Thursday, May 5, 2011

TOEIC: In Focus

What is the TOEIC test?

The Test of English for International Communication - TOEIC®, is an English language proficiency test for people whose native language is not English. It measures the everyday English skills of people working in an international environment. TOEIC test scores indicate how well people can
communicate in English with others in the global workplace. The test does not require specialized knowledge or vocabulary beyond that of a person who uses English in everyday work activities.

Today, the TOEIC test has become the world’s leading test of English language proficiency in a workplace context. More than 8,000 corporations worldwide have used the TOEIC test and more than 2 million people take the test every year.

What are the benefits of using the TOEIC test?

The TOEIC test:

• Gives an objective assessment of English as it is used in the working world.
• Is highly reliable - scores are always accurate and consistent.
• Is reasonably priced and available on demand - there is no need to wait for the next testing
• Offers rapid test scoring and reporting - results are returned within a maximum of ten working
days. (In some locations 24-hour turnaround is available.)
• Is recognized as the main worldwide standard of English competence in the workplace.
• Allows trainers and human resource managers to plan and budget the amount of training
necessary to bring people to the appropriate English-language levels for specific jobs.
• Provides a continuous scale that allows for monitoring of improvement and comparison of
individual candidates.
• Uses equated test forms so that a score on one test form means exactly the same thing as on
another test form.
• Measures proficiency rather than achievement so that trainers can focus on the needs of the
learners, rather than on the needs of an exam—no costly “preparation” materials are required.
• Provides descriptions of probable candidate performance on work-related tasks.

What are the contents of the TOEIC test?

The TOEIC test was developed to meet the needs of the working world. The test questions are developed from samples of spoken and written language collected from various countries around the world where English is used in the workplace. Test questions incorporate many different settings and situations, such as:

• General business—contracts, negotiations, marketing, sales, business planning, conferences
• Manufacturing—plant management, assembly lines, quality control
• Finance and budgeting—banking, investments, taxes, accounting, billing
• Corporate development—research, product development
• Offices—board meetings, committees, letters, memoranda, telephone, fax and e-mail messages,office equipment and furniture, office procedures
• Personnel—recruiting, hiring, retiring, salaries, promotions, job applications and advertisements
• Purchasing—ordering supplies, shipping, invoices, shopping
• Technical areas—electronics, computers, laboratories and related equipment, technical specifications
• Housing/corporate property—construction, buying and renting, electric and gas services
• Travel—trains, airplanes, taxis, buses, ships, ferries, tickets, schedules, station and airport announcements, car rentals, hotels, reservations, delays and cancellations
• Dining out—business and informal lunches, banquets, receptions, restaurant reservations
• Entertainment—movies, theater, music, art, the media
• Health—medical insurance, visiting doctors, dentists, clinics, hospitals

These settings provide the background for TOEIC test questions—candidates are not required to know specialized business and technical vocabulary beyond that of a person who uses English in everyday work activities.

Who developed the TOEIC test?

ETS developed the TOEIC test in 1979 to serve the English assessment needs of corporations in Japan that wanted to improve their ability to compete in the area of international business and trade. Over the years, the TOEIC test has been adopted in many other countries and has quickly became the global standard for assessing English in work-related contexts.

ETS is the world's largest private educational testing and measurement organization and a leader in education research. ETS is dedicated to serving the needs of individuals, educational institutions, and government bodies in nearly 200 countries. The organization develops and administers more than 12 million tests worldwide.

What is the format of the TOEIC test?

The TOEIC test itself is a two-hour, paper-and-pencil, multiple-choice test that consists of 200 questions divided into two separately timed sections: Listening Comprehension and Reading Comprehension.

The new TOEIC Test began around 2006. Between 2006 up to this time, the format hasn't changed much. The TOEIC test is 100% multiple choice. It is important to know that you won't get penalised (minus mark) for your wrong answers.

How long is the new TOEIC test?

As of April, 2006 the test has two main sections: (1) Listening and (2) Reading.

The Listening section is 45 minutes long and has a total of 100 questions. It is divided into 4 parts: (1) Photographs-10 items, (2)Question & Response-30 items, (3) Short Conversations-30 items and (4) Short Talks-30 items. This section has a total of 495 points.

