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.
What is the difference between the TOEFL iBT® test and TOEFL® paper-delivered testing?
The TOEFL iBT test, delivered via the internet, measures reading, listening, speaking and writing skills. It is offered more than 50 times a year and is administered online at testing sites around the world.
The TOEFL PBT test, which has been discontinued, was a paper-and-pencil test that measured reading, listening, grammar and writing skills and was offered only in locations where testing via the internet is not available.
The revised TOEFL Paper-delivered Test, which replaces the TOEFL PBT test, measures reading, listening and writing. There is no speaking component because of the technical requirements of capturing spoken responses.
Where are TOEFL test scores accepted?
More than 10,000 colleges, universities and agencies in 130 countries accept TOEFL scores..
Can I take the entire test in 1 day?
Yes, the test is given in 1 day. The test takes about 4 hours, but with check-in you should plan to be at the test center for at least 4½ hours.
Can I retake the test?
Yes, you can. There is no limit to the number of times you can take the test, but you cannot take it more than once in a 12-day period. If you already have a test appointment, you cannot register for another test date that is within 12 days of your existing appointment.
This policy will be enforced even if a violation is not immediately identified (for example, due to inconsistent registration information).
- If the violation is identified after registration, but before the test date, your test appointment will be canceled and your test fee will not be refunded.
- If the violation is not identified until after your scores have been reported, your scores will be canceled. You and any score recipients will be notified by a cancellation letter. Your test fee will not be refunded.
Why should I choose 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’s the most convenient
What do I need to know before I register?
Before you register, decide where you want to take the test. Go to testing locations and dates.
You will be required to enter identification (ID) information before you can register for the test. Be sure to use the same form of ID that you will bring to the test center. ID requirements depend on your country of citizenship and where you plan to test. See ID Requirements for details.
How can I find a test center?
When you select a date and general location in the online registration system, you’ll see a list of test sites in that area. You can search by site or date to find a match to your needs.
What if I make a mistake entering my name or date of birth?
Once you enter your name and date of birth, you can’t change those fields. If you need to make a change to your name or date of birth, contact TOEFL Services:
Phone: 1-609-771-7100 or 1-877-863-3546 (Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–7:45 p.m. U.S. ET, except U.S. holidays)
Will I receive a confirmation of my registration?
Yes — you can print your confirmation by choosing “Print and View Your Registration Confirmation” on the page with the heading “Thank You for Your Order.” Your test date, start time and test center address are listed on your confirmation. Return to your online account the day before the test in case changes have been made to your registration details (for example, different time or building than originally scheduled). You will also receive an email confirmation.
How can I change my email or mailing address?
Once you log in to the system and get to your Home Page, click the “Update Contact Information” link. Select the “Modify” button to change your email or mailing address.
What if I need to cancel or reschedule?
You can reschedule or cancel your registration up to 4 days before your test date. 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 register for another date. If your request is not received at least 4 days in advance, your test fee will not be refunded. Test administrators cannot make schedule changes. To reschedule, you will need to provide your registration number and the full name you used when you registered.
Can I get a refund on my test fee?
If you are taking the test in Korea, see the specific refund policy for test takers in Korea.
Yes. If you cancel your registration no later than 4 days before your test date, you can receive a refund of half your original test fee. Refunds are in U.S. dollars. Cash refunds are not available.
How can I get a refund on my TOEFL iBT registration voucher?
If you purchased a registration voucher and wish to get a refund:
- If you have not yet registered for a test date, contact the organization where you purchased the registration voucher.
- If you already have a test appointment, follow the regular TOEFL refund procedures found in the TOEFL iBT Registration Bulletin and on the TOEFL website. You can cancel your registration no later than 4 full days before your test date and receive a refund of half the original test fee paid. Refunds are in U.S. dollars. Cash refunds are not available.
- If you received a free registration voucher from a sponsor, the refund will go to the sponsor.
When should I take the test?
Plan to take the TOEFL test 2 to 3 months before your earliest application or other deadline so your scores arrive at your institutions or agencies in time. Find application deadlines by checking each score recipient’s website.
How far in advance do I register?
Register 3 to 4 months before the test date.
Where are TOEFL test scores accepted?
More than 10,000 colleges, universities and agencies in 130 countries accept TOEFL test scores. You can even use your TOEFL scores to satisfy visa requirements in Australia and the U.K.
When should I start preparing for the test?
Start preparing for the test at least 8 weeks before your test date.
What is the Reading section like?
- The Reading section includes 3 or 4 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 cover a variety of different subjects. Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the topic of a passage. All the information you need to answer the questions will be included in the passage.
What is the Listening section like?
The Listening section includes questions about academic lectures and longer conversations in which the speech sounds very natural. You can take notes on any audio material throughout the entire test. The Listening section is composed of:
- 4 to 6 lectures, each 3 to 5 minutes long, 6 questions per lecture, 60 to 90 minutes
- 2 to 3 conversations, each 3 minutes long, 5 questions per conversation, 60 to 90 minutes
What is the Speaking section like?
The Speaking section is approximately 20 minutes long and includes 6 questions.
- The first 2 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 4 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 ETS, where they will be scored by certified human raters.
How are my Speaking responses scored?
- Your recorded responses are sent to ETS, where 3 to 6 certified human raters score them holistically on a scale of 0 to 4. The average score on the 6 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 English speaker. 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 2 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.
