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雅思托福口语考试之异同点

时间:2012-06-24 13:18  作者:济南朗阁  来源:济南朗阁  

摘要:雅思与新托福考试一直以来是众多在中国怀揣出国留学或工作梦想的学生和工作人士所面临的最大的一道障碍/作为两大语言能力测试.二者在考核侧重点、得分和困难度上都有所不同.下面.朗阁名师就雅思托福口语方面的不同进行讲解

 雅思与新托福考试一直以来是众多在中国怀揣出国留学或工作梦想的学生和工作人士所面临的最大的一道障碍。作为两大语言能力测试,二者在考核侧重点、得分和困难度上都有所不同。下面,朗阁名师就雅思托福口语方面的不同进行讲解:

The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) and the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) are two main tests that check foreign language speakers' English proficiency globally. Although both tests are targeted at examining students' comprehension and understanding of the English language usage, the two are by no mean identity and differ both in the delivery, scoring and difficulty.

Speaking section is always the one part which bothers the majority of the prospective test-takers. During all these teaching years, there are always students who are confusing which test they should take since there are huge differences between the IELTS and the TOEFL speaking sections. Let us see where the similarities and differences lie in these two tests.

1. Which one takes more time?

The IELTS speaking test is one candidate and one examiner, who manages the test and evaluates the candidate at the same time. The test is separated into three parts. Both part 1 and part 3 take about 4 minutes, part 2 takes about 3 minutes.

In Part 1, the examiner asks the candidate some simple personal questions on everyday common topics. The examiner reads these questions from a script. Some frequently asked topics are work, study, hometown, cities, food, holidays, friends, going out, festivals, sports, schools and public transport.

In Part 2, the examiner gives the candidate a topic on a card (cue card) and the candidate needs to give a speech about it for more or less 2 minutes. Before speaking, the candidate has one minute to make notes. The task is to talk about a personal experience such as a memorable day or a significant person. This is followed by a quick question, which the candidate gives a short answer to. This provides some continuity for the transition to part 3.

In Part 3, candidate and examiner will have a discussion relating to the subject area in Part 2. The candidate will be asked to do more complicated things, such as evaluate, justify positions and opinions, make predictions, and express preferences. The examiner has a list of questions but is not restricted to these. He or she can respond freely to the candidate's answers, making this part of the test more like a regular conversation.

The TOEFL speaking test is one candidate and a computer, which provides tasks for the candidate, records their answers and times them (with an on-screen clock). The recorded sample is evaluated later by a group of examiners. The test is separated into 6 tasks, two independent tasks (just the candidate speaking) and four integrated tasks (with the candidate integrating information from other sources, such as a written text or listening). The test takes about 20 minutes.

In Task 1, the candidate reads and listens to a short question based on a familiar topic. For example, the candidate could be asked to describe a class. In Task 2, they are asked to choose between two choices and explain why. In both questions, the candidate has 15 seconds to prepare an answer and needs to speak for 45 seconds.

In Part 2 of the speaking the four tasks are integrated with other skills. In Task 3, the candidate reads a short text on a campus-related issue, and then hears one or two students expressing opinions. The candidate therefore needs to summaries what the speakers have said. In Task 4, the candidate reads about an academic subject, and then hears a professor lecturing on the same subject. There is then a question based on both sources. In Task 5, the candidate listens to a brief conversation about a campus-related situation and then answers a question. This answer includes choosing between options and justifying this choice. The final task is to listen to a short extract from a lecture and then explain a point with examples.

As we can see here, the major difference between these two speaking tests is that if you talking to a machine or talking to an examiner face to face. Also, TOEFL speaking section definitely requires you to master some note-taking skills whereas they seem unnecessary in the IELTS speaking section. Furthermore, TOEFL speaking section lasts longer and has more tasks need to be done. Finally, the TOEFL speaking questions are more academically based while the IELTS speaking questions are quite relevant to everyday life.

