Attaining C1-level Scores in TOEFL iBT: From Challenges to Needs

Document Type : Original Research Article


Universidad Nacional de Educación (UNAE)


This study sought to identify the challenges and needs of TOEFL iBT candidates in achieving C1 level scores in the speaking and writing sections of the exam. To this end, the researcher employed a mixed-method approach to collect data from a population of 46 students, both male and female, between the ages of 22 to 30. The participants were enrolled in two TOEFL preparation classes at Universidad Nacional de Educación. The data were collected through a survey, class observations, and TOEFL speaking and writing mock tests, and were subsequently analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The findings indicated that the participants encountered challenges in discussing unfamiliar topics fluently, struggled with producing language at the C1 level while employing a variety of grammar and vocabulary, and demonstrated reduced accuracy due to influences from their first language (L1). To address these challenges, it is recommended to offer a bridging course prior to exam preparation courses wherein the primary focus is devoted to enhancing candidates’ accuracy and communicative competence in discussing unfamiliar topics through corrective feedback. The findings of this study could offer valuable insights to TOEFL iBT test preparation instructors, enabling them to better understand the challenges students face and plan strategies to address these challenges effectively within preparation courses.