3 Questions to Answer Before You Change Your TOEFL iBT Registration Date to BEFORE *OR* AFTER July 26

Here are the 3 questions that I’m asking my foreign-trained professionals to consider when they choose their TOEFL iBT test date in April, May, June or July 2023… And here are my predictions about how the new test format will impact people’s performance on Reading, Speaking and Writing differently.

My Transcript

Are you having trouble deciding if you should reschedule your TOEFL iBT test before or after July 26?  You have until April 30 to reschedule for free so a lot of foreign trained professionals have been asking me… 
  • “Will the new test be easier?”
  • “What do you think about the new test?”
  • “Which one should I take?”
… and my philosophy about preparing for TOEFL iBT is that you’re an individual and you need to do what’s right for YOU… and that doesn’t mean following the crowd or doing what your friends are doing.
I wanted to share 3 considerations about TOEFL iBT Reading, Speaking and Writing that can help you make the best choice for yourself – about if you should change your registration date… and WHEN you should change it to. 
In this video, for the purposes of this discussion, I’ll be saying “the new test” when I want to refer to the version of TOEFL iBT that launches July 26, 2023 and I’ll be saying “the old test” or “the current test” when I want to refer to the version of TOEFL iBT that is continuing to be administered until July 26, 2023. 
Let’s jump in and look at the 3 considerations

Consideration #1 - How's your focus and accuracy during the TOEFL iBT Reading test?

If you are focused and energized in the beginning, and if you gradually lose focus and become more distracted and tired, then you will benefit from the shorter test. 
However, if you are losing points from the very beginning of Passage 1 (either because you’re not focused enough or not using the right strategies – or because you don’t have the English to answer the questions), then you will probably bring those same kind of problems you have on the current test with you into the new test… The solution in this case is to focus on developing strategies that improve your concentration, focus and stress management.

Consideration #2 - The lack of a 10-minute break impacts your Speaking –  How quickly can you change from "passive" Listening and Reading to "hyper active" Speaking?

If you can quickly find your accuracy with English pronunciation, grammar and certain phrases, then you will probably be able to make a smooth transition in the new test. The new test will require you to finish the Listening test and immediately get ready to do the microphone test, change your notepaper and speak for Task 1, 2, 3 and 4 without any minutes to yourself to go to the bathroom, gather your thoughts or quickly review. 

However If you fall into your old habits and mistakes, and if you require a period of time to warm up and find your accuracy with English pronunciation, grammar, and certain phrases, then you might find it’s more difficult to review and get ready for the demands of the TOEFL iBT Speaking test – especially if you need a score of 26 or higher

⚠️ Because 90% of my students are foreign-trained professionals who require a 26 or higher on TOEFL iBT Speaking, this elimination of the 10-minute break is the most significant change in the test and it’s something to carefully consider.  If you’re one of my registered students, you’ll be getting an invitation to a live event that I’ll be hosting where you can experience a practice test for the new format and feel for yourself what happens when there’s no break. Based on that, you’ll have a more information to help make your choice if you should reschedule. 

Consideration #3 - The new Academic Discussion task on Writing –  Is the Independent Essay "easy" or "hard" for you?

I’m thrilled that the new Academic Discussion task will be replacing the Independent essay. The Academic Discussion provides so much more context and inspiration to focus you on concrete examples while you write. It gives you a much stronger starting point because it gets your creative juices flowing, so it really activates your imagination and can make it easier for you to find examples that have the right kind of academic tone (not the same personal story about how your friend Sam is a perfect example of this and what Sam did when you were 3 years old). 

I am so happy to see the TOEFL iBT test evolve in a modern direction, and also it’s just much more humane to provide the guidance and context in the new instructions where you get an opinion question in the context of an industry and real-world problems – and where you see some ideas from students with a couple of concrete examples. 

BUT… There are some considerations… 
1️⃣  Just because it’s shorter doesn’t mean they don’t want quality! 
2️⃣ The industry currently has very little practice for the Academic Discussion. I’ve been talking with a couple of my colleagues about this and we’re going to push hard to produce enough practice to help people prepare for July’s test… BUT it is unlikely that you will find Academic Discussion in TPO’s very soon. I already searched Amazon and I wasn’t able to find a source of practice.  Right now, the only source that I know of is the few that Michael Goodine made free and open on his website out of the goodness of his heart… but if you’re like most of my students, you’ll feel that you need 4 or 5 times the amount of practice in order to raise your confidence. 
That lack of practice material is a significant thing to consider. 
If you’re not fast at typing, then the new 10-minute limit is going to fly by and you might feel even more rushed than you felt at the old test. 
On the other hand… If you’re a fast typer, you probably won’t have any physical issues that limit your ability to express your idea in those 10 minutes. 
Regarding creativity… 
If you are easily influenced and if you struggle to find your own ideas without repeating what other people say, you will need to figure out some strategies to avoid repeating the examples that are given by the students because you can’t just copy them. You need to say something new. 
If you’ve been scoring 24 or higher on previous TOEFL iBT tests, that indicates that you can quickly find a connection between the topic and a plausible real-world example, and so you’re going to be fine with the new test. 
Ok! That’s it for my suggestions. If you have any other questions, let me know! 

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