About the TOEFL test

The TOEFL test (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is now mostly taken online (and is now commonly referred to as the TOEFL iBT (internet based test).

There are 4 sections to the TOEFL test – reading, writing, listening and speaking. In total, the test takes 4 and a half hours to complete.

In the TOEFL reading test, you have 60 to 80 minutes to answer between 36 to 56 questions. The time given to complete the test depends on how difficult the reading texts are and how many questions you need to answer. There are either 3 or 4 academic level texts.

The TOEFL listening test takes between 60 and 90 minutes, and is the longest listening test of all the major English language exams (the IELTS listening test takes only 25 minutes, for example). In the listening test, you will need to answer between 34 and 51 questions based on lectures, classroom discussion and academic conversations.

The speaking test takes about 20 minutes, and consists of 6 tasks. You will need to present option and talk about items you have read or listened to.

The writing test has 2 tasks, where you will need to write 2 essays. You will need to present and support your opinions, and you have 50 minutes to complete this section.

Frequently asked questions about the TOEFL test
Are there different types of TOEFL test?
What skills are tested?
What’s the structure of the test
Where can I take the test?
What’s the scoring system?
What’s the website to find out more or to book a test?
Who takes TOEFL?
How much does it cost?
How long are results valid for?


Are there different types of TOEFL test?
Yes – there is the paper based TOEFL and TOEFL iBT (internet based test). A third type of test – the CBT (computer based TOEFL) is now being phased out. There are significant differences between the two remaining types of TOEFL. See the structure of the test and scoring for more details.


What skills are tested in the TOEFL test?
In the paper based TOEFL, you are tested on reading, writing, listening and structure and written expression (this section of the TOEFL test assesses knowledge of structural and grammatical elements of standard written English). You can also take a speaking test – the TSE (Test of Spoken English).
In the TOEFL iBT, you are tested on reading, writing, listening and speaking.


What’s the structure of the TOEFL test?

TOEFL(paper based) TOEFL iBT
TOEFL Listening 50 questions. Total time is between 30 and 40 minutes. 4-6 lectures, some with classroom discussion; each 3-5 minutes long; 6 questions each. 2-3 conversations; each 3 minutes long; 5 questions each. 60-90 minutes 34-51 questions
TOEFL Reading 50 questions. Total time is 55 minutes. 3-5 passages from academic texts; approximately 700 words long; 12-14 questions per passage.60-100 minutes 36-70 questions
TOEFL Writing 30 minutes to write on 1 topic 2 tasks – 1 task to write based on what is read and listened to; 1 task to support an opinion on a topic. 50 minutes
TOEFL Speaking THIS IS NOT PART OF THE STANDARD PAPER BASED TOEFL – THIS IS AN ADDITIONAL OPTION CALLED THE TSE (Test of Spoken English)Tell a story based on a six-picture sequence and answer a related question; describe a graph and answer a related question; respond to two questions about ideas; respond to three questions in the role of someone in a workplace situation. 6 tasks: 2 tasks to express an opinion on a familiar topic; 4 tasks to speak based on what is read and listened to. 20 minutes

 


Where can I take the TOEFL test?
In some countries, you can only take the TOEFL iBT and in other countries you can only take the paper based TOEFL. In some countries, you have a choice of which type to take. See the main website to find out about specific countries.


What’s the scoring system in the TOEFL test?

Overall score Reading Listening Structure and Written expression*1 Writing Speaking
PBT 310-677 *2 31-67 31-68 31-68 1-6 *3 20-60*4
iBT 0-120 30 30 (this is not in the TOEFL iBT) 0-5 points converted to 0-30 score scale 0-4 points converted to 0-30 score scale

*1Structure and written expression – this section of the TOEFL test assesses knowledge of structural and grammatical elements of standard written English.
*2 The raw score for each section is converted by statistical means to a number on what is called the TOEFL test scale.

*3 The writing test is scored separately on the TRF (test report form).
*4 For a TOEFL score, you do not have to take a speaking test. However, there is an optional TOEFL speaking test called the TSE (Test of Spoken English).


What’s the website to find out more or to book a TOEFL test?
http://www.ets.org


Who takes the TOEFL test?
TOEFL scores are still widely accepted in the USA and other countries as proof of English for students wanting to study at university level in an English speaking country.


How much does the TOEFL test cost?
Paper-based TOEFL – $150 USD +the TSE (Test of Spoken English)- $125 USD
The TOEFL iBT – Prices vary depending on country, but generally between $140 and $200 USD. See the main website for specific prices.


How long are results from the TOEFL test valid for?

2 years

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