TOEFL Exam :

6 Most Important Things You Need to Know

Do you feel nervous when you think about your TOEFL exam?

Well – everybody else does too.

But the first step towards an excellent score is knowing what the TOEFL is all about.

We’re going to cover it all right here- the what, why, who and how!

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Table of Contents

1.What is the TOEFL Exam?

The full form of ‘TOEFL’ is – ‘Test of English as a Foreign Language’, and it is a test conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). That’s right, the same people that conduct the GRE every year.

What is the importance of the TOEFL?

A TOEFL score is something that you need for applying to any college in the U.S. or in Canada, and it is something that is required for all non-Native English speakers who wish to apply for an undergraduate or postgraduate course.

But here’s the kicker:

You may need to take the TOEFL exam in order to get a score to apply for some kinds of jobs as well. There are many purposes for taking the TOEFL exam, but the primary one is usually for an academic course at an English speaking country. There are universities and businesses in other English speaking countries, like the U.K or Australia, and so on who do accept a TOEFL score for various other purposes.

What is TOEFL exam?

2.Who accepts TOEFL scores?

There are 10,000+ colleges, agencies and other institutions, and over 150 countries that accept TOEFL scores as of today and every year, there are over 50 computer-based tests being administered via the Internet all over the globe. That is over 165 countries in which this exam is administered every year and there are 4500 and more TOEFL test centers.

So it is a very frequently conducted exam.

If you’re looking for TOEFL dates, there is a schedule that you can find on the ETS website. Head over to the ‘TOEFL login’ page and you’ll be able to see available test dates and test centres. You have a lot of opportunities to apply to take his exam if you’re looking to take the TOEFL.

TOEFL fact – More than 35 million test takers have taken this exam since it was launched.

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3.How many times is the TOEFL iBT test
conducted in a year?

The TOEFL online test is conducted over 50 times a year at authorized test centers. One can retake the exam any number of times. But you cannot attempt the exam within 12 days of the previous attempt.

But remember:

You have this cost to pay every time you want to attempt the test, and it is a four hour exam. It can be  draining both mentally and financially.

Check the availability of TOEFL test centers near you and test dates to register for the test.

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4.What is the TOEFL Exam Fee?

Depending on the country the test costs anywhere around $160 – $260 per attempt for the TOEFL iBT. For example the TOEFL exam fee in India is $180 per attempt (about  ₹12,487 ) where as in the United States the exam cost is $205.

The exam fee for TOEFL Paper Based Test (PBT) is $180.

  • If you register online, the TOEFL registration closes 7 days before the test date. You need to pay additional charges of $40 if you want to register after the closing date.
  • If you want to reschedule the exam, a fee of $60 has to be paid before registering for the new TOEFL exam date.
TOEFL iBT $160 - $260
Rescheduling $60
Late registration $40
Reinstatement of canceled scores $20

5.What is the TOEFL score validity?

Your TOEFL score is valid for 2 years from the test date. So whenever you’ve taken the exam, your scores are valid for upto two years from that date.

For example:

If you have taken the TOEFL test on June 20th 2019, your TOEFL score is valid until June 20th 2021. Remember you can only apply to universities within this time.

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6.What is the TOEFL Exam pattern?

Let’s take a look at the TOEFL syllabus now. We’re going to look at the different sections on the exam, how much time each section takes, how many questions you can expect, the tasks you will have to do in each of those sections and finally we will also look at what these sections are trying to test.

Section Question Types Time Limit No.of Questoins Score Range
Reading 3–4 passages from academic texts (about 700 words); 12–14 questions per passage 60-80 min 36–56 questions 0-30
Listening 4–6 lectures, some with classroom discussion, 6 questions each; 2–3 conversations, 5 questions each 60-90 min 34–51 questions 0-30
Break 10Min
Speaking 2 tasks to express an opinion; 4 tasks to speak based on reading and listening passages 20 Min 6 tasks 0-30
Writing 1 integrated task (write based on what is read and listened to); 1 independent task (support an opinion on a topic) 50 Min 2 tasks 0-30

TOEFL Reading Section:

This is the first section you will encounter on the TOEFL test.

