operational command of the language with only
occasional unsystematic inaccuracies and inappropriate usage. They may misunderstand some
things in unfamiliar situations. They handle complex and detailed argumentation well.
7 Good user The test taker has operational command of the language, though with occasional
inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings in some situations. They generally
handle complex language well and understand detailed reasoning.
6 Competent user The test taker has an effective command of the language despite some
inaccuracies, inappropriate usage and misunderstandings. They can use and understand fairly
complex language, particularly in familiar situations.
5 Modest user The test taker has a partial command of the language and copes with overall
meaning in most situations, although they are likely to make many mistakes. They should be
able to handle basic communication in their own field.
4 Limited user The test taker's basic competence is limited to familiar situations. They
frequently show problems in understanding and expression. They are not able to use complex
3 Extremely limited user The test taker conveys and understands only general meaning in
very familiar situations. There are frequent breakdowns in communication.
2 Intermittent user The test taker has great difficulty understanding spoken and written
1 Non-user The test taker has no ability to use the language except a few isolated words.
0 Did not attempt the test The test taker did not answer the questions.
11. While it is up to each organisation to set a validity
period that works for their purposes, the IELTS partners
recommend a 2-year validity period for IELTS test
results based upon the well-documented phenomenon
of second language loss or 'attrition’.
13. The TOEFL iBT test measures your ability to use and
understand English at the university level. And it
evaluates how well you combine your reading,
listening, speaking and writing skills to perform
14. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) The
essential exam for entry to universities in the United States,
measures the ability of non-native speakers of English to
use and understand North American English as it is spoken,
written and heard in college and university settings. Most
people who take the TOEFL test are planning to study at
colleges and universities where instruction is in English. In
addition, many government agencies, scholarship programs,
and licensing/certification agencies use TOEFL scores to
evaluate English proficiency
English-language learners who want to track their progress
Students and workers applying for visas
15. Versions of the TOEFL® test
You can do the test on paper or on a computer,
depending where you live.The test comes in two
paper-delivered test (PDT)
next generation computer-based test (iBT)
The iBT which provides questions via the internet is
not yet available at every test center. If it is available at
the local centre, if not then will take the PDT
There is also an exam for younger students
called TOEFL Junior®
16. The TOEFL test has over 50 test dates per year at
authorized test centers around the world. You can
retake the test as many times as you wish, but you
cannot take it more than once in a 12-day period. If you
already have a test appointment, you cannot register for
another test date that is within 12 days of your existing
17. The TOEFL includes four tests: reading, writing
English Test, Test of Spoken English and listen. In a
university, students are required to participate in class
discussions, talk to other students and faculty, a
critical analysis of texts and write clearly. Therefore,
the test questions are designed to test the ability to
speak in a regular classroom and succeed in college.
18. During the test, you are asked to perform tasks that
combine your English communication skills, such as:
Read, listen and then speak in response to a question
Listen and then speak in response to a question
Read, listen and then write in response to a question
19. Section Time Limit Questions Tasks
Reading 60–80 minutes 36–56 questions Read 3
or 4 passages
from academic texts
Listening 60–90 minutes 34–51 questions Listen to
discussions and conversations,
then answer questions.
Speaking 20 minutes 6 tasks Express an opinion on a
familiar topic; speak based on
and listening tasks.
Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks Write essay responses based on
reading and listening tasks; support
an opinion in writing.
20. The iBT includes sections on reading comprehension,
listening, speaking and writing:
Listening - This section, examinees listen to lectures,
including some discussion in the classroom and answer
questions based on each conference. Candidates also
listen to conversations and answer questions about the
content. Candidates have up to five minutes to answer
five or six questions on each lecture or conversation.
21. Speaking - Candidates are asked to talk about a general
topic, such as describing a fond childhood memory.
Candidates then read a passage or listen to a lecture,
and then discuss four issues. The score in this section is
based on verbal skills, development of thought, speech
and other language skills. Twenty minutes is assigned.
22. The score for reading and listening comprehension
range 0 to 30:
0-14 - Low
15-21 - Intermediate
22-30 - High
The speaking and writing sections are evaluated by a
certified appraiser. The ratings are converted to match
the scale of 0 to 30 and is judged as follows:
0-9 - Weak
10-17 - Limited
18-25 - Fair
26-30 - Good
23. The PDT tests include listening comprehension, structure and
written expression, reading comprehension and an essay:
Listening - Students have 60 minutes to answer 34 multiple
choice questions that assess how well you understand spoken
English. Measures the ability to understand spoken English as it
is used in university classrooms
Writing - 50 minutes are given to 2 tasks, the ability to use
grammatically correct English. Measures the ability to write in
English in an academic setting
Reading Comprehension - Candidates have 60 minutes to answer
42 questions about reading passages. Measures the ability to
understand non-technical reading material written in English
24. The Listening section of TOEFL iBT measures your
ability to understand conversations and lectures in
In this part of the TOEFL iBT, you will find two types
Informal, non-academic, and conversational - in the
form of typical conversations on campus - for example,
between two students, a student and a teacher, etc.
