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The Test of English as a Foreign Language or the TOEFL test measures your English language skills. If you are a non-native English speaker at the 11th-grade or above, planning to attend college or graduate school in the United States, chances are you need to take the TOEFL. The test contains sections in reading, writing, listening, and now, in most locations, speaking. The TOEFL test is offered in 180 countries around the globe and more than 6,000 colleges and universities worldwide require this test as part of your application. Depending upon your testing area, the TOEFL will now be administered in either iBT format or paper-based format (PBT).

What is the format of the TOEFL iBT?

The TOEFL iBT test has a new format that now includes an emphasis on your speaking ability. The new test includes voice-recording technology that more effectively measures your ability to both understand and to speak English. Because effective communication includes many skills, the iBT introduces the concept of "integrated questions" which combine multiple language skills. The new test is a better evaluation tool for assessing your overall communication skills in the English language. The TOEFL iBT test has four sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing.


Students will read three to five passages and then answer questions that test their ability to analyze and understand the passages.


Students will listen to two to three conversations and four to six lectures. Questions will test the students' ability to understand the content of these recordings and interpret the meanings and attitudes of the speakers.


Students will complete six tasks, some of which will require them to respond to reading or listening material. Students will be evaluated on topic development, speaking delivery, and use of language.


Students will complete two tasks, one of which will require them to respond to reading and listening material and one of which will require them to respond to a topic using their personal knowledge and experience. Students will be evaluated based on their understanding of the material, and the organization and development of their writing.

What is the format of the TOEFL PBT?

The TOEFL PBT has three sections: reading comprehension, structure and written expression, and listening comprehension. It also contains a writing portion, known as the Test of Written English.

Reading Comprehension

Students will read several passages and answer questions about them. They will be tested on their ability to understand and analyze the information in the passages and their ability to understand the meanings of specific words as they are used in the passages.

Structure and Written Expression

Students will be tested on their ability to recognize structural and grammatical errors in sentences and on their ability to select the proper word or phrase to fill in the blank in a sentence.

Listening Comprehension

Students will listen to both short and long conversations and speeches and then answer questions about the recordings. This section tests students' ability to understand spoken English, including vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and grammatical constructions.

Test of Written English

Students will write an essay in response to a given topic and be evaluated on the development, organization, language, and grammar of their writing.

How is the TOEFL test scored?

The total score range for the TOEFL iBT is 0 to 120. Each of the four sections (reading, listening, speaking, and writing) is scored on a scale from 0 to 30.

On the TOEFL PBT, the total scaled score range for the three main sections (reading comprehension, structure and written expression, and listening comprehension) is 310 to 677. The score scale for Reading Comprehension is 31 to 67. Listening Comprehension and Structure and Written Expression each have a score scale of 31 to 68. The Test of Written English is scored separately, on a scale from 1 to 6.