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TOEFL Tip #132: Sign Up For Online TOEFL Classes This Cyber Monday

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on November 28, 2011

Today, November 28, 2011, is “Cyber Monday” in the United States, Canada, and several European countries. Generally the first full business day after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the U.S., Cyber Monday gets its name from the burst of online shopping on this first Monday of the typical Christmas shopping period, with sales presumably generated by employees using slow moments at the office to hunt for gifts on the Internet.

How does Cyber Monday relate to the TOEFL exam? If you need TOEFL scores by early January 2012, you should consider online tutoring so you can prepare to take the exam in the next few weeks.

Strictly English has learned that ETS has no scheduled TOEFL exams between December 17th and January 13th. If you are completing a rush application at the last minute, you may not be able to get TOEFL scores in time, because TOEFL scores aren’t available for at least 10 days after the exam. To ensure that you have your TOEFL scores when you need them, you’ll need to take the TOEFL well before December 17th.

Not ready to take the TOEFL so soon? Strictly English can help, with several programs designed to meet a variety of needs. Because our courses are online, you can set the pace for finishing in time to take the TOEFL before mid-December.

Don’t wait! Contact us today.

TOEFL Tip #131: Registering As A Group for TOEFL iBT

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on November 18, 2011

Students who study together for the TOEFL iBT often want to take the exam at the same time. The camaraderie and support of arriving together can help calm nerves and keep students focused.

While ETS does not offer group registration directly, their Fees and Services webpage has full directions on how to register groups for the TOEFL iBT through a service called Prometric. To submit your Group Reservation Request, you will need to provide your institution’s name, address, and GSP number (if available), your own contact information, and the location, test date/s, and number of seats you are requesting. In addition, each student will need to create his or her own TOEFL iBT online profile.

ETS recommends submitting a request at least 30 days before the preferred test date, and payment must be received at least 20 days before the test date to hold the seats reserved for your group.

If your group wants to take the TOEFL during this busy time of the year, be sure to submit your Group Reservation Request soon!

TOEFL Tip #130: TOEFL Scores For Student Visas To Australia And The United Kingdom

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on November 12, 2011

Applying for a visa to study in Australia or the United Kingdom just got a little bit easier.

Starting November 5, 2011, TOEFL test scores will be acceptable for Australian student visa applications, if you do not have International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test scores. ETS, the company that administers the TOEFL exam, researched the scores of people who had taken both tests to determine the equivalent scores between TOEFL and IELTS scores.

At the lowest and highest scores, only a few points separate the TOEFL scores from each IELTS band. For example, a TOEFL score of 31 is the equivalent of IELTS band 4, and a TOEFL 32 corresponds to IELTS band 4.5. Similarly, a TOEFL 115 equals IELTS band 8.5, and a TOEFL 118 is the same as IELTS band 9.

The biggest differences between TOEFL scores and IELTS bands are in the middle of the range, where there is a lot of variation in non-native speakers’ mastery of English. A TOEFL score of 46 matches IELTS band 5.5, but to get to the equivalent of the next IELTS band (6), a student’s TOEFL score has to go up by 14 points, to 60. There’s an even bigger jump to get to the next-highest IELTS band (6.5) – a whopping 19 point increase, for a TOEFL score of 79. (For more information, including the full chart comparing TOEFL scores with IELTS bands, click here).

This move by the Australian government follows a similar expansion by the United Kingdom earlier this year.

As of April 6, 2011, students can use TOEFL iBT scores as part of their applications for visas to the United Kingdom. Non-native speakers of English pursuing a degree in the United Kingdom need to show a minimum TOEFL score of 21 in Listening, 22 in Reading, 23 in Speaking, and 21 in Writing. For more information, click here.

As always, students need to check with the particular requirements of the institution where they will be studying, which may require higher scores than the minimum needed for a visa.

Want to study in Australia or the United Kingdom, but can’t find TOEFL classes near you? Study online with Strictly English!

TOEFL Tip #129: Request For Speaking Re-score Brings A Higher Result . . . Again

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on November 4, 2011

Earlier this year, we discussed examples of Strictly English students whose TOEFL test scores were significantly lower than their practice scores had been prior to the exam. Each of the three students requested a rescore, and each had his or her score raised by 4 points. As we noted, this is a substantial difference which can determine if students can continue their professional studies, or not.

It’s happened again.

Just this week, we’ve had yet ANOTHER student’s request for a re-score on his Speaking section result in a 26, after receiving a 24 in his first results.

This student is Indian, and he needed the 26 for his Pharmacy License. To improve his Speaking score, he studied with Strictly English. We were 100% sure he’d get the 26, based on our experience and the evaluation tools we have developed. He didn’t, and we told him to rescore. We were RIGHT. He *did* speak at a level of 26 on his test.

Can Strictly English score people more accurately than ETS?

While ETS graders are trained so that their results consistently meet ETS’s scoring requirements, our students’ experience strongly suggests that some accents might prove more challenging for graders to assess, at least on a first listen. Of course, you need to do as much as you can to ensure that you are clearly understood when you speak, but if your TOEFL Speaking score is surprisingly lower than your practice scores, consider asking for a re-score.