What is the TOEFL Test and what does it measure?

TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. The TOEFL test provides test-takers the chance to prove that they can communicate concepts and ideas effectively using real-life English language. The test was originally developed by Stanford University applied linguistics professor, Dr. Charles A. Ferguson, at the Center for Applied Linguistics. The TOEFL exam is primarily designed to measure how well test takers use the English language in an academic setting.

The test explicitly covers four fundamental skills that are significantly divided into different sections, namely: 1.) speaking, 2.) reading, 3.) writing, and 4.) listening. Furthermore, the TOEFL exam is not only limited to those four core practices. It also measures the ability of test-takers to interpret new information, to generate new ideas, and to infer concepts using the English language. 

TOEFL is one of the most high-rated and widely accepted English-language examinations in the world. In fact, more than 10,000 colleges, universities, and agencies in 130 countries honor TOEFL scores. Thus, test takers are well-rounded when it comes to using their TOEFL scores worldwide. The TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service or ETS in 180 countries.

The TOEFL Scoring System

The ETS TOEFL utilizes a combination of human raters and automated scoring methods to give a comprehensive and reliable representation of a test taker’s English language ability. According to the ETS, however, automated scoring methods don’t have the power to measure the effectiveness of the language response and the accuracy of its content. This is the reason why “human raters are needed to attend to a wider variety of features, such as the quality of ideas and content as well as form.”

What is the passing score in the TOEFL?

The TOEFL score range is from 0 – 120 for the entire examination and 0 – 30 for the different sections that will all be discussed later in the article. Some people may still ask what is the maximum score for TOEFL. Well, the lowest TOEFL score you can earn on the TOEFL iBT (internet-based) is zero and the maximum TOEFL score you can earn is 120.

How long is TOEFL score valid?

TOEFL score validity only lasts for 2 years after the TOEFL test date. Due to the ever-changing components of language proficiency, TOEFL scores more than 2 years old cannot be reported or verified according to the Educational Testing Service.

Is 105 a good score for the TOEFL?

Generally, there is no passing or failing TOEFL score. This is due to the fact that higher education institutions and universities have the freedom to set their own TOEFL score requirements. So, if you have any questions about how your scores are interpreted, it is advisable to contact the institution directly.

How to check my TOEFL score?

Check it online

You can view your TOEFL iBT score online. This is one of the advantages of the TOEFL iBT test. According to ETS.org, you will receive a notification email when your scores are already available for viewing — approximately ten days after your test date. You can log in to your ETS account and click the "View Scores and Score Recipients" tab on your home page in order to check your scores. You also have the option to download and print a PDF copy of your TOEFL score report from your account.

Official TOEFL Score Report

Aside from TOEFL login, printed score reports will be sent to your score recipients approximately 13 days after you take the TOEFL exam. Furthermore, the ETS will inform you to allow 7–10 days for mail delivery in the United States, and more time for mail delivery to other locations.
Note: ETS has no control over mail delivery.

Frequently Asked Questions

There’s a bunch of information and things that you need to know about the TOEFL. We absolutely know that you have questions that need more emphasis so you can understand them better.

So to help you get your head around the specifics of the TOEFL test, we’ve outlined the most frequently asked questions about the exam below:

TOEFL allows you to take advantage of various amenities such as, watch films, listen to lectures,  attend seminars perform online research, read textbooks, communicate with professors and other students, write and accomplish academic papers, reports, e-mails and more.

Some of the main countries that accept TOEFL are the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, and in the United Kingdom.

There are numerous ways that you can do to successfully prepare for the TOEFL exam. One of which is through the use of practice materials such as the following:

  • TOEFL iBT practice test
  • TOEFL listening practice
  • TOEFL speaking practice
  • TOEFL reading practice
  • TOEFL practice PDFs
  • TOEFL vocabulary PDFs
  • TOEFL reading practice PDFs
  • TOEFL book PDFs
  • TOEFL preparation course PDFs

These are only some of the helpful materials that you can utilize to give your TOEFL preparation a good direction.

As of August 2019, the length of TOEFL went down from 4 hours to 3 hours. However, the length of the TOEFL is not fixed. The duration of the Reading and Listening sections may vary from time to time. Sometimes, the exam can exceed up to 4 hours and 30 minutes depending on the number of questions you’ll have on each section.

Depending on the duration of the TOEFL practice tests, your preparation can last up to two months. However, if you prefer a tight time for preparation then spending a month should be fine as long as the preparation routine is effective.