2. Which one will the test-takers be evaluated easier?

In IELTS speaking, the examiner listens to the candidate as they do the test, and then evaluates their level by assessing the speaker's performance to descriptions. The levels go from 1 - 9. The four criteria are described below:

l  Fluency and Coherence

This means how good the candidate is at keeping talking at the right pace and how proficient they are at connecting their ideas together. This is a fairly general criterion which includes evaluating the relevance of the candidate's answers, but in terms of the features we have identified in part 1 of this article, it refers to speakers need to be able to understand and follow the rules of language at a word, sentence and text level.

l  Lexical Resource

This means how much vocabulary the candidate has and how well they manage it. As well as the rules of language at a word level, this criterion judges the communicative functions of speech and the social meaning of speech.

l  Grammatical Range and Accuracy

This means how various structures the candidate has and how well they handle them. Again, as well as the rules of language, this criterion considers the communicative functions of speech.

l  Pronunciation

This means how well the candidate pronounces the language. As well as considering the communicative effect of the candidate's pronunciation, there is evaluation of how much strain it causes on a listener, and how noticeable their accent is - although the accent itself is not a problem. In terms of the elements I have identified at the beginning of this article, this criterion refers to speakers need to be able to produce the phonological aspects of speech.

In the TOEFL, the candidate is recorded, and then at least three different examiners listen to this recording. They grade each of the six tasks on the recording separately against criteria in four areas. Levels go from 0 - 4, so there each band is broader than in an IELTS test. The criteria are below:

l  Delivery

This means how well the candidate uses pronunciation, rhythm, and intonation, and whether their rate of speech, pausing or fluency is appropriate. In terms of the elements we have identified in the beginning of this article, this criterion refers to speakers need to be able to produce the phonological features of speech.

l  Language Use

This means how much vocabulary and how many structures the candidate has, and how well they use these two elements. As above, this includes the rules of language at a word level, the communicative functions of speech and the social meaning of speech.

l  Topic Development

This is a different kind of criteria which the IELTS does not have because as well as assessing the general cohesion and coherence of the candidate's answers (the rules of language at a word, sentence and text level and the communicative functions of speech), this criteria asks if the candidate has completed the task, which includes using the information they were given. In this way, this criterion evaluates both language and content.

3. Should you act differently in these two exams?

Once again, the speaking section differs greatly between the IELTS and the TOEFL exams. The IELTS speaking section lasts from 12 to 14 minutes and takes place with an examiner, rather than a computer as on the TOEFL. There is a short warm up exercise consisting mainly of small talk, followed by a response to some sort of visual stimulus and, finally, a more extended discussion of a related topic. On the TOEFL, you are asked to record responses on the computer of 45 - 60 seconds to six different questions based on brief descriptions / conversations. The speaking section of the test lasts 20 minutes.

As we mentioned above, you are talking to an examiner in the IELTS speaking section. Therefore, a large part of communication is non-verbal. You are marked by the examiner in the room and you should try your best to show that person that you are a skilled communicator. I found it common that most of my students at Longre feel uncomfortable making eye contact with the examiner. If you do not do so, he/she is probably going to be less impressed with your performance. This is a speaking test and not a listening test. If you do not get the question you have been given, ask the examiner to repeat or explain it. If you try to answer a question you do not understand, you will almost certainly become incoherent. This is an exam and you need to show the best side of your spoken English. If you relax too much and become too conversational, your English may suffer. You need to recognize that this is not a true dialogue between two people: it is more of an interview with one person speaking and the other listening. In a conversation the speaking conventions are quite different: you expect the other person to share 50% of the talk time and to react to your comments, typically one person will not speak for any length of time.

While in the TOEFL speaking test, which is happened in a big classroom with all the test takers, there is a very good chance that some of the other test takers would already have started their speaking before you and the noise they make while speaking may disturb you. The only effective strategy in this case is to disregard the noise. There is some time to listen to instructions. During this time concentrate solely on what you hear and pay no attention to what is going on around you.

Also, try to use the preparation time effectively to draw the outline and details of your response. Time management is a crucial component. It is neither good to finish long before the time is over nor is it pleasant to be unable to complete your response within the time. Try to answer the question as completely as possible within the given speaking time.

4. Conclusion

As we have discussed above, both the IELTS and the TOEFL speaking tests seem to be a big challenge to most of Chinese students. They have quite the same criteria for the candidates, however, are tested in total different ways. As long as you know how to act differently and be fully prepared with lots of practice, you can take both of them down easily.

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