Online Test Review – TOEIC
The Test Of English for International Communication, or TOEIC, offers a “full assessment of a person's ability to communicate in English across all four language skills” (http://www.ets.org). According to ETS, more than 5 million people take the TOEIC test each year, as it is recognised by thousands of organisations around the world. The test specifically focuses on the use of language for business communication, and as such has become a valuable tool for various businesses looking to gauge the English level of prospective employees and determine whether they will be able to use English in an effective and efficient way for e-mail and telephone communication, in-person meetings, video conferences, and any other situations that may arise in today’s increasingly global business world.

TOEIC is broken up into two tests, a Listening and Reading traditional pen and paper test taken at one of many worldwide locations, and a Speaking and Writing test which can be completed online. As seems appropriate for this course, I will not spend long talking about the Listening and Reading test, as it is not taken online. The test is broken up further into two parts, a Listening test and a Reading one. Consisting of 100 multiple choice questions, the test results in a speaker proficiency score; this is obviously meant to be indicative of a speaker’s English competency in these skills.

The Speaking and Writing test is again split into two titular tests, and is taken online. Participants are given directions regarding the requirements for each question, of which there are 11 in the Speaking test and 8 in the Writing test. This is a form of alternative assessment, as results are not dependent on participants memorizing the correct answers to questions but rather illustrating their ability to use language in an effective way. The Writing test even includes an opinion essay, which gives people an opportunity to use their level of English to argue their point, and demonstrate the same skills they would need to convince someone of their opinions in a business setting. As before, the results generate a speaker proficiency score.

The Speaking and Writing test was introduced at a much later date than the Listening and Reading test, which has been in use for more than 30 years (http://www.ets.org). Despite that, because it is an online test which can be taken every month, it would seem to be the easier choice if only taking one of the two tests. Furthermore, the online test has the added benefit of offering sample tests for perspective applicants to try their hand at in order to gain valuable feedback to help them with the actual test (sample tests and extended information on the nature of the tests can be found here). As an added bonus, the online TOEIC test can be retaken at any time up to once a month, meaning that participants can track their progress and improve their scores as their English skills advance. This is especially important since the test is taken mostly by people looking for work in various business sectors, or those seeking enrolment in various programs of study; a participant can try sample tests frequently and improve their language skills, culminating in a strong proficiency in English.