About the TOEFL iBT® Test
The TOEFL iBT® test, administered via the internet, is an important part of your journey to study in an English-speaking country. In addition to the test, the ETS TOEFL Program provides tools and guides to help you prepare for the test and improve your English-language skills.
What Is the TOEFL iBT Test?
The TOEFL iBT test measures your ability to use and understand English at the university level. And it evaluates how well you combine your listening, reading, speaking and writing skills to perform academic tasks.
There are two formats for the TOEFL test. The format you take depends on the location of your test center. Most test takers take the TOEFL iBT test. Test centers that do not have Internet access offer the Paper-based Test (PBT).
Who Takes the TOEFL iBT Test?
Each year, nearly a million individuals of all ages take the TOEFL test to demonstrate their English-language proficiency. More than 25 million people from all over the world have taken the TOEFL test since it was first offered. The average English skill level ranges between Intermediate and Advanced.
• Students planning to study at a higher education institution
• English-language learning program admissions and exit
• Scholarship and certification candidates
• English-language learners who want to track their progress
• Students and workers applying for visas
• Immigration departments use them to issue residential and work visas
• Medical and licensing agencies use them for professional certification purposes
• Individuals use them to measure their progress in learning English
The TOEFL iBT® test is given in English and administered via the internet. There are four sections (listening, reading, speaking and writing) which take a total of about four and a half hours to complete and each section is taken online.
Combining All Four Skills: Listening, Reading, Speaking and Writing
During the test, you are asked to perform tasks that combine more than one skill, such as:
• Read, listen and then speak in response to a question
• Listen and then speak in response to a question
• Read, listen and then write in response to a question
* Please read timing instructions for the Reading Section carefully. The instructions will indicate how many passages you will receive and the amount of time you have to respond to questions for those passages. Be sure to pace yourself so that you will have time to answer all of the questions.
A standard English language (QWERTY) computer keyboard is used for the test. We recommend that you practice typing on a QWERTY keyboard before taking the test.
• Reading Section (Score of: 0–30)
• Listening Section (Score of: 0–30)
• Speaking Section (Score of: 0–30)
• Writing Section (Score of: 0–30)
• Total Score (0–120)
In addition to your scores, your official score record also includes performance feedback that is a reflection of your performance level and a description of the kinds of tasks that test takers within the reported score range can typically do.
There is no passing or failing TOEFL® score; individual higher education institutions and agencies set their own score requirements. TOEFL scores are valid for two years after the test date and there is no limit to the number of times you can take the test.
Additionally, studies have shown that prompts designed for fully automated scoring have been more vulnerable to prompt-specific preparation and memorized responses.
The TOEFL test uses automated scoring to complement human scoring for the two tasks in the Writing section. Combining human judgment for content and meaning, and automated scoring for linguistic features, ensures consistent, quality scores.
Scores will be posted online within two weeks of the test date. Log in to your online TOEFL iBT account, enter the ETS ID received when you registered and click on the “View Scores” link. Your scores are also mailed to the universities or institutions you selected when you registered. A score report posting schedule for each test administration is available on the TOEFL iBT test site. Allow 7–10 days for mail delivery in the United States and more than four weeks for other areas. We recommend that you take the test two to three months before your earliest application deadline.
How soon do score recipients get my scores?
Score reports are sent electronically or mailed to recipients two weeks after the test date.
How long are scores valid?
ETS reports scores for two years after the test date.
How many score reports are included in my test fee?
Your test fee includes:
• One examinee score report for you
• Up to four official score reports that ETS will send directly to the institutions or agencies you selected
Can I order additional official score reports?
Yes, you can order additional score reports after your scores are available online, approximately two weeks after the test date.
How do I order additional score reports?
You can order additional score reports as soon as your test scores are available (two weeks after test day). You can send your scores to as many institutions as you choose for a fee of US$17 per report. Scores are mailed approximately four to seven days after receipt of your request and payment.
How are my Speaking responses scored?
• Your recorded responses are sent to the ETS Scoring Network, where three to six certified human raters score them holistically on a scale of 0 to 4. The average score on the six tasks is converted to a scaled score of 0 to 30.
• It’s important to note that raters don’t expect your responses to be perfect, and even high-scoring responses may contain occasional errors. Your pronunciation does not need to sound like that of a native speaker of English. The raters are listening for the effectiveness of your communication and your ability to accomplish the tasks you are given.
How are my Writing responses scored?
• Your responses are scored holistically on a scale of 0 to 5. The average score on the two tasks is converted to a scaled score of 0 to 30.
• You’re not expected to produce a comprehensive essay about a specialized topic — your response is recognized as a first draft. You can receive a high score with an essay that contains some errors.
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