What is the TOEFL Test? | The TOEFL® Test

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The TOEFL® test is a highly respected English-language proficiency test that can get you noticed by thousands of universities all over the world.

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Accepted and Preferred Worldwide

Gain confidence knowing the TOEFL® test can get you to more destinations around the world. The TOEFL test gives you an advantage at universities worldwide, including in the U.S., Australia and Canada. It helps you stand out where it counts most—with admissions officers. 

Accepted worldwide. TOEFL scores are accepted by more than 10,000 universities and other institutions in over 150 countries.

Preferred in the U.S. Nine out of 10 universities in the U.S. prefer the TOEFL test over other English-language tests.* U.S. universities receive more TOEFL scores than all other English-language tests combined.**

Learn more about the TOEFL test for the U.S.

*Source: Survey of 94 admissions officers at U.S. universities who accept both TOEFL and IELTS® scores and who expressed a preference.
**Source: Survey of 329 admissions officers at U.S. universities.

More popular in Canada. More than 80% of graduate programs in Canada prefer the TOEFL test over other English-language tests.* Canadian universities receive more TOEFL scores than all other English-language tests combined.**

Learn more about the TOEFL test for Canada

*Source: Survey of 44 graduate admissions officers at Canadian universities.
**Source: Survey of 107 admissions officers at Canadian universities.

100% accepted in Australia and New Zealand. TOEFL scores are accepted by all Australian and New Zealand universities, and for all Australian and New Zealand immigration.

Learn more about the TOEFL test for Australia

More popular in France and Germany. French and German universities prefer the TOEFL test and receive more TOEFL scores than any other English-language test.*

*Source: Survey of 59 admissions officers at French universities.
*Source: Survey of 100 admissions officers at German universities.

Widely accepted in the U.K. More than 98% of universities in the U.K. accept TOEFL scores, including 100% of the elite Russell Group universities, providing a fair and unbiased alternative.

Stand Out to Admissions Officers

When you choose the TOEFL® test, you’re showing universities that you’ve got what it takes to succeed. Show admissions officers you have the English-language skills you need to stand out with confidence in an academic environment.

About the Test

What is the TOEFL® Test?

The higher-standard TOEFL® test measures the ability of non-native English speakers to use and understand English as it’s read, written, heard and spoken in the university classroom.  It is designed to help you do well by preparing you to express yourself confidently in English in the university environment.

TOEFL® Test Format

The TOEFL iBT® test has four sections and is taken on a computer at secure, authorized test centers. The convenient structure allows you to take the test in about 3 hours, instead of over two days. Watch the Test Structure video.

See the many ways you can prepare for the TOEFL® test

Section Time No. of Questions Overview
Reading 54—72 minutes 30—40 questions Read passages, then respond to questions
Listening 41—57 minutes 28—39 questions Listen to lectures or a classroom discussion, then respond to questions
BREAK 10 minutes
Speaking 17 minutes 4 tasks Speak into a microphone about familiar topics and discuss material you read about and listened to
Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks Read a passage, listen to a recording and then type your written response

Note: The TOEFL® Paper-delivered Test is offered in locations where testing via the Internet is not available. 

The Fair and 100% Unbiased TOEFL® Test

When you take the TOEFL® test, the only thing that counts is your English-language ability, not where you test or who scores your test. You will speak into a microphone without a rater sitting in front of you. Unlike tests scored by local examiners, where face-to-face interviews can create biases about test takers’ accents and appearance, the TOEFL test is the only major English proficiency test scored centrally using an unbiased system that combines AI technology with multiple test raters who do not know the test takers’ identities.

About TOEFL® Test Scores

  • Score requirements are set by individual colleges and universities.
  • You’ll receive a score from 0 to 30 for each section and a total score of 0 to 120 for the entire test.
  • Scores are valid for two years after your test date.
  • You can try for a better score as many times as you’d like—there are unlimited retakes. (You just can’t take the test more than once in a 3-day period.) Here are 5 great tips for retaking the test.
  • MyBest™ scores combine your best scores for each section from all of your valid scores in the last 2 years, so you can show schools your best performance. Watch the MyBest scores video.

Getting and Sending Your Scores

  • Your scores will be ready in approximately 6 days, and you can view them easily online.
  • A paper score report will be mailed to you if you select that option when you register.
  • You can download a PDF copy of your score report from your account (not available for tests taken in Mainland China).
  • Scores are sent free to up to four institutions that you select prior to test day.
  • All score reports automatically include MyBest scores.

