TOEFL - SPLessons

TOEFL Exam | TOEFL iBT | TOEFl Registration

Chapter 1

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TOEFL Exam | TOEFL iBT | TOEFl Registration

shape Introduction

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a comprehensive analysis of an individual’s ability to express thoughts and understand others with English as a mode of communication. If an individual is a non-native English speaker in the USA or the United Kingdom or aspires to go there to propel his/her career by enrolling in a good university, then achieving a good score in TOEFL can certainly boost the chance of acceptance into a good university.

With the outline of the course being originally formulated at the Center for Applied Linguistics under the supervision of Dr. Charles Ferguson, TOEFL is administered and conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS). TOEFL is a standardized test to check the linguistic ability of people for admission to multiple academic and professional institutes.


shape TOEFL

TOEFL is distributed into two categories – TOEFL Junior Test and TOEFL ITP. The categorization has been discussed in detail below. Although there is no specific eligibility for TOEFL, the TOEFL Junior test is generally targeted by test takers under 11 years of age. TOEFL for non-junior test takers is generally suitable for students with at least 10+2 qualification. This is advisable owing to the difficulty level of the test.

There are certain mandatory identification requirements for TOEFL which are as under:

  • An original identification document as per TOEFL’s requirement for the candidate’s country is mandatory. The list of acceptable identification can be found here – TOEFL identification requirements

  • For test-takers below 15 years of age, a parent, guardian or an authorized person above the age of 18 must be present throughout the duration of the test.

  • The name on the identification card should exactly match the name on the hall ticket.

  • Photocopied or expired identifications are not accepted.

For the internet-based test, the candidate will need to sign up at the ETS website, only after which access to the TOEFL exam dates and locations will be provided. The aspirant can also do the same by going to this link – Select the TOEFL testing location, for a better understanding of the paper-based test, confirmation of the test date, location, the exam fees and the mode of the exam (IBT/ PBT). There are different means by which a candidate can register for the TOEFL exam.

shape Registration

As mentioned earlier, a candidate can easily register for the TOEFL exam online by visiting the ETS website. All that needs to be done is, filling up the registration form and making the payment for the exam fees through debit or credit card. ETS has listed down the type of cards which are acceptable and which are not, so that safe and easy payments can be made. Please be aware that the registration process closes 7 days prior to the exam date, and that the late registration closes 4 days before the exam date.
An aspirant can also register for the exam by phone. This can be done by going to the link www.ets.org/toefl/contact and filling a contact number for the Regional Registration Centre (RRC). Post this, the candidate will be asked to make the payment for the exam through debit/credit card valid in the USA. Unlike the online registration, the late registration through phones closes 5 days before the date of exam, the normal deadline for registration is the same.
In case an aspirant wishes to register by mail, he/she can do so by filling out the registration form with the necessary details, selecting the payment method and mailing the information to the RRC. The candidate must make sure that the form reaches the RRC at least 4 weeks prior to the exam date, and that a confirmation is received on the same.

shape TOEFL Test

The TOEFL registration fees vary from country to country. For instance, in the USA, the registration fee is $195 while in Australia it goes up to $300. However, the additional expenses in USD remain the same for all the locations.

Activity Amount
Late Registration USD 25
Rescheduling USD 50
Reinstatement of cancelled TOEFL IBT scores USD 20
Additional score reports USD 17 each
TOEFL IBT speaking or writing rescore USD 60
TOEFL IBT speaking and writing rescore USD 120
Returned personal check USD 20


  • The chart above shows a broad categorization of TOEFL exam types and categories. The purpose of this smart art is to also give the candidate an understanding of the different types of tests that are conducted under the banner of TOEFL. The smart art will also help students understand which type of TOEFL test to appear for depending upon their eligibility criteria. The eligibility for TOEFL differs based on the category of the exam that a candidate is supposed to attend.

    • Starting from July 2017, the Paper-Based test has been phased out. It is replaced by the Paper delivered test discussed below. The paper-delivered test is conducted only in the countries where Internet-based test centers are not yet available.

    • The TOEFL Junior Comprehensive test falls under the category of Internet-Based Test. There are four different sections asked in this test, namely reading comprehension, listening comprehension, speaking, and writing.

    • The Internet-Based Test is conducted for a duration varying from 3 hours 10 minutes to 4 hours 20 minutes, excluding the 10-minutes interval in between while the Paper Based Test is held for a duration of 2 hours 20 minutes to 2 hours 30 minutes.

    • Moving on to the next type of test, the TOEFL ITP Test is based on academic concepts to check the English proficiency level of students. Being conducted as a Paper Based Test as shown in the smart art above, the TOEFL ITP test uses a mixture of new and previously asked test questions to evaluate a student on a number of grounds such as placement, progress, exit testing and more.

