Test of English as a Foreign Language


The TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language, is a globally recognized English proficiency test utilized by universities and colleges for admissions. It assesses reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills, providing scores ranging from 0 to 120. Typically, a score above 90 is considered competitive. For non-native English speakers, the TOEFL is crucial as it demonstrates their ability to comprehend and communicate effectively in English, a fundamental requirement for success in English-medium academic programs. It is widely accepted in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and many other English-speaking nations.

The reason of the TOEFL iBT or Check of English as a Foreign Language Internet-Based Check is to assess the speaking reading writing and listening comprehension of people whose local tongue is not English. It takes about two hours to finish and may be taken on-line at permitted exam centres international. TOEFL outcomes are frequently utilised by schools’ employers and immigration government to evaluate a person’s English proficiency. The validity of your TOEFL result begins years after the look at date.

What is the purpose of the TOEFL?

The purpose of the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is to assess the English language proficiency of non-native speakers, particularly those intending to study or work in environments where English serves as the primary means of communication. The test evaluates skills in reading, listening, speaking, and writing, measuring one’s ability to comprehend and utilize English in academic contexts. Additionally, the TOEFL score serves as a standardized measure of language proficiency, aiding institutions in evaluating an individual’s readiness to excel in English-medium academic programs or professional settings.

TOEFL Test Format

Section Description Questions/ Tasks Estimated timings
Reading Read passages and respond to questions 20 questions 35 mins
Listening Answer questions about brief lectures of classroom discussions 28 questions 36 mins
Speaking Talk about a familiar topic and discuss material you read and heard 4 tasks 16 minutes
Writing Read a passage, listen to a recording type your response. State and support an opinion in an online classroom discussion 2 tasks 29 minutes

TOEFL iBT Reading Section

The reading section of the TOEFL assesses your ability to read and comprehend academic content and information. This section consists of two readingpassages, each approximately 700 words long. There are ten questions for each passage, and you have 35 minutes to answer them. The passages covertopics typically found in university textbooks and introduce specific subjects. Familiarity with the topics is not required; the information provided in the passages is sufficient to answer the questions. Additionally, if there are unfamiliar words, the reading section includes a glossary with definitions.

The types of questions you will encounter in the reading section include:

  • Factual and inferential questions
  • Determining rhetorical purpose
  • Vocabulary questions
  • Sentence simplification
  • Text insertion
  • Summarize or prose

TOEFL iBT Listening Section

The listening section assesses your ability to understand English conversations and lectures. It evaluates your basic comprehension skills, your ability to discern the speaker’s attitude and tone, and your capability to connect information and transitions.

This section consists of two parts. Part 1 includes three lectures, each lasting about 3 to 5 minutes. Some lectures may resemble classroom discussions. There are six questions for each lecture, totalling approximately 18 questions. Part 2 comprises two conversations, each around 3 minutes long. There are five questions for each conversation, totalling approximately 10 questions.

The types of questions in the listening section include:

  • Identifying the purpose and main content of the lecture.
  • Recognizing factual details.
  • Understanding the function of the speaker’s statements.
  • Interpreting the speaker’s attitude.
  • Analyzing the lecture’s organization.
  • Making conclusions and connections between information.
  • Inferring implied information.

The most important aspect of the listening section to keep in mind is that the lectures and conversations will feature native English-speaking accents from various countries such as the UK, New Zealand, the US, or Australia. This diversity is crucial because students will need to interact and communicate with individuals, peers, and colleagues from around the world.

It is advisable to take notes on the audio items to aid in answering the questions accurately.

The listening section will be completed in approximately 36 minutes.

TOEFL iBT Writing Section

The writing section assesses your ability to express ideas clearly and coherently in an academic setting.

This section consists of two tasks:

Task 1 – Integrated Writing: You will read a passage and listen to a lecture, then write a response summarizing both. The duration for this task is 20 minutes.

Task 2 – Independent Writing: In this task, you will state and support an opinion in an online classroom setting.

All responses are typed online using the computer keyboard.

Responses are evaluated by both human evaluators and AI scores. Raw scores are then converted to a scaled score ranging from 0 to 30.

