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Accepted by more than 11,000 universities in over 150 countries, the Test of English as a Foreign Language(TOEFL®) is the premier, world-recognized, standardized test designed to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in universities. The exam helps students demonstrate their English-speaking skills in the classroom and beyond.

Exam Basics

The TOEFL exam consists of four sections that assess your English communication skills: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. Here’s a breakdown of each section:

Section Time Allotted Number of Questions Tasks
Reading 54–72 minutes   30–40 questions Read passages and answer questions
Listening   41–57 minutes  28–39 questions Respond to questions about brief lectures or classroom discussions
Speaking 17 minutes  4 tasks Discuss a familiar topic and talk about material you read and listened to
Writing 50 minutes  2 tasks Read a passage, listen to a recording, type your response

Testing Options

Test takers have a choice of where to take the TOEFL iBT (Internet-based test). Test centers are open, with enhanced safety and health regulations. Test takers can opt to take the test from home, with the same TOEFL iBT test you would take at a test center, but monitored online by a human proctor. 

Updates to the Exam

The following changes have been made to the exam from 2019-2020:

  • Shortened test: The exam is 30 minutes shorter than before, so you can now finish in three hours.
  • Instant scores: At the end of your test, you’re able to view your unofficial Reading and Listening section scores, giving you an idea of how you performed on the test.
  • Faster official scores: You will now receive your full scores just six days after completing your test, as opposed to the 10 days scores previously took to arrive. An email will be sent to you alerting you when your scores are available.
  • MyBest™ scores: Also referred to as superscores, MyBest scores enable you to showcase your best overall test performance by combining your highest section scores from all test dates within the last two years. This allows you to meet score requirements for your institution with fewer tests.
  • Level assessments replaced with overall scores: Previously, students received specific level assessments (limited, weak, fair, good) for writing and speaking tasks, indicating which sections of the exam test takers scored well or poorly. Those levels have since been removed and students will now only receive overall scores.
  • Registration changes: Students can now take the test once per week; previously test takers were permitted to test once every two weeks. Also, students can now register for the test just two days before it is given.

RELATED: Breakdown of the TOEFL: Understanding the Sections of the Test

Preparing for the Exam

If you’re preparing for the TOEFL exam, Peterson’s test prep includes flashcards, reading comprehension and written expression practice sets, and practice tests to help you take the test with confidence.