PBT & CBT

PBT & CBT

TOEFL PBT
The paper-based TOEFL test (TOEFL PBT) is still offered several times a year in a few locations throughout the world. The TOEFL PBT will continue to be offered on a limited basis to support the TOEFL iBT testing network. The paper-based TOEFL had been administered in the Republic of Moldova on a regular basis until the Internet-based TOEFL was introduced in September 2006. The last TOEFL PBT was administered in Moldova on May 13, 2006.

The test takes about 3 and 1/2 hours to complete. Test takers are given a test book and a paper answer sheet on which to record their responses. The TOEFL PBT has 3 sections, all of which are mandatory at each administration. The TOEFL PBT is accompanied by TWE.

The LISTENING COMPREHENSION SECTION measures the ability to understand English as it is spoken in North America. In Parts A and B of the Listening section, test takers will hear conversations between two people. In Part C of this section test takers will hear several talks. After each conversation or talk, test takers will hear a question. After they hear a question, they will read the 4 possible answers in their test book and choose the best answer.

The STRUCTURE AND WRITTEN EXPRESSION SECTION measures the ability to recognize language that is appropriate for standard written English. The section contains questions in which examinees must complete a sentence using 1 of 4 choices provided and questions in which they must identify 1 of 4 underlined words or phrases that is incorrect.

The READING COMPREHENSION SECTION measures the ability to understand nontechnical reading matter. Test takers will be given several passages 250-350 words in length and accompanying sets of questions.

The TOEFL PBT may include one or more questions that do not count toward the score. These are new questions that help ETS determine how such questions function under actual testing conditions.

Each section of the TOEFL PBT has a time limit. The supervisor will tell test takers when to start and stop each section. Examinees may read or work only on the section of the test they are told to work on. If they finish one section early, they may NOT go on to the next section, and they may NOT go back to a section they have already worked on. Failure to follow this rule will be considered cheating, and the scores will be canceled.

The Test of Written English (TWE) is a 30-minute writing test that is required of everyone taking the TOEFL PBT. Test takers will write a short essay on the topic printed in their TWE test books to demonstrate their ability to write in English. This includes the ability to generate and organize ideas, to support those ideas with examples or evidence, and to compose in standard written English in response to an assigned topic. They will not need special knowledge of the topic. There is no separate fee for the TWE.

Test takers will write their essays on two-sided answer sheets attached to their TOEFL answer sheets. When they are told to begin work, they must read the instructions and the essay question carefully. Examinees must write only on the assigned topic. If they write an essay on a different topic, it will not be scored. If test takers want to spend a few minutes thinking about the kind of essay they will write, and they wish to make a few brief notes, the test supervisor will tell them where to make their notes for the writing test.

FAQ
What is the TOEFL PBT like?
What is tested in each section?
Are all the questions multiple choice?
Where is it possible to take the TOEFL PBT?
What test dates are available?
What is the score scale for the TOEFL PBT?
How is the essay rated? How is it combined with the Structure and Written Expression score?
When will test takers get their score reports, and how many score reports can they get free of charge?
How long will the TOEFL PBT score be valid?
Is scratch paper provided during the TOEFL PBT?
If test takers are running out of time, can they guess or is it better to leave some answers blank?
What is it like at the test center?


ANSWERS
What is the TOEFL PBT like?
The TOEFL PBT proper includes 3 sections. It is accompanied by the Test of Written English. It takes about 3.5 hours to complete everything.

Section Time Limit Questions
Listening Comprehension 40 minutes 50
Structure and Written Expression 25 minutes 40
Reading Comprehension 55 minutes 50
TWE 30 minutes 1 topic


What is tested in each section?

Are all the questions multiple choice?
Yes, all of the questions are multiple choice.

Where is it possible to take the TOEFL PBT?
The paper-based TOEFL test is offered several times a year in a few locations throughout the world. It is not offered in Moldova.

What test dates are available?
Please, visit the TOEFL website for TOEFL PBT dates at specific locations.

What is the score scale for the TOEFL PBT?

