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10 Common Questions for TOEFL

The official website of TOEFL is the proper place where test-takers look for answers. The answers for ten common questions try to give you a big-picture before your TOEFL journey.

1. What is TOEFL?
TOEFL, The Test of English as a Foreign Language, is an English language exam designed for non-native English speakers. It is recognized by colleges, universities, and agencies around the world. TOEFL is an academic-oriented English test to measures the ability to use and understand English at the university level.
  • It tests in the four necessary language skills: listening, reading, writing, and speaking;
  • Each ability are tested separately, and has the same weight in overall score;
  • The test takes about 4 hours, from 3 hours and 10 minutes to 4 hours and 20 minutes.
2. Who is the organizer of TOEFL?
The TOEFL was first developed by the National Council on the Testing of English as a Foreign Language in 1962. Its history is more than half a century. The original TOEFL focused on studying each component of language competence separately and included five distinct sections that evaluated reading, vocabulary, listening, English structure, and grammar, entirely with multiple-choice questions.

In 1973, ETS (Educational Testing Service), The College Board, and the Graduate Record Examinations board joined together to run the program. ETS was to administer the exam with the guidance of the TOEFL board. Since then, the exam was updated several times. Now TOEFL iBT is the primary test type.

3. Who accepts TOEFL's scores?
More than 10,000 colleges or other organizations in over 130 countries accept TOEFL scores, including:
  • Colleges and universities
  • Immigration departments.
  • Medical and licensing agencies
4. Who should take TOEFL iBT?
Now, most of TOEFL test centers around the world offer the iBT exclusively, including every country in North America and Europe and most nations in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. So as long as your test center offers iBT, you don't have PDT(paper-delivered test), PBT (paper-based test) or CBT (computer-based test) to choose. The iBT is easy for test-takers to access, and it covers reading, writing, speaking, and listening, so it's better than others. Over 97% of test-takers now take it.

5. Who should take TOEFL PDT?
The TOEFL PDT (paper-delivered test) is now available only in locations where Internet testing is either prohibited or impractical. Only 3% of test-takers have to take TOEFL PDT because of the Internet issue. Since the speaking test is no longer in PDT, and this is a disadvantage for ESL students to show language skill, TOEFL doesn't encourage to take PDT though many universities still accept the PDT scores.

6. How does the TOEFL score?
The TOEFL iBT test is scored on a scale of 0 to 120 points. Each of Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing section receives a scaled score from 0 to 30. The four scaled scores are added together as the total score.

In speaking and writing section
  • Each speaking question is initially given a score of 0 to 4
  • Each writing question is initially given a score of 0 to 5
The question scores will be converted to scaled scores of 0 to 30 for each section.

The score of TOEFL PDT isn't exactly as same as iBT.

7. What point is a good TOEFL iBT score?

Section: Reading or Listening

  • 22-30: High
  • 15-21: Intermediate
  • 00-14: Low

Section: Speaking

  • 26-30: Good
  • 18-25: Fair
  • 10-17: Limited
  • 00-09: Weak

Section: Writing

  • 24-30: Good
  • 17-23: Fair
  • 00-16: Limited
8. What is TOEFL iBT format?
The test combines all 4 Skills: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing; and takes about 4 hours, from 3 hours and 10 minutes to 4 hours and 20 minutes. During the test, you are asked to perform tasks that combine your English communication skills, 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
The test is by computer with standard English language (QWERTY) keyboard.

9. How much effort do I have to pay to up 10 points of my TOEFL score?
It relies on your current level. For ESL students, if your point is between 60 and 80, with the proper study plan and study diligently 2 to 3 hours daily, you may increase your score by 6-10 points in 30 days.

10. Can I prepare TOEFL test online?
Yes. You can take TOEFL practice at home, at school, or wherever there is an Internet connection. Online resources and courses are more and more popular. If you decide to prepare TOEFL online, you will see lots of options, is one of them.