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Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Workshop on the TOEFL IBT with Maryna Lysun - 3

The third workshop on TOEFL iBT was focused upon the exam itself. The workshop started with a short overview of all four sections, reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Then Ms Lysun explained how the questions in each section are designed and what language abilities they test.
The peculiarities of reading and listening were presented first. Ms Lysun paid attention to extra questions in these two sections. These questions are not scored but are actually being proofed for the future tests. If they are answered by certain percentage of test takers, the questions will become part of a future test and will be scored. The workshop participants struggled the most with such self-testing. On the one hand they appreciated proofing questions; on the other hand they did not want to answer extra questions on a test.
The peculiarities of writing and speaking sections were discussed next. Ms Lysun examined types of questions and their purposes. She emphasized that questions are designed to evaluate a test taker's ability to use English for academic and communicative purposes.
After the discussion on section peculiarities, the participants got a chance to look at the TOEFL iBT preparation materials available at the library and the WOA center. The materials were kindly prepared by the WOA staff, Julia Kashpruk and Olga Svirgun.
The workshop ended with Q&A. In particular, the participants were interested in Intensive English programs in the US. Ms Lysun showed some websites and explained how to search for a particular program.