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Why should you take the TOEFL® test?


The TOEFL® test is an English language assessment that is often required for admission by English-speaking universities and programs around the world. In addition to being accepted at more than 11,000 institutions in over 150 countries, including Australia, Canada, and the US, TOEFL scores help you get noticed by admissions officers who consider the TOEFL test a more accurate measure of your ability to succeed in a university setting. For PR it is accepted in Australia by the Home Office and by Immigration New Zealand, it is also accepted by IRCC India for non-SDS student visas.

What is the TOEFL iBT® test content?

The TOEFL iBT® test has 4 sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. During the test, you’ll perform tasks that combine these 4 English communication skills, such as

  • read, listen and then speak in response to a question
  • listen and then speak in response to a question
  • read, listen and then write in response to a question
  • The total test takes about 3 hours to complete, but you should plan for 3½ hours, allowing 30 minutes for check-in.

What Is In the Reading Section?

The TOEFL iBT® Reading section is designed to assess how well you can read and understand the kind of materials used in an academic environment. It includes 3 or 4 reading passages, each approximately 700 words long, with 10 questions per passage. You have 54 to 72 minutes to answer all the questions in the section.
Reading passages are excerpts from university-level textbooks that would be used in introductions to a discipline or topic. The passages cover a variety of different subjects. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the topic of a passage. All the information you need to answer the questions will be included in the passage. There is a glossary feature available to define words not commonly used if you need it.

What Is In the Listening Section?

The TOEFL iBT® Listening section is designed to measure your ability to understand conversations and lectures in English. It includes listening for:

  • basic comprehension
  • pragmatic understanding (speaker’s attitude and degree of certainty) and connecting and synthesizing information
  • There are 2 types of listening items in the Speaking section — lectures and conversations. Both use campus-based language.
  • 3–4 lectures, each 3–5 minutes long, with 6 questions per lecture
  • 2–3 conversations with 2 speakers, each 3 minutes long, with 5 questions per conversation

You can take notes on any audio item throughout the test to help you answer questions. You have 41 to 57 minutes to complete the section.

What Is In the Speaking Section?

The TOEFL iBT® Speaking section is designed to measure your ability to speak English effectively in academic settings. It is composed of 4 tasks that resemble real-life situations you might encounter both in and outside of a classroom.

  • Question 1 is called an “independent speaking task” because it requires you to draw entirely on your own ideas, opinions, and experiences when you respond.
  • Questions 2–4 are called “integrated speaking tasks” because they require you to combine your English-language skills — listening and speaking, or listening, reading and speaking — just as you would in or out of a classroom.

You’ll get 15–30 seconds of preparation time before each response, and your response will be 45 or 60 seconds long.
To respond, you’ll speak into the microphone on your headset. Your responses are recorded and sent to ETS, where they will be scored by a combination of AI scoring and certified human raters to ensure fairness and quality. See the Speaking Scoring Guides (Rubrics) (PDF) for more information about how your responses are scored.
You have 17 minutes to complete the Speaking section.

What Is In the Writing Section?

The TOEFL iBT® Writing section is designed to measure your ability to write in English in an academic setting, and you’re expected to be able to present your ideas in a clear, well-organized manner.
There are 2 writing tasks.

  • Integrated writing task (20 minutes) — read a short passage and listen to a short lecture, then write in response to what you read and listened to.
  • Independent writing task (30 minutes) — write an essay based on personal experience or opinion in response to a writing topic.

You’ll type your responses on a computer keyboard. Responses are sent to ETS, where they are scored by a combination of AI scoring and certified human raters to ensure fairness and quality. You’ll have 50 minutes to complete the Writing section.

What Do Your Scores Mean?

You will receive 4 scaled section scores and a total score.

  • Each section has a score range of 0–30. These are added together for a total score of 0–120.
  • Each skill has 4 or 5 proficiency levels, so where your score falls within that range tells you your proficiency for that skill.

