University students can’t stop taking it, and businessmen seem to depend on it. No, it’s not some recreational drug. It’s TOEIC, the Test Of English for International Communication.
TOEIC is a two-hour exam prepared by Educational Testing Service (ETS). It consists of 200 questions with multiple-choice answers. I’ve written before on this theme, and spoke briefly about some of the criticisms TOEIC faces.
This time, however, I just want to define more clearly what it is about, especially in light of some recent changes to the exam. TOEIC is divided into two sections: Reading and Listening.
The listening section
Listening is a 45-minute section that is split into four parts:
Photos – four statements are made that correspond to the picture in the book. The listener has to decide which statement beset fits the photo.
Question – Response – three responses are given for one question. Which response best matches the question?
Short Conversations – 10 conversations are played. There are three questions for each conversation. You have to choose the correct answer out of four possible answers.
Short Talks – similar to the above, there are multiple questions related to each talk. Choose the correct answer out of a selection of four answers for each questions.
After listening to recordings in English, test takers have to choose the correct answer based on the text. The changes to the listening section are relatively minor. There are now only 10 photo-based questions (there were 20 questions before the recent changes).
The short conversation and short talk records are now longer (surely that makes them long conversations, doesn’t it?). Also, the conversations now have 3 related questions.
The reading section
The Reading section comprises 100 questions and takes 75 minutes. The three parts are:
Incomplete Sentences – four possibilities are given for each unfinished sentence. Choose the correct one.
Text Completion – choose the word or phrase missing from the sentences.
Reading Comprehension – each text has two or more multiple-choice questions. Choose the best answer.
The main change is to the reading comprehension part of this section. The texts are not only longer but also some questions require the reading of two passages. Texts include such things as letters, emails, charts and graphs and other business items.
How to teach TOEIC
Of course, TOEIC is an exam, and you can’t know beforehand what the questions will be. Therefore, as a teacher you need to prepare your students for TOEIC by teaching them the relevant language and tactics. I will talk about these ideas some more on Thursday, so be sure to check in again!