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Amanogawa

TOEIC

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This is such a wonderfully international forum, and I assume quite a few members

are more or less linked to English-speaking issues in daily basis. So I would like to

ask some questions.. (Neener, neener...)

There is an English test called TOEIC, Test of English for International

Communication. From its official page ( http://www.toeic.or.jp/toeic_en/ ) :

"TOEIC is the acronym for Test of English for International

Communication. The TOEIC test is a global standard for the assessment of

communicative English ability. The most important feature of the TOEIC test is

that the proficiency of the examinee is expressed as a numerical score between 5

and 495 for both the listening and reading parts, giving a total score between 10

and 990 rather than pass or fail. The scale is constant. If the proficiency of the

examinee does not change, their score will also remain unchanged. This consistency

allows examinees to obtain an accurate measurement of their current proficiency in

English and a target score to work towards."

I've taken the test several times as I wanted to clear both a required criteria

and also my personal goal. But then I heard the other day that TOEIC cannot be a

truly "global" standard because half the examinees are Japanese. And also most of

examinees are limitedly from Eastern Asia, namely, Korea and Japan. Well, this kind of

makes sense though, when I remember how some of my gaikokujin friends did not

recognize the TOEIC test when I mentioned it ( I'd say, on the other hand, that

80% of adult Japanese would recognize "TOEIC [Tooikku ]" as some sort of

English test, no matter if they understood what it was really about ). But of course

many foreigners wouldn't bother with such tests because they are simply fluent

in English and well far beyond being "examined". .. Reasonably, English should

not be a competition or contest but a language. I guess it's a bit difficult sometimes for

many non-native English-speaking people on this forum, to understand our English-craze

for better scores in "global" English exams like TOEIC..?

..Well anyway, here are my questions.

Do you know TOEIC? And if you do, did you ever take the test? How would you evaluate

your English skills? Would you try to improve your English when/if you have no problem speaking it?

Thanks!

Edited by Amanogawa

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..Well anyway, here are my questions.

Do you know TOEIC? And if you do, did you ever take the test? How would you evaluate

your English skills? Would you try to improve your English when/if you have no problem speaking it?

Thanks!

Well, some of your basic assumptions are correct. I have never taken any such test to evaluate my English. Being American, our standardized language test is just part of the SAT or ACT (now on the decline) and this is how most colleges rate incoming applicants. I have rarely heard of any international test for regular hiring purposes, so for the most part it ends after high school for us. But for internatonal students the American standard is the TOEFL, a very similar acronym but I'm not sure what "FL" stand for here. It may be that the TOIEC and TOEFL are just European and American counterparts since Japanese English study is still mostly based on British English. If so, TOEIC would be the standard in Europe and elsewhere and TOEFL would be the standard in the U.S and nearly nowhere else. If memory serves, the scoring you mention matches TOEFL, so they may be matched up by some international body so that they can be used somewhat interchangeably.

I think the only reason I know of the TOEFL at all is that I went to a University with high percentage of International students and so TOEFL scores, studying to improve scores, abysmal acceptance standards at my school, etc. were fairly common conversation. I suppose had I gone to school in the barren Midwest, this acronym would have never crossed my radar. The most likely scenario I can propose in which an American would be required to take the TOEFL might be when studying abroad at an International University or High School which bases its courses in American English. That would be limited to, what? UAE and Saudi Arabia maybe?

However skewed it may be, most Intelligence Organizations (MENSA comes to mind) hold that for standardized testing, results can be applied via direct proportion to translate scores from one grading scale to another. In the case of IQ testing, which is not really a fixed linear scoring system, they would use Bell Curve models to transliterate scores between a standardized test (such as combined Math and Verbal SAT) into an estimated IQ range and accept members on this basis. So my 680 of 800 verbal SAT would translate into roughly 440 of 500 on your TOIEC, assuming both produce linear reults. Obviously distortions are most likely to occur on the extreme ends, probably near the 95th or even 99th percentile depending on the accuracy of the two tests in question. Not sure how 440 measures up for TOIEC, but a 680 verbal SAT is fairly high unless you're trying to get into law school or a prestigious academic program within an Ivy League school. Even then it's usually enough to make the cut if you show good grades and perform well on essay portions of your application. I would argue against the theory that the TOIEC cannot be truly representative of an International Standard as a result of its foreign sampling group. I base this on an assumption that the test administrators double-check their results against test-samples of native English speakers and probably do not use Foreign-generated results in any way to manage their grading scales for quality control.

