TOEFL iBT® Basics and Frequently Asked Questions

TOEFL iBT® Basics and Frequently Asked Questions


What is the TOEFL®?
The test of English as a foreign language (TOEFL) assesses the English proficiency of people whose native language is not English. It tests the ability to understand North American English. Most Educational Institutes in the US and Canada (approximately 2400) ask applicants for their TOEFL scores. Institutes in other countries, where the mode and language of instruction is English, also use TOEFL as an assessment of English proficiency. 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.

Format of TOEFL iB®
The TOEFL® Internet-based Test (TOEFL® iBT) tests all four language skills that are important for effective communication: Speaking, Listening, Reading, and Writing. The structure of the TOEFL® iBT is as follows:

Reading (60-100 min) (36-70 questions) (0-30 scoring scale)
3-5 passages from academic texts; approximately 700 word long with 12-14 questions per passage.

Listening (60-90 min) (34-51 questions) (0-30 scoring scale)
4-6 lectures, each 3-5 min long; 6 questions each.
2-3 conversations, each 3 minutes long; 5 questions each.

Speaking (20 min) (6 tasks) (0-4 points converted to 0-30 scoring scale)
2 tasks to express an opinion on a topic; 4 tasks to speak based on what is read and listened to.

Writing (50 min) (2 tasks) (0-5 points converted to 0-30 scoring scale)
1 writing task based on what is read or listened to; 1 writing task to support an opinion on a topic.

About the ETS
The Educational Testing Service (ETS) is based in U.S. (Princeton, NJ) and develops and administers the TOEFL. The ETS is responsible for setting questions, conducting the test and sending score reports to each examinee. For detailed information, visit the TOEFL Web site

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the scoring scale for the TOEFL iBT?
Scoring is between 0 (Minimum) and 120 (Maximum) with 10-point increment. Four scores are reported on the TOEFL:

  • Reading score reported on a 0-30 score scale.
  • Listening score reported on a 0-30 score scale.
  • Writing score reported on a 0-30 score scale.
  • Speaking score reported on a 0-30 score scale.

What is the cost/registration fee for the TOEFL®?
The registration fee for taking the TOEFL® is USD 170. Be sure to check the TOEFL Web site for the current price.

How do I register for the TOEFL®?
You can register online or by phone or by mail. The detailed information about registering for the TOEFL can be found at

How many times in a year is the TOEFL exam held?
The TOEFL is offered on specific days of the year. One can access the whole schedule which can vary depending on the country.  To find the current schedule, visit

How many times can I take the TOEFL®?
The TOEFL can be taken unlimited number of times. (It is highly advisable not to appear for TOEFL® too many times as it may affect the applicant’s candidature).

How long is a TOEFL® score valid?
Your TOEFL® score will be valid for 2 years from the date the test was taken.

How soon do I get my score?
The scores are available online 2 weeks after the exam date.

How do I pass on my score to the college?
The universities only accept official scores sent directly by ETS. Scores to four colleges can be sent free of cost from the time of TOEFL® registration to 24 hours before the test date. Subsequently, for each score report sent to a college, you would have to pay $19 (be sure to verify the cost of additional score reports at

Do universities consider photocopies of the TOEFL scorecard?
No, photocopies are not accepted. You can only send your scores through ETS.

If I take the TOEFL more than once, which score will be considered by the universities?
Almost all the universities take the best score.

Do I need to have the TOEFL score at the time of applying to universities?
No, you do not need to have the TOEFL score with you at the time of applying. But you are required to take the TOEFL® before the deadline of the university.

Is the TOEFL mandatory for applying to undergrad programs outside of my country?
TOEFL® is mandatory for Undergraduate, Masters, PhD and most MBA courses across the world. However, a few universities in the U.S. and all universities in the UK and Australia accept the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) scores. Top universities and colleges in the U.S. might waive the TOEFL requirement provided you are able to produce a proof that your undergraduate degree had English as its mode of instruction.

What is the minimum TOEFL score that I need?
Consult the TOEFL score requirements for the universities or colleges that you want to attend.  However, in general, one has to score over 80 for Undergraduate and Masters programs and over 100 for PhD and MBA courses. Usually a score of 100 is required for students who are looking for financial aid/scholarships.

Sign up for TOEFL Lessons on WeSpeke!

Practice makes perfect and we're here to help! We understand how important it is to achieve the TOEFL iBT® test score needed for admission into any of the 9,000 college, universities, and agencies in 130+ countries that rely on TOEFL scores. Read "How the WeSpeke TOEFL iBT® Reading Lessons Can Increase Your Test Score" and sign up today!

0 Responses

  1. […] Must Know #1: Know the test format Before you can begin to study, familiarize yourself with the test format. As you know, the TOEFL is a test of English as a foreign language that assesses the English proficiency of people whose native language is not English. It tests the ability to understand North American English. The TOEFL assesses proficiency by evaluating four skills: listening, speaking, reading and writing. For more details on the TOEFL iBT, visit our blog TOEFL iBT® Basic and Frequently Asked Questions. […]

Leave a comment