All About TOEFL Exam (2021 Guide)
Exam Pattern, Cost, Dates, Scores & Validity , Format , Syllabus, Eligibility & Requirements, Exam Center's, Registration
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 right from why/who needs TOEFL, how to prepare, the exam pattern, different TOEFL sections, to exam dates, fees and centers!
You might be having alot of questions like:
- What is a good score on TOEFL?
- Is TOEFL easier than IELTS?
- How much does TOEFL cost?
- How long is the test and how long is TOEFL valid for?
- How many times can I take TOEFL
- How tough is TOEFL?
And so much more questions! We’ll answer all that here. Here’s your Ultimate TOEFL guide. Let’s get to it.
Table of Contents
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1.What is the TOEFL Exam?
TOEFL Full Form:
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.
The TOEFL exam is conducted in two versions: Internet-based test (iBT) and Paper-based test (PBT). The TOEFL iBT which was introduced in 2005 is considered an upgraded version of TOEFL CBT(Computer Based Test). Even though scoring on each section for both versions (iBT and PBT) is distinct, both versions have the same exam pattern. Of the two, 97% of students prefer to take the TOEFL iBT.
Difference between TOEFL PBT and TOEFL IBT:
|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|
What is the importance of the TOEFL Exam?
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:
Who can take the TOEFL Exam?
We know that a lot of universities ask for the TOEFL Score as a part of their admissions process, but where else are these scores used? Here’s a look:
- Students planning to pursue an academic course in an English-speaking country
- Working professionals applying for a visa to move abroad
- Students applying for scholarships and other certifications
- Those learning the English-language can also take the TOEFL Exam to measure their progress
- Certain jobs ask for a TOEFL Score when screening candidates
From the passages above, it is clear now that the TOEFL exam is taken by those who want to study abroad or work abroad. With regards to ‘TOEFL eligibility’, the good news is there is no eligibility criteria so to speak. Anybody could technically write the TOEFL exam.TOEFL Eligibility : Anyone with a passport (Identity Proof) can take it. There are no limitations or eligibility factors for this exam. Source : https://galvanizetestprep.com/blogs/toefl-exam/ Click To Tweet
Interestingly enough, there is no age limit to take the TOEFL test! But in order to attempt the exam, you need to carry a valid passport as proof of identity at the time of the exam.
Even though there is no limitation to giving the TOEFL exam, if you plan to pursue your higher education at any university/college abroad, you do need to check eligibility criteria set by the university.
You can register for the TOEFL exam at any time of the day and on any day of the week. You need to pay close attention while you are entering your details. ETS specifically mentions that the name with which you register for the TOEFL exam should be an exact match with the identification that you bring to the exam center.
TOEFL registration closes 7 days before the test date but you can still register for the exam with a late fee of $40 up until 4 days before the exam.
- The first step to registering for the TOEFL exam is creating an account by visiting the “TOEFL login” page.
- Enter your personal information, address and other important information regarding your country, language and Background (like your field of interest, current education and countries you wish to study, work or settle)
- Log in with the username and password you created and click on “Register/Find TOEFL Test Centers, Dates”.
- Enter your location and select the 2-month period that you’d like to take the exam in. You can also search through a restricted reservation code provided by the institution if applicable.
- Once you select the date you’ll be provided with the address of the test centers using which you can register immediately by providing proof of ID (Passport) and making the payment.
- You can also select four universities to which you want to send your TOEFL scores. You do have the option to add more universities with an additional payment of $20 USD for each university.
TOEFL Exam Overview:
|TOEFL Full Form||Test of English as Foreign Language|
|Conducted By||Education Testing Servies (ETS)|
|Well-known as||English Proficiency Test|
|TOEFL Exam Fee||$160 - $300|
|Eligibility||No specific Eligibilty Criteria|
|TOEFL Score Validity||2 Years|
|TOEFL Exam Pattern||Click Here|
TOEFL Exam Update: ( TOEFL Sections, Questions, Format, Test Length)
The ETS TOEFL exam has received a few updates starting August 1, 2019! These updates include changes in the TOEFL exam duration and the number of questions in each section. Before you worry, know that overall test takers will benefit from these changes!