You’ll type your responses on the computer keyboard and then your responses will be sent to ETS.
How are Writing responses scored?
- Writing responses are scored holistically on a scale of 0 to 5. The average score on the 2 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 4½ hours. The test itself is 4 hours. Check-in time is 30 minutes.
What can I take into the test center?
Identification documents are the only personal items allowed in the testing room. You cannot bring phones, watches or any other electronic devices.
Can I take notes during the test?
You can take notes throughout the entire test, using the paper provided by the test administrator. At the end of testing, all paper is collected and destroyed at the test center to ensure test security. Do not tear or remove part of any piece of scratch paper.
Do I need to wear headphones for the test?
Yes. You will be given noise-canceling headphones with a microphone that you will speak into for the Speaking section of the test.
What things should I remember to do before test day?
- Return to your online TOEFL iBT account under “View Orders” and check your registration confirmation. Note any change in the test center (for example, different time or building than originally scheduled.)
- Select the recipients of up to 4 free official score reports before 10 p.m., local test center time, the day before your test, if you did not do so when you registered. Log in to your online account, click on “View Orders” on your home page and select your first recipient from the list provided. Verify your first selected recipient and select a department, if applicable. You can choose “Add Another Recipient.” If you select your institutions after the 10 p.m. deadline, there is a US$20 fee for each score report. Score recipients cannot be deleted or changed after the 10 p.m. deadline. Keep in mind that if you select score recipients, you will not be able to have your Speaking and/or Writing section rescored using the Score Review service.
- Bring valid identification that exactly matches the name you used when you registered. If you do not have acceptable identification, you may not be permitted to test and your test fee will not be refunded.
- Make travel plans to get to the test center. Your test registration confirmation will list the street address of the test center. Arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled start time.
What do I need to bring on test day?
There is only 1 important thing you need to bring with you on test day:
- Acceptable, valid identification (ID) with your name, recent photograph and signature. You will be required to enter ID information before you can register and the ID you bring on test day must exactly match the name you used when you registered. ID requirements vary depending on your country of citizenship and where you plan to test. 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 not be refunded.
- Bring the valid ID you used when you registered for the test. See What to Bring for more details. Without the required ID, you will not be permitted to test and your test fee will not be refunded.
- There is a 10-minute break midway through the test.
- The test takes approximately 4 hours, and you cannot go beyond the time limit.
- No electronic devices or other personal items are allowed in the testing room.
Will I be allowed to go for a break during the test?
- You can use the restroom at any time, but remember that the total length of the test is 4 hours. The time clock does not stop while you are absent. There is a mandatory 10-minute break for all test takers after the Reading and Listening sections of the test have been completed.
- Raise your hand if you need to leave your seat for any reason.
- If you leave the testing room, you must show test center staff your identification document when you leave and when you return.
- You cannot use your phone, watch or any other electronic device or unauthorized aid during the test or during breaks.
What should I do if I see suspicious behavior at the test center?
Please contact ETS as soon as possible to report any observed behavior that may lead to an invalid score — for example, someone copying from another test taker, taking a test or part of a test for someone else, having access to test questions or answers before the test or using notes or unauthorized aids. All information is held in strictest confidence.
Can I request a score review of my Speaking and/or Writing responses?
Yes, you can request a score review up to 30 days after your test date.
Note: Your test cannot be reviewed if you have already requested that your scores be sent to an institution or agency.
You can request a review of either the Speaking or the Writing section (US$80 each), or you can request a review of both the Speaking and Writing sections (US$160). Complete the Score Review Request Form (PDF) and send it with the required fee to the address on the form. If you are paying by credit/debit card, you can fax the form. The results will be available approximately 3 weeks after we receive your request and payment.
How long are scores valid?
ETS reports scores for 2 years after the test date.
How soon do score recipients get my scores?
Score reports are sent electronically or mailed to recipients approximately 13 days after the test date. However, ETS has no control over mail delivery to various locations around the world. Allow 7–10 days after the mailing date for delivery in the United States, and 4–6 weeks for locations outside the United States. For information specific to your location, contact your postal service.
How and when do I get my scores?
Scores will be posted online approximately 10 days after the test date. Log in to your TOEFL online account, enter the ETS ID number you received when you registered, and click “View Scores.” A score report posting schedule (PDF) for each test date is available on the TOEFL iBT website, and you will receive an email letting you know when your scores have been posted.
You can also download and print a PDF copy of your test taker score report. The PDF will be available within 3 days of the date your scores are posted online. (Note: PDF score reports are currently not available for tests taken in China.)
Your scores are also sent to the institutions or agencies you selected (and to you, if you requested a paper copy before you took the test). Allow 7–10 days for mail delivery in the United States and 4–6 weeks for other areas. ETS has no control over mail delivery to locations around the world. We recommend that you take the test 2 to 3 months before your earliest application or other deadline.
What is on my score report?
Your score report includes scores for each test section, a total score and performance feedback about what test takers at your score level can typically do.
What are TOEFL test scores like?
The TOEFL iBT test provides scores in 4 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 4 skill scores.
Who do I contact if there is a problem with my score report?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call ETS at 1-609-771-7100 (outside the United States and Canada) or 1-877-863-3546 (United States and Canada), Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–8 p.m., U.S. Eastern Time. Phones are busiest on Mondays.