Working abroad with the TOEFL IBT
The TOEFL IBT (Test of English as a Foreign Language) evaluates your grasp on academic English. In comparison with the TOEIC, which evaluates your competencies in 'business' English, the TOEFL IBT will most likely be required if you wish to study abroad. But it also represents a serious plus if you want to work overseas, since it certifies significant abilities in English, in particular in expression. Global-Exam lays down here why the TOEFL IBT can be useful in shaping your international career, what it adds to your CV and spells out the winning strategies to obtain a good score.
Studies, work: why do we need the TOEFL IBT?
Essential to study abroad
If you're considering leaving overseas to study, you should know that more than 10 000 third level education schools, agencies and various institutions in more than 130 countries accept scores obtained at the TOEFL. It has become the most recognised English academic test in the world, allowing English-speaking colleges to evaluate the level of candidates for whom English isn't the mother tongue.
More than 27 million candidates have passed the TOEFL since its creation in 1964, including more than a million in 2015. The test is particularly demanded in the States (being an American test) and in other English-speaking countries, but it is increasingly required throughout the world.
It isn't merely one test; there are indeed 3 TOEFL tests made available: the ITP, le CPT and the IBT (the PBT has fallen out of use). What separates them isn't so much their content than the support used for them, as in all cases the goal is to evaluate your abilities for academic English in oral and written comprehension, from intermediate to advanced levels. What are the differences between the three versions of the test?
- The TOEFL ITP test is a multiple-choice questions test on paper. It evaluates your written and oral comprehension as well as your written expression. It lasts 2 hours and is marked on 677 points.
- The TOEFL CPT is largely similar to the TOEFL ITP, but it is marked on 300 points only.
- The TOEFL IBT, on the other hand, is a test with open questions. It is divided in 4 sections (reading, listening, speaking and writing) which evaluate your level of comprehension as well as your oral and written expression. On average, the test lasts 4 hours and is marked on 120 points, each section being marked on 30 points.
Note that the TOEFL IBT, being the most recent form of the test, is more frequently used than the other versions of the TOEFL.
Working abroad with the TOEFL IBT
Granted, the TOEFL IBT measures academic English, but it isn't only accepted by universities and schools! Other organisations also evaluate the TOEFL scores:
- The immigration services use it to grant stay visa and work visas;
- Medical agencies use it for the sake of professional certifications.
For instance, in Australia, TOEFL IBT scores can be used to certify the English level necessary to the granting of a student visa, a post-diploma one, or a qualified worker and business one.
If you want to know more about it, the ETS website, the organism running the TOEFL, quantified all the institutions which accept the TOEFL IBT scores.
How will the TOEFL IBT help you in your career?
A valuable guarantee of your English level
At a time when 75% of French students consider themselves ready to work abroad, the first step in concretising this goal is to prove your grasp of foreign languages. Nowadays, this is done mostly through official certifications: often, declaring you have an 'usual practice' of English on your CV won't suffice anymore, unless you hold a significant experience in an English-speaking country. As a result, an official score in a renowned English test is much more telling for firms and universities, in France or abroad: it makes it possible to judge candidates on a common, standardised reference.
Career-wise, is it more advantageous to pass the TOEIC or the TOEFL IBT?
Most firms expect of their employees whose native tongue isn't English to obtain the TOEIC to attest their grasp on professional English. That is the case in particular in English-speaking countries such as the United States, Canada and Australia. This does not, in any way, mean the TOEFL IBT is wasteful! Indeed, the two tests evaluate different, but complementary competencies. Obtaining an excellent score at the TOEFL IBT as well is proving a complete grasp on English, especially considering that the most used version of the TOEIC (Listening and Reading) doesn't evaluate the candidates' oral and written expression competencies.
The TOEFL IBT, a definite plus: both for your CV and your job-seeking
A valuable asset in many different fields
Mentioning a good score at the TOEFL can be advantageous when job-seeking or internship-hunting abroad. When faced with 2 equal CVs for a position with an international edge, or a position across borders, recruiters will prefer the candidate who has passed the TOEFL IBT and has obtained a satisfactory score. As such, the TOEFL IBT can act as a recruitment tool for the employer.
Some fields such as academia can be especially careful with scores obtained at the TOEFL IBT.
Which score should you obtain?
The level frequently expected by both firms and third level schools is at least 80 points on 120, which matches a B2 level on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). If this is a 'reference' level, you will need to adjust your expectations according to what you're seeking and where you're applying: firms, colleges… If you're applying at firms with a very competitive hiring stage, only mention your TOEFL IBT score on your CV if you've obtained a score above 100 points.
Training for the TOEFL IBT with Global-Exam
The TOEFL IBT uses specific themes, instructions and methodology which require a good deal of preparation upfront. Therefore, a good level of English might not be enough to obtain a good score! To succeed in passing the TOEFL, you must begin by improving your English level in strengthening your learning, but you must also work on competencies that are specific to the TOEFL IBT exam.
Global-Exam is offering you 2 preparation modes for the TOEFL IBT: a training mode with more than 100 hours of revisions available along with 2500 questions sorted by levels of difficulty; and an exam mode, with 3 mock exams in the real conditions of the exam.
Our teachers also give you study sheets to understand the structure of the TOEFL exercises, a personalised planning, corrected copies of your trainings as well as statistics on your progress.
Find out more about the Global-Exam strategies to prepare at best for the TOEFL IBT. You'll also find a complete description of our content. Our blog's content comprises articles, vocabulary sheets, idioms and grammar points that will be of use for the exam -enough to improve your level in Shakespeare's tongue! Don't hesitate to join our movement of Global Players!
TOEFL IBT For your studies