Foreign students’ entry rest for American Universities


When international students apply for college in American, they have to take the TOEFL. Actually, many private high schools also use TOEFL as a standard for admitting international students as well. First a pBT (Paper-Based Test), the TOEFL changed to a CBT (Computer-based Test) and finally to iBT (Internet-based Test).


The new exam is more difficult because of the change in the test format. The new test format for IBT now is designed to test students’ critical thinking and analytical ability. Memorizing vocabulary no longer guarantees high scores. The speaking section is added to the test to deal with the fact that most foreign students still can’t communicate with other people in America.

The test is 4 hours long, including listening, speaking, reading and writing sections that are 30 points eac. For the listening section, the dialogues are mostly taken from classroom conversations. For the speaking section, students first are given time to read the passages, then listen to the passage narrations and take notes, and finally, they are expected to address their opinion regarding the topics. Another type of speaking questions is for students to address their personal experiences and opinions. For the reading comprehension, three passages with a multiple-answer questions format are given, each worth 25 points. Lastly, for the written section students write about reading passages and dialogues, as well as to express opinions on a specific topic.


In Asian classrooms, the focus is primarily on vocabulary and grammar, nor on speaking ability. When in class all the student needs to do is passively sit and take notes. However, in American classrooms students must use all of their skills. Outside of the classroom, in all daily activities students here must be able to listen, speak, read and write.


Every University has different acceptance requirements for TOEFL scores. Communication related majors require listening and speaking, while science majors do not place as much emphasis on them. For prestigious universities, students have to be excellent in all 4 components.