Question: Do I Have To Learn American English To Take The TOEFL Exam?
Answer: No. You do not need to learn “American English” to take the TOEFL Exam.
Even though the exam was created by, and is administered by an American institution, it is understood that the people taking the exam will be from all over the world, and most will probably have been taught British English – so it is not necessary to use American English when taking the TOEFL iBT Exam. However, it has been stated in almost every text-book about the exam that if a person uses either British or American English, they should remain consistent throughout the exam. I am not sure why they would say such a ridiculous thing. Because:
1. This has absolutely no affect on The Reading or Listening Sections
2. The only way the people grading The Speaking Section would be able to tell the difference between the two is in reference to things that have a different common name in both British and American English. For example:
American: “Truck” / British: “Lorry”
American: “TV” / British: “Telly”
3. The only way the people grading The Writing Section would be able to tell the difference between the two is in reference to words such as above or in the use of certain words that are spelled differently between the two forms of English. For example:
American: “Color” / British: “Colour”
American: “Behavior” / British: “Behaviour”
Why This Is Something You Should Not Worry About
You already have enough things to worry about in life without having to worry about whether or not you are remaining consistent with your use of British or American English throughout The TOEFL Exam. And to be able to do such a thing, according to what the other text-books say, you would have to learn both forms of English… So it makes absolutely no sense. Furthermore, when a person learns English, he or she learns certain words which represent certain things. A person doesn’t call a “Truck” a “Lorry” (or vice versa) in one sentence, and then switch to the other word in a different sentence. They learn one word for it, and that is usually the word they stick with forever (unless they move to another country and develop the habits of that country… but that does not apply here.) The same is true for spelling. When a person learns how to spell a word, that is the way that person will spell it for probably the rest of his or her life.
So… DO NOT WORRY ABOUT THIS!!! If you see the warning about this on any blog or website, or printed in a book somewhere – simply disregard it. It is just another way of causing you un-due stress which you do not need. This situation is already taken care of by the very nature of how humans actually and naturally learn… (not by the way the text-books “teach”)… so you’re covered 😉
And if you have any questions, feel free to ask any time.
Have An Excellent Day!