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Why You Should Become TEFL Qualified

Teaching English Foreign Language (TEFL) has always been a popular qualification to gain, and the number of people becoming TEFL qualified is only going up.

There are 1.5 billion English learners in the world right now, and this number is expected to rise to 2 billion by 2020. The Chinese TEFL market is worth $4.5 billion right now and is rising by around 15% per year. So, as you can see, the TEFL industry is certainly one to consider.

The average salary for Teaching English as a Foreign Language is around $3000 USD, depending on where you go. Although, if you work privately then you can set your own prices.

Why should you get a TEFL qualification?

  1. Fund your travels!

The main reason people become TEFL certified is to fund their travels. Explore the world, and fund it by teaching people English as you go. It is popular amongst gap-year students to do this, although anyone is more than welcome to!

2. Access more teaching jobs

Schools and businesses are more likely to take on teachers who are actually qualified, as it usually means that they offer a higher quality of service than those who are uncertified. Certified teachers know why the English syntax is the way it is, and they have a greater understanding of explaining past/future participles, adjectives, verbs, and nouns. Keep in mind that the rules are different in every language.

3. Gain confidence in your teaching

Sure, everyone has a rough idea of how to teach. But a TEFL course teaches you how to teach. From lesson plans, to various teaching styles, TEFL gives you the training you need to give the best quality teaching. Do you know how to effectively address a language or cultural barrier? This will make you more confident, and assure your student is getting the most out of their lessons.

4. Prepare yourself culturally

TEFL sites usually give you a break down in the culture of the country/region you are considering teaching in. This will make your time in the country more enjoyable and easier for you, as well as allowing you to make the most out of it. Nothing can set you back further than a culture shock.

Sourced from YouTube.

How do I become TEFL certified?

by enrolling in a TEFL course! They are typically anywhere between 100-180 hours long, but they give you plenty of time it slowly complete them. We will provide some links below:

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IELTS vs TOEFL: Which Is Better?

If you’re applying to university or college in an English-speaking country and English is not your first language, it’s likely that your institution will require you to take a standardised test to prove your English language proficiency. And this will bring up the big question:  IELTS vs TOEFL exam? Let’s find out the differences between the two.

IELTS & TOEFL: The Basics

IELTS and TOEFL are the most popular standardised English language tests taken worldwide.

CRITERIA IELTS TOEFL
Centres 1,100 test centres in over 140 countries. 4,500 test centres in over 165 countries.
Exam It lasts for about 2h 45 minutes. It lasts for about 4 hours.
Scoring Each section is marked with a band from 0-9 (from these section scores, an overall 0-9 band is awarded). 120 marks, with 30 marks available for each section.

Note: the desired score for IELTS is of around 6.5+ and for TOEFL – 80+.

We took a look at these two exams and compared them side-by-side, to see which one will give you the fastest kick-start before moving to an English-speaking country to begin your studies overseas.

How are they marked?

Although the IELTS and TOEFL exams are assessing the same thing, the marking of the exams works slightly differently for their 4 sections: reading, writing, listening and speaking.

In theory, it is possible to get an overall score of 0-4 for IELTS, but it is very unlikely to score this low since, with around 10% in the reading and listening and 30% in the speaking and writing sections, an overall score of around 4.5 should be easily obtained.

Each institution will set its own English language requirements for undergraduate and postgraduate (graduate) and should be available on their website.

If you cannot find this information, check with the institution so that you know what is required from your test results. Many institutions have minimum score requirements overall or for each section.

What do the tests consist of?

Both TOEFL and IELTS consist of 4 sections: Writing, Listening, Speaking and Reading.

TOEFL usually takes around 4 hours, whereas IELTS is usually shorter than that – at around 2 hours 45 minutes.

We will now look at each section below to discuss which test gives you better practical skills for living/working/studying in an English-speaking country.

Reading

  • TOEFL: multiple-choice-only reading section (academic tests available).
  • IELTS: range of 15 question types including short answer, true/false, summary and multiple choice.

With IELTS, you can select to take the Academic paper or the non-academic one. In real life, you are rarely asked multiple-choice questions (outside of exam situations), so the IELTS gives you a more realistic, practical experience.

The exam splits into 3×20 minute sections, gradually getting harder. This should build up your confidence slowly through easy questions progressing onto the more difficult ones.

Listening

  • TOEFL: always standard American English.

The TOEFL listening exam lasts between 40 and 60 minutes and is based on questions regarding university life situations.

  • IELTS: different English variations from Ireland, Wales, USA, Australia.

The IELTS listening section lasts 30 minutes, divided into 4 sections, and it can cover an informational lecture, a conversation in an academic context and an academic lecture. The IELTS listening test ticks off a variety of tasks from sentence completion to matching headings.

Speaking

  • TOEFL: 20-minute conversation with a computer, recorded and assessed by an examiner at a later stage.

You are asked 6 university-related questions on various things such as hometown and family topics, and you will have to express your opinion on a chosen subject/given text.

  • IELTS: slightly shorter; 12-15 minutes long. Split into 3 sections and conducted with a real examiner.

With fewer examples when you will have to talk to a computer, IELTS is much better for practising with a live tester (section 1).

You can’t hide from speaking English when it is the native language of where you are living, so don’t shy away from a real conversation.

During the IELTS exam, you will talk about your home, jobs, studies and you’ll have to prepare a monologue of 2 minutes tops on a certain topic (section 2).

At the end (section 3), you will have to answer questions based on the topic you spoke about initially in section 2.

Writing

  • TOEFL: 2-question exam that lasts for 50 minutes and is typed on a computer.
First, you’ll have to read a text and listen to a lecture of about 2 minutes.
Based on this information, you’ll have to write a short answer to a specific question.
The next answer you’ll need to write down will require a longer reply (between 450 and 600 words).
  • IELTS: Academic and General Traning – 2 different writing tests.

The Academic test is more suitable for you and all students who apply to go to universities, and it features 2 tasks, lasting for about 1 hour.

These answers are handwritten.

The first question involves interpreting a graph, table or diagram, and the next one involves a short 250-word essay answer as an argument or a discussion.

These tasks are quite evenly matched, but depending on whether you will need to write out things by hand or you will be using a laptop, computer or tablet for writing at university.

Either way, it is a good idea to practise both forms of writing, regardless of which method of assessment you decide on.

OK, but which one is more widely accepted?

University Admissions

Before you decide on which course you will take for your English as a foreign language qualification, if you are applying to study in the UK or in an English-speaking country, you must check which qualifications they will accept, as some universities will only accept one or the other. If you are unsure, you can search for the admissions department within the university’s website and email them to find out. The information should be listed on the site as well under the course requirements so if you have an idea about which course you would like to take, search for this and it should tell you what you need to know.

Visa Application

If you require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK, it is recommended that you take IELTS or Pearson’s Test as TOEFL is no longer recognised by the UK Home Office as a Secure English Language Test.

In case you don’t require a visa for your studies, a TOEFL test will be enough for your application, as long as your scores meet the entry requirements, which are usually at fixed levels for the University, although some exceptions may apply.

If you’re still not sure which to choose, you can find out about Cambridge Advanced English (CAE), an alternative to TOEFL and IELTS, which is accepted by 99% of UK universities as a benchmark for the English Language.

The final verdict

Choose IELTS if you:

  • are comfortable being interviewed
  • have easy-to-read English handwriting
  • prefer multiple question test types (true/false; fill-in-the-blank etc)
  • understand various English dialects
  • like talking about non-academic topics.

Choose TOEFL if you:

  • are comfortable working with computers
  • feel confident speaking into a microphone
  • are good at answering multiple-choice questions
  • prefer standard American English
  • enjoy reading topics meant to inform
  • manage to take notes from audio recordings.

