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What is TOEFL?

Those students who want to pursue higher education abroad appear for their TOEFL exam. TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language, which is an English language proficiency test accepted at universities, colleges or schools abroad. This exam tests the ability of international students to use and understand English language, the way it is heard, spoken and written in foreign colleges and universities.

ETS i.e. Educational Testing Services conducts the test and set the TOEFL questions as well as sends the scorecard to each examinee. Students can appear for the test round-the-year as it has multiple test dates every year. By taking TOEFL exam students get eligible for a variety of scholarships and also they can go for employment abroad by applying for their visa.

TOEFL is accepted in more than 10,000 universities and institutions all over the world including universities in United States, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and across Asia and Europe. TOEFL is preferred over other English tests among countries as TOEFL scores are majorly sent to universities in United States, Germany, Canada and France.

What is TOEFL

Types of TOEFL Exam

  • TOEFL IBT – TOEFL Internet Based Test is an online test which is the more preferred and convenient mode of exam for students.
  • TOEFL PBT – TOEFL Paper Based Test is conducted in those locations where there is no internet access and TOEFL Speaking Test is not conducted in this mode of exam due to limited resources.
Classification TOEFL PBT TOEFL iBT
Full Form Paper Based Test Internet Based Test
Exam Duration 4 hours 3 hours
Venue Locations where the iBT® is not available Online
Frequency of conducting 4 times a year Over 50 times a year
Exam Fee US$180 $160 - $300
Score range 310 to 677 0-120
Exam Pattern Reading, Writing, Listening and Structure Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking

Eligibility Criteria for TOEFL Exam

Those students who have passed out high school or equivalent exam can appear for the TOEFL exam. There is no age limit for appearing in the examination. Also students should have a valid passport as proof of their identity to present at exam time. Most of the universities or institutions have their own eligibility criteria for TOEFL exam, so students should always check the eligibility criteria for specific college or university to which they are applying. Professionals can also appear for TOEFL exam for getting a visa.

Registration for TOEFL Exam

Registration for TOEFL can be done throughout the year as per student’s convenience. It can be done online or via phone, mail or in person at the TOEFL test centre. Only five attempts are allowed in a year and students can take their next attempt after 12 days of their first attempt. Note that registration for the exam closes about seven days prior to the exam and late registration closes four days before the exam with a late fee of US$40. The registration fee for TOEFL iBT ranges from US$160 to US$250 that depends upon the region. TOEFL PBT registration fee is US$180 worldwide.

  • Online registration: Candidates are required to create an account on the official ETS website and make their profile. Then they are required to fill all personal information like name, address, phone, email id etc. Candidates should make sure that the information provided is the same as it is in their passport.
  • Then they need to select the exam date and test centre as per their convenience. Candidates are then required to pay the examination fee. After payment candidates can take a print out of their acknowledgement receipt.
  • Registration by phone: Before making a call, candidates are required to go through the registration form. Make a call on the Regional Registration Centre number and spell your name correctly as it is in your passport. Then do the payment with your debit or credit card.
  • Registration by mail: Candidates are required to download, print and fill in the registration form. Fill your name correctly as it is in your passport. Then post the form along with the registration fee to the address mentioned in the form. Make sure that the form reaches to the address four weeks before your exam date.
  • Registration in person: Candidates can also register in person at a TOEFL test centre.

Exam Dates for TOEFL

TOEFL iBT is conducted online on 50+ dates every year at authorized test centres around the world. You need to log into your account to see the available dates and test centres. You can also choose a time slot for your exam as per your convenience like morning or evening slot.

Test Centres for TOEFL Exam

TOEFL iBT is conducted in many cities all over the world that include:

Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Jimboomba, London, Manchester, Bournemouth, Ontario, Alberta, Newfoundland, British Columbia, Quebec, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick, Auckland, Dunedin, Palmerston North, Berlin, Frankfurt, Dortmund, Oldenburg, Dusseldorf, Munich, Bonn, Mannheim, Hamburg, Stuttgart, Cologne, Kiel, Hannover, Osnabruck, Leipzig, Bremen, Nurnberg, Mexico City, Cancun, Apizaco, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Buenos Aires, Rosario, Cordoba, Mendoza, Tucuman, Mar Del Plata, Cuibaba, Santa Maria, Brasilia, Sao Paulo, Rio De Janeiro, Joao Pessoa, Santiago, Curico, etc.