Section Score
Listening Comprehension 30-68
Structure and Written Expression 30-68
Reading Comprehension 30-68
Total 310-677
Essay (on a separate scale) 0-6

How is the essay rated? How is it combined with the Structure and Written Expression score?
Each essay is rated by 2 independent raters. The essay rating is not combined with the Structure and Written Expression score.

When will test takers get their score reports, and how many score reports can they get free of charge?
The scores will be mailed from Princeton, NJ about 5 weeks after the test. The test fee entitles a test taker to 1 printed examinee's score record and up to 4 official score reports sent from ETS to the institutions of examinee's choice. It is very important to know the name and location of each institution so as to choose them accurately.

How long will the TOEFL PBT score be valid?
TOEFL PBT test scores are kept on file for 2 years after the test date. Scores more than 2 years old cannot be reported.

Is scratch paper provided during the TOEFL PBT?
The test center administrator will provide scratch paper at the beginning of the TWE test. Test takers must return all scratch paper to the test center administrator at the end of the test. Scratch paper and notetaking are NOT permitted during the TOEFL PBT.

If test takers are running out of time, can they guess or is it better to leave some answers blank?
Test takers should make every effort to complete each section. Data indicate that most candidates get higher scores if they finish the test. There is a chance that random guessing at the end of a section can seriously lower scores. The best strategy is to pace oneself so as to have enough time to consider each question without guessing.

What is it like at the test center?
The test is administered in a room similar to a university auditorium with around 30 desk places.

TOEFL CBT
The computer-based TOEFL test (TOEFL CBT) was offered year-round at institutional sites such as colleges and universities and at testing centers operated by Prometric. As the TOEFL iBT was introduced, the TOEFL CBT was discontinued after a period of overlap in order to ensure a smooth transition to the TOEFL iBT. The final administration of the TOEFL CBT was held in September 2006. The TOEFL CBT was never administered in the Republic of Moldova. The TOEFL CBT had 4 sections, all of which were mandatory at each administration.

The LISTENING SECTION measured the ability to understand English as it is spoken in North America. This section tested comprehension of main and supporting ideas, important details, and inferences. The section, consisting of parts A (short dialogues) and B (short conversations, minilectures, or academic discussions), had visuals that corresponded to what test takers were listening to. Test takers used headphones. Also, the TOEFL CBT Listening section was self-paced, that is, examinees could choose to go on to the next question when they were ready.

The STRUCTURE SECTION measured the ability to recognize language that is appropriate for standard written English. The language tested was formal, rather than conversational. When topics had a national context, they referred to United States or Canadian history, culture, art, or literature. However, knowledge of these contexts was not needed to answer the questions. The Structure Section was the same as that in the TOEFL PBT.

The READING SECTION measured the ability to understand short passages similar in topic and style to academic texts used in North American colleges and universities. The Reading section was not adaptive. This section was similar to that of the TOEFL PBT in that test takers were given 4-5 short passages on academic subjects 250-350 words in length and accompanying sets of 11 questions per passage. Because the selection of these passages and questions was not based on performance, test takers were allowed to omit items or go back to previous questions. To answer some questions, examinees had to click on a word or phrase or on a square to add a sentence to the passage.

The WRITING SECTION measured the ability to write in English on an assigned topic. Test takers had to compose an essay in order to receive a total score. The Writing section accounted for some 50% of the Structure section. Test takers could either type or handwrite their essays. If they handwrote the essay, their scores were usually reported later than if they typed the essay.

FAQ
What was the TOEFL CBT like?
What was tested in each section?
Were all the questions multiple choice?
Where was the TOEFL CBT offered?
What test dates were available?
What was the score scale for the TOEFL CBT?
How was the essay rated? How was it combined with the Structure score?
When did test takers get their score reports, and how many score reports could they get free of charge?
How long was the TOEFL CBT score valid?
Was it possible to see scores on the screen? Could test takers cancel their scores?
What is an adaptive test? Which sections of the TOEFL CBT were adaptive?
Was scratch paper provided during the TOEFL CBT?
Was it possible to control the volume during the Listening section?
If test takers were running out of time, could they guess or was it better to leave some answers blank?
What was it like at the test center?


