You didn’t pass the TOEFL – Now What?
What to do if you don’t pass the TOEFL the first time around
If you didn’t gain as high a mark as required on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), then there’s no need to worry. You can retake the test as many times as you like to gain a higher mark, as long as you don’t take it twice or more within 12 days. Because individual institutions set their own requirements, there is no standardised pass or fail mark and the score required varies; however, you should be sure to research the required score for your desired university or college so that you know what you are aiming for.
Benefits of Taking the Test a Second Time Round – Scores and Feedback
So how can taking the test a second time around benefit you?
Once you have taken the test for the first time, you’ll be in a much better position to evaluate your level of knowledge and identify areas where you need to brush up. After completing the test, you will receive scores in four sections (reading, listening, speaking and writing) in addition to your overall score. Individual scores in these four sections will highlight any particular strengths or weaknesses, so if you combine them with the performance feedback included in your official score record you’ll have an even better indication of your performance level. Even if you are happy with your mark but still think you could improve upon it, there’s certainly no harm in trying. After all, practice makes perfect.
How to Revise Smarter – Preparation, Practice Tests and Other Methods
If you didn’t do as well as expected, it is possible that you need to take a look at your revision style. Many people don’t really put much thought into the way they revise before an exam, but your method of revision could have a significant impact on your test score. If you usually just sit and read through your notes, try making revision cards to summarise the most important points. Or, if you learn best by association, try playing soft music in the background to stimulate a different part of your brain.
One of the most important elements of revising is to test yourself on a regular basis. Alternatively, you could get others to test you and/or you could incorporate practice tests based on the real thing. The advantage of the latter is that, like taking the real test, it gives you a clearer indication of your progress and current level.
There are a range of preparation materials available to help candidates prepare for the TOEFL test, so if you didn’t take advantage of these the first time round you may want to look at them for any subsequent attempt. Preparation materials include online practice tests, an official guide to the test and score reports. There’s even a planner to help set out your practice and revision schedule as well as handy skill-building tips. Some of these materials, such as the test sample questions and planner, are free so they’re well worth checking out.
Planners are highly recommended because they help set out deadlines and goals. Once you’ve set your goals you must make sure you stick to them. Revising over a longer period of time rather than rushing to cram everything in at the last minute can be more beneficial, because it enables you to revisit modules time and time again, rather than moving on and forgetting half of the previous module you looked at. Take some time to plan your revision schedule and don’t book another test in too quickly. It’s possible that you didn’t revise as much as you thought last time, or that you weren’t concentrating hard enough. Make sure you are calm and alert when revising and remove yourself from any distractions. Some education professionals recommend studying in short bursts and then going for a walk or taking a nap, and it can be helpful to see what kind of revision style really works for you.
It is perfectly acceptable to take the TOEFL a second time round, or as many times as you need to. If you gained your bachelor’s or equivalent degree in your home country and are looking to further your study with a postgraduate course in the UK, practicing for a higher mark on the TOEFL will only leave you better prepared for when you make the move. Taking note of scores and feedback can help point out weaknesses, while incorporating smarter revision practices, including practice tests, helps with information integration and recall.