Female student sitting in front of a computerAdministered since 1964, the TOEFL is now the world’s most widely-used English-language proficiency exam. 10,000 colleges and universities in the U.S., and other English speaking nations require this or the IELTS for higher education, English-language learning programs, scholarships, and visa applications.

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is an internet based test that is administered by The College Board and ETS. It is designed to measure your skills to use and understand English at the university level. As a result, you’ll be expected to demonstrate that proficiency through sections in listening, reading, writing, and speaking, all related to common academic tasks.

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The TOEFL is an online four-hour exam covering four sections:

  • Reading: This 60- to 100-minute section covers four to six passages and 12 to 14 related questions.
  • Listening: Six passages, each three to five minutes in length, cover two student conversations and four academic lectures. The test-taker, then, must answer five or six related questions. Section lasts 60 to 90 minutes.
  • Speaking: This 20-minute section includes six total tasks – two independent and four integrated.
  • Writing: 50 minutes are allotted for answering two writing prompts. The first, integrated, involves listening and responding to passages. The second is an essay.

In addition, the TOEFL contains extra questions that do not count toward the final score.


The TOEFL uses a scoring system of zero to 120, with each section being 30 total points. Each university sets its own requirements for passing.

If you take the TOEFL, your exam should come with performance feedback, and your scores will be available 10 days after you complete the test. An email lets you know when your scores can be viewed. For a physical copy, the printed official report is mailed 13 days after you finish the test.

When you register, the fee covers free official reports sent automatically to four universities of your choice. Any others require an additional fee, and can be sent to a school or program through an online request, fax, or mail.

Scores last for two years after the test date. During this time, you can send out as many reports as you need.

Registration & Taking the Test

To register, go to the official TOEFL site to make an account. Here, you’ll be able to see test dates and centers for your area.

You can take the TOEFL as many times as you prefer, and can do so after 12 days after your last test.

As you register, be ready to pay a $160 to $250 fee, which varies with area.

When you go to take the test, be prepared with official identification documents. Your name must match exactly on all passports, driver’s licenses, and other materials; otherwise, you will not be permitted to take the exam.

Identification requirements vary with where you take the test and whether or not you’re a U.S. citizen:

  • Non-citizens: Come to the testing center with a passport or a diplomatic or embassy identification card. If you have a non-English language passport, additionally have a supplemental ID on hand.
  • U.S. Citizens: Arrive with a passport, driver’s license, province card, or military ID.

Along with these materials, have your registration number from your order when you come to the testing center.

Compared to the IELTS, the TOEFL is offered by more testing centers and accepted by more universities across the globe, so, as you apply to an undergraduate or graduate program, take some time to prepare for the test. For one-on-one and virtual tutoring, contact Ivy Bound for more information.

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Ivy Bound’s professional Tutors can help international students prepare for the TOEFL Exam, as well as other College Admission tests. Contact us today if you have any questions or are seeking help for the TOEFL Exam.

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