IELTS vs TOEFL: Online resources for you

IELTS Resources:

  1. General IELTS information
  2. Free IELTS practice tests
  3. IELTS test formats

TOEFL Resources:

  1. General TOEFL information
  2. TOEFL practice tests
  3. TOEFL test formats

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TOEFL & IELTS University Score Requirements Around the World

Ready to start your study abroad journey? If you’re looking to study a university course in English, it is very likely that you’ll need to pass either the TOEFL or IELTS with a good score, depending on your university’s requirements. So we’ve put together a list of TOEFL and IELTS score requirements for a range of different universities around the world to give you an idea of what to aim for.

TOEFL & IELTS Requirements: USA

University of Central Missouri:

  • TOEFL IBT (internet based) score of 79;
  • TOEFL PBT (paper based) score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.0.

Southern New Hampshire University

  • TOEFL score of 71 (for undergraduate programmes) and 79 (for graduate programmes);
  • IELTS score of 6.5 (undergraduate and graduate).

Harvard Business School

  • TOEFL IBT score of 109;
  • IELTS score of 7.5.

University of Central Florida

  • TOEFL IBT score of 80;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.5.

Lewis-Clark College State

  • TOEFL IBT score of 72,
  • TOEFL PBT score of 530;
  • IELTS score of 6.

College of the Desert

  • TOEFL IBT score of 45;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 450;
  • IELTS score of 5.

Hawaii Pacific University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 80;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.0 overall.

University of North Carolina, Charlotte

  • TOEFL IBT score of 83;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 557;
  • IELTS overall band score of 6.5.

TOEFL & IELTS Requirements: Australia

Griffith University

  • TOEFL iBT score of 79;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 575;
  • IELTS score of 6.5 (with no sub-score of less than 6.0).

Bond University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 98 (or less, depending on the programme);
  • IELTS score of 6.5 (or even higher, depending on the programme you choose to study).

 Victoria University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 55;
  • IELTS overall score of 5.5 (no band less than 5.0).

University of Melbourne

  • If you get an overall score of less than 7 for IELTS or a score less than 94 for TOEFL IBT, you will need to take a Diagnostic English Language Assessment (DELA) to enrol at the university.

Central Queensland University

  • TOEFL iBT overall score of 75 (with no score less than 17);
  • IELTS score of 6 (with no individual band score of less than 5.5).

Monash University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 79;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.5.

University of the Sunshine Coast

  • TOEFL IBT score of 76;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS overall score of 6.0 (with minimum 5.5 in each subtest).

TOEFL & IELTS Requirements: Canada

McGill University

  • TOEFL IBT overall score of 86 (no less than 20 in each of the four component scores);
  • TOEFL PBT score of 567;
  • IELTS score of 6.5.

Simon Fraser University

  • TOEFL IBT score of 93 (with a minimum of 20 in each category);
  • TOEFL PBT score of 580;
  • IELTS overall score of 7.0 (with a minimum of 6.5 in each section).

University of New Brunswick

  • TOEFL IBT of 80;
  • TOEFL PBT of 550;
  • IELTS minimum band score of 7.

University of Alberta

  • TOEFL IBT score of 88 (with a score of at least 20 on each individual skill areas);
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550 (paper-based);
  • IELTS score of 6.5 (with at least 5 on each band).

Centennial College

  • TOEFL IBT score of 80;
  • TOEFL PBT score of 550;
  • IELTS score of 6.0 (with no band score less than 5.5).

TOEFL & IELTS Requirements: UK

University of Birmingham

  • TOEFL overall score of 80 overall (or more depending on the programme you choose);
  • IELTS score of 6.0.

University of Oxford

  • TOEFL IBT overall score of 110
  • TOEFL PBT overall score of 600;
  • IELTS overall score of 7.0.

University College of London

  • TOEFL overall score of 92;
  • IELTS overall grade of 6.5 (with a minimum of 6.0 in each of the subtests).