Countries holding TOEFL PBT
Country Region Country Region Country Region
Angola Benguela, Luanda Equatorial Guinea Malabo Niger Niamey
Aruba Oranjestad Eritea Asmara Nigeria Aba
Barbados St.Michael Ethiopia Addis Ababa Papua New Guinea Papua
Belize Belize City Fiji Suba Sierra Leone Freetown
Bhutan Thimpu Gaza Strip Gaza South Africa Cape town
Brunei Darusalam Brunei Iraq Baghdad, Basra South Sudan Juba
Burkina Ouagadougou Kazakhstan Aktobe, Kyzylorda, Astana, Karaganda, Pavlodar, Semey, Kostanay Sudan Khartoum
Burundi Bujumbura Liberia Monrovia Suriname Paramaribo
Cameroon Bertoua Libya Benghazi Syria Damascus
Central African Rep Bagui Madagascar Antananrivo Tanzania Moshi
Chad N’djamena Maldives Male Togo Lome
Comoros Moroni Marshal Island Ebeye, Majuro Tonga Tongatapu
Congo-Drc Bukavu, Kinshasa, Goma City, Lubumbashi Micronesia Chuuk, Kosrae, Kolonia, Yap Turkmenistan Ashgabat
Dijbouti Dijbouti Myanmmar Mandalay, Yangon Zimbabwe Harare

TOEFL Fees for Major Countries

Country Fee
United States $205
India $180
Canada $245
UK $210
Germany $255
Australia $300
Bangladesh $160
South Korea $200

Exam Pattern for TOEFL 2020

Exam Pattern

TOEFL exam can be attempted in either of the two formats, one is Internet Based Test (iBT) and the other is Paper Based Test (PBT), though most of the countries follow Internet Based Test to conduct TOEFL exam. The pattern for the exam is decided by Educational Testing Services (ETS). The exam pattern comprises of four sections, Writing, Reading, Speaking and Listening along with scores in total.

The total score include the combined scores of all four sections and it is declared online 10 days after the exam date. Also, at the time of registration candidates have the option to choose up to four institutions where they are willing to send their score report. So, after declaration of test result ETS send the score reports to the institutions selected by the students.

Below is the complete exam pattern for TOEFL 2020:

  • 60-80 min. duration,
  • 36-56 questions,
  • Here candidates are required to read 3-4 passages from academics and then answer questions on the basis of given passages.
  • 60-90 min. duration,
  • 34-51 questions,
  • Here candidates are required to listen 3-4 lectures and 2-3 conversations and then answering questions on the basis of those lectures and conversations.
  • Break: 10 min break
  • 20 min. duration,
  • 4 tasks,
  • Here candidates are required to present their perspective on a known subject, and then speak on the basis of tasks on both listening and reading.
  • 50 min. duration,
  • 2 tasks,
  • Here candidates are required to write essay responses on the basis of tasks on both listening and reading, as well as support their perspective in writing.
TOEFL Exam Section  Duration
Listening 60 - 90 minutes
Speaking 20 minutes
Reading 60 - 80 minutes
Writing 50 minutes

Syllabus for TOEFL 2020

Students’ reading, listening, speaking and writing skills are tested by TOEFL iBT.

Following is the exam format for all four sections:

Syllabus for reading:
  • In this section, you have to read 3-4 passages and you will need to answer about 12-14 questions for each passage.
  • You will get your score on the basis of number of correct reading of given passages.
  • Type of question – 3-4 passages, about 12-14 questions for each
  • Total number of questions – 36-56 questions
  • Total duration – 60-80 min.
Syllabus for listening:
  • In this section, you have to hear short duration and long duration conversations. After hearing short one you need to answer a multiple choice question by selecting one answer. After long conversation you have to answer multiple questions based on it.
  • Type of question – (i) 3-4 lectures (duration of 3-5 min., 400-800 words about), 6 questions for each

2-3 conversations (3 min. duration, 12-25 exchanges about), 5 questions for each

  • Total number of questions – 34-51 questions
  • Total duration – 60-90 min.
Syllabus for speaking:
  • In this section, you have to give your responses with little mistakes to get a good score because the graders expect a highly comprehensible conversation from you.
  • Type of question – (i) 1 independent task (15 sec for preparation, and 45 sec for response)

3 integrated tasks – Speak/Read/Listen (30 sec for preparation, and 60 sec for response)

  • Total number of questions – 4 questions
  • Total duration – 20 min.
Syllabus for writing:
  • In this section, you need to give your responses in well organized manner with relevant explanations and support. Your responses should be progressive and coordinated with right choice of words and minor grammatical errors that will make you score high in writing.
  • Type of question – (i) 1 independent task (30 min.)

1 integrated task – Write/Read/Listen (total 20 min.) (15 min for writing, 3 min for reading, and 2 min for listening)

  • Total number of questions – 2 questions
  • Total duration – 50 min.

TOEFL Scores

The results of TOEFL exam are declared online 10 days after the exam date about which you will get intimated by ETS via email. However, you will receive your printed score reports 13 days after the exam date. TOEFL scores will remain valid till two years from the declaration of your results. But if you are not satisfied with your score, you can go for another attempt as there is no limitation on the number of attempts. One thing you must note that you can take your next attempt only after 12 days of your first attempt.

