It is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in English-speaking universities. The test is accepted by more than 11,000 universities and other institutions in over 150 countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States, the U.K., and across Europe and Asia.  TOEFL is one of the two major English-language tests in the world, the other being the IELTS.

The TOEFL test has 4 sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. During the test, you’ll perform tasks that combine these 4 English communication skills, 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

The total test takes about 3 hours to complete, but you should plan for 3½ hours, allowing 30 minutes for check in.

What is on the Test?

SECTION

TIME LIMIT

QUESTIONS

TASKS

Reading

54–72 minutes

30–40 questions

Read passages and respond to questions

Listening

41–57 minutes

28–39 questions

Answer questions about brief lectures or classroom discussions

Break

10 minutes

—-

—-

Speaking

17 minutes

4 tasks

Talk about a familiar topic and discuss material you read and listened to

Writing

50 minutes

2 tasks

Read a passage, listen to a recording, type your response

Test sections in detail

Reading section is designed to assess how well you can read and understand the kind of materials used in an academic environment. It includes 3 or 4 reading passages, each approximately 700 words long, with 10 questions per passage. You have 54 to 72 minutes to answer all the questions in the section.

Listening section is designed to measure your ability to understand conversations and lectures in English. It includes listening for:

  • basic comprehension
  • pragmatic understanding (speaker’s attitude and degree of certainty) and connecting and synthesizing information

There are 2 types of listening items in the Speaking section — lectures and conversations. Both use campus-based language.

  • 3–4 lectures, each 3–5 minutes long, with 6 questions per lecture
  • 2–3 conversations with 2 speakers, each 3 minutes long, with 5 questions per conversation

You can take notes on any audio item throughout the test to help you answer questions. You have 41 to 57 minutes to complete the section.

Speaking section is designed to measure your ability to speak English effectively in academic settings. It is composed of 4 tasks that resemble real-life situations you might encounter both in and outside of a classroom.

  • Question 1 is called an “independent speaking task” because it requires you to draw entirely on your own ideas, opinions and experiences when you respond.
  • Questions 2–4 are called “integrated speaking tasks” because they require you to combine your English-language skills — listening and speaking, or listening, reading and speaking — just as you would in or out of a classroom.

You’ll get 15–30 seconds of preparation time before each response, and your response will be 45 or 60 seconds long.

To respond, you’ll speak into the microphone on your headset. Your responses are recorded and sent to *ETS, where they will be scored by a combination of AI scoring and certified human raters to ensure fairness and quality.

You have 17 minutes to complete the Speaking section.

Writing section is designed to measure your ability to write in English in an academic setting, and you’re expected to be able to present your ideas in a clear, well-organized manner.

There are 2 writing tasks.

  • Integrated writing task (20 minutes) — read a short passage and listen to a short lecture, then write in response to what you read and listened to.
  • Independent writing task (30 minutes) — write an essay based on personal experience or opinion in response to a writing topic.

You’ll type your responses on a computer keyboard. Responses are sent to ETS, where they are scored by a combination of AI scoring and certified human raters to ensure fairness and quality.

You’ll have 50 minutes to complete the Writing section.

Scores

TOEFL scores help you secure admission and show you have what it takes to be great. Your scores provide:

  • A true reflection of your abilities in the way they’re used in an actual classroom
  • Fair and unbiased scores from a centralized scoring network, not a test center

More than 11,000 institutions in over 150 countries accept TOEFL scores. When your goal is university study, choose the test with scores that are widely accepted and preferred around the world.

What do you infer from your score?

You will receive 4 scaled section scores and a total score.

Each section has a score range of 0–30.

These are added together for a total score of 0–120.

Each skill has 4 or 5 proficiency levels, so where your score falls within that range tells you your proficiency for that skill.

There are no passing or failing scores set by the TOEFL Program or *ETS. Each institution or agency sets its own score requirements. For more information about how your scores will be used or interpreted, contact the institution or agency directly.

*Who is ETS?

The TOEFL test is a product of ETS, a nonprofit organization with more than 60 years of experience helping advance quality and equity in education worldwide. Its mission is to develop and administer tests that give students like you the opportunity to pursue their dreams, anywhere in the world.