The Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, is a test which measures people’s English language skills to see if they are good enough to take a course at university or graduate school in English-speaking countries. It is for people whose native language is not English. It measures how well a person uses listening, reading, speaking and writing skills to perform academic tasks. This test is accepted by more than 7,500 colleges, universities, and agencies in more than 130 countries; which means it is the most widely recognized English test in the world.
The format of the TOEFL test has been changed three times. The first was the PBT (paper-based TOEFL test). It tests listening, reading and grammar skills with a perfect score being 677. Some centers where computers are not available still offer this format. The second format is the CBT (computer-based TOEFL test). People are each provided with a computer to take the test. A writing section was added as well as the three sections. The level of listening and grammar skills are automatically changed depending on a person’s English level. The third change is the iBT (Internet-based test) that is being brought in around the world which measures listening, speaking, reading and writing.
There are three procedures that people are following to take the test. First it is decided where and when you are going to take the test because the format of the test could be either iBT or CBT depending on location. People need to register 2–3 months in advance to get a place. Second is registration in person, online, by phone, or through email. Online registration is most common and payment will be required to complete the registration. The cost changes depending on what kind of exam is taken.
As more universities and colleges want a TOEFL more people are wanting to do the test. In Korea in 2010, nearly 115,000 people took the test to demonstrate their ability in English. This was 20% of the total for people doing the test. It is considered as one of the ways for middle or high school students to apply for the high ranked domestic universities. By studying at such an advanced level, it could help to improve their English skills to get high scores in other English exams.