For starters, the TOEFL exam duration has been shortened by 30 minutes. So the test will now be 3 hours long with no changes in question types and format. However, the number of questions in the reading, speaking and listening sections were reduced to lower the time.
Here is a quick comparison between the old and new versions of the TOEFL exam.
|Section||Old Version||New Version|
|Listening||4-6 Lectures, 6 Questions/lecture|
2-3 Conversations, 5 Questions each
|3-4 Lectures, 6 Questions/lecture|
2-3 Conversations, 5 Questions each
|Speaking||6 Tasks |
|Writing||2 Tasks |
How long should I Prepare for TOEFL?
The ‘Test of English as a Foreign Language’ is one of the prerequisites for applying to a any college or university in the USA or Canada. Essentially, anyone who wants to work or study abroad needs to prove their command over the English language by writing either the TOEFL or IELTS.
It doesn’t matter all that much whether you’re a student, a working professional or an English language learner. Cracking the TOEFL is fairly straight-forward! : )
The internet version of the exam (around 97% of TOEFL takers choose the Internet version due to convenience) is around 3 hours long. It tests your Reading, Listening and Speaking abilities, along with your writing skills. You can take the exam around 50 times a year. Universities do not fret about your TOEFL retakes (if any) and only require you to submit your highest TOEFL score for evaluating whether you meet their admission criteria. So that’s definitely some good news, right? 😛 Your scores will be valid for 2 years as well.
Without further ado, let us briefly jump into what the exam tests. It is better to know and understand what you need to prepare for before worrying about how long preparation will take.
Here’s a useful table from Galvanise Test Prep that decodes the TOEFL Pattern concisely.
No. of Questions
3-4 passages from academic texts (about 700 words); 12 – 14 questions per passage
60 to 80 minutes
36 – 56 questions
0 – 30
4 – 6 lectures, 6 questions each; 2 – 3 conversations, 5 questions each
60 to 90 minutes
34 – 51 questions
0 – 30
2 tasks to express an opinion; 4 tasks for speaking after reading/listening to passages
0 – 30
1 integrated task (writing based on reading and listening); 1 independent task (support an opinion or topic)
0 – 30
Now that we have familiarized ourselves with the exam pattern, let us kickstart your TOFEL Preparation!
- Read – The best way to improve your command over the English Language is by reading. It helps build your grammatical intuition and builds your reading stamina. As George Martin once said, “A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep its edge.”
So go on and read for the heck of it! Read articles from online magazines and publications. Read novels and newspapers. Just read! This will also build your vocabulary.
- Learning the TOEFL Test Format – If you’ve been paying attention so far, you’d already know that the Exam Pattern is right above this section 😛
- Picking the right TOEFL Preparation Class – The right study material, professional guidance and medium of teaching can save you 15 days’ worth of time w.r.t your TOEFL Preparation. Check out this practice test and see for yourself!
- Practice and take practice tests – The more you practice and familiarize yourself with the exam and its sections, the better you’ll know what to expect. Your scores will rise at a commensurate rate with quality practice. : ) You will also get used to typing online, which is not only useful for TOEFL, but for IELTS and GRE as well.
In conclusion, one needs to keep all of the points mentioned above in mind, and realise that the time it will take to prepare for TOEFL adequately is subjective to say the least. You might take a month, or you might take just 10 days. It depends on where your love affair with the English Language began. If it hasn’t…start TODAY!
Which exam should you take? IELTS or TOEFL?
Firstly, let us get one thing out of the way. You have decided to write either of these exams as a requirement for getting into a school or university abroad, or to immigrate and work in a particular country abroad. Having established this, we suggest you narrow down a few probable options in terms of universities. Which is your dream university or country? What do they prefer – IELTS or TOEFL? Identify this first and look into their requirements. In the end, that is what will matter after all.
On the other hand, if you haven’t narrowed down any possible university options, and are looking to hit them with your best shot in order to try your hand at all possible universities, then the following will be applicable for you!
Who accepts TOEFL scores?
Universities in the USA have preferred the TOEFL over IELTS for a long time, and if you are looking to study or immigrate to the USA, TOEFL is the better option. There are some universities that do accept IELTS scores as well, so definitely do your research beforehand. Around 9000 institutions in the world accept TOEFL scores, so do keep that in mind.