In answer to your last question, I do not try to improve my English language skills via obvious or even conscious methods that are common for Foreign students: cramming, textbooks, phrasebooks, intensive study-guides, classroom environment and study groups, etc. I would hope that I am constantly growing the verbal components of my brain through diverse reading material, pseudo-academic pursuits, intelligent conversation and debate, and even through learning foreign languages, which can force you to look back on your native language with a more critical eye. Ideally, we should never really stop learning.

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i haven't heard of that in Greece.

We use the "Cambridge Proficiency in English" degree or the one of Michigan University. If we want a piece of paper that is aknowledged in post-graduate studies or just a job in another EU country we usually take the TOEFL test.

Personally i have the Cambridge one but when i got that (aged 15) i cannot say i spoke English that good. It's the thousands of comics i've read since then that helped me. An some 20-30 english books. Movies also helped but made my accent definately American.

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Here we can take TOEFL, and sometimes it's requirement if you apply for a job or a stipend. But since these things have best-before date (in other words, you have to retake them after a couple of years), I never did, because I never had to. If it was once-in-a-lifetime, like a driver's license, I would. But as it is, I'll pay for it only if I really have to.

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If so, TOEIC would be the standard in Europe and elsewhere and TOEFL would be the standard in the U.S and nearly nowhere else. If memory serves, the scoring you mention matches TOEFL, so they may be matched up by some international body so that they can be used somewhat interchangeably.
Thanks Kaiguma, for your answer. I reckon that TOEFL ( Test of English as a Foreign Language, if I remember correctly... I took it looooong time ago when I was studying in America ) is designed more for international students with English as the second language who hope to enroll in American ( of any English-speaking? ) school. TOEIC is focused more on general communications, I think, so, they would test you on more basic listening/reading skills mainly of everyday issues and basic business stuff.

As for scoring, as far as I have seen, there are untold "special" "long established" "uniquely designed""psychologically examined" methods they are using to "equate" the examinee's score with his essential ability. In short...honestly I don't know how they grade examinees, but it should be pretty much of deviation.

I would hope that I am constantly growing the verbal components of my brain through diverse reading material, pseudo-academic pursuits, intelligent conversation and debate, and even through learning foreign languages, which can force you to look back on your native language with a more critical eye. Ideally, we should never really stop learning.

Yes that would be ideal. I wish I could forget about my English textbooks and CD's crammed full of crazy words and phrases..! ...but then, I kind of like it when I struggle in the perverse gloss of English language ;-) . I guess it's a part of the joy of learning.

TOEIC is my main focus in work. I teach many classes on how to improve one's score. TOEIC is a completely unreliable judge of a persons English communication ability. It is more a test of how many words someone can remember. It's possible for a person who cannot hold a conversation in English to get a reasonable score. The lack of a decent interview segment is a big part of the problem.
Yes I saw Gunning Sensei in your school's homepage. :-)

They may have been awared of the deficiency though, as they started "TOEIC speaking/writing test" separately.

in other words, you have to retake them after a couple of years

I know..... I don't like it either. Feels like someone is chasing after me with a sign saying "TOEIC"! in his hand. (Neener, neener...)

Again, after reading aderechelsea's and Manekineko's notes here, I thought how REALyour English is. I mean, English is there blended with your life. You just use it because it's a language you would need/want to use. You're right Manekineko-chan. You simply don't have to take such tests.

Edited by Amanogawa

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Again, after reading aderechelsea's and Manekineko's notes here, I thought how REALyour English is. I mean, English is there blended with your life. You just use it because it's a language you would need/want to use. You're right Manekineko-chan. You simply don't have to take such test.

Your English(at least typed) is quite exceptional, as is the English of many non-native English speakers on this forum. I'm quite amazed at the lingual skills of many members. I know I don't have what it takes currently to speak, type, or even read with that kind of fluency in any other language. So (Dribbling...) and (Laughing...) and (Showing respect...) to all non native English speakers on the board!

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In my case (and I think I wrote about this before), there are couple of reasons why I write (and speak, I guess) reasonably good English...

1. talent ("ear") for languages

Hereditary. (Showing respect...)

2. exposure to written English at an early age.

My big brother bought comic books in foreign languages, and I wanted to read them. When he was in the army (so I must have been 7 at the time) he used to mail me short cartoonish lessons of English. I wish I knew where I put them... Some time later (I think I already had English in school, so I was 10 or so), I remember he gave me one Spiderman comic to translate. It was quite a chore, and since it involved Kraven the Hunter, I learned (among others) the word "beast". (Laughing...)

