The 5 W’s of the TOEIC

Who takes the TOEIC test?

The TOEIC test is targeted at people who are looking for work in fields that need to use English on a daily basis. Accordingly, the TOEIC exam is used by companies to measure the abilities of non-native English-speakers to use English in everyday situations in hotels, hospitals, restaurants, and even sporting events. In use since 1979, TOEIC test scores and results are the gold standard for more than 10,000 employers in over 120 countries and more than 6 million TOEIC tests were administered around the world in 2010 alone. Of course, if you’re planning to take the TOEIC you should make sure that your organization is one of them! You can do this by simply checking their list of requirements or contacting them directly.

Why should you take the TOEIC exam?

For employers, your TOEIC score may be the deciding factor in their hiring decision. After all, the TOEIC test is designed to simulate real-life situations that are relevant to everyday workplace and your TOEIC score is the most reliable way to provide meaningful feedback about an applicant’s strengths and weaknesses. This allows employers to more accurately recruit employee with the English-language abilities the job requires – and that could be you!

What exactly is the TOEIC test like and what can I expect to see on it?

There are two separate parts of the TOEIC test and test takers can chose to take each part separately, and although most employers prefer applicants to take both sections, applicants will receive separate scores for each of the two tests.

Listening and Reading 2.5 hours

The Listening and Reading test is a two-hour multiple-choice test consisting of 200 questions evenly divided into listening comprehension and reading comprehension that takes 2.5 hours and is taken at a test center.

Independent scores are given for both the written and listening sections of the exam. Because each is graded on scale from 5 to 495 points the total possible points for the full Listening and Reading Test ranges from 10 to 990 points. These results correspond to one of five official colors grades:


Speaking and Writing 1.5 hours

The Speaking and Writing test, introduced in 2006, is a computer-based test that also divided into two separate parts. The 20-minute speaking section is designed to assess test takers’ pronunciation, vocabulary, grammar, and fluency, while the 60-minute writing section used to examine vocabulary, grammar, and overall coherence in written English. Together, with breaks, the entire exam takes 90 minutes.

Each section of the test has a score range between 0-200 and the scores each is assessed separately. Eight proficiency levels are provided for the speaking section and nine proficiency levels are provided for the writing test.

Where and When can you take the TOEIC exam?

For individuals, TOEIC exam test sessions are held on scheduled dates in various locations throughout the world. Check the ETS website for dates and locations that work for your schedule.

Because the Listening and Reading test and pencil and paper exam, on some places, large companies and institutions can administer the TOEIC Listening and Reading onsite. In either case, however, an official TEOIC grader from a local office scores the test.

The TOEIC Speaking and Writing tests, on the other hand, are administered on specific dates at secure Internet-based test centers in locations around the world.

As a final note, you should know that test prices vary by location and local currency but official scores arrive in three to four weeks and test scores remain valid for up to two years.

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