What about IELTS?
Similar to the TOEFL, even IELTS scores are accepted at around 9000 institutions in the world. The difference is that IELTS are preferred for programmes in the UK and Commonwealth Nations such as Australia. European Universities also prefer IELTS scores.
So, there we have it. Your choice purely depends on where you wish to study or immigrate. Let us briefly look at the differences between these two counterparts.
- Internet vs Paper Version: The TOEFL is primarily taken via the Internet whereas the IELTS offers both the Paper and Interne Version. If you’re someone who prefers writing physically in comparison to typing, then choose the right version for you.
- Multiple choice vs Type in the Answer Questions: The TOELF is heavily MCQ-oriented, whereas the IELTS prefers the candidate to write short answers to the questions provided to them. The IELTS is more concerned with your thinking abilities.
- The Speaking Section: The TOEFL requires you to answer the provided questions or prompts in a recorded format, where there is no human presence apart from you. The IELTS on the other hand, has an actual human on the other side, listening to your conversation. Now, if you’re someone who prefers interacting with another person and find the conversation more stimulating this way, then the IELTS may just take the cake for you but if you find this intimidating, the TOEFL may resonate with you better. It depends on how you communicate and think.
- Reading Section: It is said that the IELTS uses myriad texts from sources such as academic readings, magazines and online publications whereas the TOEFL makes use of academic texts only. The TOEFL may prove to be more challenging in this regard.
TL;DR : To sum it up, choose the exam that best suits your goals and needs, and that of the country or university you want to study or work in.
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, over 50 computer-based tests are being administered via the Internet all over the globe.
Apart from universities, other organizations too accept the TOEFL Score for different purposes.
As per ETS,
- Immigration departments use them to issue residential and work visas.
- Medical and licensing agencies use them for professional certification purposes.
- Individuals use them to measure their progress in learning English.
Even though the TOEFL Exam score is used for so many purposes, it is mainly used by universities in English-speaking countries as a part of their admission process.
So, let’s see where these TOEFL Scores are accepted across the world.
Countries that Accept TOEFL Scores:
- United States of America – Approximately 9 out of every 10 universities in the USA accept TOEFL scores and it is the most widely taken English-language test in the country.
- Canada – Over 75% Canadian Universities accept the TOEFL Scores
- United Kingdom – More than 95% Universities in the United Kingdom accept these scores
- Germany – The TOEFL Exam is preferred over any other English-language test
- New Zealand and Australia – All universities in Australia and New Zealand consider a TOEFL Exam score a reliable metric in their admission process
How to view your TOEFL results?
The TOEFL exam underwent a few upgrades on August 1, 2019. ETS has now included a section called “My Best Scores” which will give you the best individual scores of the writing, listening, speaking and reading sections from all attempts in the last 2 years.
Even though most schools don’t accept these scores, there are a few schools that do.
So how do you check your score?
There is an advantage to taking the TOEFL exam in this regard. You will receive a mail after the exam with information of when you scores will be available. Typically, it takes 10 days to get a TOEFL score report.
You can login to your ETS account and check your results by clicking on “view scores”. You can also download your PDF score report.How to Check TOEFL Scores : Typically takes 10 days, You will receive an email after the exam regarding this Source : https://galvanizetestprep.com/blogs/toefl-exam/ Click To Tweet
How to send your TOEFL scores?
You can choose to send your TOEFL scores to 4 institutions before taking you test i.e., while registering for the test. The exam fee you pay during registration includes these 4 TOEFL destinations.
You can send your TOEFL scores to more than these 4 destinations at any time with a fee of US$20 per report. Approximately after 13 days, your score reports will be sent to destinations you have chosen.
Follow these steps to send your TOEFL scores to additional institutions.
- Log in to your ETS account and select send additional score reports.
- Choose the destinations and make the payment via credit/debit card, e-check or Paypal.
- You can send you score report for 2 years from your test date after which your TOEFL scores are not valid.
You can also send through fax to +1-610-290-8972 by filling out the additional score report request form.
|TOEFL Score||IELTS Score|