According to the Educational Testing Service, you can retake the TOEFL test as many times as you want. However, you cannot take it more than once in a 3-day period. If you currently have a test appointment, you cannot file for another test date that is within 3 days of your existing appointment. The registration fee is due each time you enroll for a test date.

Yes, you can. The TOEFL iBT test is given in English and delivered via the internet. It takes about 3 hours total for the 4 sections of the test. Some test takers get confused with the composition of the TOEFL iBT test and the revised TOEFL paper-delivered test.

TOEFL iBT Test Sections


10 minutes


TOEFL Paper-delivered Test Sections


Time Limit: 41 minutes Questions: 28 questions Description: Measures the ability to understand spoken English as it is used in university classrooms.


Time Limit: 54 minutes Questions: 30 questions Description: Measures the ability to understand non-technical reading material written in English.


Time Limit: 50 minutes Questions: 2 tasks Description: Measures the ability to write in English in an academic setting.

To sum it up, the revised TOEFL paper-delivered test is only offered and administered in locations where examination via the internet is not available. Also, the revised TOEFL paper-delivered test only measures reading, listening and writing.

One of the requirements in order for one to qualify for admission is competence in English. All non-native English speakers are required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), the International English Language Testing System (IELTS), or the Pearson Test of English (PTE).

To find available test centers and other information about the TOEFL test dates and exams, ETS advises all test takers to sign in to their account using their TOEFL iBT login credentials.

There is no definite answer to this question. Both the TOEFL and the IELTS have differences that can greatly impact your performance when you take the test. Therefore, if you want to arrive at the best possible decision, familiarizing yourself with the ins and outs of the two examinations is one way to do it.

Both examinations are widely accepted at undergraduate and graduate schools around the world. Moreover, the TOEFL test is more commonly regarded by American institutions, while IELTS is commonly accepted overseas. Despite this difference, scores from either of the exams are globally acceptable.

Yes, you can. However, it may not be an easy alternative if you want to enroll yourself in a prestigious university.

According to the ETS, the test fee depends on the location where you plan to take the test. ETS advises all test-takers to visit their website for more information about the TOEFL examination. The details include:

  • TOEFL registration
  • Test locations
  • Test dates
  • Other fees

Just like we previously mentioned, the cost for the TOEFL iBT test also depends on the location where you are planning to take the test.

Fulbright Program finalists for Graduate Study, who are enrolled at American Universities, are given, along with other application materials, a voucher that waives the fee for the TOEFL exam.

TOEFL courses may vary from the type of preparation and class that you are planning to enroll in. The TOEFL cost may also depend from country to country, which means that it can either be expensive or affordable based on your location. Moreover, if you don’t have the luxury of attending a class, you can always take advantage of  TOEFL test practice free of charge online and TOEFL sample test found all over the internet. There are also TOEFL iBT practice tests that are made available to help you crack TOEFL iBT test and can even help you acquire an average TOEFL score.

As mentioned earlier, the TOEFL test reports are made available online within 10 days after your test date.

There are a total of four sections for the TOEFL iBT test. These are the following:


Reading Section

The Reading section measures your capacity to understand reading passages. Normally, there are three passages in the short format and four passages in the long format. After each passage, you will answer 12-14 questions about it.


Listening Section

The Listening section analyzes your ability to understand spoken English. During the test, you will listen to lectures, discussions, conversations, and answer questions about them. There are two conversations, two discussions, and two lectures on the short format and three lectures, three discussions, and three conversations in the long format.


Speaking Section

The Speaking section measures your ability to communicate in English in an academic setting. During the exam, you will be given six speaking questions. The questions ask for a response to a conversation, a single question, a talk, or a lecture.


Writing Section

The Writing section tests your capability to write essays in English related to those that you would write in college courses. During the test, you will write one essay about an academic topic and one essay about a familiar topic of your choice.

TOEFL Practice Test

As mentioned above, there are numerous TOEFL practice tests, TOEFL pdf books, TOEFL iBT practice questions, and other TOEFL practice test materials that you can utilize to prepare for the exam.

While some people rely on a free TOEFL practice test online and other prep materials found on the internet, others choose to invest time and money to achieve the best possible results by taking advantage of coaching courses.

Moreover, either of the two methods will work as long as the materials and resources you are using are credible and with quality. To help you find the best TOEFL practice test materials, we’ve collected some of the most credible ones below:

TOEFL Preparation Tips

TOEFL is not an intimidating test compared to the other examinations out there. Many students and test-takers managed to ace the TOEFL without any problem. You can be one of those people if you put your time and hard work into your preparation.

