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What is the TOEIC&Reg;?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 27 November 2016
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The TOEIC® is a kind of English-language test that is popular in some regions of the world. It is one alternative for measuring English proficiency for proving competence in the English language to employers, immigration officials, universities, and schools, or other parties. The TOEIC® is an exam that takes about three and a half hours. It features multiple choice questions in reading and listening comprehension, with extra activities for speaking and writing.

Where some other popular tests are geared toward academic goals, the TOEIC® is often used to assess the English proficiency as it relates to practical professional applications. This makes the TOEIC® a specialized kind of English proficiency test that has particular benefits in the international commerce environment.

Places where the TOEIC® is particularly popular include South Korea, Japan, and France; its effectiveness is often a topic of heated debate. France uses the TOEIC® in some cases for academic evaluations. In South Korea, experts contend that other tests are taking the place of the TOEIC®, as some officials have deemed it an inappropriate measurement of English proficiency. In Japan, this exam has also generated significant controversy over whether it is a good measure of English-language skills.

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The makers of the TOEIC® have billed it as primarily a business oriented type of exam. The company ETS, that is in charge of administering this test, notes that many employers around the world use it as an effective means of placing or ranking employees in terms of English language proficiency, which is often a desirable skill for international businesses. ETS contends that the TOEIC® “simulates” business situations well, and is an accurate marker of how well the individual can converse in English under general conditions related to commerce and business communications.

This test tailors its material toward specific real world business situations. For example, the listening skills tested on the exam can be the same as many skills useful in understanding videoconferencing or other business situations where non-native speakers might encounter the English language. Similarly, the reading skills showcased by those who do well on the TOEIC® can be useful in reading newsletters or other company communications in English. The TOEIC® is promoted to be a useful credential for employees of businesses with a multilingual, international scope, or businesses that want to reach out to client parties using English as a first language.

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