About the TOEFL

What Is The TOEFL?

The TOEFL test is a widely recognized test that measures non-native speakers’ ability to understand and use English at the university or higher education level. Many universities, colleges, and agencies in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and elsewhere accept TOEFL scores and use them as part of their admissions procedures.

The test, which is administered by ETS, comes in two formats: (1) the TOEFL iBT, which is internet based, and (2) and the paper-based TOEFL PBT. Most test centers today will use the internet based version.

How Is The TOEFL Scored?

The TOEFL iBT test consists of four separate sections. These are geared towards testing listening, reading, speaking, and writing skills:

  • Reading – Measures the ability to understand rhetorical functions and requires test-takers to answer detailed questions about a text or complete tasks such as filling out tables or completing summaries.
  • Listening – Measures the ability to understand the short conversations, discussions, and lectures.
  • Speaking – Measures speaking abilities by requiring test-takers to orally answer questions that refer to texts or conversations with which they are presented.
  • Writing – Measures academic writing skills by requiring test-takers to write a summary of a text and lecture as well as by way of a short essay.

How Is The TOEFL iBT Scored?

Each of the TOEFL iBT test’s four portions – the Reading Section, the Listening Section, the Speaking Section, and the Writing Section – are scored on a scale from 0-30. Thus, the maximum total score amounts to 120 points.

While there is no minimum score to pass the test, universities and higher education institutions often set their own minimum score that they require applicants to meet. In addition, these requirements often refer not only to the total score but also to minimum scores for each section of the test.

Where and When Can I Take The TOEFL?

With more than 4,500 test centers around the world, the TOEFL is very widely available. Tests are administered frequently and there are no limits to the number of times the test can be taken.

Information on where the test is offered and what the test dates are for individual countries can be found on the official TOEFL Test Centers and Dates page. TOEFL test-takers can register online, by phone, or in person at one of the TOEFL iBT Resource Centers.

What Study Guides Can Help Me Prepare?

See our reviews of the best TOEFL study materials, if you are interested in additional resources, browse all available TOEFL exam prep books.

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