Formal and academic - in the form of lectures in
various fields of study such as natural sciences, social
sciences, arts and business.
25. The Listening section contains 2 conversations and 4
lectures, with 5‐6 questions about each.
This takes about 40-60 minutes to complete and you
many get some additional experimental passages to
listen. You can listen to conversations and lectures
once, but are allowed to take notes. While listening,
you will see the questions that appear on the screen.
Traditional multiple‐choice questions with 4 answer
choices and a single correct answer
Multiple‐choice questions with 2 correct answers out of
26. You will need headphones for this portion of the test.
You can adjust the volume during the test. You can also
take notes at any time and use your notes to help you
answer the questions. Your notes will be destroyed
before leaving the examination room.
Each question on the TOEFL iBT Listening section
must be answered before it can move to the next
question. You are not allowed to return to the previous
questions, once you have left a question.
27. To improve your listening skills, tune the radio and
television news, interviews and debates. Listen several
academic lectures, conferences, documentaries and
Start a program of systematic improvement of vocabulary
to expand your vocabulary. Books such as Barron's essential
words for the TOEFL Longman and North Star series,
capacity building for the TOEFL iBT are particularly
One of the best TOEFL resources to improve their listening
skills Longman is Learning to Listen, Listen to Learn by
Roni S. Lebauer. Working through this book and tape set,
which will collect some valuable strategies for the TOEFL
iBT and for life.
28. The Speaking section is approximately 20 minutes
long and includes 6 questions.
The first 2 questions are called "independent
Speaking tasks" because they require you to draw
entirely on your own ideas, opinions and experiences
when you respond.
The other 4 questions are called "integrated Speaking
tasks" because they require you to integrate your
English-language skills — listening and speaking or
listening, reading and speaking — just as you would
in or out of a classroom.
You will speak into the microphone on your headset
and your responses will be recorded and sent to ETS,
where they will be scored by certified human raters.
29. The speaking section of TOEFL iBT is about 20 minutes
long and measures your ability to communicate in English
on a variety of topics. There are six tasks in this section,
two different types:
The first two are separate tasks in which they ask questions
based on your knowledge and personal experience. An
example of a separate task is "What event in your life made
you very happy?" It gives the subject, you have 30 seconds
to prepare and 45 seconds to speak.
30. The following four tasks are integrated speakers, which are
divided as follows:
In the first two, which has a short reading passage, then
listening, then you have to talk. You are given 30 seconds to
prepare and 60 seconds to speak.
In the last two, to listen to a conversation or conference and
then speak in response to a question about it. You are given
20 seconds to prepare and 60 seconds to speak.
You can take notes on paper, but do not have much time to
write. The 30 seconds are given in the Listening section of
TOEFL is just to organize their thoughts, not really
thinking. Your preparation time is really in all your life up
to that point.
31. You do not meet a live examiner, but speak directly with a
microphone. Your answers are recorded on the computer
and then evaluated by two qualified evaluators.
You are given from 45-60 seconds to record your answer.
Because this time is relatively short, it is essential to the
practice extensively before presenting for the TOEFL test.
Recording and listening to yourself can be helpful.
However, this is a part of the test that can benefit more by
working with an ESL teacher or join a class to prepare for
the TOEFL, as they need objective information and advice.
32. Generally speaking clearly, logically and simply are the
most important. Many students think they must use
complex structures of syntax and vocabulary to impress the
senior examiner and then end up getting nervous and make
mistakes. Simple and accurate communication in an
organized way to get a high score at all times.
Remember, this section of the test, more than any other,
can do very well if you learn how to implement appropriate
strategies and on the other hand, can easily lose points for
not understanding everything that is asked.
33. Independent Tasks
The two independent tasks to measure their ability to
talk about a familiar topic. In other words, his own
experience and ideas are the basis for your answer. You
hear and see a question, you have 15 seconds to prepare
a response and you talk for 45 seconds.
The first independent task usually requires you to do
1. Describe a person, place, thing or event that you
2. Give reasons for opting for this example.
34. Integrated Tasks
These tasks test your ability to integrate information from
Two of the integrated tasks required for reading, listening and
speaking. The other two integrated tasks to only listen to and
In the task of speaking in the third TOEFL, administered first 40-
45 seconds to read a short passage - an ad, a newsletter, letter, etc
- it describes a problem related to the campus. Then hear one or
two students to express their opinion on the subject. The question
that is asked to integrate what they have read and listened to
synthesize or summarize what the speaker said. You are not
asked their opinion.
35. The sixth task of speaking is based on academic
content. You hear a brief excerpt of the talk of a teacher
and then asked to explain a point, giving examples of
the conference. It will be important for you to take
notes so that you can talk with ease, confidence and