University of Manchester

  • TOEFL IBT score of 72
  • IELTS score of 5.5.

Apart from TOEFL and IELTS, some universities also accept other English proficiency language tests such as the Cambridge English Language Assessment or the Pearson Test of English Academic. There are many other tests (for example Ascentis, City and Guilds, the English Speaking Board International, the Teaching Knowledge Test) available out there, but you have to double-check with your institution that they accept them for enrollment.

Enjoyed this article? Check out our other English Language Learning subject guides.

Does Watching Movies Help with the TOEFL?

For advanced learners, one of the most popular ways to practise English listening is to watch movies or TV shows in English (usually with subtitles). If you do that, then great—keep watching! After all, movies and TV shows usually have a natural, native English, or at least close to natural. That is, the people speak very quickly, use conversational vocabulary (including a lot of phrasal verbs and idioms), and elide often. And if you’re going to have conversations with native speakers or live in an English speaking country, then you will definitely want to understand full-speed, natural English.

But watching TV may not necessarily help your TOEFL scores. Well, it will help some, of course—any practice is good practice! But it won’t help to prepare you for the particularly difficult parts of the TOEFL. In other words, English movies and TV are very difficult, and the TOEFL is difficult, but they’re difficult in different ways. Let us explain why.

What Makes TOEFL Listening Difficult?

The TOEFL listening section can be difficult even for a native speaker. I’m not trying to scare you if you’re new to the TOEFL; I just want to clarify what, exactly, you should be practising. After all, watching a movie isn’t difficult for a native speaker—it’s one of the easiest, most comfortable things! So it’s important to consider what exactly is different about the TOEFL, and what will help you prepare for it.

The big difference is that ⅔ of the recordings on the TOEFL are lectures. They’re not conversations, which you might be used to and more comfortable with (especially if you like watching English TV). Lectures are different for a couple of reasons:

1) You have to consider the structure

In a conversation, you rarely have to think about the relationships between ideas—instead, the focus is usually on different peoples’ opinions, not on complicated, extensive information. In a lecture, though, you have to consider the structure of the talk and the importance of specific information. You have to identify the main ideas and know-how they’re explained—when the professor is giving an example when he/she is defining a core concept, and when the information is just extra, unnecessary detail.

2) There is a lot of information

If you want to succeed on the TOEFL listening, you have to take great notes or have a good short-term memory. Ideally, you’ll have both. You’ll hear a lot of information, and then you’ll be asked six questions, some about very specific details that were buried in that 5-minute recording.

3) There is less change

Lectures, in comparison to conversations, can be a bit boring. Listening to just one person talk for an extended time can be tough. Students who become distracted during the test, who start to think about other things and lose focus, will often have trouble remembering the specifics of what they heard. This, again, means it’s very important to practise taking notes. Doing so can help keep you focused.

4) You might hear a lot of unfamiliar vocabulary

There are two types of tough vocabulary words in TOEFL listening: words specific to the topic that you are not expected to know before listening and words that are used often in general, academic English, not specific to the lecture topic. The first type (topic-specific) is a challenge for everybody, but it’s not so bad. If you listen closely and understand the other words, then those topic-specific words or phrases will be defined. But the second group, academic vocabulary, will not be defined in most cases. You simply have to know them. These are words you might see in writing, but you won’t usually hear from friends who speak English or from English TV and movies.

Watching Movies and TV can still help with the TOEFL

The truth is that movies and TV are a still great way to practise general English listening and more informal English. And the TOEFL does include informal English, too—you will hear both students and professors using conversational words and phrases. So the vocabulary you might learn from watching TV can help.

But the main message here is that you shouldn’t just watch movies and TV. You also need to practice listening to lectures and taking notes. Only by doing that will you improve the specific skills that the TOEFL tests.

This post was written by Lucas Fink, the resident TOEFL expert at Magoosh. For more advice on TOEFL prep, check out Magoosh’s TOEFL blog and try our free TOEFL vocabulary flashcards.

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