Here is the answer to your question regarding going back to items. It does depend on the section of the test. It is allowed only in reading as the other ones there is no opportunity, so here it is:
Reading: Test takers can skip questions, go back to previous questions, and use a Review tool to see a list of the questions and their status (answered, not answered, or not yet seen).
Listening: Test takers must answer each question to proceed to the next one. Review is not allowed.
Speaking: Test takers must answer each question to proceed to the next one. Review is not allowed.
Writing: Two essays. Typing is required. Test taker cannot return to a previous essay.
Hi Lynn Schaefer,
RE: Some of my students will be taking it in a few weeks, and they asked me to give them a little workshop on test-taking strategies for the structure section of the test. My main question is whether or not a test-taker can skip a question and go back to it later, or return to a previously answered question to change the answer.
Response: Unless the test administration is timed, and without verbal restrictions from the test administrators to allow students to review their test, I don't see why test-taker (s) should be prohibited from reviewing their test before giving it back to the teachers or proctors. But if your students will be taking a computerized standardized test vs. paper/pencil, I would imagine the test would most likely be timed sensitive. Do you know why your students are asking for a test "structure" test-taking workshop? What kind of English test are you giving?
RE: I had a list of the most commonly tested grammatical structures on the TOEFL. I wonder if any of you have seen such a thing recently?
Response: Yes, TOEFL testing materials are widely used for English as a Second Language test-takers---primarily as an assessment to measure how much English students already know and don't know. You are asking if "grammar" is a part of TOEFL teaching materials---yes, it is. I am a believer grammar competency must be taught first and be mastered---since English dictates a descriptive method of learning the language. With that, TESOL educators assume the intellectual competency to teach: Reading; writing; listening; speaking---with eased. I'm glad you are asking opinion from colleagues on this platform---I had posted a similar question on this forum not too long ago, as well.