The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) measures
the English-ability of non-native speakers of English to use
and understand English as it is spoken, written, and heard
in college and university settings. TOEFL is administered
by ETS (Educational Testing Services) an institution that
assesses students who want to pursue graduate/ fellowship
programmes. ETS develops, administers and scores assessment
tests annually in more than 180 countries.
Almost all the universities in the United States and Canada
require TOEFL scores from each applicant. The TOEFL tests
the ability to understand North American English. A TOEFL
score is valid for 2 years.
TOEFL measures the following skills of the
• Speaking Skills
• Listening Skills
• Reading Skills
• Writing Skills
Most people take the TOEFL test as a prerequisite for admission
into colleges and universities where English is used or required.
In addition, many government, licensing, and certification
agencies and exchange and scholarship programs use TOEFL scores
to evaluate the English proficiency of people for whom English
is not their native language. More than 6,000 colleges, universities,
and licensing agencies in 110 countries accept TOEFL scores.
Non-native English speakers at the 11th-grade level or
above should take the TOEFL test to provide evidence of
their English proficiency before beginning academic work.
The test content is considered too difficult for students
below 11th grade. Many institutions report that they frequently
do not require TOEFL test scores of certain kinds of international
• Non-native speakers who hold degrees or diplomas
from postsecondary institutions in English-speaking countries
(e.g., the United States, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia,
• Non-native speakers who have successfully completed
at least a two-year course of study in which English was
the language of instruction.
• transfer students from institutions in the United
States or Canada whose academic course work was favorably
evaluated in relation to its demands and duration.
• Non-native speakers who have taken the TOEFL test
within the past two years.
• Non-native speakers who have successfully pursued
academic work at schools where English was the language
of instruction in an English-speaking country for a specified
period, generally two years.
Students should contact their prospective institutions directly
concerning their specific admission requirements.
TOEFL iBT is taken via the Internet at ETS-certified test
centers. This makes it possible to greatly expand the number
of locations where the test can be taken.
The TOEFL test is offered
in two different formats depending on a test taker's location.
• Internet Based Test (iBT)
• Paper Based Test (PBT)
The computer-based test was abolished on September
The Internet-based TOEFL Test:
The TOEFL Internet-based Test (TOEFL iBT) tests all four
language skills that are important for effective communication:
speaking, listening, reading, and writing. The test helps
students demonstrate that they have the English skills needed
The test includes four sections and takes
about four hours to complete.
||No. of Questions
Each of the six tasks in speaking section is rated from
0 to 4 and the average of these scores is converted to a
scaled score of 0 to 30. Human scorers rate the responses.
They evaluate the test-taker's ability in topic development,
delivery and language use.
The two tasks are rated from 0 to 5, and the average of
these scores is converted to a scaled score of 0 to 30.
Human scorers rate the responses. Scorers evaluate the
integrated writing task on the overall quality of the writing
(development, organization, appropriate and precise use
of grammar and vocabulary) and the completeness and accuracy
of the content. Scorers rate the independent writing essay
on the overall quality of the writing:
• Appropriate and precise use of grammar and vocabulary
The new score scale is shown here.
The total score is the sum of the four skill
TOEFL iBT emphasizes integrated skills and provides better
information to institutions about students' ability to communicate
in an academic setting and their readiness for academic
coursework. With Internet-based testing, ETS can capture
speech and score responses in a standardized manner. Online
registration and online score reporting make it easier for
students to register for TOEFL iBT and receive their test
The computer-based test was abolished on September
The Paper-based TOEFL Test:
The paper-based TOEFL test measures
• Listening Comprehension
• Structure and Written Expression
• Reading Comprehension
In areas where TOEFL iBT is not yet available, the paper-based
version of the TOEFL test will be offered to continue to
provide access for TOEFL test takers in these areas.
The TOEFL Paper-based Test (PBT) has 3 sections plus a 30-minute
writing test, the TWE (Test of Written English), which is
required of everyone who takes the paper-based test.
||No. of Questions
|Structure and Written Expression
|Writing (Test of Written English)
Listening Comprehension measures the ability to understand
English as it is spoken in North America.
Structure and Written Expression measures the ability to
recognize language that is appropriate for standard written
Reading Comprehension measures the ability to understand
non-technical reading material.
This Web site has many resources you may find helpful to
familiarize yourself with the test.
• TOEFL iBT measures receptive and expressive skills
equally. The student is tested for all the four English
language communication skills: Reading, Listening, Speaking
• The exam has no grammar or sentence structure section.
The student's knowledge of English grammar is tested through
actual usage in speaking and writing sections.
• TOEFL iBT replaces the structure section with a
speaking section in which students wear headphones and speak
into a microphone. The digital recording is transmitted
to ETS Online Scoring Network where human scorers rate the
• The exam also allows note-taking. The students can
now take notes while they listen and/or read and they can
jot down points before they start to speak or write. Students
can use these notes while giving their responses, but they
will not be allowed to carry them outside the examination
• The Writing section has been expanded to include
one integrated writing task in addition to the independent
• The Reading section usually consists of 3 passages
(sometimes 5), each of around 700 words. This section includes
categorization of information and/or filling in a chart
or completion of a summary.
• Lectures and conversations in the listening section
are a little longer than earlier, but speech is more natural.
Although the focus of the listening tasks remains American,
there is likely to be at least one lecture in British /Australian
accent. There may be questions that measure understanding
of a speaker's attitude, degree of certainty and purpose.
• There will be fixed dates for TOEFL iBT and the
students have to make their choice out of the same. Depending
upon the number of test takers and the capacity, a test
center will normally have 30 to 40 test dates in a year.
• TOEFL iBT scores are reported online. Students can
view their scores within 15 working days of the test and
will also receive their score-sheet by mail.
• TOEFL iBT is not computer adaptive as was the case
with TOEFL CBT (computer based test). Here all the test
takers receive the same set of questions. There is also
no computer tutorial.
For more information, contact the following address or visit
the official website of TOEFL.
P.O. Box 6153
Princeton, NJ 08541-6153 U.S.A.