Advice from a TOEFL® test taker: Renata Holmann
Monthly accounts of other TOEFL® test takers' journeys to success.

Advice from a TOEFL® test taker: Renata Holmann

May 19, 2020

Meet Renata, an undergraduate studying communications and consumer psychology at a prestigious university on the east coast of the United States. Born and raised in Nicaragua, Renata grew up dreaming of studying in the U.S. one day. “I think the U.S. offers endless possibilities and opportunities,” she said. “I knew that I could study whatever I wanted and that I could not only develop new passions but explore the ones I already had.”

Tackling the Speaking Section
When Renata learned that her best chance of achieving her goals was taking the TOEFL® test, she started preparing for test day. While she was nervous about the speaking portion of the test, the format set her at ease. Unlike other tests, the TOEFL test uses an unbiased scoring system that combines AI technology with multiple human test raters who do not know the test takers’ identities. There are no interviews. So the only thing that counts is a test taker’s English-language ability and not where they test or who scores their test. “While preparing, I was pretty intimidated by the speaking section – but on test day it was very smooth and I felt relaxed throughout,” she said.

Gaining Confidence in the Classroom
Renata’s success on the TOEFL test gave her the confidence to succeed in her new academic surroundings in the U.S. “After seeing my scores and seeing that I did really well, I felt confident that I could thrive in a U.S. university and that I could speak up during lectures and have conversations with the people I was meeting,” said Renata.

A Better Test Experience
Students like Renata have recently benefitted from a better TOEFL test experience with added enhancements that include MyBest scores, reduced retest waiting time, a shorter test and a whole lot more. It’s now easier than ever to prepare for and take the TOEFL test. The enhancements are the same whether you take the test at a test center or choose the TOEFL iBT ® Special Home Edition, now available for a limited time.

Taking the TOEFL Test at Home
To help students like you continue pursuing their dreams in these uncertain times, ETS recently launched the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition. It’s the same fair and reliable TOEFL iBT test taken at a test center by Renata and countless others – now taken on your computer at home – and your scores are still good for two years. Thousands of students have already registered for at-home testing.

Preparing for the Test
To get you ready for the big day, there are plenty of resources at your fingertips. You can learn more about the TOEFL test and how it can prepare you to express yourself confidently in English. You can also explore schools worldwide that accept the TOEFL test and find official test prep materials to help you do your best, including the new free online practice test which mimics the testing experience you will have whether taking the test in a test center or from home.

Renata says taking the TOEFL test could be the most important thing you do for your future. “I would definitely recommend the TOEFL test to anyone who wants to study in the U.S.,” she said. 

Keep your academic plans on track. Take the first step – learn more about taking the TOEFL test at home!

Watch Renata’s story below.