TOEFL® Test Destinations, Dates and Fees

  • Registration is available five to six months before the test date. Register early to reserve your seat. Plus, look for convenient afternoon sessions that have been added to select test dates. See test dates near you.
  • The test fee depends on the location where you will be taking the test. Find more information on fees by location.
  • Registering online or through the TOEFL® official app are the easiest methods. We can walk you through it here.
  • Gain the confidence in knowing the TOEFL® test can get you to more destinations around the world.

What is the TOEFL® Test?

What is the TOEFL® Test?

The higher-standard TOEFL® test measures the ability of non-native English speakers to use and understand English as it’s read, written, heard and spoken in the university classroom.  It is designed to help you do well by preparing you to express yourself confidently in English in the university environment.

Test Format

TOEFL® Test Format

The TOEFL iBT® test has four sections and is taken on a computer at secure, authorized test centers. The convenient structure allows you to take the test in about 3 hours, instead of over two days. Watch the Test Structure video.

See the many ways you can prepare for the TOEFL® test

Section Time No. of Questions Overview
Reading 54—72 minutes 30—40 questions Read passages, then respond to questions
Listening 41—57 minutes 28—39 questions Listen to lectures or a classroom discussion, then respond to questions
BREAK 10 minutes
Speaking 17 minutes 4 tasks Speak into a microphone about familiar topics and discuss material you read about and listened to
Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks Read a passage, listen to a recording and then type your written response

Note: The TOEFL® Paper-delivered Test is offered in locations where testing via the Internet is not available. 

Fairness

The Fair and 100% Unbiased TOEFL® Test

When you take the TOEFL® test, the only thing that counts is your English-language ability, not where you test or who scores your test. You will speak into a microphone without a rater sitting in front of you. Unlike tests scored by local examiners, where face-to-face interviews can create biases about test takers’ accents and appearance, the TOEFL test is the only major English proficiency test scored centrally using an unbiased system that combines AI technology with multiple test raters who do not know the test takers’ identities.

Scores

About TOEFL® Test Scores

  • Score requirements are set by individual colleges and universities.
  • You’ll receive a score from 0 to 30 for each section and a total score of 0 to 120 for the entire test.
  • Scores are valid for two years after your test date.
  • You can try for a better score as many times as you’d like—there are unlimited retakes. (You just can’t take the test more than once in a 3-day period.) Here are 5 great tips for retaking the test.
  • MyBest™ scores combine your best scores for each section from all of your valid scores in the last 2 years, so you can show schools your best performance. Watch the MyBest scores video.

Getting and Sending Your Scores

  • Your scores will be ready in approximately 6 days, and you can view them easily online.
  • A paper score report will be mailed to you if you select that option when you register.
  • You can download a PDF copy of your score report from your account (not available for tests taken in Mainland China).
  • Scores are sent free to up to four institutions that you select prior to test day.
  • All score reports automatically include MyBest scores.

Dates & Fees

TOEFL® Test Destinations, Dates and Fees

  • Registration is available five to six months before the test date. Register early to reserve your seat. Plus, look for convenient afternoon sessions that have been added to select test dates. See test dates near you.
  • The test fee depends on the location where you will be taking the test. Find more information on fees by location.
  • Registering online or through the TOEFL® official app are the easiest methods. We can walk you through it here.
  • Gain the confidence in knowing the TOEFL® test can get you to more destinations around the world.

Additional Resources

Official TOEFL®
Test Prep

Official TOEFL® test prep gives you the help you need to do your best. Now available online, on our app and now on Amazon Alexa, so you can prep anywhere, anytime to ace the TOEFL test.

Get started with TOEFL® test prep.

TOEFL® Search
Service

Many universities are looking for students like you! Help them find you with this free service.

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Search Service today.

GRE ® General Test

For graduate school. For business school. For your future. If your study-abroad plans extend beyond the undergraduate level, we can help you get there.

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GRE ® General Test.

Who is ETS?

The TOEFL® test is a product of ETS, a nonprofit organization with more than 60 years of experience helping advance quality and equity in education worldwide. Its mission is to develop and administer tests that give students like you the opportunity to pursue their dreams, anywhere in the world.

Visit ets.org