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.
- “Will the new test be easier?”
- “What do you think about the new test?”
- “Which one should I take?”
Consideration #1 - How's your focus and accuracy during the TOEFL iBT Reading test?
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.