My Experience of TOEIC Exam

This should be a normal Saturday morning if there was no TOEIC exam. I should have waked up late in the morning to see the highly raised sun if there was no TOEIC exam. Unfortunately, this is the date for me to take it.

I still remember the time when I was preparing for TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). TOEFL has been popular in students in China for ten years. There are also hundreds of training centers helping people to prepare for the TOEFL test. I remember I attended TOEFL classes for half year before I took the exam.

TOEIC, which also comes from ETS (English Testing Services (R)), seems less famous. I heard about this term about three months ago. I thought it is some company internal test and later, I found out it comes from ETS, but much more informal. It is not only because it can be held in the examinee’s company, but because of other factors I will explain later.

Before the Exam

The exam started at 9:30 AM today and ended at 12:06. It was told to bring a 2B pencil and rubber. I thought it maybe some casual exam like others held within the company, but I was wrong.

The door of the training room was locked tightly and all the examinees waited outside the door – I have never waited like this in the company. :-) And at 9:30 sharp, the door opened and a good looking girl I don’t know appeared at the entrance and checked ID card and the exam permit carefully one by one. She was really careful with the numbers and the faces (the real person and the picture on the ID), as if she has never seen a China National ID card before. This took about 10 minutes along. People were also asked to take out the mobile phone and turn it off before her. This is stricter than that on a airplane. :-)

Later I found this is the only staff from the testing center. The others all come from the company. On the board hang large poster about TOEIC, however, the poster is obviously localized with the URL of TOEIC test center in China: http://www.toeictest.com.cn I just checked this site and it is quite simple, slow and unprofessional.

The Exam

To me, TOEIC is still somewhat simple – although I cannot guarantee a high score, but the listening conversation and the reading sections are relatively easier than TOEFL. I am not sure if everyone thinks so – is it because I took TOEFL 5 years ago while my English improved during the half decade?

This is the most unprepared exam in my life. Before this morning, I even didn’t know how many sections in the exam. I roughly read the reading section of a sample exam for the first time between the 9:00 AM to 9:30 AM time window before the exam. I took some preparation sessions for the listening comprehension at work before. In the short 30 minutes, I learnt that there are three sections in the reading part – choosing the right answer to complete a sentence, correcting mistakes in a sentence and understand short business paragraphs.

The 100 listening comprehension questions were hard work for me. I kept concentrated on the tape for 30 minutes, or longer, who knows…. I just felt very hard to find out the right oval on the answer sheet because the answer sheet was so compact that everything clustered together.

After I finished the exam, I feel not bad. The result will come out in two weeks.

TOEIC is Not Good Organized and Not Professional

Personally, I think TOEIC is not a professional test. There is a gap between the standards TOELF and TOELF/GRE.

  • Registration. I almost lost my chance to take the exam since my national ID card number was wrongly printed on the Entrance Permit. It turned out to be the mistake of the test center.
  • Answer sheet. I always believe the TOEFL/GRE test is very good at usability design. The [STOP] and the [Go to the next page] instructions are very considerate. But in TOEIC answer sheet, question number 101 to 199 were simply marked as number 1 to 99 on the test exam. The only difference is, one is on the upper side and other is on the lower part. I felt very strange and uncertain to put my answer for question No. 139 into the question 39 on the answer sheet. It does not look like an answer sheet from ETS.
  • The print. The small logo (about 200*60 pixel) on the answer sheet was not clear, and was obviously enlarged from a much smaller one, so the resolution was not good.
  • The website. Either TOEIC or TOEICTEST.COM.CN were not satisfactory.

Well. I believe there is still some way for TOEIC to go in China – to be more professional. BTW, China is not updated on the list of TOEIC’s Taking Test web page yet.

More about TOEIC in Shanghai

In case you are curious, the expense to attend a TOEIC exam is about 70 USD or 600 RMB. The full score is 990 and lowest is 10.

28 thoughts on “My Experience of TOEIC Exam

  1. It is very interesting to attend kinds of english exam.We must keep learning english everyday,but the english exam is the only way to measure the level.So I tool kinds of test,including IELTS,PET,TOEFL.If I have chance,I will try the TOEIC.Thanks for your information.

  2. Right,Practicing i believe is the best way to help us improve english.But sometimes Exam can let us have some motivation to study it.

  3. Toufu, sounds just like TOEFL ^^, your remark is great! The result can only tell us the result, but the most important is the process, although it sounds a little self ?consoling. Wait a minute, it sounds somehow so familiar ?Oh, now I recalled, isn’t that what the typical punch line of a love story says? ^^

    Talking about TOEIC, I see it is very popular here in Japan as well as TOEFL, there is public individual test every month held in more than a dozen places around the country. While TOEFL is the test for those who seek the way to learn in English ?bloc universities, TOEIC is a name card for those are coming by a job required English skill. As a matter of fact, almost a bulk of companies ask for your TOEIC score here, when they are recruiting. So, it is increasingly said to be involved in the scope of IQ, intelligence quotient. I believe in the short coming days TOEIC individual program will also spread in China. By the way, here is the exchange formula told by ETS, TOEIC scores * 0.348 + 296 = TOEFL scores, which means TOEIC 860 points is similar as TOEFL 600 points ( the old paper test), while TOEIC 730 is TOEFL 550. Xiao wang, now you can compare your scores after you got it two weeks later with your TOEFL scores taten 5 years before. If it get improved, might you want to think to stop complaining of TOEIC? Anyway it is a free lunch to you now. ^^

  4. Isaac, I do think the TO~ is one of the best way to measure the knowledge of English skill. The training and certification system are always two completely seperated systems, just like MCSE training and MCSE Certification are held by CTEC and the testing cetner seperately. TO~ cannot improve one’s skill – only training and learning will, but it will measure. The questions were well designed and I think the results reflects people’s skill.