Skill Level

Reading Advanced (24–30)
high-intermediate (18–23)
Low-Intermediate (4–17)
Below Low-Intermediate (0–3)
Listening Advanced (22–30)
high-intermediate (17–21)
Low-Intermediate (9–16)
Below Low-Intermediate (0–8)
Speaking Advanced (25–30)
high-intermediate (20–24)
Low-Intermediate (16–19)
Basic (10–15)
Below Basic (0–9)
Writing Advanced (24–30)
High-Intermediate (17–23)
Low-Intermediate (13–16)
Basic (7–12)
Below Basic (0–6)

Do TOEFL scores expire?

Scores are valid for 2 years from your test date, so make sure to consider that in your plans. This is the same for the Home Edition test.

What skills are tested by the TOEFL test?

There are four sections in the TOEFL iBT ® test: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. All four skills are measured and scores are based on criteria set forth by ETS, the maker of the TOEFL test. The test measures your level of English proficiency in all four of these skills, and English-speaking institutions use your scores to determine if you would be able to succeed in their academic environment.

How often is the test given?

The TOEFL iBT test at test centers is given on predetermined dates, over 60 times a year, at thousands of secure, Internet-based test centers around the world. Select from a list of test locations and dates. (https://www.ets.org/toefl/centersearch ) . The TOEFL iBT ® Home Edition test is available 24 hours a day from Sunday – Wednesday in India.
For more information on registration, fees, test dates, and locations, visit us here. (https://www.ets.org/toefl/centersearch)

How do I register for the TOEFL test?

Online registration is the fastest, easiest method. You can enter a location where you want to test or use the TOEFL official app, and see what dates are available at test centers near you. Registration is available five to six months before the test date, but be sure to register early to reserve your seat.

What do I need to bring on test day?

The only item you must bring on test day is a valid, acceptable ID which in India is a valid passport. No mobile devices or other personal items are allowed in the testing room, lockers will be provided at the test centre to store your personal belongings.

I took the TOEFL test. When will I get my scores?

Scores are available online in approximately 6 days, and you can download a PDF copy of your score report within 8 days after your test date. If you elected to receive a paper score report during registration, it is mailed within 11 days. Delivery times vary based on your location.

How Is the Test Scored?

TOEFL tests are only scored by a centralized scoring network, never at the test center. The Reading and Listening sections are scored by computer. The Speaking and Writing sections are scored by a combination of automated AI scoring and multiple, highly trained human raters to:
offer a complete and accurate picture of your ability
minimize the rater bias that can occur with face-to-face interviews
ensure consistency and the highest quality

Can I retake the test?

You can retake the test as many times as you wish, but only once within any 3-day period.

Can I order additional score reports?

Yes, you can, for a fee. Keep in mind that your registration fee covers the cost of sending up to four official score reports to the universities, institutions, or agencies you select before you test, but for UK, EU, Ireland, Canada, NZ Universities you can just forward the score report to respective universities and they can verify your scores with the Online Score Verification System.

What score do I need to be accepted by a university?

There are no passing or failing scores for the TOEFL test. Universities and programs that accept TOEFL scores set their own score requirements based on specific English skills their students need to have. Therefore, score requirements can vary. It’s recommended that you contact the institution directly to fully understand the requirements. You can use the TOEFL® Destination Search ( https://www.ets.org/toefl/test-takers/#destination-search )to search for institutions that accept your TOEFL scores.

Does the institution I’m applying to require that I take the TOEFL test?

If an institution requires an English-language proficiency test for admission, it probably accepts TOEFL scores. Universities and programs set their own score requirements based on specific English skills their students need to have, so you should check with the institution directly about its score requirements.
The TOEFL® Destination Search ( https://www.ets.org/toefl/test-takers/#destination-search )is a great resource to find institutions that accept the TOEFL test and the scores needed for admission.

Additional Links:

Prepare for the Test: https://www.ets.org/toefl/test-takers/ibt/prepare
TOEFL Scoring Guide: https://www.ets.org/toefl/test-takers/ibt/resources/scoring
TOEFL TV: https://www.youtube.com/user/TOEFLtv
Improve your English Language Skills: https://www.ets.org/toefl/test-takers/ibt/resources/improve-skills
TOEFL Acceptance: https://www.ets.org/toefl/test-takers/#destination-search


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