What is the recent format of TOEFL exam?

Certification: English Test Preparation TOEFL - Test of English as Foreign Language


The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is most well-known test for English Language across the globe. The TOEFL exam is an excellent opportunity for non-native speakers of English to apply for the maximum number of universities or programs using English as the medium of instruction. The test is designed to examine the fluency of non-native English speakers in the language and their ability to understand the language in reading, writing, hearing and speaking to be able to cope with the university classroom standards. A good score in TOEFL makes a student eligible for admission into any university globally including the top universities and colleges in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, United Sates, United Kingdom, and Canada. The TOEFL scores are accepted in more than 9,000 institutions, agencies and colleges in more than 130 countries across the globe.

The TOEFL test is taken by people for various purposes including application of visas, certification and scholarship, for admission in university or college for higher education, admission and exit from English-Language learning program, and learners of English-language to assess their progress in the language.

The TOEFL exam is administered in two test formats including internet-based testing (iBT) and paper-based testing (PBT). While TOEFL iBT is available in more than 1,000 test centresacross the world, TOEFL PBT has been phased out and is only offered in areas which do not have availability of internet for testing. Though both the test formats test the English-language skills of a candidate, the iBT and PBT testing formats have considerable difference in the test structure. A detailed understanding of the iBT and PBT test structure will highlight the differences between the two in a better way.

TOEFL PBT Test

The TOEFL PBT test comprises of four sections including Listening, Structure (Grammar), Reading and Writing. The total time duration of the exam is 3 hours and the total score scale is 310-667.

The listening section comprises of 3-4 mini talks, 2-3 extended conversations and 30-40 dialogues. The total time for this section is 30-40 minutes and allotted time for each mini- talks and extended conversations is 60-90 seconds and for each dialogue is 5-15 seconds.  The mini talks and extended conversations include 3-5 questions each, and each dialogue consist of 1 question. The Listening section is scored at a scale of 31-68.

The Structure (Grammar) section, with 25 minutes time allotted, comprises of 40 questions and has a score scale of 31-68. The Reading section comprises of 5 passages of 250-350 words each with every passage consisting of 10 questions. The time allotted for this section is 55 minutes and the score scale is 31-67. The Writing section is reported separately on the score report on a score scale of 0-6 points. The section consists of 1 independent task to be completed in 30 minutes.

TOEFL iBT Test

The TOEFL iBT test comprises of four sections including Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. The total time duration of the exam is 4 hours and the candidates are allowed to take notes. The total score scale the TOEFL iBT is 0-120 and the score report includes feedback on performance of the test taker in each section.

The Reading section comprises of 3-5 passages of approximately 700 words including multiple-focus passages. Each passage is from academic texts and consists of 12 to 14 questions. The time allotted for this section is 60-100 minutes and the score scale is 0-30.

The Listening section comprises of 4-6 lectures including discussions in classroom and 2-3 conversations. Each lecture is of 3-5 minutes and consists of 6 questions, and each conversation is of 3 minutes and consists of 5 questions. The time allotted for this section is 60-90 minutes and the score scale is 0-30.

The Speaking section consists of 6 tasks including 4 integrated tasks and 2 independent tasks. Independent tasks are those in which the candidates are supposed to express their opinion on a familiar topic and integrated tasks are those in which the candidates have to speak on the basis what they heard and read. The total time allotted for this section is 20 minutes and the candidates have up to 30 seconds for preparation and 1 minute for responding. The score scale is 0-4 points and are finally converted to score scale of 0-30.

The Writing section comprises of one integrated task and one independent task. The time allotted for this section is 50 minutes with candidates having 20 minutes for completing the integrated task and 30 minutes to complete the independent task. The scores for this section are scaled in 0-5 points which is ultimately converted to 0-30 score scale.

TOEFL iBT Scoring Policy

TOEFL does not have a passing or failing score and the requirements of score for admission is decided by the individual universities and colleges. The score report comprises of the score in each section in the scale of 0-30 points and the total score of the full exam at a score scale of 0-120 points. The scores are available online ten days after the test and the candidates can also receive the score by mail by opting for it during registration. The scores are sent for free to maximum four institutions selected by the candidate before the test and the scores of a test are valid for two years from the test date.

Test dates and Retest Policy

The TOEFL test is conducted on more than 50 times in a year, which is highest among any of the other English-language test across the world. There is no limitation on the number of times candidates can take TOEFL retest; however, the gap between two test dates must be a minimum of 12 days.


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