As an international nurse, one of the tests that the board of nursing will expect you to take before you get licensed to work in the United States is the Test for English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
This test measures your use and understanding of the English language at a college level.
The test was developed to address the problem of ensuring English language proficiency for people who do not speak English on a daily basis or as a native language.
Your aim is to get the highest score that you can. The board of nursing will evaluate you according to your score. They set the score that is acceptable. If they feel that you did not perform well enough, they will ask you to retake the exam.
The score is only valid for two years. If you pass and wait for longer than two years to do your NCLEX exam, you will be required to redo the test as your scores will have expired.
The preferred format nowadays is the internet-based test (IBT).
When I did my test in 2002, I did the paper-based test. It is rarely used now but is still accepted in some areas.
The test consists of four different sections. Each section measures a basic skill in the English language
You are expected to read a given passage and answer the questions asked afterwards.
You do not need prior knowledge to the discussion.
You are expected to answer questions on a given familiar topic. You are evaluated on your ability to speak spontaneously.
Most people get very nervous with this section. Just stay calm and imagine that you are talking to a friend. When you are nervous, you can panic, which may cause you to talk very fast and not make much sense.
You listen to a conversation and then answer questions about what you heard.
You are tested on your ability to understand the main ideas being discussed.
You will be presented with a passage to read. After that, you are asked to write a summary of the important points.
You really want to aim at scoring over 90.
If you studied English at a University level, you may not need too much preparation aside from being confident and taking your time during the exam to understand what is being asked. This also depends on whether or not you come from a background where you speak a lot of English.
If you did not study English at a university level and you come from a background where you do not speak English regularly, you will need to prepare for the test.
If you are a very nervous person, preparation for the test will give you more confidence.
There are many programs online to help you prepare and support you.
For more information about this test you can go to: www.ets.org/toefl/
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