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  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is one of the most popular English proficiency exams.
  • It is accepted at American and Canadian universities or educational institutions abroad.
  • Founded in 1947, Educational Testing Service (ETS) conducts the TOEFL exam.
  • The exam is widely available in computer-delivered method or TOEFL iBT (internet-based test).
  • During the pandemic the TOEFL Home edition was introduced for candidates to take the test at the safety of their home.
  • However, now TOEFL paper-delivered tests are also available in India.
  • For any further information, candidates can visit the official website: www.ets.org
What is TOEFL exam?
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  • TOEFL is an English proficiency test for students who plan to pursue education or work abroad in English speaking countries.
  • TOEFL is an important part of the application process for candidates who wish to study abroad.
  • Some times this requirement can be waived off by the university at the discretion of university authorities.

Over 35 million people have chosen the TOEFL examination to demonstrate their proficiency in English language. Here are the reasons for the same;

  • TOEFL is accepted and preferred worldwide as the most accepted English language test.
  • TOEFL iBT is accepted by more than 11,500 universities and institutions in over 160 countries.
  • It is the a language proficiency test that can help candidates to study, work, or get immigration abroad.
  • It is preferred by 9 out of 10 universities in the United States and widely accepted throughout Asia including Mainland China, Korea, Malaysia, and Japan.
  • It is preferred by 80 % Canadian graduate programs and all the universities in United Kingdom.
  • Testing centers are available around the world with enhanced safety and health regulations. Candidates can also choose to take the test at the privacy of their home.
TOEFL Registration
  • Candidates can go to the official website and create their profile. It is essential to be sure of the spelling used in providing information.
  • Candidates can then fill in the information like name, address, email id, that appears on their identification. The information provided must match with the information given on the passport.
  • Candidates can begin to select their preferred TOEFL exam date and test center.
  • Once candidates confirm their selection, they can proceed to pay the application fee.
  • Candidates must take a print out of the acknowledgement form for all future reference.
  • In case the candidates choose to register through mail, they will have to download and print the registration form. They can send the filled form with payment to the address on the form.
  • Candidates can also retake the exam, three days post their first attempt.
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Exam Date and Center

  • Selecting dates is one of the crucial step in getting into the university abroad or build career abroad.
  • Candidates must select the date according to the university where they shall apply as some universities have a single deadline, others require candidates to submit their TOEFL score before the deadline.
  • It is advised to book a slot at least a month prior to the application deadline.
  • ETS also sensitises with people with disabilities or health-related needs. Candidates can avail different kinds of testing accommodation services, however, the test takers must apply for accommodations before registering for the test.


There is no specific age criteria or education, qualification or prerequisites set by ETS for candidates to appear for the TOEFL exam.

Exam Fee

The TOEFL exam fee differs from location to location. Given below is the exam fee for some of the countries.

Country TOEFL Exam Fee (in US$)
USA 235
India 190
Australia 273
South Korea 220
Germany 265
  • Besides the exam fee, candidates have to pay extra for other services like rescheduling the exam or score.
  • In case the candidates wish to reschedule the test four days in advance, the candidates will be charged a rescheduling fee of US$60.
  • TOEFL accepts all American Express, VISA, JCB, Discover, Diners Club, credit or debit cards. No demand drafts, post-dated cheques or any other receipts from Western Union or UNESCO coupons are accepted.

Checklist of Documents

All candidates need to submit an identification document that meets the following requirements:

  • Candidates must submit original physical ID as photocopied documents or electronic IDs are not acceptable.
  • ID documents must be issued by government of a state or nation.
  • The document must consist of full name with recognizable recent photograph, date of birth, and signature of the candidate.
  • The ID documents must be valid and not expired.
Mode of Examination

There are 3 testing options for TOEFL:

  • The traditional TOEFL iBT test: It is taken by candidates in a test center. Due to the ease of convenience, it has become the most preferred medium of TOEFL.
  • The TOEFL iBT Home edition: ETS has launched the home editions for locations where the candidates must ensure that their system equipment meets requirements set by ETS.
  • The TOEFL iBT Paper edition: This edition is available only for selective countries. The candidates will be tested for same skills in 2 testing sessions. The Speaking Section has to be taken by the candidate at home on computer, within 3 days after the paper section.

Exam syllabus

TOEFL syllabus includes four sections; reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills. Given below is the exam format.

