All you Need to Know About TOEFL

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TOEFL

English language proficiency scores are amongst the key prerequisites if you are looking to study or immigrate to an English-speaking country. This prerequisite can be fulfilled by taking a language proficiency test. The Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL is one of the most popular language proficiency exams and aims to measure an applicant’s hold on the English language through a comprehensive evaluation of their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills. Through this blog, we will take you through the various features of TOEFL, its format, syllabus as well as preparation tips!

TOEFL Full Form Test of English as a Foreign Language
Conducting Body Educational Testing Service (ETS)
Level of Exam International
Mode of Exam TOEFL iBT (Computer Based) 
Sections  Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking
Duration Around 3 hours 30 minutes
TOEFL Fee $190 (INR 14,086)
Score Range 0-30
TOEFL Test Centers 4500 across the world

What is TOEFL?

TOEFL is conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is widely accepted by over 11,000 universities and academic institutions in more than 150 countries, such as the US, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Australia as well as across Asia and Europe. Earlier there used to be two types of TOEFL exam, i.e. TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT. TOEFL iBT is a computer-delivered test that is conducted in online mode whereas TOEFL PBT was a paper-based test that is only carried out in those areas where the internet is not available. But 11th April 2021 onwards, the official authorities- ETS have discontinued TOEFL PBT. This implies that TOEFL is now available in iBT i.e.,computer-based format and TOEFL iBT Home Edition.

TOEFL iBT Home Edition

During the lockdown phase of 2020, ETS has launched a special version of the TOEFL test – TOEFL iBT Home Edition. This version of the test allows you to take the examination from the comfort of your home provided that you have all the essential equipment required. Listed below are some of the essential pointers related to TOEFL iBT Home Edition- 

  • Generally, all the countries except Mainland China and Iran offer this format of test
  • It is exactly similar in terms of content format and on-screen experience for a test taker when compared to a test centre
  • It is taken on your own computer at home and is monitored by a human protector online through ProctorU
  • It is available for 24 hours a day, 4 days a week and you can take appointment as early as 24 hours after your registration 

Here are some of the essentials you need to have before you appear for this format-

  • Computer
  • Browser download and equipment check
  • Speaker
  • Microphone
  • Camera
  • Tabletop and seating

TOEFL Eligibility Criteria

There are some prerequisites that the candidates must fulfil in order to appear for the TOEFL exams. The TOEFL eligibility criteria have been given a rundown below:

  • There is no certain age limit specified to take the TOEFL exam.
  • The candidate must have 10+2 level of qualification from a recognized Indian board.

TOEFL Registration

The TOEFL exam can be taken throughout the year but the exam dates are allotted on a first-come-first-served basis. You can choose the test date and centre as per your needs. Also, there is more than one way of registering for the test. The three modes for TOEFL registration are as follows:

  • Register Online: This is the most common and easy way of registration. Online facilities for registration are open 24*7. Seats need to be booked at least 7 days before the date of the exam.
  • Register on Call: Prospective applicants can also register through the phone. The TOEFL Registration number for Indian test-takers is 91-124-4147700.
  • Register through Mail: For those who can’t register through the above methods may choose to register through mail as well. For this, you must download the form from the official TOEFL website, fill it with correct details and send your form at least 4 weeks prior to your intended test date. You can check your nearest TOEFL centre on the official website and mail the form on the same address. A confirmation is processed after a successful registration.

The registration cost of TOEFL (iBT/PBT) is $190 (INR 14,086). Applicable taxes and fees are not included.

ID Requirement for TOEFL Registration: For Indian applicants, a valid passport is an essential ID requirement needed at the time for TOEFL Registration.

TOEFL Test Centres: There are a total of 39 cities in India where this test is conducted and some of these test centres include, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Coimbatore, Vijayawada, Delhi, Fatehpur, Bhopal, Gandhinagar, Greater Noida, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Jabalpur, Allahabad, Jalandhar, Kolkata, Cochin, Nizamabad, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Madurai, Indore, Mumbai, etc.

TOEFL Exam Pattern

The iBT exam is a computer-based examination that aims at analyzing your English language fluency skills and for this purpose, the test is divided into four sections. You will have to complete in a time of 3-4 hours. The following table elucidates the pattern in detail:

Section Duration Number of Questions
Reading 54-72 minutes 30-40
Listening 41-57 minutes 28-39
Break 10 minutes
Speaking 17 minutes 4 tasks
Writing 50 Minutes 2 tasks

Related Read: TOEFL Scholarship

TOEFL Syllabus

Below we have detailed the TOEFL syllabus focusing on each section and its components.

TOEFL
Courtesy: ETS

Below we have elaborated the iBT exam syllabus in the following sections as per these new changes.

Reading

This section of the TOEFL evaluates skills of understanding long texts and comprehension. Further, it assesses how the candidate reacts to complex sentence structures, difficult vocabulary,  author’s motive and mood, various narration styles, unfamiliar content and a host of other things. The questions are based on excerpts of academic passages. The number of questions asked in the reading section has been reduced from 12-14 in each section to 10 from each section. The box at the end of the Writing section describes the changes in an elaborate way.

The reading section has a set of three formats on which the questions are based on, these are:

  • Traditional multiple-choice questions with four choices and single correct answer. 
  • Sentence-insertion questions in a multiple-choice format wherein the test-taker is asked to choose the best phrase from the given four options that suits the sentence.
  • Questions that have more than four choices and multiple correct answers. One question of this type appears in every passage.

