Taking the TOEFL test is a very important part of your journey to studying in an English-speaking country or program. Here's a basic overview to help you learn more about the test.
The basics of the TOEFL test:
The TOEFL test measures your ability to use and understand the English language as it’s read, written, heard and spoken in the university classroom. As the most accepted English-language test in the world, more than 9,000 universities, agencies, and other institutions in more than 130 countries accept the TOEFL test as part of their admissions criteria — including nearly every college and university in Australia and the UK. Watch our new TOEFL Passport video to learn how the TOEFL test can help you reach your study abroad destination.
The test, often referred to as the TOEFL iBT ® test, is administered at more than 4,500 test sites around the world. A paper-based version of the test is available in areas where TOEFL iBT testing is not possible.
In order for the TOEFL iBT to measure how well you read, listen, speak and write in English, and how well you use these skills together, you’ll be asked to integrate these skills for the test. For example, you may read a passage or listen to a lecture, and then write or speak about what you learned. The TOEFL test measures your ability to integrate the four English skills you need in an academic setting, making it the most comprehensive academic English test available.
The TOEFL iBT sections:
The test is given in English, has 4 sections (reading, listening, speaking and writing), and takes about 4½ hours. Taking notes
is allowed during the TOEFL iBT; your notes will be collected after the test.
No. of Questions
60 – 80 minutes
36 – 56
60 – 90 minutes
34 – 51
To see sample questions or tasks for each section of the TOEFL test,
Cost of the test:
The test fee depends on the test location you choose. To give you an idea, the cost ranges from US$160 to US$250. For information on registration fees, testing site locations, test dates and test formats,
select your test location.
Here are other fees that may apply to you:
Late registration: US$35
Reinstatement of canceled scores: US$20
Additional score reports (per institution or agency): US$18 each
Speaking or Writing Section rescore: US$80 each
Returned personal check (paper or electronic): US$20
Where and when to take the TOEFL test:
The TOEFL test is offered in more locations around the world than any other English-language test, making it easier for you to find a convenient location.
TOEFL iBT®, administered via the Internet, is offered more than 50 times a year at authorized test centers throughout the world.
The TOEFL Paper-based Test (or TOEFL PBT) is offered in areas where the TOEFL iBT is not available, and is given 6 times a year. You can register online or by mail.
Watch our TOEFL iBT™ Testing Site video for a preview of what you can expect on test day.
watch now >
Registering for the TOEFL test:
Registration is available 3-4 months before the test date, but
register early to reserve your seat.
Registering online is the easiest method, giving you access to over 4,500 test sites in over 165 countries. For information on other ways to register,
A few things to keep in mind when registering:
Have your identification on hand, because your name must be entered exactly as it appears on the identification you will bring with you on test day.
Have one of the following ready for payment: a credit/debit card, electronic check or TOEFL registration voucher – which you can purchase from a TOEFL iBT™ Test Resource Centre in local currency.
Where can I find a TOEFL iBT Test Resource Centre? Know the names of up to four institutions you want to receive your scores.
Know the test dates and locations where you want to test.
Rescheduling or canceling your registration:
If you need to reschedule or cancel your registration, you can do so up to three full days before your test date (not including the day of the test
or the day of your request). That means if your test is on Saturday, you must reschedule or cancel by Tuesday.
To reschedule online or by phone, you must provide your registration number, and the full name you used to register. The fee to reschedule is US$60, and must be paid before you can reschedule.
If you cancel by the 3-day deadline, you’ll receive a refund equivalent to half of the original test fee.
If your test is rescheduled or delayed:
On occasion, weather conditions or other circumstances beyond our control may result in a delayed start, rescheduled test or your test scores being canceled after you’ve taken the test.
If your test is rescheduled by ETS before you test, you can select a different test date and you will not be charged the rescheduling fee.
If you travel to the testing center and find out that the test administration has been canceled by ETS, you can reschedule your test at no charge or receive a full refund of your test fee.
If you take the test and your scores are canceled by ETS, ETS will determine, at its sole discretion, whether you are eligible to re-test at no charge or receive a refund.
If ETS cancels a test administration or cancels scores after you test, and you have incurred travel costs to get to the test center, you may be eligible for reimbursement of reasonable and documented travel expenses
for yourself only within 30 days of your original test date. Refunds are in U.S. dollars.
TOEFL® Services and provide all appropriate receipts and the following information:
date of birth
daytime telephone number
original test date
a description of the problem
If you have any questions about the rescheduling and refund policies, please contact
TOEFL test score requirements:
Rest assured, there’s no passing or failing score. Score requirements are established by individual colleges and universities; check your selected schools to learn their required TOEFL test scores.
You will receive a score on each section (a score of 0-30), and a total score for the entire test (0-120). To earn a score on the TOEFL test, you must do all of the following:
Answer at least 1 question in the Reading section
Answer at least 1 question in the Listening section
Write at least 1 essay in the Writing section
Finish at least 1 task in the Speaking section
How the test is scored:
The TOEFL test is scored using both automated computer scoring and human raters (highly trained professionals) to ensure unbiased and accurate results for all four TOEFL test sections.
And only the TOEFL test uses a network of multiple, rigorously-trained human raters to score the test anonymously, using a quality-control process that meets the highest standards of fairness and objectivity. No other English-language test uses these methods, which can prevent inconsistencies in scoring.
Why is this an advantage for you? It means your score is
an accurate, comprehensive and trusted assessment of your English skills — for you and the universities considering you for admission.
Getting your scores:
Your scores will be posted online, usually within 10 days after the test date. They’re also mailed to you and the universities or institutions you selected.
Included with your registration fees are:
1 print and 1 online score report for you
Up to 4 official score reports that ETS will send directly to the universities, institutions or agencies you select when you register; you can decide where to send them up to the day before you take the test
You can send additional score reports to as many institutions as you choose, for a small fee.
How long scores are valid:
ETS will report scores for 2 years after your test date.
Best ways to prepare and practice for the TOEFL test:
You’ll take the TOEFL iBT™ on a standard English-language (QWERTY) computer keyboard. If you haven’t used this kind of keyboard before, make sure you practice on one before you arrive on test day.
And practice is important in other ways. ETS, creator of the TOEFL test, offers a variety of preparation and practice materials — from books to CD-ROMs to interactive programs and free sample questions — to make it easier for you to do your best on the TOEFL test.
To see what it’s like to take the TOEFL iBT, ETS created
— the only official practice test that gives you the experience of taking the real test. TOEFL ® Practice Online
learn more >