Types of TOEFL Exam

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As one of the popular English proficiency tests required to study abroad in an English speaking country, the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) aims to evaluate one’s language proficiency skills. Further, the TOEFL exam consists of 4 sections, i.e. reading, listening speaking and writing and its score remains valid for a period of two years. This blog brings you a detailed guide on the different types of TOEFL exam and their paper pattern and syllabus.

Also Read: TOEFL Syllabus

Main Highlights 

Before getting into the main types of TOEFL exam, let’s understand what are the key highlights of TOEFL which should be taken into consideration as an aspirant; 

TOEFL  Test of English as a Foreign Language
Sections 4 (Reading, Listening, Speaking & Writing)
Types of TOEFL Exam Main Types: (Paper-based (PBT), Internet-Based (iBT) 

Other types: Institutional Testing Program (ITP) & TOEFL Junior Test

Score Validity  2 years
Conducted By ETS (Educational Testing Service)

Recommended Read: IELTS vs TOEFL

Types of TOEFL Exam

There are two main types of TOEFL exam i.e. TOEFL- PBT and TOEFL- iBT along with other TOEFL tests such as TOEFL Junior and IPT. Let’s first elaborate the main two types of TOEFL:

TOEFL PBT: Paper-Based Test

As one of the common types of TOEFL exam, the Paper-based test is conducted in offline mode. Having a total duration of 2 hours 25 minutes, it comprises of three sections and is only offered for those locations where internet is not available. Take a look at the exam pattern of the TOEFL PBT exam given below. 

Section Duration Number of Questions Question Types
Reading 54 minutes 30 MCQs 3 Reading Comprehension Passages with 10 questions each
Listening 41 minutes approx. 28 MCQs 2 Conversations with 3 lectures and a total of 28 questions
Writing 50 minutes 2 Constructed Responses 1 Integrated Task & 1 Independent Task

TOEFL iBT: Internet-Based Test

The Internet-based TOEFL consists of four sections, namely, include reading, listening, speaking and writing and encompasses the total duration of four hours. It is one of the preferred types of TOEFL exam and replaced the computer-based test which no longer exists since 2006.  Glance through the main highlights of the iBT TOEFL exam:

Section Duration Number of Questions Question Types
Reading 54-72 minutes 10 questions/passage 3-4 Reading Comprehension Passages
Listening 41-57 minutes 6 questions/lecture 4-6 lectures & 2-3 conversations
Speaking 17 minutes 4 Tasks The candidate needs to speak on a
topic or academic issue
Writing 50 minutes 2 Tasks Given an opinion or provide a logical analysis
after a reading passage and classroom lecture

Note: There is a 10-minute break provided after the listening section.

Quick Read: TOEFL Preparation Tips

Other Types of TOEFL Exam

Now that you are familiar with the main two types of TOEFL exam that you can take to apply for a programme abroad, there are three lesser-known types that you must also know about. These are:

  • CBT (Computer Based Test): This was a frequently opted TOEFL exam earlier but has been replaced by the Internet-based test and CBT was discontinued in 2006.
  • TOEFL IPT: IPT stands for Institutional Testing Program and is extensively used in an academic context in order to assess the English proficiency of non-native speakers of English
  • TOEFL Junior Tests: The TOEFL Junior Tests evaluates the English proficiency of middle school students aged 11+. It consists of two formats, i.e. paper-based as well as computer-based. This test has four main sections which include; Reading Comprehension, Listening Comprehension, Speaking and Writing.  

Also Read: TOEFL Speaking Topics


Is TOEFL easier than IELTS?

It is important to understand that both these exams aim to assess language proficiency and their difficulty largely varies from one individual to another. Generally, IELTS is considered a tougher than TOEFL because of its exam pattern and syllabus.

What is the difference between TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT?

The major difference between TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT is that the former is conducted online while the latter is a paper-based test. Further, the TOEFL PBT consists of only three sections, i.e. Reading, Listening and Writing which is similar to TOEFL iBT but it also has an additional Speaking section.

What does the TOEFL exam consist of?

Basically, the TOEFL iBT a computerised test with four hours of duration. It comprises of main sections including; Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.

How long is Toefl valid?

TOEFL is only valid for the duration of two years.

Quick Read: TOEFL Sample Speaking Questions

Hence, we hope that this blog has provided you with the key features of the major types of TOEFL exam. If you are preparing for a language proficiency test, sign up for an e-meeting with our Leverage Edu experts and we will guide you in devising right strategy as well as equipping you with the best tips and study material to ace your chosen exam with a higher score!

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