Speaking

This section helps evaluators in assessing your fluency in the English language. It is the most difficult section of the whole test as it requires quick thinking, analysis of ideas and replying accordingly. The speaking section tries to assess whether a person is comfortable with speaking and understanding class-level as well as real-life conversations. Further, if they are able to express their opinions clearly, participate in dialogues and reply. The test-taker is required to speak from their personal experience, assert opinions and make arguments. It is conducted online. The predefined question formats have been summarized below.

  • Independent speaking tasks wherein the speaker is asked to speak about their ideas, opinions and experience. These are introductory questions that try to know how a person introduces themselves, their attitude, speaking style and much more.
  • Integrated speaking tasks differ from the above tasks as they blend two or more skills of English such as reading and listening. The tasks can be from a campus situation or an academic course.

Don’t Forget to Practice these Exclusive TOEFL Sample Speaking Questions!

Listening

The TOEFL listening section aims at a comprehensive evaluation of how the test-taker understands spoken English. Typically, this section helps the evaluator assess how one will react in an academic environment where conversations and lectures involve diverse information, complex sentence structures, speaker intentions etc. Moreover, it examines one’s abilities to make connections between different topics, drawing conclusions, judging the attitude and mood of the speaker etc. Due to recent changes in the format, the number of lectures has been reduced from 4-6 to 3-4.

Test takers hear recordings of lectures and academic conversations in natural speech. Based on the information of the recording, candidates are asked various questions that have been outlined below:

  • The traditional multiple-choice questions which have four choices and a single correct answer.
  • Multiple choice questions but with more than four choices and more than one correct answer.
  • Ordering questions that ask test-takers to arrange the given events according to how they occur in the recording.
  • Matching questions that require test-takers to match categories with relevant text, objects and phrases.

Writing

The ability to write correct, error-free and coherent passages is tested in this part of the TOEFL exam. Often, in an academic environment, you will be required to summarize, prepare notes, write essays and papers based on a topic. This section assesses skills of idea phrasing, making relationships between bits of information, comparing perceptions, argument-formation and conclusion. The two types of tasks in this section have been mentioned below:

  • Integrated Writing Task: Test-takers of hear 20 minutes of recording and read a 230-300 word passage. Based on the understanding of both, they have to write about how both relate to each other. Note-taking is allowed. There is no correct or incorrect answer. Suggested word limit is 150-225 words but you can write as much as you want as there is no penalty. 
  • Independent Writing task: This is an experience-based essay. An issue or topic is provided on which the test-taker expresses their opinions in a minimum of 300 words. Evaluators try to gauge skills of grammar, writing in an organised manner, capacity to support a claim with evidence, detailing, sentence construction, conclusion etc.

Must Read: TOEFL Sample Essays

To understand the exam pattern and syllabus, take this TOEFL Sample Test!

Results and Scores

Scoring across the different sections of IELTS is done on the following scale:

  • Reading: (0 to 30)
  • Writing:(0 to 30)
  • Speaking: (0 to 30)
  • Listening: (0 to 30)
  • Total: (0-120)

Check out our detailed scoring analysis at TOEFL Results and Score!

Top Universities Accepting TOEFL Scores

TOEFL is one of the prominent English proficiency tests which is widely accepted by academic institutions in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France, Germany, etc. One can also utilise their TOEFL scores for visa application in English-speaking countries as the test is also taken for immigration purposes though the required score range might differ as per the country.

Take a look at our comprehensive blog on Top Universities Accepting TOEFL Scores to know about the score range preferred to major academic institutions across the globe!

How to Crack TOEFL in 3 Months?

One can efficiently prepare for the exam in 3 months if they have curated a preparation plan and strategy to cover the different sections of the exam. The first step of devising a study schedule is to familiarise yourself with the exam pattern and syllabus of the test and then plan accordingly while considering your strong and weak points.

Here is a well-defined preparation plan and study schedule on How to Crack TOEFL in 3 Months!

You must also go through the following TOEFL Preparation Tips that will guide you in acing each section of this exam!

TOEFL Preparation Tips

FAQs

What is the TOEFL exam?

The Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL is an English proficiency test which is conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). There are two versions of TOEFL, i.e. TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test) and TOEFL PBT (Paper-based Test). It is a widely accepted language proficiency assessment in more than 11,000 universities and academic institutions in over 150 countries.

How much does it cost to take TOEFL?

The test fee for this exam varies depending on the test location. In India, The TOEFL fee for both iBT and TBT is $190 (roughly 14,086 INR).

What is a good score on the TOEFL?

TOEFL scores in the range of 90-100 are considered as perfectly good while scores between 100-110 are considered as very good.

Is TOEFL easier than IELTS?

While both these tests vary as per the test-taker and how good their English language proficiency, many test-takers have referred to TOEFL as a complex one for preparation while the reading section of IELTS is considered much easier than TOEFL.

Check Out Detailed Comparison of IELTS vs TOEFL!

How long is TOEFL valid?

The validity of TOEFL score is for only two years.

English language certifications are instrumental in securing admission at leading universities. Many of them require that you score the predefined marks so that you can be eligible to apply. In any case, a high score increases your chances of admission. Build a plan with Leverage Edu experts and strengthen your English score as well as your application so that you can secure your spot in your dream college.

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