Wednesday, December 1, 2021

TOEFL English Language Test Complete Guidelines

On seeing high demand of students about TOEFL Guidelines we are here with TOEFL English Language Test Complete Guidelines and Tips. In this brief article, you will get each and every single detail of the TOEFL Test, its Types, registration process, complete details of each section, scoring system, best tips related to TOEFL EXAM, and a comparison between TOEFL and IELTS exam.

What is TOEFL?

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a worldwide known test that is conducted by a US-based organization known as Education Testing Service (ETS). It evaluates linguistic ability and articulacy in English. Non-native English candidates take TOEFL of about 3 and1/2 hours or more for getting admission in abroad universities. The non-academic purposes for which TOEFL is mandatory is immigration and occupation in 4500 test centers across Europe and other countries.

Why TOEFL is necessary?

More than 11000 world top institutes and universities accept TOEFL for admission in Bachelor’s degrees or higher education. Candidates must pursue TOEFL for employment in multi-national companies or for immigration intents. Over 150 countries like Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US, UK, and countries across Europe and Asia undertake TOEFL for Academic and non-academic purposes. More than 35 million people globally have taken TOEFL to test their linguistic proficiency.

Types of TOEFL

There are two exam patterns of TOEFL; one is TOEFL ibt (internet-based test) and TOEFL PBT (paper-based test). You can choose any of the test based on your preferences.

TOEFL ibt (internet-based test)

It is an online mode of taking the test which assesses English proficiency and fluency based on four skills i.e., Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking skills. The time for taking the test is 3 hours.  Its score/grade remains valid for two years. It is offered more than 50 times over twelve months in more than 4500 test centers across the world, and the candidate can attempt only once in any 3 days. Its fee ranges from 160-300 US dollars and score ranges from 0-120.

TOEFL pbt (paper-based test)

It is the paper mode of test which examines the individual linguistic ability in Reading, Listening, Writing, and Structure skills in 4 hours. It is conducted 4 times a year on regional test centers where ibt is not available. Its exam fee is 180 US dollars and the score ranges from 310-677.

Eligibility Criteria for TOEFL

There are no strict mentioned eligibility conditions on the official websites. Before register yourself, you must go through the certain guidelines given on the official site. There is no age limit but you must have a high school degree for education admissibility.

Registration for TOEFL

TOEFL English Language Test Complete guidelines so You can do registration for TOEFL in three ways:

1.      TOEFL Online Registration

This option is available 24 hours in 7 days of the week through internet access. Just follow 4 simple steps and register yourself.

  • Visit the TOEFL official website.
  • Select the test type (ibt or pbt) in which you want to appear.
  • Select the test date.
  • Add background information (Name, Age, gender) and payment method (Debit card, credit card, PayPal and e-check all are acceptable)

2.      TOEFL Phone registration

This is a care-free and most reliable method for Registration as the TOEFL executive will handle the test and assign you seat for TOEFL 2020 in an interactive way. Simply visit the official website, select region, and find the phone number allocated to your region, provide the required details and schedule your examination and pay through methods as described above. You have to do the registration via phone before 7 days of the exam

3.      TOEFL Mail registration

This is also an easy and quick method to register for TOEFL. Make you register yourself before 1 month via email. Follow these steps: Download and fill the registration form. Choose payment methods and send the filled copy and payment receipts to Radio Resource Control. You can find contact details on the official website.

Format of TOEFL

TOEFL Exam SectionDuration
Reading60 – 80 minutes
Listening60-90 minutes
BREAK10 minutes
Speaking20 minutes
Writing50 minutes

 There is a notable difference in the test format of both TOEFL types.So here TOEFL English Language Test Complete guidelines for formats

TOEFL ibt (internet-based test) general test format is categorized into four sections in 3hr 20 minutes:

SECTION 1 – Reading

You are provided with 3-4 passages each of 700 words and answer 36-56 questions given in multiple-choice format. Complete each passage within 20 minutes. The passages will be given on academic topics. The section is scaled from 0-30.

SECTION 2 – Listening

In the next section, you are provided with short audios consisting of classroom discussions, lectures, and conversations to answer questions ranging from 34-51. The questions will be given in multiple-choice questions, Binary questions, and charts. This ability is also measured from 0-30 on a scale.

SECTION 3- Speaking

This section assesses the ability to speak by giving 6 tasks on topics like personal preferences or choices, experience, course topics, or situation-based. You are required to state your opinion on a particular topic. You have to understand the contextual words and phrases and get a score from 0-30.

SECTION 4 – Writing

This section comprises two tasks; independent writing and integrated writing. In integrated writing, you are required to listen or read the lecture excerpt. Use your reading and listening skills and write a passage of about 150-225 words in a given 20 minutes. In the independent writing section, you are provided with a topic, and you have to write about 300 words in given 30 minutes. This section also scores from 0-30.

TOEFL pbt (paper-based test) also includes four sections: Listening, Structure and Written, Reading, and Writing.

