TOEFL - Test of English as a Foreign Language

TOEFL, elaborated as the Test of English as a Foreign Language, is the most commonly accepted English proficiency test in Canada and the USA. It is a standardised test to measure the English language ability of non-native English speakers, mainly for college admissions in English-speaking countries.

TOEFL iBT(Internet-based testing), administered by the Educational Testing Service(ETS), is one of the most popular English proficiency tests taken by Indian students. ETS is a non-profit organisation operated by the American Council on Education, the College Entrance Examination Board, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

There are different TOEFL tests available for various age groups. TOEFL Primary®, TOEFL Junior®, and TOEFL ITP® exams in the TOEFL family are designed for students ages 8+, 11+, and 16+, respectively. TOEFL® EssentialsTM Test is a new addition to the TOEFL family, which can be considered a simpler version of the TOEFL exam. It tests English in academic and general settings for one and a half hours. One can take the TOEFL Essentials exam only from home under the supervision of a proctor.

One can take the TOEFL iBT exam in 3 different ways: at a test centre, at home, and on paper. The most preferred method by students is at a computer-based test centre. There are no limits or eligibility criteria for attempting the TOEFL examination. TOEFL score is valid for two years from the date of issue.


  • ETA has not issued any eligibility criteria to attempt the TOEFL exam. Aspirants of all ages can apply for the TOEFL exam.
  • Candidates planning to study in international universities for higher studies must have completed their 12th standard education to apply for universities with their TOEFL score.
  • Candidates of age 15 or younger should consider arriving at the test centre accompanied by a guardian, and they will be required to complete and sign a release form at the test centre. Both the candidate and the guardian must carry an acceptable and valid ID.
  • One can retake the exam as many times as one wishes. However, there must be at least three days between each attempt.


TOEFL consists of 4 sections:

  • Reading: This section contains 3-4 comprehension passages with about 40 questions.
  • Listening: This section contains 3-4 lectures(3-5 minutes each) and 2-3 talks(around 3 minutes each) with about 40 questions.
  • Writing: This section contains two tasks, i.e. an independent task and an integrated task(write, read & listen).
  • Speaking: This section contains four tasks, i.e. an independent task and three integrated tasks(write, read & listen).

Exam Pattern

  • The test duration of the TOEFL iBT at home and the test centre is about 3 hours.
  • The TOEFL iBT test on paper takes around two and a half hours for reading, writing, and listening sections at the test centre. The speaking section will be taken through a computer at home within 3 days after the main exam and monitored by a proctor.
  • The TOEFL PBT(paper delivered) test has not been effective since April 11, 2021.
  • The reading section consists of 30-40 questions with around 54-72 minutes allocated.
  • The listening section consists of 28-38 questions with around 41-57 minutes allocated.
  • The written section consists of 2 tasks with around 50 minutes allocated.
  • The speaking section consists of 4 tasks with around 17 minutes allocated.

Preparation & Practice Tests

  • The ETS, academies, and online portals provide handy resources for students. ETS also publishes guides and books that aspirants can purchase.
  • Candidates taking the TOEFL iBT home edition should have stable internet access and ETS Secure Test Browser downloaded and installed.
  • Take practice tests to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Spend more time practising sections you need clarification on.
  • Try taking a complete test in one sitting to know how long each section takes.
  • Familiarise yourself with the test patterns at different difficulty levels for better time management.

Registration & Exam

  • TOEFL iBT registration fee in 2023 is $190. The TOEFL iBT exam is offered in three ways:
  • At a test centre - It is the most preferred form of testing by students. It is conducted more than 60 times a year.
  • At home - It is the same as TOEFL iBT at the test centre but in the privacy of your home. It is available 4 days a week and 24 hours a day. Ensure your computer meets all the requirements and has ETS Secure Test Browser installed for the test.
  • On paper - This TOEFL iBT test takes 2 sessions, i.e. reading, writing, and listening sections on paper at the test centre, and the speaking section will be within 3 days after the main test and will be taken at home on candidates’ personal computers. The computer must fulfill all system requirements and have ETS Secure Test Browser installed for the test.
  • The official ETS website updates all test dates and centre schedules.
  • ETS has discontinued the TOEFL PBT(paper-delivered) from April 11, 2021.
  • TOEFL iBT registration can be done in 4 ways:
  • Visit the official TOEFL website or TOEFL official app and register by creating your profile and uploading all the required documents. This is the fastest way to register for the test.
  • Mail the application form after filling it out correctly and send all the essential documents and acknowledgements. The form must be sent at least 4 weeks in advance.
  • Call your TOEFL Regional Registration Center(RRC) and register for the exam. Registrations are closed 7 days before the exam.
  • Visit a TOEFL Regional Registration Center(RRC) in person to register for the test.

Results & Scoring

  • There is no pass or fail for the TOEFL exam. Educational institutions and different organisations set standard scores based on their requirements.
  • A score above 95-100 is good and safe for applying to numerous universities. The TOEFL score can be used for 2 years.
  • Candidates can request a score review for the speaking and writing sections for the TOEFL iBT home edition and at the test centre only. A score review can be requested only once. $80 is charged for reviewing one section and $160 for both sections.
  • The maximum possible score in the TOEFL iBT exam is 120.
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