TOEFL and SAT Requirements for the US

Kathy Compagnon, at kathy@compagnon.biz, a US counsellor based in France who has helped many Florimont students apply successfully to top US universities, writes the following:

TOEFL – Or Test of English as a Foreign Language, is basically a grammar and usage test, administered by ETS (Educational Testing Services) and you can sign up on line at www.ets.org/toefl. Officially, most schools require that applicants whose native language and language of tuition is NOT English pass this exam. However, most will accept SAT I verbal scores of 600+ or 650+, depending on the school, in lieu.

IELTS is also acceptable. Scores should be at the high end. Check with each school.

If you have very low SAT scores, work to get top marks on the TOEFL as many schools will use it in place of or at least to calm the effects of low SATs in reading and writing (you have no excuse in math!).

IELTS in 1ère

If you are planning to apply to a UK or US university and need IELTS, you should  now identify a test date in Geneva (see Ielts) as well as a preparation day in Bern the week before.  Plan out when and how often you are going to take advantage of the 30 hour online course they give you when you register.  Obviously, you need to register to do this.  All this information is at http://www.britishcouncil.org/switzerland-english-ielts-preparing.htm – absolutely invaluable!

IELTS or TOEFL?

Just discussed IELTS with a current Terminale student.  He had work experience in the summer between 1ère and Terminale in London, so took the opportunity to do a week-long course at the Victoria School of English, near Sloane Square, London.

The course was very good, he said.  Most UK universities he asked said they preferred IELTS.  Also, because he was particularly good orally, he wanted to take an exam which rewarded that skill more (TOEFL is much less interactive in its online oral section).

The reading is very tough, he said – you have little time to read the texts.  Lots of practice is needed.

Writing was his weaker area, but he made up for it on the reading and oral, achieving overall a level 8 (out of 9) – more than enough to satisfy the very good UK universities he is applying for.

Case Study – Applying for an Early Entry Course

Earl Entry means that the UK deadline for applications is 15th October rather than 15th January of the following year.  Anyone applying to Oxbridge or for Medicine, Dentistry or Veterinary Science needs to be particularly good as regards organisation!

One such 1ère student is currently preparing to apply for Medicine.  She and her mother are in constant email contact with me, asking questions, checking possibilities and so on.

Both parent and child attended the recent information evening.  They are familiar with the Florimont blog d’orientation.  They already have a short list of 5 medical schools in the UK.

Today the student and I met for 15 to 20 minutes.  The student showed me a file full of information about the medical schools she is going to apply to.

We looked at the Norwich Medical School website, and I showed her how to copy and paste entry requirements (see below) and course profile information (see below) into a Word document.  She will do this for each medical school and email me the document by an agreed deadline. (1st Monday after the holidays).  She is also going to check IELTS test dates and preparation days using orientationflo.wordpress.com to find when these are.  I advised her to talk to current Terminale students who have already taken and passed IELTS to see where and how they prepared and passed the examination.

The student (as if this wasn’t enough to do!) will also create a Google Calendar and put on it the following information –

  1. Open days for the 5 Medical Schools
  2. Florimont examination dates
  3. IELTS preparation days & test dates
  4. The 3 hospital & medical « stages » she is going to do in the summer holidays.

She will then « share » this calendar with her mother and myself so we are aware of potential clashes, and what needs to be done when.

As you can see, lots of work is involved.  As usual, those who prepare and plan well in advance give themselves an advantage, and this is particularly important when applying to a very competitive course!

EXAMPLE OF ENTRY REQUIREMENTS – from http://www.uea.ac.uk/med/medicine-health-policy-and-practice/mbbs-medicine#requirements

  • A LevelAAA to include Biology (Excl. Gen. Studies & Crit. Thinking) plus AS level grade B in a 4th subject
  • International Baccalaureate34 points to include a minimum of 6 in HL Biology plus 6 in two other HL subjects
  • Scottish Advanced HighersAAA to include Biology plus a minimum of grade B in a fourth standard Highers subject
  • Irish Leaving CertificateAAAAAA in Higher subjects one of which must be Biology
  • Access CourseContact the Admissions Office for a list of accepted courses and grade requirements.
Students for whom English is a foreign language
For entry to the Medical degree for overseas/international students we require evidence of a high level English language qualification such as IELTS 7.5, with a minimum of 7.5 in each component, or an equivalent TOEFL score.
Special Entry Requirements
For this Medicine degree, ALL applicants (including graduates and mature students) need to take the UK-CAT Medical Admissions Test prior to submitting their application: see www.ukcat.ac.uk for full details.
  • Year 1
  • Year 2
  • Year 3
  • Year 4
  • Year 5
EXAMPLE OF COURSE PROFILE from http://www.uea.ac.uk/med/medicine-health-policy-and-practice/mbbs-medicine#profile
Essential Study (150 credits)
Students will select 150 credits from the following module(s).
Name Code Credits Period
Fitness to Practice – Year 1
MED-1FPY 1 Year Period
Integrative Period Year 1
MED-1B02 30 Semester 2
Locomotion
MED-1A02 60 Semester 2
The Human Lifecycle – A Holistic Approach
You will be introduced to a broad range of skills: topics include the human life-course, biological and behavioural sciences, consultation skills, and research methods. The science and behavioural science material will often relate to your week’s PBL case.more…
MED-1AL1 60 Semester 1

TOEFL in Geneva

A colleague from the International School has kindly informed me where their students take TOEFL.  Please keep me informed as you follow up these possibilities!

ICC center at GVA airport or in Carouge.
Look at et.org/toefl
Dates vary according to available computers.