All About the TOEFL Test: Everything You Need to Know

Exam , photo

If you plan to study or work in an English-speaking country, you may need to take the TOEFL test. This test assesses your English skills in academic settings.

Here, we’ll discuss everything about the TOEFL test, including its purpose, structure, and tips for success. Whether you are a student or a professional, being ready for the TOEFL can greatly impact achieving your goals.

Overview of the TOEFL Test

History of the Test

TOEFL websiteThe TOEFL test has a long history dating back to the mid-20th century. Originally created in the 1960s by the College Board and the Educational Testing Service (ETS), it assessed the English-language skills of non-native speakers applying to English-speaking universities.

Throughout the years, the TOEFL test transitioned from paper-based tests (PBT) to computer-based tests (CBT) and eventually to the internet-based test (iBT) format in use today. Technological advancements influenced these changes and the need for more comprehensive testing methods that covered reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills.

Key milestones in the history of the TOEFL test include the launch of the TOEFL iBT test in 2005, updates in test procedures and policies, and the creation of the TOEFL Exemption Policy by ETS. These events have greatly shaped the evolution of the TOEFL exam, establishing it as a trusted assessment tool for measuring academic English proficiency for international students worldwide.

Different Test Formats

The TOEFL test has different formats to suit different needs: TOEFL iBT, TOEFL PBT, and TOEFL CBT.

TOEFL iBT focuses on four language skills: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. TOEFL PBT emphasizes reading comprehension, listening comprehension, and structure and written expression.

It’s important for test takers to know these differences and choose a format that matches their strengths and preferences.

TOEFL iBT scores range from 0 to 120, with each section scored separately. This allows test takers to see how they performed in each skill area.

On the other hand, TOEFL PBT scores range from 310 to 677, combining scores from listening, structure and written expression, and reading sections.

Understanding these score ranges helps test takers set realistic goals and work effectively towards achieving them.

Understanding Test Scores

TOEFL iBT Test Scores

The TOEFL iBT test scores range from 0 to 120. Each section (reading, listening, speaking, and writing) is scored on a scale of 0 to 30 points.

These scores show how well someone knows English. Many English-speaking universities and institutions worldwide used them.

Compared to other English tests like IELTS, Duolingo English Test, and Cambridge Assessment English, TOEFL iBT scores are a good way to see a test taker’s language skills.

The organization that makes TOEFL is ETS. After taking the test, ETS gives scores to test takers in 6-10 days. Test takers can view their scores online and get feedback on reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills.

This detailed feedback helps test takers know what they are good at and what they need to work on in academic English.

Paper-based Test Scores (PBT)

The Educational Testing Service determined Paper-based Test Scores for the TOEFL exam . They calculate scores based on correct answers in the reading, listening, and writing sections. These scores are given to test takers and institutions.

The significance of PBT is rooted in its historical importance as one of the original TOEFL test formats. Alongside Computer-based Tests and the latest Internet-basedtests , PBT has a place in TOEFL’s history.

Although iBT has become the standard format for assessing all language skills, including reading, listening, speaking, and writing, PBT is still available in regions where computer-based testing is not possible. PBT scores remain valuable for individuals seeking TOEFL exemption for English-language proficiency requirements.

Even with iBT’s prevalence, PBT is a legitimate choice for test takers in certain regions, like Mainland China.

Accepted TOEFL Score Ranges

Accepted TOEFL score ranges for undergraduate programs in the US typically range from 60 to 100 for the iBT test, 173 to 263 for the computer-based test, and 500 to 677 for the paper-based test.

For graduate programs, score ranges vary by field of study. For instance, engineering programs may require higher scores in reading and listening than humanities programs.

International students aiming for employment opportunities in the US generally need TOEFL scores between 80 to 100 for the iBT test. These scores reflect proficiency in reading, listening, speaking, and writing in English.

Achieving these score ranges shows that test takers have the language skills needed to thrive in English-speaking university settings.

Additional Testing Information


TOEFL ITP Tests are mainly used for institutional or internal assessment, not for university admissions. They evaluate reading, listening, and language skills. Unlike the TOEFL iBT test, they do not include a speaking section. These tests assess non-native English speakers’ proficiency in academic English environments. While TOEFL iBT and PBT tests cover reading, listening, speaking, and writing, TOEFL ITP Tests focus on reading and listening comprehension.

Test takers who want to assess their English skills for academic purposes may choose TOEFL ITP Tests to see if they are ready for English-speaking universities. It’s important to know the specific requirements of the institution or organization that accepts TOEFL ITP Test scores to decide if this test format is right for individual needs.

TOEFL Junior Tests

The TOEFL Junior Tests are for young test takers to check their English skills. They are different from tests for adults like TOEFL iBT and TOEFL ITP. The TOEFL Junior Tests focus on students in primary and secondary school.

Test takers are evaluated on reading, listening, speaking, and writing. This shows how well they know English in an academic setting.

Scores for the TOEFL Junior Tests differ by section. Each score range corresponds to a different language proficiency level.

