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What is TOEIC?

The acronym TOEIC® stands for Test of English for International Communication and it is a standardised English exam created by Educational Testing Service (ETS). Unlike ETS’ more popular trademark, TOEFL, it is designed to measure the everyday English communication skills used in a professional working environment.

In other words, while TOEFL measures a more specific spectrum of skills necessary to enrol in English-speaking universities, TOEIC evaluates the general linguistic capacity of the candidate.

How does TOEIC measure language skills?

TOEIC enables companies around the world to compare their candidates’ and employees’ volume of knowledge in English. They do so by a standardised test that provides an overview of the exam takers’ command of the language.

There are different forms of the TOEIC test – there is the Listening and Reading Test, designed to demonstrate proficiency in the more passive language skills, and there are the Speaking and Writing Tests for measuring skills in active English use.

What does a TOEIC Exam Look Like?

The Listening and Reading exam lasts for two hours and is divided into two main sections. Each part contains 100 questions. The questions come in multiple choice form and there is a time limit for providing an answer. Listening sections all together last for 45 minutes, while the reading section takes up to 75 minutes to fill out.

The listening part of the exam has four subsections with questions related to different listening exercises: photographs, questions and answers, a conversation, and talk section. The reading section includes tasks that have to do with incomplete sentences, text completion, single, and double passages.

For each of the two sections, you can achieve a maximum score of 495 points with the overall best result being 990 points.

The Speaking and Writing tests are complementary to the Listening and Reading TOEIC and independent of each other – you can choose to take the speaking test without completing the writing part.

These tests are quicker to complete than the combined Listening and Speaking test – the Speaking section lasts for 20 minutes, while the Writing can take up to 60 minutes to finish. You can achieve a maximum score of 200 points in each of the sections.

How to prepare for a TOEIC Exam?

There are numerous TOEIC exam preparation materials available both online and offline. You can find textbooks and study sheets specifically developed to help you prepare for a TOEIC exam. Often, they focus on providing and introduction to text analysis. In general, they are created to help future test takers earn a higher score on the exam by providing training with materials that have previously come up at the exams.

Some of the more specific instructions for TOEIC preparation are to focus on vocabulary building, time management, and the ability to read meaning in English – being able to understand context. To achieve a higher score, build on your skills with activities such as writing practice and synonym or word guessing games. For help with contextualisation, use storytelling and roleplaying, and be sure to keep up with business news and the developments in your field. Time management activities can be incorporated in the two.

Are there online solutions for test preparation?

To discover more about the test and find high-quality preparation materials, a good start is to do an internet search. There are plenty of online solutions available, such as online language learning sites and platforms, and e-learning tools. They are all an addition to hard work, and a way to effectively apply your learning efforts.
Some sites offer designed online courses created by established foreign language schools, or companies providing users with e-learning tools. To help learners understand the test conditions, there are also “real time” test practice solutions available online. They allow future candidates to test their knowledge and prepare efficiently on vocabulary and comprehension.

One of the solutions for TOEIC preparation is Global Exam – an online learning platform that offers specialised preparation for English, Chinese, and French tests. It offers materials to study, exam mode training, progress tracking and a schedule planner.

This post was written by our partners at Global Exam.


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