The Reading section has a total of 100 questions. It is divided into 3 parts: (1) Incomplete sentences-40 items, (2) Text completion-12 items and (30) Reading comprehension-Single passage 28 items; double passage 20 items (48 total).

The new TOEIC test has a total of 990 points and is 2 hours long. There is a total of 200 questions.

For further details of the test format please consult The TOEIC Examinee
Handbook (available in several languages) which can be obtained from your local area.

Or visit these sites for more information:

TOEIC Strategies

1.) Improve your time management skills when taking the test. Yes, it is time-pressured test. But, you have to keep in mind that the success of your exam lies on you. Discipline is a key in managing your time.

Do not spend so much time on one question. For instance, If you had a 10 minute test with a total of 10 questions, you should be able to spend 1 minute each question.

If you need more time to think about answering hard questions, might as well leave it for the mean time and answer those easy questions, as fast as you can. So that you could be able to go back to the ones you've left to answer. This is applicable to the Reading section.

2.) Reading strategies

Improve your reading speed and comprehension. Before the test you should read as much as possible. Choose material which is easy for you. Read as fast as you can everyday. Learn new vocabularies everyday.

3.) Skimming and Scanning

Sometimes, we can find the answers without reading the whole story or all of the text. There are two reading styles: Skimming and Scanning.

Skimming is quickly identify the main ideas of the article without reading the whole thing.

Scanning is used to spot specific information in an article. The type of information that you might be looking for is specific like phone numbers or address. It is important to note that when you are scanning a passage you aren't reading it!


EDIT: I would like to share my experience about taking the TOEIC test here in Bangkok last March 5, Saturday. It was a fun experience. I had phoned the Center for Professional Assessment office before the day. I had my test scheduled arranged, it was at 4pm. I hoped that I would have the same schedule as my neighbor, her schedule was at 9am. But it wasn't possible because there was no slot available for me, then.

Don't forget if you are interested to take the TOEIC test.. you have to make an appointment by calling them first!!! So you could reserve a seat and they will give you your schedule. You will be asked to provide your name and other important details which can be found in your passport.

I had to go an hour earlier than my test schedule because I didn't wanna be late or I'll miss it.. When I arrived, my stomach was asking me to buy something so I went to Family Mart to buy something. I made sure that I wasn't hungry before I take the test.

The Center for Professional Assessment Thailand is open for business from 8:00am-4:30pm, Mondays to Saturdays. The TOEIC Listening and Reading test cost 1,200 baht only (as of 2011). I payed it in cash before I took the test. The Speaking and Writing test cost 3,000 baht.

Step 1. Registration
2. Printing (they will print your profile info and give it to you)
3. Cashier
4. Validation (they will check if the info in your profile sheet is correct, they will also explain to you what you will do before, during and after the test)

Inside the testing room, you need nothing but YOURSELF. Bag, mobile phone, pencil or ballpen etc are not allowed inside they will ask you to leave it outside. I had my personal things left at the counter to be safe.

After taking the test...

Step 5. Test result will be picked up or send to you via EMS (your choice!)

In my case, I had it mailed through EMS. They asked me to pay 50.00 baht additional charge for that service. They gave me the white envelope to write on my complete name and address. I was told that the result will be there in my mailbox on Tuesday or Wednesday. But, if it's for pick up the result will be after 5-7 working days (oh no!). Too much hassles of going back to pick up my test result because we are living a little far from that area. More or less, I will spend 130.00 baht to go there (back and forth).

I'm interested in taking the Speaking and Writing test, too. I have been saving my pennies for this. The TOEFL and TESOL tests are so damn expensive! Wishing that I could take these, too... Oh, just one day at a time. Dream, dream, dream.. dream on! LOL :D


Elektra said...

Good question, Daffobelle! Yes, I did twice (one in the PH and here in Bkk). I just had it last March, 2011 and I passed.. about 800 plus hehehe I would have a higher score if the speaker's volume wasn't too low and I sucked on the conversation because the voices were like mumbling or murmuring. Not too difficult though. Thanks for asking, Daffobelle and for dropping by my site ;)

Daffobelle said...

well-done, congrats! :)

Elektra said...

Thank you, Daffobelle! :D

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