What Is the TOEFL®iBT Test?

TOEFL®iBT is a test that measures your ability to use English actively in academic context, which consists of four (4) components of the test: Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking.

TOEFL®iBT is done on a computer with an online system – an internet connection and is designed in such a way to reflect how you use English in real terms in the course of daily activities, both in oral and written communication.

Inside the TOEFL®iBT you will be given a test of reading and listening to a lecture – and then you need to provide a response in oral or written form; such as real lecturing activities. TOEFL®iBT also tests the ability to speak with more accuracy, and you have the opportunity to prepare yourself much better compared to exam in the form of a direct interview with the examiner.

There are two formats for the TOEFL test. The format you take depends on the location of your test center. Most test takers take the TOEFL iBT test. Test centers that do not have Internet access offer the Paper-based Test (PBT).

Who Takes the TOEFL iBT Test?

Each year, nearly a million individuals of all ages take the TOEFL test to demonstrate their English-language proficiency. More than 25 million people from all over the world have taken the TOEFL test since it was first offered.

The average English skill level ranges between Intermediate and Advanced.
• Students planning to study at a higher education institution
• English-language learning program admissions and exit
• Scholarship and certification candidates
• English-language learners who want to track their progress
• Students and workers applying for visas

Who Accepts TOEFL iBT Test Scores?

More than 8,000 colleges, agencies and other institutions in over 130 countries accept TOEFL scores. Other organizations rely on TOEFL scores as well:
• 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 EnglishThe TOEFL

iBT® test is given in English and administered via the internet. There are four sections (listening, reading, speaking and writing) which take a total of about four and a half hours to complete and each section is taken online. Combining All Four Skills: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing.

During the test, you are asked to perform tasks that combine more than one skill, such as:
• Read, listen and then speak in response to a question
• Listen and then speak in response to a question
• Read, listen and then write in response to a question

TOEFL iBT Test Sections

* Please read timing instructions for the Reading Section carefully. The instructions will indicate how many passages you will receive and the amount of time you have to respond to questions for those passages. Be sure to pace yourself so that you will have time to answer all of the questions.

A standard English language (QWERTY) computer keyboard is used for the test. We recommend that you practice typing on a QWERTY keyboard before taking the test.

TOEFL iBT® Test Scores

Your scores are based on your performance on the questions in the test. You must answer at least one question each in the Reading and Listening sections, write at least one essay, and complete at least one Speaking task to receive an official score. For the TOEFL iBT® test, administered via the Internet, you will receive four scaled section scores and a total score:

• Reading Section (Score of: 0–30)
• Listening Section (Score of: 0–30)
• Speaking Section (Score of: 0–30)
• Writing Section (Score of: 0–30)
• Total Score (0–120)

In addition to your scores, your official score record also includes performance feedback that is a reflection of your performance level and a description of the kinds of tasks that test takers within the reported score range can typically do.

There is no passing or failing TOEFL® score; individual higher education institutions and agencies set their own score requirements. TOEFL scores are valid for two years after the test date and there is no limit to the number of times you can take the test.

The Way the Test is Scored

ETS uses both human raters and automated scoring methods because it offers a complete and accurate picture of an applicant’s ability. While automated scoring models have advantages, they do not measure the effectiveness of the language response and the appropriateness of its content. Human raters are needed to attend to a wider variety of features, such as the quality of ideas and content as well as form.Additionally, studies have shown that prompts designed for fully automated scoring have been more vulnerable to prompt-specific preparation and memorized responses.

The TOEFL test uses automated scoring to complement human scoring for the two tasks in the Writing section. Combining human judgment for content and meaning, and automated scoring for linguistic features, ensures consistent, quality scores.

How We Ensure Quality

ETS raters are trained extensively, pass a certification test and are calibrated daily. The calibration includes task familiarization, guidance on scoring the task, and practice on a range of responses. Raters are continuously monitored for accuracy by ETS scoring leaders and checked each time they score a new test question.

Rating Is Kept Apart from Test Administration

To ensure the security and integrity of scores, it is critical that scoring not take place at test sites, but rather through a centralized scoring network that implements and ensures consistent scoring standards. The TOEFL test is scored by a network of raters, carefully controlled from a secure central location. ETS uses a highly diverse pool of raters rather than those exclusive to an applicant’s country of origin, and ETS raters score responses anonymously for truly objective scoring. Multiple raters’ judgments contribute to each test taker’s Speaking and Writing scores in order to minimize rater bias.


How and when do I get my scores?
Scores will be posted online within two weeks of the test date. Log in to your online TOEFL iBT account, enter the ETS ID received when you registered and click on the “View Scores” link. Your scores are also mailed to the universities or institutions you selected when you registered. A score report posting schedule for each test administration is available on the TOEFL iBT test site. Allow 7–10 days for mail delivery in the United States and more than four weeks for other areas. We recommend that you take the test two to three months before your earliest application deadline.

How soon do score recipients get my scores?
Score reports are sent electronically or mailed to recipients two weeks after the test date.

How long are scores valid?
ETS reports scores for two years after the test date.

How many score reports are included in my test fee?
Your test fee includes:
• One examinee score report for you
• Up to four official score reports that ETS will send directly to the institutions or agencies you selected

Can I order additional official score reports?
Yes, you can order additional score reports after your scores are available online, approximately two weeks after the test date.

How do I order additional score reports?
You can order additional score reports as soon as your test scores are available (two weeks after test day). You can send your scores to as many institutions as you choose for a fee of US$17 per report. Scores are mailed approximately four to seven days after receipt of your request and payment.

How are my Speaking responses scored?
Your recorded responses are sent to the ETS Scoring Network, where three to six certified human raters score them holistically on a scale of 0 to 4. The average score on the six tasks is converted to a scaled score of 0 to 30.

It’s important to note that raters don’t expect your responses to be perfect, and even high-scoring responses may contain occasional errors. Your pronunciation does not need to sound like that of a native speaker of English. The raters are listening for the effectiveness of your communication and your ability to accomplish the tasks you are given.

How are my Writing responses scored?
Your responses are scored holistically on a scale of 0 to 5. The average score on the two tasks is converted to a scaled score of 0 to 30.

You’re not expected to produce a comprehensive essay about a specialized topic — your response is recognized as a first draft. You can receive a high score with an essay that contains some errors.