The TOEFL® Test

TOEFLiBT is an internet based test designed to assess the language ability of candidates who want to study or work where English is the language of communication.

Test results

The maximum score a candidate can get is 120. Each institution that uses TOEFL scores sets its own minimum level of acceptable performance. The standards vary from one institution to another depending on factors such as field of study or level of study. Test takers can view their scores online within 15 business days after the test.TOEFL scores have a recommended two year validity period.


The Main Features

  1. It tests all four language skills that are important for effective communication: speaking, listening, reading and writing.
  2. It is delivered via the Internet in secure test centres throughout the year.
  3. Some tasks require test takers to combine more than one skill.
    • Read, listen and then respond 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 4 hours long.

The TOEFL Scaled Score is as follows

  • Reading              0-30
  • Listening             0-30
  • Speaking             0-30
  • Writing                 0-30

Total Score        0-120

Timing: Approximately 60-100 min

Test Material: There are 3-5 passages, 12-14 questions per passage. The passages are about 700 words long.

Questions: A variety of multiple choice questions types is used, chosen from the following: Factual Information questions, Inference questions, vocabulary questions, reference questions, sentence paraphrasing questions, insert text question, prose summary and fill in the table. A variety of voices and native-speaker accents is used. The text and the questions appear on the screen (side by side)


Each correct answer carries one mark. The last question (which could be a summary question or a fill in the table question) could be for up to 4 marks.

Raw Scores on 39 are converted into scaled score on 30.

Timing: 60 – 90 min

Test Material: There are 2-3 lectures (6 questions each), 2-3 discussions (6questions each) and 2-3 conversations (5 questions each) There are three types of Listening materials, conversations, discussions and lectures. Each are 4-6 min long. You should take notes during the listening as the questions will appear after the listening is over.

Questions: A variety of multiple choice questions types is used, chosen from the following: Gist- Content questions, Gist-Purpose questions, Detail, Understanding the function of what is said, understanding the Speaker’s attitude, understanding organization, connecting content, making inference. Most questions have one right answer. However, some may require you to choose two answer choices out of the four, or some may ask you to put order events or steps.

Marking: Each correct answer carries one mark. The last question (which could be a summary question or a fill in the table question) could be for up to 4 marks.

Raw Scores on 34 are converted into scaled score on 30.

NOTE! The official TOEFL iBT tests have either a longer Reading Section i.e. 5 passages instead of 3 or a longer listening section i.e. 2-3 extra listening material (lecture / conversation). The extra part on each test contains experimental questions that will not be graded as part of your score. You will need to do your best on all of the questions because you will not know which questions are experimental.

Timing: 20 minutes

Tasks: There are 6 tasks, 2 independent and 4 integrated. You will be asked to speak on a variety of topics that draw on personal experience, campus based situations, and academic- type content material. The stimuli are presented online and the responses are recorded online.

Task 1 and Task 2 are independent tasks because they require you to draw entirely on your own ideas, opinions, and experiences when responding. You are asked for opinions on certain matters. Preparation time is 15 seconds and Recording time is 45 seconds.

Task 3, 4, 5, 6 are integrated tasks. You will listen to a conversation or excerpts from lectures, or read a passage and then listen to a brief discussion or lecture excerpt, before you are asked the question. These questions are called integrated tasks because they require that you integrate your English-language skills – listening and speaking, or listening, reading and speaking. In responding to these questions you will be asked to base your spoken response on the listening material or on both the listening and the reading passage together. Preparation time is 20-30 seconds – Recording time – 60 seconds.

Assessment criteria:

  • Task accomplishment
  • Delivery
  • Language Use
  • Topic Development

The Speaking tasks are scored on a scale of 0-4 and then the raw score is converted into a scaled score.

Timing: 50 minutes

Tasks: Task 1 – Integrated Writing and Task 2 Independent Writing.

Task1: Integrated Writing Task (20 min)

You will read a passage about an academic topic for three minutes and then you will hear a lecture related to the topic. Then you will be asked to summarize the points in the listening material and explain how they relate to the specific points in the reading passage.

You will have 20 min to plan and type your response. You will be judged on the basis of the quality of your writing and on how well your response presents the points in the lecture and their relationship to the reading passage.

Typically, an effective response is 150-225 words.

Task 2: Independent Writing Task (30 min)

You are asked to give your opinion on an issue. You are required to state your opinion and provide supporting arguments for it.

An effective response is typically 300 words. There is no strict limit on the number of words. You may wish to write as much as you wish in the time allotted, but quality is generally preferred to quantity.

Assessment Criteria

Candidates are assessed on their performance according to four criteria:

  • Task accomplishment
  • Organization
  • Development – clear explanations, exemplifications and details.
  • Coherence
  • Language accuracy

Scores are reported on a scale of 5 as a raw score and then converted into a scaled score on 30.