Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL is a standardised test of English language proficiency for non-native English language speakers wishing to enroll in U.S. universities. The test is accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions. TOEFL is one of the two major English-language tests in the world, the other being the IELTS.

TOEFL is a trademark of ETS (Educational Testing Service), a private non-profit organization, which designs and administers the tests. The scores are valid for two years.

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Can I apply for TOEFL?

TOEFL does not restrict the candidates as long as the students are high school graduates or about to be high school graduates. High school graduate is equivalent to 12th standard in India as this test is very important from VISA point of view. Hence, a person applying for education after 12th outside India can appear for the test.

Nowadays, to keep abreast with English many corporates have started advising employees weak in communication to appear for the exam.


What is the syllabus for TOEFL?

TOEFL being an English proficiency exam, tests the test-taker on the ability to use English on all four skills of the language that is Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Hence, it has no definite syllabus but questions based on range of situations which one encounters in academic life.


What do they exactly test on TOEFL?

The format of the TOEFL test is as follows:

Section Content Questions Duration
Reading 3 to 5 passages 12 to 14 Questions for each passage 60 to 100 minutes
Listening 4 to 6 Lectures and 2 to 3 Conversations 6 Questions on each Lecture and 5 questions on each conversation 60 to 90 minutes
Speaking 2 Independent tasks

4 Integrated tasks

1 response per task 20 minutes
Writing 1 Integrated task

1 independent task

1 response per task 60 minutes

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The Reading section consists of questions on 4–6 passages on academic topics, each of approximately 700 words. The test-taker requires understanding of rhetorical functions such as cause-effect, compare-contrast and argumentation in order to answer 12 to 14 questions asked on each topic. Prior knowledge of the subject under discussion is not necessary to come to the correct answer.


The Listening section consists of questions on approximately six passages which are either conversations or lectures in academic setting; each 3–5 minutes in length. The conversations involve a student and either a professor or a campus service provider. Each conversation and lecture passage is heard only once. Test-takers may take notes while they listen and they may refer to their notes when they answer the questions. The questions are meant to measure the ability to understand main ideas, important details, implications, relationships between ideas, organization of information, speaker purpose and speaker attitude.


The Speaking section consists of six tasks: two independent and four integrated. In the two independent tasks, test-takers answer opinion questions on familiar topics. In two of the integrated tasks, test-takers read a short passage, listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and answer a question by combining appropriate information from the text and the talk. In the two remaining integrated tasks, test-takers listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and then respond to a question about what they heard. Test-takers may take notes as they read and listen and may use their notes to help prepare their responses. The responses are digitally recorded and evaluated by three to six raters.


The Writing section measures a test taker’s ability to write in an academic setting and consists of two tasks: one integrated and one independent. In the integrated task, test-takers read a passage on an academic topic and then listen to a speaker discuss it. The test-taker then writes a summary about the important points in the listening passage and explains how these relate to the key points of the reading passage. In the independent task, the test-taker must write an essay that states their opinion or choice, and then explain it, rather than simply listing personal preferences or choices. Responses are sent to the ETS OSN and evaluated by at least 3 different raters.


How are scores reported for TOEFL?

The TOEFL internet based test (iBT) is scored on a scale of 0 to 120 points. Each of the four sections (Readings, Listening, Speaking, and Writing) receives a scaled score from 0 to 30. The scaled scores from the four sections are added together to determine the total score. In fact, each speaking question is initially given a score of 0 to 4, and each writing question is initially given a score of 0 to 5. These scores are converted to scaled scores of 0 to 30.