Accepted by more than 12,500 institutions in around 160 countries, TOEFL is the English Language proficiency test that measures the English-speaking skills of non-native speakers.The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is often used as a requirement for admission in various colleges and universities along with work and immigration.

An Overview of TOEFL

  • - It is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
  • - It is conducted as an internet-based test (iBT).
  • - It assesses four language skills, viz. Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.
  • - The scores are available in 4-8 days after the test.
  • - The scores of the test are valid for 2 years.
  • - The test takes under 2 hours to complete.
  • - The test is offered in three different ways –
  • -1. TOEFL iBT test: Test on a computer at an authorized test center.
  • -2. TOEFL iBT Home Edition: Test on a computer at home.
  • -3. TOEFL iBT Paper Edition: Test in 2 sessions — Reading, Listening, and Writing on paper at an authorized test center, and Speaking on a computer at home.

Part 1: Reading

It assesses how well you can read and understand materials used in an academic environment.

Question type: It includes 2 reading passages, each around 700 words that needs to be answered in 35 minutes. These texts include university level introductory topics.

  • 1. Factual Information and Negative Factual Information: You need to recognize information directly stated in the text.
  • 2. Inference and Rhetorical Purpose: You need to recognize information that is implied, or why an author wrote something.
  • 3. Vocabulary: You need to understand and tell the meaning of general academic words and phrases.
  • 4. Sentence Simplification: You need to select a shorter sentence that mean the same as the original sentence.
  • 5. Insert Text Question: You need to insert a sentence in the paragraph where it makes the most sense.
  • 6. Prose Summary: You need to select three statements that best describe the main ideas in the passage.

Part 2: Listening

It measures your ability to understand conversations and lectures in English.

It includes listening for - basic comprehension, understand the speaker’s attitude and degree of certainty, and connecting information. It includes

  • 3 lectures, 3-5 minutes each, some with classroom discussion; 6 questions per lecture
  • 2 conversations, 3 minutes each; 5 questions per conversation

which needs to be answered in 36 minutes.

Question Type:

  • 1. Gist Content and Gist Purpose: You need to identify the main point or purpose of the conversation or lecture.
  • 2. Detail: You need to identify specific facts from the conversation or lecture.
  • 3. Function: You need to understand why a speaker said something.
  • 4. Attitude: You need to recognize how a speaker feels about something.
  • 5. Organization: You need to understand why the lecture is structured the way it is.
  • 6. Connecting Content: You need to predict an outcome, draw a conclusion or understand a cause-and-effect relationship.
  • 7. Inference: You need to recognize information that is implied but not directly stated.

This section includes audios from native English speakers from North America, the U.K., New Zealand or Australia to offer a variety of accents.

Part 3: Speaking

It measures your ability to speak English effectively in academic settings. You will need 16 minutes to complete this section.

Question Type:

  • 1 Independent Speaking Task: It requires you to create your own ideas, opinions and experiences while responding
  • 2-4 Integrated Speaking Tasks: It requires you to combine your English language skills as in a classroom setting.

You need to respond in 45 or 60 seconds after a preparation time of 15-30seconds. Your answers will be recorded in the microphone.

Part 4: Writing

It measures your ability to write in English in an academic setting, and to present your ideas in a clear, well-organized way.

You need to finish this section in 29 minutes.

Question Type:

  • 1. Integrated writing task: You need to summarize a short passage (written text) and a short lecture (spoken text) in 20 minutes.
  • 2. Writing for an Academic Discussion task: You need to state and support an opinion in an online classroom discussion in 10 minutes.


The test is scored on a scale of 0 to 120 with each section scored between 0 to 30.

Interpretation of score:

  • 1. 90-100 and above: This score is generally considered good and is acceptable in many universities for admission.
  • 2. 60-80: It is acceptable in less competitive universities and colleges.
  • 3. Below 60: This score is considered low and indicates scope for improvement.

The TOEFL score is valid for 2 years from the test date.