Frequently Asked Questions
 

About the TOEFL iBT® Test

About the Test

What is the TOEFL test?
The TOEFL test measures the ability of non-native English speakers to use and understand the English language as it is heard, spoken, read and written in the university classroom.

How often is the test given?
The TOEFL iBT test is given on fixed dates, 30 to 40 times a year.

How do I find testing locations and dates?
Choose an available test date from among 4,500+ testing locations in over 165 countries. Register online, by mail, by phone or in person.

Can I take the test in one day?
Yes, the test is given in one day. The test takes about four hours, but with check-in you should plan to be at the test site for at least four and one-half hours.

Can I retake the test?
Yes, you can retake the test as many times as you wish. There is no passing or failing test score — score requirements are set by each higher education institution or agency.

Why should I take the TOEFL test over another test?

  • It's the most highly respected around the world
  • It's the most widely accepted
  • It's the most accurately measured
  • It's the most fair and unbiased
  • It offers the most testing locations
How much does the TOEFL iBT test cost?
TOEFL test cost is 165US $

How many score reports are included in my test fee?
One online score report for you, and one paper copy if you requested it before you took the test. Your scores will be posted electronically only, unless you request a paper copy by selecting that option when you register. You can change this option at any time up to 10 p.m. (local test centre time) on the day before you test. Go to your online profile to change your Score Report Preference.

Up to four official score reports to the destinations (institutions or agencies) you select before you test; ETS will send the official score reports directly to these destinations

Can I order additional official score reports?
Yes, you can order additional score reports after your scores are available online, approximately 10 days after your test date. Additional reports can be ordered through the TOEFL online registration system. Reports are mailed approximately four to seven days after receipt of your request and payment. The fee is US$18 for each report ordered.

What is the test fee refund policy?
If you cancel your registration by the three-day advance deadline (not including test day), you will receive a refund of half the original test fee you paid. Refunds will be in U.S. dollars. Cash refunds are not available.

When can I register for the test?
Seats fill up quickly, so register early. We recommend that you register three to four months before your desired test date to reserve your seat. Your test date should be two to three months before your earliest admissions application deadline.

How do I register to reserve my seat?
You can register using one of four methods — online, in person, by phone or by mail. Online registration is the fastest, easiest method.

What can I do with my TOEFL iBT profile?
When you register online, you will create a TOEFL iBT profile, including a user name and password. You will be able to return to the site to:

  • reschedule or cancel your registration
  • change your score report preference
  • view your scores
  • place orders for additional score reports
  • check the status of previous orders
  • pay an outstanding balance

Will I receive a confirmation of my registration?
Yes, you can print your confirmation and you will also receive an email confirmation.

When do late fees apply?
Registration closes seven days prior to the test date (not including the day of the test). A late fee of US$35 is charged for registrations received after this deadline. Late registration closes three days prior to your test date (not including the day of the test).

What if I need to cancel or reschedule?
You can reschedule or cancel your registration up to three full days before your test date, not including the day of the test or the day of your request. That means if your test is on a Saturday, you must reschedule or cancel by Tuesday. The fee to reschedule is US$60 and must be paid before you can reschedule. If your request is not received at least three full days in advance, your full test fee will be forfeited.

How can I reschedule?
You can reschedule via your online profile or by calling
Note: You cannot reschedule or cancel your registration via email.

Can I get a refund on my test fee?
Yes. If you cancel your registration no later than three full days before your test date (not including the day of the test or the day of your request), you can receive a refund of half your original test fee. Refunds will be in U.S. dollars. Cash refunds are not available.

Test Section Details
What is the Reading section like?