Like other TOEFL exams, the TOEFL Junior Tests assess a test taker’s language skills comprehensively. It helps them prove they are ready for academic English in English-speaking universities.

TOEFL Primary Test

The TOEFL Primary Test is made for young students learning English as a second language. It’s different from other TOEFL tests like the TOEFL iBT or PBT, which adults usually take.

This test looks at reading, listening, and language skills in a way that’s right for younger learners. The passages and exercises are interesting and fit students’ age levels.

To get ready for the TOEFL Primary Test, students should:

  • Set up their test environment right
  • Have the needed equipment
  • Get familiar with how the test works

It’s important to dress properly, follow the rules, and avoid tech problems on test day for a good experience. By focusing on these things, young students can feel ready for the TOEFL Primary Test and show their English skills well.

Relation of TOEFL iBT Scores to Other Scores”}, { “type”: “h2”, “text”: “TOEFL Test at Home

TOEFL iBT scores can be compared to scores on other standardized English-language proficiency tests. Examples include IELTS, Duolingo English Test, and Cambridge Assessment English.

Test takers often compare their TOEFL scores to these exams to accurately gauge their language skills. The TOEFL iBT scoring system covers sections like reading, listening, speaking, and writing. This allows for a thorough assessment of language abilities.

For non-native speakers, achieving proficiency in each of these areas is crucial for success in English-speaking universities. Institutions often have specific score requirements for different programs. TOEFL iBT scores play a significant role in determining eligibility.

Understanding how TOEFL scores relate to academic English language requirements can help international students navigate the admission process smoothly. The Educational Testing Service oversees the TOEFL exam. They ensure that test day procedures and technical issues are handled efficiently for test takers worldwide.

Equipment Requirements and Checklist

Test-takers preparing for the TOEFL Test at Home should have the following ready:

  • Ensure you have a reliable computer or laptop with a working camera and microphone for the ETS system.
  • Have a stable internet connection.
  • Use headphones or earphones.
  • Prepare a working printer for test materials.
  • Create a quiet testing environment with proper lighting.
  • Do a system check before the test day to confirm all equipment works.
  • Familiarize yourself with testing procedures and resolve any technical problems beforehand.

These steps help minimize disruptions and allow you to focus on the TOEFL test sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing.

Getting Assistance and Interacting with Proctors

During the TOEFL test, test-takers can ask for help from proctors. They can use a chat function that is available during the exam for this purpose.

This feature lets them talk to proctors if they face any problems or need explanations during the reading, listening, speaking, or writing sections.

When talking to proctors, test-takers should follow the rules to ensure a smooth test experience. This means following the policies of ETS, the organization that conducts the TOEFL test, and respecting the proctors’ instructions.

If there are technical problems during the online TOEFL test, test-takers can contact proctors for help. They can get assistance with reconnecting, meeting environmental requirements, or fixing any technical issues to continue the test smoothly.

Good communication with proctors is important for test-takers, especially international students applying to English-speaking universities. This helps them tackle any challenges during the exam.

Troubleshooting Technical Issues

During a TOEFL test at home, test takers may encounter technical issues. To be prepared:

  1. Make sure all equipment like computers, microphones, and internet connections work before the test day.
  2. Read through the test procedures and technical requirements provided by ETS.
  3. If technical problems arise during the test, use the chat function to contact the proctor for assistance.
  4. In case of a lost connection, try to reconnect quickly to avoid disruptions in the test.

By checking equipment, understanding test policies, and knowing how to communicate with the proctor during technical problems, test takers can have a smoother TOEFL test experience at home.


What is the TOEFL test and why is it important?

The TOEFL test is a standardized exam used to assess a person’s English language proficiency. It is important for students applying to study at universities where English is the primary language of instruction, like in the US, Canada, and Australia.

How is the TOEFL test scored?

The TOEFL test is scored on a scale of 0 to 120. Each section (Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing) is scored out of 30 points. Total scores are calculated by adding up the scores from all sections. For example, if a test taker scores 25 in Reading, 28 in Listening, 22 in Speaking, and 24 in Writing, their total score would be 99 (25+28+22+24).

What are the different sections of the TOEFL test?

The TOEFL test consists of four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Examples of tasks include reading passages and answering questions, listening to lectures and taking notes, speaking about a topic, and writing essays.

How can I prepare for the TOEFL test?

To prepare for the TOEFL test, practice listening, reading, writing, and speaking in English regularly. Use study materials like practice tests and vocabulary books. Familiarize yourself with the test format and time constraints. Consider taking a preparation course or hiring a tutor for personalized guidance.

Where can I take the TOEFL test and how much does it cost?

You can take the TOEFL test at authorized test centers worldwide. The cost varies by location, but is typically around $160-$250. Visit the official TOEFL website for a list of test centers and current pricing.

References :

1.The TOEFL Tests – ETS
2.At Home Testing for the TOEFL iBT Test
3.Test of English as a Foreign Language
4.Prepare for the TOEFL iBT Test
5.ETS | Educational Research, Assessments and Learning …

Scroll to Top