Frequently Asked Questions about the TOEFL iBT test and

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.

Where are TOEFL® test scores accepted?

  • More than 9,000 colleges, universities and agencies in 130 countries accept TOEFL® scores. To learn more about how the TOEFL® test can be your passport to study anywhere English is spoken, see Who Accepts TOEFL Scores.

How much does the TOEFL® iBT test cost?

  • The test fee depends on the test location you choose. For more information on registration, fees, locations and test dates, see How to Register.

What is the best way to prepare for the TOEFL® test?

  • Practicing your English reading, listening, speaking and writing skills as much as possible will help you feel prepared and confident on test day. ETS® offers resources to make it easier. Because ETS® is the maker of the TOEFL® test, they are the only source for authentic sample questions. For detailed descriptions of all the test preparation materials available, see test preparation.

What is the Official TOEFL iBT® Tests with Audio, Volume 1 book?

  • This book provides 5 real past TOEFL® iBT tests and all of the audio passages on disc. Available in eBook or paper book format, this prep book provides you with lots of practice and is the perfect companion to The Official Guide to the TOEFL® Test. It also includes the TOEFL® Test Prep Planner to help you create an 8-week plan to prepare for the test. The Official TOEFL® iBT Tests with Audio, Volume 1 can be purchased online at the ETS Store. eBooks with CD-ROM content are downloaded electronically at the time of purchase; no physical disc is mailed or delivered.

What is the speaking section of the TOEFL® iBT test 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.
  • See TOEFL® sample questions and responses.

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.
  • See the Speaking scoring guides (PDF) and listen to sample responses to help you understand how responses are evaluated.

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.
  • Get The Official Guide to the TOEFL® Test for a list of writing topics. Go to the ETS store to purchase The Guide.
  • You'll type your responses on the computer keyboard and then your responses will be sent to ETS. See TOEFL® sample questions and responses.

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.
  • See the Writing Scoring Guides (PDF) and read sample responses to help you understand how responses are evaluated.

Why are the speaking and writing tasks the most difficult part of the TOEFL® iBT test?

  • Out of the 4 sections of the TOEFL® test (reading, listening, speaking and writing) that you will be tested on, many students have the most problems with the speaking and writing tasks. It's not surprising. Speaking well in English requires many skills like good pronunciation, intonation and vocabulary. Test takers are asked to express and defend their personal choices, summarize other people’s opinions, and combine - and convey - important information from reading passages and lectures. Preparing for the speaking and writing sections of the TOEFL® iBT test requires a lot of practice of using language for giving opinions, describing problems and solutions, and comparing and contrasting ideas. Students also need to learn to understand idiomatic and informal speech by listening to native English speakers. They also need to work on their pronunciation, including word stress, intonation patterns and pauses. For the writing section, students need to develop fundamental writing skills, such as spelling, punctuation, paragraph creation and paraphrasing. They also need to familiarize themselves with typical TOEFL® iBT questions and practice improvisation to become faster and more creative in thinking and responding to English questions.

Why is the best choice to prepare for the speaking and writing sections of the TOEFL® iBT test?

  • TOEFL® iBT experts at provide constructive one-to-one tutorial feedback on each speaking and writing task students submit for error correction, as well as an mp3 audio file of each revised answer recorded by a native English speaker. Our feedback lessons have proven to be a highly effective tool in preparation for the speaking and writing sections of TOEFL® iBT test. They are always based on responses to real TOEFL® questions by students, and include customized topic-specific exercises created expressly to help them learn from their mistakes.