TOEFL ibT: Test Logistics

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

  • The TOEFL is a language proficiency test for non-native English speakers planning to study at English-speaking higher education institutions.
  • TOEFL is also used for admission to and exit English-language learning programs, application for certain scholarships and certificates, and application for certain visas.
  • Most students take TOEFL “ibT” (Internet-based test). The paper-based version of the TOEFL (“pbT”) is much less common.

Duration:  4 hours (includes mandatory 10-minute break)

4 Sections:  

  • Reading (60-80 minutes, 36-56 questions)
    • Read 3-4 academic passages and respond to questions.
  • Listening (60-90 minutes, 34-51 questions)
    • Listen to lectures or classroom discussions and respond to questions.
  • Speaking (20 minutes, 6 tasks)
    • Speak about familiar topics into microphone. Discuss material you read about/listen to.
  • Writing (50 minutes, 2 tasks)
    • Read a passage, listen to a recording, and write a response.
  • Notes about Test Structure
    • TOEFL is administered on a standard English-language (QWERTY) computer keyboard
    • Reading and Listening sections may contain several unscored questions used to gather information for future tests
    • Listening and Speaking sections will feature accents from North America, Australia, the U.K., and New Zealand

Scoring Scale: 0-120

  • Reading & Listening: scored by a computer, 0-30 per section
  • Speaking: each of 6 tasks rated 0-4; sum is converted to scaled score, 0-30
  • Writing: each task rated 0-5; sum is converted to scaled score, 0-30
    • Writing is scored for: organization of ideas, grammar, vocabulary, accuracy, and overall writing quality
    • Writing is scored both by a trained rater and a computerized eRater
  • No “passing” or “failing score”: each college/university sets its own score requirements
  • Score report includes “performance feedback,” summary of your strengths and weaknesses


  • Registration is open until 7 days before test date (available online, by phone, or by mail)
  • Late online registration open until 4 days before test date, $40 fee
  • Unlimited retakes are permitted, but only no more than once within a 12-day period
  • Registration fees vary by country (approximately $170)

Rescheduling & Cancellation

  • Full refund for cancellations made within 7 days after registration
  • Refund of half of registration fee for cancellation made up to 4 days before test date
  • Rescheduling fee: $60

Preparing for Test Day

  • Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes before test start time
  • You must bring
    • Registration confirmation
    • Valid, acceptable form of I.D.
  • Test center will provide scratch paper and pencil

Receiving & Sending Scores

  • Scores posted online about 10 days after test date
  • Designate score recipients at time of registration (up to 4 score reports)
  • $19 fee for each additional score report or ANY report requested after registration
  • Option to cancel your scores at the end of testing session if you don’t want them on permanent record
    • $20 fee to reinstate canceled scores if received within 60 days after test date
  • Scores valid for 2 years after test date
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