It is also one of the longest sections of the exam. The exam is a total of four hours long, maybe a bit longer or lesser.

It really depends on how many questions you get.

So around 4 hours, and of that, the very first section i.e. the TOEFL reading section time would be anywhere from 1 hour to 1 hour 20 minutes.

You can have anywhere between 36 and 70 TOEFL reading questions. The reason this is not a fixed number is sometimes they’re testing new material, and they will throw out one more extra passenge at you that will form those extra questions, and you will not be told whether that will form a part of your score or not. So you should just come prepared to attempt that many TOEFL reading passage-questions.

TOEFL Exam Pattern

What does the TOEFL Reading Section test?

You will be expected to read three or four passages at most and all of these passages will be from academic texts. Then you will have to answer questions based on those texts. So the whole point of the reading section is that it tests whether you have the ability to understand academic reading material that has been written in English.

After all, this is something you’re going to have to do if you’re going to the US or another English speaking country for academic purposes.

Structure of TOEFL reading section

TOEFL Listening Section:

The TOEFL listening section time is anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes. That is an hour – an hour and a half. So it is possibly a little longer than the reading section, and you get extra questions. You could get anywhere between 30 to 51 questions in this entire section.

What does the TOEFL Listening Section test?

What the section entails is you will have to listen to lectures, classroom discussions and conversations and then you will have to answer a set of questions on each of these that you listen to. And, of course, this section is testing whether you have the ability to understand spoken English as it is used in colleges and universities.

So again, a largely academic context over here, a skill you will absolutely require if you’re going to do anything academic in any other country – in which English is the primary mode of communication.

So there you have two long sections, and that would cover the meat of your exam. You will have a short break after these two sections, just about 10 minutes after which you will have to proceed to the next couple of sections.

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TOEFL Speaking Section:

The third section you will encounter in the TOEFL test is the Speaking section. It is about twenty minutes long and you will be expected to do six tasks. At this stage, you will be asked to express an opinion on a familiar topic or speak based on reading and listening tasks given to you.

You will be given a microphone into which you will have to speak. You will not be speaking to a person. You do have to kind of practice and get used to speaking into a microphone if you’re not used to that.

You will not have any interaction as such – you will be given a prompt and you will have to respond to that on your own.

TOEFL Speaking Section structure

What does the TOEFL Speaking Section test?

These are the kind of tasks you will get: simply expressing your opinion, speaking based on a passage that you read, or based on a conversation or lecture that you listened to.

Those are your tasks and basically this tests whether you have the ability to speak in English in an academic setting. All of this is preparing you to communicate in the academic setting that you are planning to go to.

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TOEFL Writing Section:

Finally, we have the writing section, which is about fifteen minutes long. You have two tasks. That’s right, just two tasks in the writing section. You will have to write essay responses based on the premise that you are given.

And one of those tasks will involve reading and listening as well. You’ll have to read a passage, listen to a lecture and write a response that has to do with what you read and what you listened to.

Structure of TOEFL Writing Section

The second task will involve supporting an opinion in writing, so it will be mostly your personal opinion. You will have to elaborate and really show that you can write something substantial and cohesive on your own for the second task.

What does the TOEFL Writing Section test?

This section is testing whether you have the ability to write in English in a way that’s appropriate for college and university coursework. Once again, this is testing you on a skill that you absolutely will need if you were to go to an academic environment in an English speaking country.

So as you can see, all four of these sections really test very important skills. And it is, in every possible sense, a basic test of your English proficiency.

Bonus TOEFL® Resources

Introduction to the TOEFL®

Types of Questions on the TOEFL® Exam.

TOEFL® Scores: Everything you need to know

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Now that you’re done, you can see that the TOEFL is a truly dynamic exam.

Have you started preparing for the TOEFL yet?

Or is there any section on the TOEFL test that you’re really nervous about?

Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below!

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