TOEIC and TOEFL in US universities

World’s common English tests

TOEIC and TOEFL are standardized English language proficiency tests internationally recognized across the world as one indicator of test takers’ English ability. Test takers may use the test scores when applying for exemption from English subjects and when applying for exchange programs, MBA

Both of them were created and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), an independent non-profit organization in the USA intended to measure non-native English speakers’ overall English language skills. However, there are many differences between these two tests in terms of focuses, targeting candidates, assessment types, validity term and other aspects, which might generate certain advantage and disadvantage given the purpose the test takers pursue after.

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TOEIC versus TOEFL

First of all, TOEIC test is a work-related English proficiency exam intended to measure English ability in a global business environment. Business organizations as well as government agencies use TOEIC to evaluate and classify the English level of their staff and arrange positions according to accurate and reliable test scores. Indeed, TOEIC test gives feedbacks with a description of the English language strengths of the test takers. Companies also uses the scores descriptions to:

  • inform critical hiring
  • promote employees
  • make placement decisions
  • send employees overseas

In addition, TOEIC is also considered as a placement test, as a means of measuring the effectiveness of language-training programs, and as an exit test for such programs. While TOEFL was designed mainly as a university entrance test similar to IELTS in Australia and the UK and contains some language which is similar to what would be heard and used  if studying in an American university or in UQAM University in Canada by simulating  in the test university classroom and student life communication.

The language used in the test reflects real-life English-language usage in university lectures, classes, and laboratories. It is the same language professors use when they discuss course work or concepts with students. TOEFL is also used as a placement test, as a test to measure progress in a language-training program, and as an “exit test” to make sure that students have reached a certain level of English ability when they finish a program of language study.

Secondly, TOEIC test is targeting at professionals working for international firms, who are seeking to obtain a better position on the labour market or would like to receive international training. It can also be choose by students from academic institutions in order to prepare to compete in the competitive global workforce, while TOEFL test is chosen by most people who are planning to be enrolled at undergraduate, graduate or post graduate programs at colleges and universities in English-speaking countries where instruction is in English. As an entrance requirement, it is essential that students wishing to study at universities in the US, Canada and Australia submit high TOEFL scores.

Thirdly, in light of assessment types, the TOEIC assessment family is composed of three different tests:

  • The TOEIC Listening and Reading test from beginner to advanced level (A1-C1)
  • The TOEIC Speaking and Writing test from beginner to advanced level (A1-C1);
  • The TOEIC Bridge test measuring proficiency in English reading and listening skills, from beginner to intermediate level (A1-B1).

While TOEFL consists of four combined sections in reading, listening, speaking and writing via computer based test and is considered more difficult than TOEIC as business language tends to be simpler and more straight forward than academic English.

Last of all, both TOEIC and TOEFL scores, once taken, will be valid for 2 years because upon that, the ability of test takers will probably have changed. After this period, test takers have to retake tests for application and else.

Admission to US universities

TOEIC and TOEFL in US universities

A surprising number of US universities and degree programs will accept the TOEIC as an alternative to the TOEFL or IELTS. American schools that accept the TOEIC most often require applicants to take TOEIC Reading & Listening. Still, it’s not uncommon for a U.S. institution to ask for the Writing and speaking tests instead of the Reading & Listening one. Some universities even ask test takers to take all three of the TOEIC exams. The TOEIC Bridge exam is usually taken on campus after arrival, and used for level placement in Intensive English Programs. In some rare cases, a school may use TOEIC Bridge as a general admissions assessment. If you wish to know where to take the TOEIC in America, we also have written an article for you. Feel free to check out “Where to take the TOEIC in Portland” as well if it fits your need.

TOEFL test is the most widely respected English-language test in the world, recognized by more than 9,000 colleges, universities and agencies in more than 130 countries, including Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the United States. Different universities have different minimum TOEFL score thresholds for students to be admitted combined with other factors that may affect students’ overall performance and acceptance.

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