At school, I often wondered why my English is judged by tasks I would not even be able to solve in German. Like listening and repeating historic facts, or conversations I just heard, or expressing my opinion on a topic I do not care about. I hated that.
Well, today I had my "Internet Based TOEFL
". Before it started, I had to sign a form, and copy (!!!) an agreement, explicitly not in printed form (I hope they can read Sütterlin
). If I understood correctly, this agreement forbids to give information on the contents of that test, which is why I cannot share any examples. Because you know, if I did so, the prices for training materials could decrease - heaven forbid!
So there I was, finally, at a time as early as 9.30, after I had to take the train from Munich to Nuremberg, because there were no free places for a test in Munich at a sufficiently early date. Having payed 250 Euros to be allowed to talk to a computer for about 4 hours.
A few instructions on where to put my baggage, a quick check of my passport and a bad webcamshot of my face without glasses later, I was sitting in front of a screen on which my tired face smiled back at me - what an amazing technology! All that was missing now was the supervisor logging me (and the other students who have gathered there) into that system, and a quick calibration of the headset and the microphone.
The "reading section" began. And it was similar to the questions I saw in practice exams before - except that the text was shitty, and I could not have cared less about its topic. Same for the second text. The third one was better, though. Also, no luck with the topics in the "listening section". Some stupid questions about details that I did not consider meaningful while listening, but in general, I think it went good for me.
Then a break for 10 minutes - I actually do not see any reason why it is not possible to pause the test at another time. I mean, sometimes people need to go to the toilet or something. Whatever.
As all the people needed about the same time, the blabbering began - all students started with the "speaking section". I was a few seconds slower than my neighbour, which is why I could hear her start talking while I still had to prepare my answer, which was very distracting! You are asked about two "familiar topics" - which were both topics I have never thought about. So I came up with some shit I could make up during the twenty seconds of preparation time and tried to make the best out of it.
I mean, come on, what the fuck? I already gave talks about complicated scientific topics in English. You always find time to think about your answer for a minute. And this is an exam situation!
However, after the "writing section" was finished, I could finally leave. Some other students also left. All of us agreed on these tests being a rip-off. For 250 Euros, you could afford a real teacher testing you. At an appointment that fits you. Under fairer testing conditions.