Comprehensive Overview of TOEFL as Language Proficiency Exam


Test of English and Foreign Languages is also known as TOEFL is a standardized test to measure the English Language ability for non-native speakers. TOEFL score is valid for two years following the test.

TOEFL is one of the biggest English Proficiency Tests in the world after IELTS conducted for:

  • Academic Purposed to study in English speaking-based Universities
  • Immigration and Employment Opportunities in English speaking countries.

TOEFL is organized every year by a US-based testing agency Educational Testing Service (ETS). TOEFL being the trademark of ETS, which issue official test reports and which are sent independently to institutions. 

Types of TOEFL Exam

TOEFL is conducted every year in two formats and is accepted in 130 countries. The types of TOEFL Exam are:

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test)- The internet-based exam is the more preferred mode of exam compared to that of the paper-based exam. Candidates can take the test within one to four weeks in most countries.
  • TOEFL PBT (Paper-based Test)- The paper-based test is a more orthodox method that requires a pen and paper. It is the official test for when there is no availability of the internet in the area.

TOEFL: Exam Pattern

Candidates can appear for the TOEFL Exam every one to four weeks. The test is conducted in three types: iBT, PBT, and CBT. But the CBT was discontinued since 2006, now the test scores of iBT and PBT are accepted worldwide.

Both the types of TOEFL Exam share a different exam pattern which is as follows:

  • TOEFL iBT- It is a four-hour test with four sections, each section testing the basic language skills focusing on academic and higher education environments.
    • Reading- This section consists of 10 questions based on 3-4 reading comprehension based on academic topics usually found in an undergraduate university textbook. Reading Comprehensions requires a candidate’s understanding of rhetorical functions such as cause-effect, compare-contrast, and argumentation.
    • Listening- This section consists of 5 questions each based on 2-3 conversations and 6 questions each based on 5-7 lectures.  The listening section questions measure the ability of a candidate to understand main ideas, important details, implications, relationships between ideas, organization of information, speaker purpose and speaker attitude.
    • Speaking- This section consists of 4 tasks; one independent task and 3 integrated tasks. In Task 1 the test-takers answer opinion-based questions on familiar topics. In Task 2 and 4, they read a short passage, listen to an academic course lecture or conversation and answer questions accordingly. And in Task 3, candidates hear an academic course lecture and respond to questions according to what they heard.
    • Writing- This section consists of two tasks; one integrated and one independent. In the integrated section, the candidate has to write a summary of the passage that they read and listen to. In the independent task, the candidate has to write an essay stating their opinion or choice and explain it.
  • TOEFL PBT- This test consists of reading, writing, and listening sections with the same score scale between 310 and 677. 
    • Listening- This section consists of 3 parts with 30 questions in the first part, 8 questions in the second part and 12 questions in the third part.
    • Structure and Written Expression- The Structure and Written Expression section consist of 25 exercises of identifying errors and 15 exercises of completing sentences correctly.
    • Reading Comprehension- This section consists of 50 questions based on the passages.
    • Writing- The TOEFL PBT has a writing test called Test of Written English. In this section, the candidate has to write a 250-300 word essay question.

The TOEFL PBT does not have a speaking test because of the unavailability of the internet or computer issues.

TOEFL 2020 Registration

TOEFL Exam is held all around the world at 4500 test centers in 165 countries. In India, candidates can appear for the test either on paper or on the internet. TOEFL Exam is conducted in 59 cities of India,  candidates can register for the TOEFL 2020 exam in online or offline mode. The registration for the TOEFL 2020 exam is open throughout the year. Candidates can get themselves registered for TOEFL 2020:

  • Online from their official website.
  • Offline via mail to one of the Regional Registered Centers.
  • Or from the official app available on the play store.

TOEFL 2020 Eligibility Criteria

TOEFL Exam is conducted for students wanting to study abroad in English speaking countries. The eligibility criteria for the candidates are as follows:

  • ETS has not yet specified any age limit for the English proficiency test.
  • Students with at least a high school diploma are eligible to appear for the test
  • Candidates must have a valid passport as proof of Nationality.

Few institutions reveal there is no requirement of a TOEFL score if the applicant has the following requirements:

  • The non-native speakers hold any degree or diploma certificate from institutions located in English speaking countries 
  • The non-native speakers have completed a two-year course of education from any institution located in English speaking countries 

TOEFL 2020 Exam Dates

TOEFL exam is conducted 50 times a year. Candidates can appear for the exam as many times as possible but they cannot appear more than once every 3 days. Candidates can register for the TOEFL 2020 according to the preference of dates available.

TOEFL 2020 Result

Candidates can access their test scores 10 days after the exam. The candidates receive an email informing them of the availability of the test scores. The result can easily be accessed online through their official website.

  • Candidates can sign in with their ETS registered User ID and Password.
  • TOEFL score can also be accessed through a PDF file, which is only available 3 days after the result declaration.
  • The scores are also sent to the agencies and institutions to keep under the priority list while registration.
  • Scores are valid for two years after the test.

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