    • Even under the ITP test, the candidate will have to clear two different types of tests in order to earn the certificate of merit. The first type, known as the Level 1 test, is aimed at people with an English proficiency level ranging between beginner and intermediate. The second test, known as the Level 2 test, is for people with English proficiency between intermediate to advanced level. Just like the TOEFL Junior Tests, the scores of these tests are also mapped to the CEFR.

    • Depending on whether the exam is conducted via the internet or on paper, the time allotted for attending the different sections, i.e. reading, speaking, writing and listening are different. The table below shows a summary of these timings.


    Test Section Description Approx. Time
    Internet Based Test Paper Delivered Test
    Reading 3 to 5 Passages with 12 to 14 questions 60 to 80 minutes 55 minutes
    Listening 6 to 9 Passages with 5 to 6 questions 60 to 90 minutes 30 to 40 minutes
    Interval Interval 10 minutes
    Speaking 2 independent and 4 integrated tasks 20 minutes 25 minutes
    Writing 1 independent and 1 integrated task 50 minutes 30 minutes


    Reading Test
    The reading test of the IBT consists of 3 to 5 passages, each containing around 12 to 14 questions, and spans a duration of 60 to 80 minutes. The word length of each of these passages is roughly around 700 words, and are based on academic topics. Through this test, a student is examined for ideas, details, inferences, vocabulary, sentence formation, etc.

    Listening Test

    The listening test consists of 6 to 9 passages, each of approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Generally, these passages include two student conversations and four academic lectures or discussion-based passages. Candidates can only hear the passage once and are not allowed to repeat it.

    In the sub-section where student conversations are given, there are five questions asked corresponding to each passage. In the case of lectures, six questions are asked per passage. The students are even allowed to jot down notes while they are listening so that questions can be answered with ease. The ultimate aim of conducting this test is to analyze the ability of the student to understand ideas, details, relations between different ideas, structuring of information, etc.
    Post the completion of this test, which lasts for 60 to 90 minutes, the students are given a 10-minute interval to refresh their minds and to mentally prepare themselves for the upcoming speaking and writing tests.

    Speaking Test

    This section comprises of six different tasks, out of which two are independent and four tasks are connected with each other. Under the independent tasks, the candidate will be judged on the ability to speak spontaneously and convey ideas with clarity.

    In the first two of the integrated tasks, the students go through a short passage, listen to academic lectures, and then answer questions by combining information from both these activities. In the other two tasks, the students are given a passage to listen to, based on which they are asked questions as to what they heard. This entire process takes about 20 minutes, and the responses given by students are digitally recorded and evaluated by a group of around 3 to 6 examiners.

    Writing Test

    The writing section includes two different tasks, out of which one is independent and the other is an integrated task. Under the integrated task, the candidate will be asked to read a passage based on any of the academic topics and then listen to a person discuss the same. Based on what is understood, the candidates are asked to write down points and justify how their understanding relates to the information given in the passage.

    Under the independent task, the candidate is asked to write an essay stating his/her perspective, and elaborate on it. This test spans a duration of 50 minutes and all the responses are recorded and evaluated by three raters.

    Test Scores

    TOEFL scores are accepted by over 10,000 institutions across 130+ countries. Check the list of institutes accepting the score.

    The scores that candidates receive will be scaled section scores on a scale of 0-30 for each section. It is mandatory to write at least 1 question in each section to be eligible to receive an official test report. After clubbing the score of all these tests, the final score is obtained, based on which the student’s result is declared. Usually, a score of 60 or above is considered as good.

    The test score is valid for 2 years. Candidates are allowed to take the test any number of times with the restriction of having a gap of 12 days between consecutive attempts.

    Exam Name (Acronym): Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) [Developed and introduced in 1976]


    Exam Registration Fee: $ 195 USD for the United States. Varies for other countries


    Exam Developed/Administered By: ETS (Educational Testing Service)


    Exam Level: International


    Exam Language: English


    Exam Purpose: Admissions to various programs with English as a mode of communication


    Exam Type: Internet-based test(IBT) and Paper Delivered Test (for countries not having IBT facilities)


    Number of Sections in the Exam: 4 – Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing


    Exam Duration: 3 hours 10 minutes to 4 hours 20 minutes, excluding the 10-minute interval


    Exam Score Validity: 2 Years


    A number of Allowable Attempts: No limit. A minimum gap of 12 days between consecutive attempts


    Exam Centres: About 1,000 test centers in more than 160 countries. (Paper-based test offered only in areas where computer-based testing is not available.)


    Exam Eligibility Criteria: No pre-defined Criteria/No Prerequisite. Intended for non-native English speakers who aspire to join courses with English as a mode of communication


    Exam Score Acceptance: In more than 10,000 institutions across 130+ countries

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