TOEFL Exam SectionDuration
Listening30 – 40 minutes
Structure and Written25 minutes
Reading55 minutes
Writing30 minutes

SECTION 1 – Listening

It consists of three segments: short, long conversations, and lectures. The short conversation has 30 questions, the long conversation has 8 questions and the lectures has 12 questions. It is measured on scale 31-68 and completes this section in 30-40 minutes.

SECTION 2 – Structure and Written Expression

The section includes 40 questions that you have to complete in 25 minutes. The questions require sentence completion and error in phrases to check the grammar grip of the candidate. It is measured on a scale of 31-68.

SECTION 3 – Reading

It consists of 50 MCQs that you have to complete in a given 55 minutes. The task is to read the given passages and choose the most suitable option in question. The score ranges from 31-68.

SECTION 4 – Writing

It consists of a test of written English that includes passage. The passage either needs justification or require building an argument to write an essay of 300 words in 30 minutes. It is scored from 0-5.

Scoring of TOEFL

There is a difference in the scoring method of both TOEFL test types.

TOEFL iBT scoring system

TOEFL English Language Test Complete guidelines for scoring system are following:

The scoring is done section wise. Each section score ranges from 0-30 and the total score is 120. The reading and listening section is calculated on the criteria of High, Intermediate, and Low whereas the writing and speaking section are evaluated on Good, Fair, Limited and Weak levels. The test is assessed by experts and computers. E-score will be available within 10 days after the test appearance on your email. The printed score will also be available after 13 days of undertaking TOEFL. A score range of 84-110 is considered as validated one for admission in overseas universities.

TOEFL PBT scoring system

The section-wise score is evaluated. All four sections are calculated on different merits. The first three sections i.e., Listening, Structure, and Written and Reading are measured on scale 31-68. The last section of writing measures from 0-5.the total score is not given; however, the official pbt score will be available within 5 weeks after undertaking the test.

Preparation of TOEFL

The official website delivers a lot of preparation options. Once you choose TOEFL ibt (internet-based test), you will get a full line of preparation materials containing course,  practice and tests, guides and books, value packs, TOEFL Go App, and TOEFL talks. Most of them are free but there are some materials which you have to buy to get full access to preparation.

TOEFL pbt (paper-based test) can be prepared by practicing the sample questions on the Reading, Listening, and Writing sections on the official website. Review test pattern directions and questions from revised TOEFL pbt (paper-based test) to get fully prepared for test day.

You can also watch videos from the official YouTube channel named TOEFL tv to learn about everything related to TOEFL.

TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition in COVID-19 Pandemic

It is the safest and opportune option to take the test at home to avoid any health concern in this pandemic. It is offered everywhere where TOEFL ibt (internet-based test) is previously available except in China mainland and Iran. It is the same in content, format, and on-screen experience to a test taken at a test center. You can take a test at home on your computer after downloading the ProctorU software to get monitored by the human proctor. It is available 24 hours a day, 4 days a week, through September 30, 2020, with appointments as early as 24 hours after you register. Check the official website to see the guideline video and important steps to meet the requirements, to properly register, and to undertake the test.

Tips for Preparation of TOEFL

Continuous practice is the best way to prepare for the TOEFL test. Here are some tips that you should keep in mind while preparing for the TOEFL test:

  • Download the “TOEFL iBT Interactive Sampler” to see the previous years’ TOEFL questions (includes all TOEFL sections) from the official website. Practice these questions as much as you can.
  • Practice the six-week TOEFL® Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), that is available through edX, from the official website. It is known as “TOEFL Test Preparation: The Insider’s Guide”. It covers all the four sections every week and in the last 2 weeks, it gives useful tips for TOEFL preparation.
  • Must go through each and every practice test as much as possible to boost your confidence and improve your skills.
  • If you are working full time or you are a student, make time slots in your busy day and utilize 4-5 hours every weekday for preparation.
  • Adopt many preparation strategies in your daily life. l am going to mention some strategies below:
  • Develop a habit to watch and listen to English news on mobile or TV. This habit will help you improve your English listening and reading skills.
  • Read newspapers daily and strengthen your vocabulary by using an English dictionary.
  • Starting conversing with people in English and try to speak English in daily life. It is better to use social media to start a conversation with Native English speakers.
  • Practice your English writing by writing 2-3 articles per week. Start writing about recent events and movie reviews in your own words.
  • Join online TOEFL communities and groups for further updates and group practices.
  • Download free English learning apps related to TOEFL and practice in your free time.
  • Analyze your weaknesses and work on them by improving the practice results.


A general question that comes in every student’s mind is which test we should take if both tests work on the same skills. Overall, overseas universities accept scores from either of the exam. But it is necessary to verify which institute accepts which test and why to avoid waste of time and unpleasant surprises in future. To understand which exam is more suitable and comfortable for you; try giving the practice tests of both tests.

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Article Written By:

Miss Mahpara Tabassum (Pharm-D)


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