What was the TOEFL CBT like?
The test included 4 sections, plus 7 computer tutorials and a 5-minute break between the Structure and the Reading sections of the test. The tutorials taught computer skills needed to take the TOEFL CBT and described how to answer questions in each test section. It took between 3.5 and 4 hours to complete everything.

Section Time Limit Questions
Tutorials no time limit 7
Listening 40-60 minutes 30-50
Structure 15-20 minutes 20-25
Break 5 minutes  
Reading 70-90 minutes 44-55
Writing 30 minutes 1 topic


What was tested in each section?

Were all the questions multiple choice?
Most of the questions were multiple choice. However, there were several types of questions, such as ones that required selecting a visual or part of a visual, answering questions with more than 1 response, ordering items, and matching objects or text to categories.

Where was the TOEFL CBT offered?
The TOEFL CBT was offered at test centers and institutional testing sites throughout the world. It was never administered in the Republic of Moldova though.

What test dates were available?
Appointments were available throughout the year, but test takers had to call at least 3 days before their first-choice appointment date. Centers filled quickly, so it was best to schedule an appointment early. Test takers could only test once per calendar month. The busiest months were October, November, December, April, and May.

What was the score scale for the TOEFL CBT?

Section Score
Listening 0-30
Structure/Writing 0-30
Reading 0-30
Total 0-300
Essay (on a separate scale) 0-6


How was the essay rated? How was it combined with the Structure score?
Each essay was rated by 2 independent raters. The essay rating counted for approximately half of the Structure/Writing scaled score.

When did test takers get their score reports, and how many score reports could they get free of charge?
If an examinee composed his/her response to the essay on the computer, the score report would be mailed from Princeton, New Jersey, about 2 weeks after the test date. If the response was handwritten, the scores were mailed from Princeton about 5 weeks after the test date. The test fee entitled a test taker to 1 printed examinee's score record and up to 4 official score reports sent from ETS to the institutions of examinee's choice. It was very important to know the name and location of each institution to be able to choose them accurately.

How long was the TOEFL CBT score valid?
TOEFL CBT test scores were kept on file for 2 years after the test date. Scores more than 2 years old were not reported.

Was it possible to see scores on the screen? Could test takers cancel their scores?
An examinee could view his/her unofficial score at the test center after the test was completed. Since the essay was not yet read and scored, an examinee could only see a possible score range for the Structure/Writing total score. It was possible to cancel the score at the test center after taking the test, or receive the score but decide not to send it to an institution.

What is an adaptive test? Which sections of the TOEFL CBT were adaptive?
A computer-adaptive test (CAT) is tailored to the individual examinee. Each examinee receives a set of questions that meet the test design and are generally appropriate for his or her performance level. The computer scores each question before selecting the next one. Therefore, only one test question is presented at a time. Examinees must answer each question as it is presented, and cannot skip questions. The Listening and Structure sections of the TOEFL CBT were computer-adaptive.

Was scratch paper provided during the TOEFL CBT?
The test center administrator provided scratch paper following the break so that test takers could organize their essays. If examinees decided to handwrite their essays, the test center provided writing materials. It was necessary to return all scratch paper to the test center administrator at the end of the test. Scratch paper and notetaking were NOT permitted during the Listening and Structure sections.

Was it possible to control the volume during the Listening section?
Yes, test takers used headphones and could control the volume.

If test takers were running out of time, could they guess or was it better to leave some answers blank?
Test takers made every effort to complete each section. Data indicated that most candidates got higher scores if they finished the test. There was a chance that random guessing at the end of a section could seriously lower scores. The best strategy was to pace oneself so that the test taker had enough time to consider each question without guessing.

What was it like at the test center?
Examinees took the the TOEFL CBT in individual testing stations similar to partitioned study areas that might be found in a library. Each station had a computer, headphone set for listening to the audio material, and desk space for writing.