TOEFL iBT Speaking Section

The speaking section evaluates your ability to communicate effectively in English within an academic context. This section comprises four questions, each simulating real-life situations commonly encountered in and out of the classroom.

Question 1: This is an independent speaking task focusing on your own ideas, opinions, and experiences.

Questions 2–4: These are integrated speaking tasks. You will read information and speak about it, listen to a conversation and speak about it, and finally integrate reading and listening to respond comprehensively.

You will have approximately 15 to 30 seconds of preparation time before responding to each question, and each response should be between 45 to 60 seconds.

All responses are recorded using a microphone. The total time for completing the speaking section is approximately 16 minutes.

Responses are evaluated by both human evaluators and AI scores. Raw scores are then converted to a scaled score ranging from 0 to 30.

What do the TOEFL scores mean?

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

  • Each section has a score range of 0 to 30.
  • These scores are then added together for a total score ranging from 0 to 120.

Each skill is assigned four or five proficiency levels, so where your score falls within that range indicates your proficiency level for that skill.

Skill Level
Reading Advanced – [24 to 30] High- intermediate [18 to 23] Low- intermediate [4 to 17] Below low-intermediate [0 to 3]
Listening Advanced – [22 to 30] High- intermediate [17 to 21] Low- intermediate [9 to 16] Below row- intermediate [zero to 8]
Speaking Advanced – [24 to 30] High – intermediate [20 to 24] Low – intermediate [16 to 19] Basic – [10 to 15] Below basic – [zero to 9]
Writing Advanced [24 to 30] High- intermediate [17 to 23] Low- intermediate [13 to 16] Basic – [7 to 12] Below basic – [zero to six]

Benefits of the TOEFL

How does the TOEFL benefit Indian students?

Here are some benefits of the TOEFL exam for Indian students:

The TOEFL India Championship offers a chance to compete for prizes for students who want to pursue their studies abroad. The TOEFL helps improve language skills and is accepted by universities and companies in countries like the UK, Australia, the USA, Canada, and some European countries.

TOEFL is also taken by students applying for certain scholarships and certifications. Some countries require TOEFL scores when applying for a work visa.

Myths about the TOEFL

  • The TOEFL exam cannot be taken more than once.
  • The TOEFL is tougher in some countries.
  • We cannot correct mistakes made in the speaking section.
  • We must speak as fast as possible.
  • We should speak in a specific accent to score good points in the speaking section.
  • We do not have to use transition words in the speaking and writing section.
  • If we do not have academic knowledge, it would be difficult to attempt the reading section.
  • In the writing section, if we exceed the word limit given, we will get a higher score.
  • Only a score above 90 or 100 will help secure admission into universities abroad.

Essential tips and advice for effective preparation

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I cancel my scores on the TOEFL?

TOEFL test scores can be cancelled on the day of the test or within a specified time frame after the test.

TOEFL scores can be sent directly through the registered TOEFL account, or they can be sent through ETS as well.

Yes, candidates with disabilities can take the TOEFL and different accommodations are available for such candidates depending on the disability.

The test format to be taken will completely depend on the location and the requirement of the university. Some test formats are available only in specific locations and universities also mention the format of the test to be taken.

You can retake the TOEFL test as many times as you want to, but there is a time gap to be adhered to between two consecutive tests.

The TOEFL like other language proficiency tests assesses basic English communication skills such as Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing but the test is different in terms of the format, content and scoring pattern.

Yes, you can reschedule the test date, but administrative charges will apply for any such changes.

It is always important to check the working on all devices before you begin the TOEFL test. The test center will ensure that the devices are working fine. But if you encounter any technical issue during the test, you should inform the administrator at the test center and send an email to ETS with complete details and explain the technical issue you faced.

No, the TOEFL is a test that can be used for academic purposes only.

Yes, scholarships are offered by ETS for students who take the TOEFL exam, subject to various terms and conditions. Some universities or programs may require TOEFL scores as a part of the admission process to be eligible for the scholarship or financial aid.

Yes, students under the age of 18 can take the TOEFL exam, but parental consent or agreement would be required.