What is the TOEFL?
One of the best things about doing an MBA, in particular at the best schools in the UK and Europe , is the international nature of the course. This is both in terms of the course content, but also in terms of the student body of the courses. In 2002-2003 at Cass Business School in London there were students from 34 countries. Yet, the course is given in English. The reading needed is in English and the written work and presentation language is also English. So, how do international students with a non-English native language prove that they will be able to handle the demands of the course? By taking TOEFL.
The Test of English as a Foreign Language results in a score which has been accepted as proof of proficiency in English by universities and business. The score that you get comes in two types. You'll get a section score and a cumulative score. For the listening comprehension, reading comprehension and structure sections you get a score between 2 and 30. When you combine the writing section with the theses then you get a cumulative scale of between 40 and 300 marks. The majority of students get scores of between 120 and 240.
The minimum score accepted varies from school to school, but 160 is regarded as a normal minimum. Some of the business schools may still take someone scoring below the accepted score on condition that they take English classes alongside the MBA course.
Should you be taking your test on a computer, when you finish it you will be offered the option of seeing your score on the screen. You also have the option of canceling the scores. Should you choose to view the score, they cannot be canceled, and are your official score for everything apart from your essay, which needs to be manually graded. Should you cancel your score you cannot retake the TOEFL until the next calendar month.
Like the GMAT, the TOEFL is a computer-adaptive test. Instead of you receiving a pre-determined mix of questions that are easy, medium or hard, your questions are selected by a computer depending on how many answers you are getting right. The first question you get will be of medium difficulty. Should that be answered correctly you get a little harder question, and if you answered incorrectly you get a little easier question. The harder questions count for more marks. Thus, the test is adapted to your skill level.
The disadvantage of this is that you are only shown a question at a time. You can't skip around answering the easy questions first and you can't change an answer once you have confirmed it and moved onto the next question.