To help you prepare easily, we’ve outlined several practices that you can follow to heighten your chance of succeeding and earn a high score in the TOEFL iBT test. Here are some of them:

Invest in Consistent Practice

There’s no better way to achieve positive results in the TOEFL examination than to keep practicing until you become familiar with how the test works. You don’t need to memorize the practice question, all you have to do is to become accustomed to the process so you can develop strategies on how you can effectively manage your time while answering each of the section.

Create a study routine.
Don’t rush to take the exam.
Make use of credible TOEFL practice test materials.
Repeat your most effective study routine.

Store The Test Directions in your Mind

Some test-takers fail because they did not follow the correct instructions. Make sure that this doesn’t happen to you. As much as possible, read the directions carefully when you’re taking the practice tests. This will help you develop a habit of ensuring that you have understood the test instructions before answering the questions.

Manage Your Time Efficiently

Always remember that time will never be your enemy if you’ll manage it effectively. Focusing on the questions rather than wasting your time thinking about whether you got it right or not is one way to save time. If you are taking the TOEFL iBT, it is recommended to work on your typing skills. Practicing this in advance can help you maximize your time while taking the examination.

Work on your Grammar and Vocabulary

Keep in mind that TOEFL is a test that aims to measure your ability and knowledge about the English language. Therefore, working on your grammar and vocabulary should be one of your topmost priorities. Of course, you take advantage of TOEFL vocabulary PDFs that you can find online or other TOEFL books that can help you enhance your grammar through writing and reading selections.

TOEFL Test Day Study Guide

The questions in the Reading section follow the general order of the passage. This gives you the advantage not to jump around and look for the specific line that will provide you the answer to the question. To handle the Reading section effectively, try to scan the passage and get the main idea. Once you have fully understood the thought of the entire passage, answering the questions will be easier.

The Listening section is pretty straightforward. All you have to do is to actively listen to the lecture or conversation. Try your best to stay attentive to the important details. After you have listened to the audio,you will be given approximately 6 to 7 minutes to answer the questions.

Dealing with the Speaking section put you into a lot of pressure. That’s why you have to train yourself to answer the questions with a complete thought. For instance, if you are given 60 seconds to answer a question, do you best to provide a complete answer within 50 to 55 seconds.

Writing an essay can be daunting, especially if you have an unclear idea or objective in mind. To ace the Writing section, spend about two minutes organizing and brainstorming your essay. Once you have established an objective or idea, then you can start the writing process. While on it, try to be mindful with errors and typos. And once you’re done writing, don’t forget to re-read your essay to make sure that it’s well-written.

TOEFL Reading Section Practice Question

Another major discovery was made in Egypt in 1989. Several skeletons of another early whale, Basilosaurus, were found in sediments left by the Tethys Sea and now exposed in the Sahara desert. This whale lived around 40 million years ago, 12 million years after Pakicetus. Many incomplete skeletons were found but they included, for the first time in an archaeocyte, a complete hind leg that features a foot with three tiny toes. Such legs would have been far too small to have supported the 50-foot-long. Basilosaurus on land. Basilosaurus was undoubtedly a fully marine whale with possibly nonfunctional, or vestigial, hind legs.

TOEFL Registration

How to register for the TOEFL exam?

According to the ETS, there are three methods that you can use to register for the TOEFL. Please check the information below for the details:

Online Registration

TOEFL Online registration is open 24/7. When filing your registration, make sure that the name you used when you register matches the identification you will bring on test day. As a protocol, you are required to enter at least 1 form of identification before you can register for a test date.

Phone Registration

The ETS suggests that you should review the registration form before you make a call. Late phone registration closes at 5 P.M. Make sure to register on time to avoid any late TOEFL fees. If you’re not sure what phone number to call, visit www.ets.org/toefl/contact and select your location to find the phone number for your Regional Registration Center.

Mail Registration

To register by mail, you need to download and fill out the registration form. Choose one of the payment options listed on the form. Keep in mind that forms must be received at least 4 weeks before your test date. Immediately call the location where you mailed your paperwork at least 3 business days before your registration deadline if you haven’t received any confirmation.

When should I register for the TOEFL?

The ETS recommends test-takers to file their registration 3 to 4 months before their desired test date in order to successfully get a slot for the exam.

All in all, if you still need more information when it comes to the TOEFL registration, just visit www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/register for more helpful and relevant instructions.


What is the TOEFL Test?
The TOEFL Scoring System
TOEFL Passing Score
TOEFL Score Validity
How to check my TOEFL score?
Frequently Asked Questions
TOEFL Practice Test
TOEFL Preparation Tips
TOEFL Test Day Study Guide
TOEFL Registration