The TOEFL Exam – What is the TOEFL Exam?

What is the TOEFL Exam?

TOEFL stands for Test Of English as a Foreign Language. It is another test of your skill in English which is accepted by certain Universities and Colleges in the UK and the USA.

The TOEFL test is an alternative test to the IELTS test I wrote about in my post below so if English is your second language, i.e. not your native language, and you are intending to study at a University or College in the UK or the USA it is very important that you check with the University or College which test they accept and the level of pass required.

The TOEFL web site may be found by clicking here

Unlike the IELTS test which is administered by the British Council and IDP the TOEFL test is administered by ETS (Educational Testing Service), a private non profit organisation which designs and administers the tests.

The test was originally developed at the Center for Applied Linguistics under the direction of Stanford University in the USA.

In 1973, a cooperative arrangement was made between ETS, The College Board, and the Graduate Record Examinations board of advisers to oversee and run the program. ETS was to administer the exam with the guidance of the TOEFL board.

The TOEFL Exam - What is the TOEFL Exam?

The TOEFL Test

In late 2005, the TOEFL Internet-based Test (iBT) format was introduced where you are able to take the TOEFL exam online.

The four-hour test consists of four sections, each measuring one of the basic language skills.

All tasks focus on the English language used in an academic and  higher education environment.

The four components of the test are:

  1. Reading
  2. Listening
  3. Speaking
  4. Writing

Please see further information below.

Task Description Approximate time
Reading 3–5 passages, each containing 12–14 questions 60–100 minutes
Listening 6–9 passages, each containing 5–6 questions 60–90 minutes
Break Mandatory break 10 minutes
Speaking 6 tasks 20 minutes
Writing 2 tasks 50 minutes

Once the test has been taken your answers will be based on a scoring system on a scale of 0 to 120 points.

Each of the four sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing) will be scored form 0-30 and the scores for each of the sections will be added together to arrive at your final total score.

Most Universities and Colleges use TOEFL scores for their admission process in terms of your knowledge of the English language. The required TOEFL score varies for different Universities and Colleges, the minimum being around 61 with the University of Oxford requiring 110. 

Paper based tests are available in limited areas.

The TOEFL Exam - What is the TOEFL Exam?

Important to Note

Do remember to check with your potential University or College whether they accept the TOEFL test. This is very important especially for Universities and Colleges in the UK as there have fairly recently (2014) been a handful of UK business schools who no longer accept the internationally popular TOEFL tests as proof of English language ability for overseas students needing visas. The move comes after the BBC uncovered testing fraud in early 2014.

The current information on the English requirements for UK Student Visas may be found on the TOEFL website by clicking here

I hope you have found this to be useful information.

I would welcome any comments you may have especially if you have had experience of taking the TOEFL test.

To help you study English online please read my review for a solution here

Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *