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One of the primary eligibility criteria for a student who wants to move abroad for their studies is a clearance in the English language. The students need to appear and be clear in English proficiency tests to get an acceptance from any university. Many English proficiency tests from recognized authorities are accepted by universities abroad. One such English proficiency test is TOEFL. Like any other English proficiency test, TOEFL is available in two different formats i.e. TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT. In this blog, we will learn the key differences between TOEFL iBT Vs PBT and why a student chooses a certain format to give the exam. 

Mode of ExamComputer BasedPen-Paper Based
SectionsReading, Writing, Listening and SpeakingReading, Writing, Listening, Structure and Written Expression


Choosing Technology for giving any exam is one of the most common and widely accepted formats in today’s time. TOEFL iBT is one such examination that the candidates can attempt in the comfort of their homes. 

This exam consists of 4 parts such as:

  1. Reading: The reading section of TOEFL iBT involves academic texts, and answering questions according to the texts provided.
  1. Listening: This section tests the ability to understand the English language by listening to different contexts such as lectures and conversations. The candidates have to answer comprehension questions and inference skills. 
  1. Speaking: In this section, the candidates have to answer questions by expressing their thoughts on topics and summarising information from the passages given. The candidates have to read and listen to a lecture before answering the speaking questions.
  1. Writing: In this section, the candidates have to write essays and different types of questions that accesses the candidate’s vocabulary and writing skills. 

Also Read: TOEFL Sample Speaking Questions


The traditional way of giving the TOEFL exam is the TOEFL PBT format (Paper-Based Test). It is a relatively older format and the candidates who do not have access to the Internet opt for this format of examination. 

These are the sections in TOEFL PBT format:

  1. Listening: Similar to the iBT, this section assesses your understanding of spoken English through conversations and lectures.
  1. Structure and Written Expression: This section evaluates your grammar knowledge and sentence structure skills.
  1. Reading Comprehension: You’ll read passages and answer questions to assess your reading skills, vocabulary, and understanding of written English.

Which TOEFL Format is Best: TOEFL iBT Vs PBT?

Choosing the right format for the candidates can be a daunting task. These are some of the factors that can decide which format is best for anyone:

  1. Availability: TOEFL iBT is more widely available and offers more testing dates compared to TOEFL PBT.
  1. Skills: Both exam format accesses all four important skills in the English language (Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing). These exams are comprehensive choices for candidates in academic and professional settings.
  1. Accessibility of Technology: Another factor that determines the selection of the format is the accessibility of the Internet. Candidates who do not have access to a high network Internet connection can choose TOEFL PBT or otherwise. 

Also Read: Top Universities Accepting TOEFL Scores


Which is better TOEFL iBT or PBT?

The decision between TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test) and TOEFL PBT (Paper-based Test) depends on various factors such as availability, skills and the accessibility of technology. Candidates can choose any format based on these factors.

Which format is more widely accepted by universities?

Both formats of the TOEFL exam are widely accepted by universities and institutions around the world. The candidates can visit the website of these universities before applying for the university. 

Can I choose which format to choose?

Yes, candidates can choose the format of the TOEFL exam based on their availability and individual preferences. 

English language certifications are instrumental in securing admission to 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‘s Leverage Live classes and our top trainers 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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