  • The Reading section includes three or four reading passages. There are 12 to 14 questions per passage. You have from 60 to 80 minutes to answer all the questions in the section.
  • TOEFL iBT Reading passages are excerpts from university-level textbooks that would be used in introductions to a discipline or topic. The passages will cover a variety of different subjects. Don't worry if you're unfamiliar with the topic of a passage. All the information you need to answer the questions will be in the passage.
What is the Listening section like?
The Listening section includes questions about academic lectures and long conversations in which the speech sounds very natural. You can take notes on any listening material throughout the entire test.
The Listening section is composed of:

  • Four to six lectures, each three to five minutes long, six questions per lecture, 60 to 90 minutes
  • Two to three conversations, each three minutes long, five questions per conversation, 60 to 90 minutes
What is the Speaking section like?
The Speaking section is approximately 20 minutes long and includes six questions.
  • The first two questions are called "independent Speaking tasks" because they require you to draw entirely on your own ideas, opinions and experiences when you respond.
  • The other four questions are called "integrated Speaking tasks" because they require you to integrate your English-language skills — listening and speaking or listening, reading and speaking — just as you would in or out of a classroom.
    You will speak into the microphone on your headset and your responses will be recorded and sent to the ETS Scoring Network, where they will be scored by certified human raters.
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.
  • Raters do not 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.
What is the Writing section like?
The total time for the Writing section is 50 minutes. You are asked to write responses to two writing tasks: an integrated Writing task and an independent Writing task.
  • 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 Task (30 minutes) — write an essay in response to a Writing topic.
How are Writing responses scored?
  • Writing 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.
How long is the test session?
The entire TOEFL iBT test session (including check-in) is approximately four and one-half hours long. The test itself is four hours long. Check-in time is 30 minutes.

What can I take into the test site?
Identification documents are the only personal items allowed in the testing room. You cannot bring cell phones, PDAs, BlackBerry® devices or any other electronic or photographic equipment.

Can I take notes during the test?

Test takers can take notes throughout the entire test. At the end of testing, all notes are collected and destroyed at the test site to ensure test security.

Do I need to wear headphones for the test?
Yes. You will be given noise-cancelling headphones with a microphone that you will speak into for the Speaking section of the test.

Can I take only one section of the test?
No. The entire test must be taken at the same time. To receive a score, you must answer at least one question in the Reading section and the Listening section, write at least one essay and complete at least one Speaking task.

What things should I remember to do before test day?
Select the recipients of up to four FREE official score reports before 10 p.m. local test site time the day before you test if you did not do so when you registered.

What do I need to bring on test day?
There are only two important things you need to bring with you on test day:
  • An acceptable, valid ID with your name, recent photo and signature.
  • Your registration number.

What happens on test day?
Here are a few things to keep in mind on test day:
  • Arrive at the test site at least 30 minutes early. If you arrive late, you may not be admitted and your test fee will be forfeited.
  • Bring your registration number and valid ID with you. See "What to Bring" above for more details. Without the required documents, you will not be permitted to test and your test fee will be forfeited.
  • There is a 10-minute break midway through the test.
  • The test takes approximately four hours, and you cannot go beyond the time limit.
  • No mobile devices or other personal items are allowed in the testing room.
What are TOEFL test scores like?
The TOEFL iBT test provides scores in four skill areas — Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing — and a total score:
  • Reading 0–30
  • Listening 0–30
  • Speaking 0–30
  • Writing 0–30
  • Total Score 0–120
The total score is the sum of the four skill scores.

How and when do I get my scores?
Scores will be posted online approximately 10 days after the test date. Allow 7–10 days for mail delivery.

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 score report for you (electronic only unless you requested a paper copy)
  • 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 10 days 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, approximately 10 days after test day. You can send your scores to as many institutions as you choose for a fee of US$18 per report. Scores are mailed approximately four to seven days after receipt of your request and payment.

Does the TOEFL test have cumulative score reporting like the GRE test does?
No. Unlike the GRE test, TOEFL score reports do not report the scores for the last three tests taken. TOEFL score reports include scores for only the last test taken.

Can I cancel my scores?
You are given the option of canceling your scores at the end of your test session. You cannot cancel scores for individual sections of the test.

Can I reinstate my canceled scores?
Yes, you can reinstate your scores if your request is received at ETS within 10 days of your test date, for a fee of US$20.

Can I request a rescore of my Speaking and/or Writing responses?
Yes, you can request a rescore up to 30 days after your test date. You can make the request for rescoring of either the Speaking or the Writing section (US$80), or you can request rescoring of both the Speaking and Writing sections (US$160).
Note: Your test cannot be rescored if you have already requested that your scores be sent to an institution or agency.

Who do I contact if there is a problem with my score report?
Email toefl@ets.org
Or
Call ETS at 1-609-771-7100 (outside the United States and Canada)

 
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