    For the unreasonably high score of Chinese students on TOEFL, it is an exception.

  5. i think it’s reality that there is no exam can 100% exactly measure a given skillset.

    likewise, i believe there must be no metrics can 100% exactly measure the quailty of code, document, or personal performance.

    //shrug

    anyway, GRE and TOEFL is one of the best english exam in my opinion: fair, acceptable, repeatable. although they are not perfect, but better than nothing.

  6. I ever took TOEIC in Japan and even don’t know it’s from ETS until now. It’s popular in Japanese companies. I forgot how many I scored, but do remember I got $150/per month TEATE from the score.

  7. TEATE is a Japanese word that may be Subsidy in English. The wage system in Japan is totally different from that in the US. You might feel upset when you get your first month payment, but wait a while, you will be happy at the end of a year. Usually, bonus is paid twice a year and lots of TEATE (Subsidy) will be added to your paycheck. Besides, you pay only a fifth for your expensive apartment and the company will pay other four fifths.

  8. >>I was told to bring a 2B pencil and rubber.

    Since your article is about an English test, I hope you don’t mind if I mention common (American) usage:

    rubber

    ======

    we say a “rubber” to refer to a condom and

    eraser

    ======

    a tool (made from ?) to remove pencil marks

    Anyway, congratuations!

  9. Hi there,

    Your blog was very informative.

    I will be in ShangHai in the next 6 months and I’m interested in taking the TOEFL and TOEIC exams. Hope you can tell me where the testing centers are in Shang Hai and when are the test dates. (Their website is not too helpful)

    Thanks! I’m sure you are able to help a lot of people by posting useful information and relevant experiences.

  10. like TOEFL;TOEIC KIND OF EXAM COULD BE PLAY A VERY CRUCIAL RULE IN THE POSITIVE FAVOUR TO DECREASE THE UNEMPLOYMENT 4 THOSE WHO JUST FEAR OF LOSING COMMITING MISTAKE

  11. You may say Toeic is less popular than Toefl. It is because Toeic is a newer English test version and you see, English exams are always much more engaged with students who want to study abroad of all fields since it is the requirement of most universities while not most of companies need an English certificate from applicants, it depends on the position of the job. Therefore, less or more popular, I think, has nothing to do with it.

    I also had to take Toeic exam for my MBA graduation because my Toefl score just expired.

  12. A totally cool TOEIC preparation website for all those wishing to prepare for the TOEIC or improve their score. http://www.toeic-vorbereitung.com/ has thousands of TOEIC questions covering all parts of the original and redesigned TOEIC. There is a unique tool called the performance monitor that shows you your current TOEIC level and also your TOEIC level for each part and question type in the TOEIC. After you answer the questions, you can review the ones you had wrong and learn your mistakes. The site is also full of useful tips and advice for doing the TOEIC and even has explanations showing how you are being tested. It also has an English learning area with exercises and games for learning English grammar, vocabulary and idioms. All this is supported by your own personal trainer that you can email with questions and advice, or if you are shy, forget about, he won’t bother you. Best now for you to go and look at it.

  13. HELP. Anybody who knows WHERE and WHEN can I take the TOEIC exams? I’m presently residing at Dongguan City, Guangdong.

  14. TOEIC Preparation Online. (www.onlineenglish.eu)

    See your TOEIC Level, See where you need to learn, see your progress and see your improvement. Over 2000 TOEIC questions covering each part of the TOEIC test. Personal trainer. Separate areas for learning English grammar and vocabulary and improving listening comprehension.

    We are an Authorized TOEIC Test centre, administrators and supervisors. We also have trainers teaching locally in the Hamburg area, helping companies to improve their international language skill using English. Our trainers are professionals, most with solid business and engineering background, therefore allowing us to compliment our services with educated English language training in the fields of international business and engineering. Additionally we operate an online TOEIC preparation website and an online Instant English proficiency testing system, scoring under the European Common Framework, for the location of English need, the assessment of level and immediate reporting on job applicant language competency. Our school is

    We are an Authorised TOEIC Test centre, administrators and supervisors. We also have trainers teaching locally in the Hamburg area, helping companies to improve their international language skill using English. Our trainers are professionals, most with solid business and engineering background, therefore allowing us to compliment our services with educated English language training in the fields of international business and engineering. Additionally we operate an online TOEIC preparation website and an online Instant English proficiency testing system, scoring under the European Common Framework, for the location of English need, the assessment of level and immediate reporting on job applicant language competency. Our school can be found under Hamburg-English, Hamburg in Google. Hamburg-English, Hamburg.

  15. hi

    I gave a Toeic exam of 22 feb 2009, but I dont know how to see the result , will u please provide me

    my score if i give u a my exam no.

  16. Hi Jian Shou Wang,

    Thanks. Yr blog is informative. I’m just checking out what TOEIC is like, and practising some samle tests on line. I took the IELTS exam 5 years ago. In my opinion, I find TOEIC is not as difficult as IELTS. Anyway, I just want to be prepared if my company asks to take the exam.

  17. Hello everyone!
    There is a new cool app on AppStore to practice TOEIC test:
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/toeic-test-simulator/id594472943
    It’s an iOS application that is basically a simulator of the TOEIC test. Users of the app can select two modes: Practice and Exam. In the practice mode TOEIC candidates can practice separate skills and sections of the TOEIC and see the correct answers and transcripts. In the exam mode users can complete all 200 questions under real TOEIC conditions.
    The basic features of the app are free, the additional are paid. Check it out!

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