LINGUISTICS & CULTURE
|Data:||13/MAI/2006 1:03 AM|
|Assunto:||TOEFL Exam Experience|
OK, I took the TOEFL iBT (Internet Based) test today and I'd like to share my experience. If this is not allowed, I'm sorry.
First of all, I went to the test center knowing how the test would be like. I DID KNOW there would be a Speaking section and a Writing section. I thought however, this would be a test to measure one's PROFICIENCY in English, and not their ability to write essays, formulate opinions or whatever.
This is probably why when native speakers take the test, sometimes they get average scores. Logically, a native speaker should have a good, if not expert proficiency in his/her mother language - and this doesn't necessarily happens with the TOEFL test. It's a HUGE flaw in my opinion.
I found the Reading and Listening sections pretty straightforward, and they are indeed fair and reasonable. The Speaking and Writing sections however were very hard for me. I realized that they would be hard for me even if they were in my own language! (Portuguese)
While the questions about passages, lectures or conversations presented in the test were quite easy, I had a really hard time with the essay and the 2 speaking questions about "topics I am familiar with"! This shouldn't happen! The first fit the test's purpose: they require comprehension of the given information and the ability to convey it. Fair.
Now, writing essays and oral communication are not my strong points! And these have almost nothing to do with "English Proficiency".
Futhermore, before taking the test I reviewed some cultural differences between Brazilian Portuguese and English. Basically, not only the structure is different, but the whole "style": how ideas should be organized, giving examples, being objective...
I don't know whether this helped me or did the contrary effect. I had to be careful to avoid writing things I would write in a Brazilian essay, and this took me some time. Besides, I think this made me leave the test center more worried than I would if I had just naturally wrote as I would.
Frankly, TOEFL as any standardized test, has its flaws.
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