TOEFL Test: What is it?

TOEFL Test: What is it?

In today’s day and age, it is of utmost importance to empower our students with enough information to aid them chart out a robust plan for their future. So many of them have nurtured the dream to go abroad for further studies, but are still looking for an erudite guide to prod them in the right direction.

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language), a uniform test of English language adeptness, serves as one of the prerequisites for admission to the foreign universities. TOEFL is recognized internationally by more than 9,000 participating institutes across 130 countries, including Australia, Canada, the UK and the United States. Each year, more than half a million students take the TOEFL test, primarily focusing on making it to a good graduate school. The TOEFL is also used by several government agencies and other organizations for professional certification. These schools, agencies and other organisations should be able to look at a candidate’s TOEFL score and get immediate clarity on whether he/she has enough knowledge and understanding of the language to be able to communicate and learn in an English-speaking academic environment.

More than 27 million people have taken the TOEFL Test since its creation in 1967.. Still, a large number of candidates need to have a clear understanding of what TOEFL really is.

The TOEFL examination is conducted more than 50 times a year at 4,500 test centers worldwide. The test measures the candidate’s ability to understand, write and speak in English. It is conducted by the world’s largest non-profit educational testing and measurement organization: ETS- Educational Testing Service, and has two formats- TOEFL iBT (Internet-based test) and TOEFL PBT (paper-based test). iBT TOEFL is a four hours test comprising of four sections, namely- Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. While most countries conduct the internet based test, in countries where iBT is not available, a PBT is conducted to test the aspiring candidates. PBT is a 3 hours long test comprising of four namely- Listening, Structure and Written Expression, Reading Comprehension and Writing. TOEFL is usually held on Saturdays and Sundays. A candidate may retake a test as many times as he/she chooses to. Having said that, a candidate must keep in mind that the test cannot be taken within 12 hrs of the previous exam taken.

TOEFL 2016 Test Pattern:



Time Limit




60–80   minutes

36–56   questions

3-4   passages of 700 words each, where students have to answer questions   pertaining to the main idea, details, contextual vocabulary, and the likes


60–90   minutes

34–51   questions

6   passages of 3-4 minutes in length. Each conversation is heard only once. Each   conversation will be associated with five or six questions pertaining to the   main ideas, details, speaker’s purpose and attitude.  


20   minutes

6   tasks

Expressing   an opinion on a familiar topic. Candidates are judged on their ability to   speak spontaneously and clearly.


50   minutes

2   tasks

Writing   essay responses based on reading and listening tasks; while supporting an   opinion in writing.

According to the TOEFL Test Pattern 2016, candidates get a break of 10 minutes after the reading and listening tests.