What is TOEFL?

Are you interested in studying at an English language university or college? Were you educated in a language other than English? Then the institutions that you apply to will probably require proof of your English proficiency. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is one of the best recognized English proficiency tests. In particular, it is widely accepted by educational institutions in the United States of America.

Note: There are changes to come on the TOEFL iBT test in August 2019.

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What exactly does TOEFL assess?

TOEFL assesses a person’s ability to speak and understand English. The test does this by assessing a person’s English ability in terms of reading, speaking, listening and writing since these are skills that a student needs to succeed in an academic environment. Universities and colleges use your test results for TOEFL to determine if you would be able to succeed in studies conducted in English i.e. would you be able to write an essay, follow a lecture or participate in a discussion in English.

American flag in the wind.

How is TOEFL administered?

Nowadays, the TOEFL test is typically given in the form of an online test. However, in some locations a test center may not have a reliable internet connection, or there may be some other factors involved; therefore, a paper-based version of TOEFL is given.

What are the two versions of TOEFL like?

Internet version (TOEFL iBT)

  • There is a reading section: 60-100 minutes. It will have three to five reading passages, containing 12-14 questions each.
  • There is a listening section: 60-90 minutes. It will have six to nine listening passages, containing 5-6 questions each.
  • There is a speaking section: 20 minutes. There are six spoken tasks to do.
  • There is a writing section: 50 minutes. It has two tasks that a test candidate needs to do. There are two tasks: integrated writing and independent writing. Integrated writing involves taking notes, summarizing and organizing information from a reading and a short lecture. The independent task is an essay of 300 words on a given question.

Paper-based version (TOEFL PBT)

  • There is reading section: 60 minutes. It has three reading passages. Each passage has 14 questions.
  • There is a listening section: 60 minutes. There are two conversations and four lectures with 5-6 question for each part.
  • There is a writing section: 50 minutes. There are two tasks: integrated writing and independent writing. Integrated writing involves taking notes, summarizing and organizing information from a reading and a short lecture. The independent task is an essay of 300 words on a given question.
  • There isn’t a speaking section for the paper-based version of TOEFL.

Note that there is also a TOEFL Junior version that exists.

Do I need to take a TOEFL test?

TOEFL is usually taken by students who are planning to study at a university abroad and by students or workers who are applying for visas. In particular, TOEFL is used in the U.S.A. and countries that have close relations with the American education system. Always check with the educational institution, employer or visa requirements of a country for details regarding the needed test scores. Others tests can help students go study abroad, like the TOEIC or the IELTS. Check out the differences between TOEIC and TOEFL IBT to make the right choice.

What about TOEFL results?

Normally, for TOEFL iBT, test candidates receive an email to inform them when their scores are available. This is approximately 10 days after the test date. Log on to your TOEFL iBT account on the TOEFL registration website. Then click “View Scores” on your home page to see your scores.

Dashboard on computer with results.

For the paper- based version of TOEFL, approximately 5 weeks after you take the test, a test taker score report will be sent to you.

The results of both test versions are valid for two years after you sit for the test. It’s very important to make sure that you take the TOEFL test in time for your application, especially if a test result is part of the entry requirements.

How much does TOEFL cost?

The cost of the TOEFL test varies from country to country. Prices can range from US$160 to US$250. It may not be cheap, but think of it as an investment in your future.

Where can I take a TOEFL test?

Tests are conducted throughout the year around the world. The TOEFL iBT is by far the most frequently offered version of the test. There are around 4,500 test centers in over 160 countries. You should be able to find a location near you.

Go to the official TOEFL website to find a location: https://www.ets.org/toefl

We also have written some articles to help you find test centers in Canada, in Germany, in Belgium, in Switzerland, in Ireland, in UK, in the US, in China, in Manila, in Brazil and in Netherlands.

Do you have any test taking tips?

In short, practice English. Read a lot. There is an abundance of material online to guide you. There are a number of excellent textbooks that you could borrow or buy for practice tests and tips. TOEFL preparation courses are offered in many cities. Take one of them as it will be invaluable. Be consistent in your efforts and set realistic goals for yourself. On GlobalExam, you will have access to many resources for your preparation, such as vocabulary and grammar study sheets, or information about the test format. You can track your progress and check the corrections for each exercise.

BECOME A GLOBAL PLAYER :  Register now for free and discover the largest online database of TOEFL exercises – free exercises, more than 30 mock exams, 120 training hours and 3,000 questions – all on the TOEFL format. Start with a free TOEFL sample test!

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