My copy of the Official Guide to the TOEFL (7th edition) finally arrived.  As with previous editions, I will spend the next week taking a quick look at every chapter so that I can note all of the changes.  I’ll start today with Chapter One, which introduces the test in a general way.  Note that I won’t spend too much time talking about big-picture stuff (that is, the changes to the test from last year) since those are obvious.  I’m going to focus on smaller details that most readers might not notice.

You can read the whole blog series on changes at the following links: chapter one, chapter two, chapter three and four, chapter five, the tests.

Page 4:  Deleted the following study advice:  “select all the pronouns (he, him, they, them, and others) and identify which nouns each one refers to in the passage

Page 5: Added a reference to  New Zealand accents appearing on the test.

Page 5: Deleted this description of the headphones:  “test takers wear noise canceling headphones”

Page 5:  The test format chart is updated, of course.  Frustratingly, it uses the same “estimated timing” that ETS uses in its marketing materials so that it can claim that the test takes less than two hours to complete.  For instance, it notes that the “estimated timing” of the reading section is 35 minutes, when in reality it is 36 minutes long.

Page 6: No more references to confirming listening answers in the UI of the test.

Page 8: Description of possible reading passages changed from “historical” to “historical and biographical narrative” 

Page 8:  Shows that the reading article is now on the left side of the screen, and the questions on the right

Page 9/10:  The “category table” reading question is no longer mentioned (important)

Page 13:  “the pictures that accompany the lecture help you to know whether one or several people will be speaking”  changed to “pictures on the computer screen are intended to help you identify the roles of the speakers”

Page 15:  Listening questions worth more than one point are mentioned:  “Most questions are worth one point.  Some questions, however, are worth two points.  Special directions will indicate which, if any, questions are worth two points.  No more than one such question will appear on any test.” (important)

Page 18: campus situation reading passage changed from 80-110 words to 90-115 words.  (back in the 4th edition this was 75-100 words).  Likewise, General/specific reading passage length changed from 80-110 words to 90-115 words.

Page 20:  The following description of the integrated writing task has been deleted: “Test takers write a summary in connected English prose of important points made in the listening passage, and explain how these relate to the key points of the reading passage.  Suggested response length is 150-225 words; however, there is no penalty for writing more as long as it is in response to the task presented.” It has been replaced with:  “Test takers express information in an organized, logical and coherent manner.”

Page 21:  Updated score report description

Page 34:  Updated score report timeline.

 

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