  • Reading section: The reading section is scored based on the number of correct reading comprehension responses.
    1. Candidates will have to read 3-4 passages and answer 10 questions from each passage.
  • Listening section: The candidates will listen to lectures and conversations in this section.
    1. The main aim of this section is to understand candidate’s ability to understand conversations and lectures in English language.
    2. Test takers shall also listen to some basic comprehension and understanding.
  • Speaking section: Since ETS is looking for highly intelligible conversations, test takers will have to fulfil the demands of the tasks given in this section with minor mistakes only.
    1. Delivery, topic development, and language use are the three main factors of this section.
  • Writing section: Candidates will have to write two essays that should effectively address the given topic.
    1. The response submitted by the test takers should be well-organised and well developed.
    2. Candidates must make appropriate word choice to score in this section.


Test takers can view the unofficial scores at the end of the test. Official TOEFL scores are declared online and candidates shall receive an intimation for the same through mail.

  • The total score is made available within 6 days from the test date. Scores for TOEFL home edition are declared from 6-10 days from the test date.
  • In case the candidates request for a physical copy of the result, delivery times are subjected to local postal services.
  • Scores can also be mailed within 11 days from the test date.
  • Scores are calculated by automated methods and human raters.
  • There is no good or bad scores. Test takers are required to meet the TOEFL scores decided by the universities they aspire to go.
  • ETS provides a score range that decides candidates proficiency for that skill.
Skill Advanced Level High-intermediate level Low intermediate level Below low-intermediate level
Reading 24-30 18-23 4-17 0-3
Listening 22-30 17-21 9-16 0-8
Speaking 25-30 20-24 16-19 Basic (10-15) Below basic (0-9)
Writing 24-30 17-23 13-16 Basic (7-12) Below basic (0-6)
TOTAL 0-120
  • There is no minimum passing marks required for the TOEFL exam as each university or educational institutions shall decide their own score range.
  • At the time of registration, candidates get the option of sending score cards to four colleges or universities free of cost approximately 11 days after your test date.

10 Tips to Acing TOEFL

Here are 10 tips to ace the TOEFL exam.

1. Prepare for the Exam

  • Candidates must begin preparing for the exam at least 6 months before the test date, especially if it’s their first time.
  • Candidates can begin their preparation by studying the exam structure, types of questions in each section, and format of the exam.
  • The best way to practice for this test is either with a practice book or online. There are several mock tests available online that can help candidates.

2. Improve note-taking skills

  • Listening, writing, and speaking sections require candidates to write notes. The audio is played only once, so note-taking skills are essential here.
  • Candidates can use symbols and shorthand rather than writing everything they hear.

3. Use Clear Pronunciation

  • Examiners in TOEFL exam do not score candidates for accent but for pronunciation.
  • It is advised that candidates record their voices while practicing to evaluate their responses for further improvement.

4. Type on a QWERTY Keyboard

  • The last section of the exam is writing section and candidates will need a QWERTY keyboard to type the answers.
  • It is advised that candidates need to use keyboards faster to save time.
  • Aspirants can learn touch typing to type faster.

5. Build Command in Writing Section

  • There is a word limit in writing section and candidates are advised to practice for this section keeping in mind the time and the word count.
  • Writing section consists of 2 tasks for 30 minutes each.
  • To nail the writing section, candidates must prepare well for essay writing as it has a very specific format.

6. Take Mock Tests

  • It is advised that candidates take at least 2 real-time mock exams for practice before taking the exam.
  • TOEFL is a 3-hour exam. Practice with mock test will make candidates aware about the types of questions in each section and time for each section.

7. Tips for Writing Section

  • Candidates should practice to write a 300-word essay within 30 minutes.
  • Candidates should write essays that are simple yet specific.
  • It is advised to write on the computer rather than wasting time by writing with hand and then typing it.

8. Tips for Reading Section

  • Aspirants must practice reading to increase reading rate and fluency.
  • There is a wide variety of academic text available online that candidates can use to practice.

9. Tips for Listening Section

  • Candidates should focus on the content and flow of spoken material for this section.
  • Aspirants should carefully listen the signal words that indicate introduction, major ideas, and examples. These words often show relationship and connection.

10. Tips for Speaking Section

  • Candidates should learn to use idiomatic speech appropriately with better grammatical structures.
  • Candidates can practice for this section by giving one-minute responses to topics. Adding a familiar place or recounting a personal experience can further help.

While these tips will surely help candidates ace the TOEFL exam, here are a few tips to keep candidates relaxed on the day of the test.

  • It is advised that candidates reach the test center ahead of time.
  • Candidates should take deep breath thorough out the exam for relieving stress.
  • In case candidates miss a question or could not attempt well in a section, just move on to next section.
  • There is a 10-minute break between the listening and speaking sections. Candidates can use the time to relax, go to the washroom, or eat a snack.

Candidates are advised to relax on the day of the test. Keep in mind that there is a second chance available for those who wish to give the exam again.


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