Everything you need to know about TOEFL®

About the TOEFL Ibt® Test

Getting Started

Start your preparation for the TOEFL test by reading the following important information about the test, testing requirements, and your TOEFL scores. Undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate programs around the world require students to demonstrate their ability to communicate in English as an entrance requirement.
The TOEFL test gives test takers the opportunity to prove they can communicate ideas effectively by simulating university classroom and student life communication. The language used in the test reflects real-life English language usage in university lectures, classes, and laboratories. It is the same language professors use when they discuss course work or concepts with students. It is the language students use in study groups and everyday university situations, such as buying books at the bookstore. The reading passages are from real textbooks and course materials.


TOEFL Scores Can Help You Go Anywhere

The TOEFL test measures how well test takers use English, not just their knowledge of the language. Because it is a valid and reliable test with unbiased, objective scoring, the TOEFL test confirms that a student has the English language skills necessary to succeed in an academic setting. That’s why it is the most highly regarded and widely accepted test in the world. More than 8,500 colleges, universities, and agencies in 130 countries accept TOEFL scores, so test takers have the flexibility to use their TOEFL test scores worldwide. The TOEFL test is also the most accessible English-language test. It is administered at more than 4,500 test centers in 180 countries. More than 27 million people have taken the test since it began in 1964.

TOEFL Fact: For the Writing section, you will type your responses, which are sent to the ETS Online Scoring Network.

Who Creates the TOEFL Test?

ETS (Educational Testing Service) is the nonprofit educational organization that develops and administers the TOEFL test. Who Is Required to Take the TOEFL Test? If your first or native language is not English, it is likely that the college or university that you wish to attend will require you to take an English-language proficiency test. However, you should check with each institution to which you are applying for admission.


How Is the TOEFL Test Used in the Admissions Process?

Your test scores will be considered together with other information you supply to the institution to determine if you have the appropriate academic and language background to be admitted to a regular or modified program of study. Often, your field of study and whether you are applying as a graduate or undergraduate student will determine what TOEFL scores you need.


Is There a Minimum Acceptable Score?

Each institution that uses TOEFL scores sets its own minimum level of acceptable performance. These minimums vary from one institution to another, depending on factors such as the applicant’s field of study, the level of study (undergraduate or graduate), whether the applicant will be a teaching assistant, and whether the institution offers English as a Second Language support for its students.

Test Format

Test Section Number of questions Timing
Reading 3-4 passages 12-16 questions each 60–80 minutes
Listening 4-6 lectures, 6 questions each
2-3 conversations, 5 questions each
60–90 minutes
BREAK 10 minutes
Speaking 6 tasks: 2 independent and 4 integrated 20 minutes
Writing 1 integrated task
1 independent task
20 minutes
30 minutes