Since then my reading capabilities soared, and expanded from silly comics (with key words written in bold - wonderful!) to more serious comics (Swamp Thing by Moore, then other Moores, then Gaiman, then the Universe. (Dribbling...) ). And books: first SF, then literature, including complete Shakespeare. When I read that, I decided I knew English. :-)

3. exposure to spoken English daily

Luckily, Croatian TV doesn't sub foreign films and series. And it mostly airs American and British production. So slowly but surely English seeped into my ear as well. In time I even learned to tell various pronunciations apart. (I love Aussie accent!) By the time I started highschool (14) English at school was nothing but boring. I could understand 18th sonnet without explanation. I was capable of reading "Raven" aloud without stumbling at strange words...

I still have trouble with prepositions (at, in, by, of, for) and articles, of course. Prepositions because they are usually very different from language to language. And articles because there aren't any in Croatian. OTOH, since Croatian has pretty complex grammar (declinations and conjugations), I'm mostly at home there in other Indo-European languages. Learning German helped a lot with that, since there are nice chunks of similar grammar in German and Croatian (if you ignore strange placings of verbs in the sentence).

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Don't like TOEIC - tests passive language ability, not active, and mainly on business topics - too narrow. It was developed on request from a Japanese government agency (by the same folks responsible for TOEFL). The TOEFL is a better indicator of overall ability over a wider variety of situations.

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My big brother bought comic books in foreign languages, and I wanted to read them.

and now i read comics wtitten by your brother ...

(Grendel, Soldier X and Cable to name a few)

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like Nishi TOEIC is my bread and butter too, For me teaching TOEIC is not really about helping someone improve their comunication skills, sadly its all about teaching them how to do the test, how to recognize and anticipate different aspects, patterns and questions and the optimum approach to answering them.

Once you are familiar with the test you can start to start to approach its consistent formual with confidence.

I think there is a good 100 points in the test just by knowing how to do it effeciently, I have seen scores improve by that and more without much real improvement in the persons ability, they just got good at doing the test.

I agree with Otokoyama TOEFL is much better indicator of ability, you cant bluff it like you can in TOEIC, either you know it or you dont with TOEFL.

My Japanese friend in her 40's has been studying English for years her TOEIC score is 960 or something, she teaches TOEIC at a Juku and she she could the test in her sleep now. Her English is very good but she wouldnt pass for a native speaker (which 960 is pretty much is) and her TOEFL score if she took it wouldnt correlate to some elite level as her TOEIC does.

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Your English(at least typed) is quite exceptional, as is the English of many non-native English speakers on this forum. I'm quite amazed at the lingual skills of many members. I know I don't have what it takes currently to speak, type, or even read with that kind of fluency in any other language. So (Dribbling...) and (Laughing...) and (Showing respect...) to all non native English speakers on the board!

amen to that Gus, I frequently forget that the likes Of Manekineko, Doitsuyama, Asashosakari Kaikitsune and others are not native speakers/users of English.; their written English is lot better than many native speakers!

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My Japanese friend in her 40's has been studying English for years her TOEIC score is 960 or something, she teaches TOEIC at a Juku and she she could the test in her sleep now. Her English is very good but she wouldnt pass for a native speaker (which 960 is pretty much is) and her TOEFL score if she took it wouldnt correlate to some elite level as her TOEIC does.

It is my duty to reveal that Amanogawa scored 975 points in TOEIC. I bet she feels hazukashii that I revealed that but such is life! The fact is though that her spoken English is as good as her written. The only part she struggles at times is the classic L/R problem Japanese brains and tonques tend to have. "library" is nightmare word for her as it has l and r in same word as a difficult combo.

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and now i read comics wtitten by your brother ...

(Grendel, Soldier X and Cable to name a few)

(Laughing...) Grendel is his favorite, I think. It's certainly mine. Others (published in USA) were work-for-hire, that one was all his own and late Eddy's.

Edited by Manekineko

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I wonder if the daily use of the forum helps much? For myself being on the French forum has brought back stuff I had forgotten since the late 1980's which was when I last studied the language.

Any frequent use of language helps. French or Italian I can read, but I can't write (without extensive use of automatic translators). And all of them I learned from comics. That's why I bought that sumo manga from you - to improve my Japanese. (Laughing...) Do you have any more, BTW?

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I wonder why TOEIC is still so widely accepted by so many institutions worldwide. I guess companies and organizations which demand TOEIC score from their employees don't really require them to produce English (speak and write) as much as understand it.

Edited by alexiel

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On 25/05/2017 at 13:20, alexiel said:

I wonder why TOEIC is still so widely accepted by so many institutions worldwide. I guess companies and organizations which demand TOEIC score from their employees don't really require them to produce English (speak and write) as much as understand it.

Exactly. Nice to meet you.

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