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.
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Also Read: TOEFL Exam Dates 2023
The TOEFL English proficiency test is changing from the 26th of July 2023! TOEFL has introduced new changes in duration, exam pattern and types of questions on the ETS website. Candidates preparing for the test must check the revised pattern. The duration of the examination has been reduced to 2 hours from a 3-hour long test. The number of questions in each section along with the type of question has also changed.
Before getting into the main types of TOEFL exams, 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 exams i.e. TOEFL- PBT and TOEFL- iBT along with other TOEFL tests such as TOEFL Junior and IPT. Let’s first elaborate on the main two types of TOEFL:
TOEFL PBT: Paper-Based Test
As of April 2021, TOEFL PBT has been discontinued altogether. In turn, there is the facility of giving the TOEFL test from home.
It was one of the common types of TOEFL exams, the Paper-based test used to be conducted in offline mode. Having a total duration of 2 hours 25 minutes, it comprised three sections and was only offered for those locations where the internet was not available. Take a look at the exam pattern of the TOEFL PBT exam given below.
|Section||Duration||Number of Questions||Question Types|
|Reading||35 minutes||20 MCQs||2 Reading Comprehension Passages with 10 questions each|
|Listening||36 minutes||28 MCQs||2 Conversations with 3 lectures and a total of 28 questions|
|Writing||29 minutes||2 Constructed Responses||1 Integrated Task & 1 Independent Task|
New TOEFL iBT: Internet-Based Test
The Internet-based TOEFL consists of four sections, namely, reading, listening, speaking and writing and encompasses a total duration of 2 hours according to the new guidelines which will be effective from the 26th of July 2023.
It is one of the preferred types of TOEFL exams and replaced the computer-based test which no longer exists since 2006. Glance through the main highlights of the iBT TOEFL exam:
|Sections||Task||Number of Questions||Duration||Score
|Reading||2 Reading Passages||20 Questions||35 minutes||0-30|
|Writing||2 Writing Tasks||2 Questions||29 minutes||0-30|
|Speaking||4 Tasks||4 Tasks||16 minutes||0-30|
|28 Questions||36 minutes||0-30|
Note: There is a 10-minute break provided after the listening section.
Quick Read: TOEFL Preparation Tips
Other Types of TOEFL Exams
Now that you are familiar with the main two types of TOEFL exams 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 evaluate 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
It is important to understand that both these exams aim to assess language proficiency and their difficulty largely varies from one individual to another. Recently efforts have been made to make the TOEFL exam easier and more oriented towards academia by reducing its exam durtion to less than two hours and changing the pattern of questions in a few sections.
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.
Basically, the TOEFL iBT is a computerised test with four hours of duration. It comprises of main sections including; Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.
TOEFL is only valid for a 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 exams.
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