TOEFL scores can be calculated as follows:

Section/Score Range

Mean Scores*


Reading section: 0-30


Low level (0–14)

Intermediate level (15–21)

High level (22–30)

Listening section: 0-30


Low level (0–13)

Intermediate level (14–21)

High level (22–30)

Speaking section: 0-30


Weak performance (0–9)

Limited performance (10–17)

Fair performance (18–25)

Good performance (26–30)

Writing section: 0-30


Score of zero (0)

Limited performance (1–16)

Fair performance (17–23)

Good performance (24–30)

Score in total: 0-120



*Source – ETS

No minimum passing marks or cut off is there for TOEFL exam as it is the sole decision of the university each university set its own score range as per their requirements. Top institutions set high score range, which may change every year. So, you should keep a track on these changes by checking their websites for any updates. An average score for TOEFL is around 90, which may vary from 85 to 95. Any score above 100 is considered to be a good TOEFL score.

At the time of registration candidates have the option to choose up to four institutions where they are willing to send their score report. So, after declaration of test result ETS send the score reports to the institutions selected by the students. You are free to send your score report to your choice of institution till two years of your score card validity. After that you will have to appear for the exam again.

By paying additional charges you can send your scores to some other colleges and universities. Students can avail benefits of different value packs offered by ETS which gives great discounts to students on sending additional score reports. You will be charged $20 per report, which you can pay through your debit card, credit card, Paypal or e-check. After receiving your request, the organization will send your score report within 3-5 business days.

You can also request for your additional score report via Fax. For this you are required to fill a form that is available on ETS website and fax it along with your registration and payment details to 1-610-290-8972. In case of failure, resend the form but make sure to mention “DUPLICATE” on the form in capital letters to avoid additional charges. Also, you can request for your additional score report via post.

For this you are required to fill the same form and post it along with your payment details to the below address:


P.O. Box No. 6153

Princeton, NJ



Tips for TOEFL Exam Preparation

Candidates who want to achieve high scores in their TOEFL exam should give their best efforts. They should also have a good command over English language.

Following are some valuable tips to get a good score in your TOEFL exam:

    • Reading: You should read regularly a variety of university textbooks and literatures written in academic style that should cover various subject areas. You should also try to make conclusions on the basis of given passages.


    • Listening: To perform well in this section, you should focus on the content and flow of an audio script while listening to that. You should write a summary after listening to the audio which should include main points and ideas as well as important details of the script. The time of an audio presentation should be increased gradually that is used to write the summary.


    • Speaking: To get proficient in this part of exam, you should improve your vocabulary and also learn to deliver a speech bearing idioms properly. Speak well with good pronunciation of words. Also work on modulation of your voice and pauses.


    • Writing: To improve your writing skills, you should practice writing on your familiar topics or your choice of topic. Make an opinion on each topic and then provide relevant evidence to support it. Plan and write one essay on each topic, practice it well. Make sure you take 30 min for planning, writing, and revising each essay. Think properly about all the ideas related to your topic or task and make a list of those ideas before writing.


You can prepare for your TOEFL exam by attending coaching classes or by doing self study. If you have sufficient study material for your exam preparation then you can go for self study. But if you think you need a professional help then you can join a TOEFL coaching centre as there you can have access to more resources and study materials. Also, a competitive environment in the centre will boost your motivation level. ETS also provides paid study material as well as study material for free that is easily available.

You can also refer to the following books and make your study plan –

  • TOEFL iBT: The Official ETS Study Guide – This study guide provides a broad and extensive range of preparation tips, practice papers and skill-enhancing methods to prepare you for your TOEFL exam. There are so many features in this guide that include full length authentic test papers, hundreds of TOEFL exam question papers, a number of essay topics, valuable preparation tips and practice papers for all four language skills tests i.e. writing, reading, speaking, and listening.
  • The Complete Guide to the TOEFL iBT Edition by Bruce Rogers- This exam guide put a lot of focus on skill development of students that is needed to appear for the test before the students can go through practice exercises and example questions, which will definitely benefit the students in the long run.
  • Delta's Key to TOEFL iBT Test: Advanced Skill Practice- This book has an audio CD that contains more than 9 hours of audio, to make sure that the students get mastery over listening part of the exam. It has 35 units for writing, reading, speaking, and listening, four full length authentic test papers as per the format of TOEFL iBT, 1200 questions in all the units, and answer key for the tests as well as quizzes, score charts, and audio script.

Tips to Follow on Your TOEFL Exam Day

On the day of your TOEFL exam, you need to bring all your necessary documents to the test centre. You should carry at least two types of acceptable ID that should be:

  • Your original ID (photocopy is not allowed)
  • A valid ID (expired/invalid ID is not allowed)
  • Bear your full name in it as it is mentioned during your registration
  • Bear your photo in it (should be a recent photo matching with the candidate)
  • Bear your full signature

Also, do remember not to bring any personal items inside the test centre except your ID documents, as they may be seized. Now when you have got all the important information about the TOEFL test, make your dream of studying abroad a reality and excel in your life.

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