What is TOEFL?

What is TOEFL?If you're looking for an English language exam, you may ask, "What is TOEFL?"

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Here is some information that you should know about this exam.

TOEFL stands for the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

It is an academic test that is recognized by over 8,000 educational establishments all over the world.

Although academic institutions in the UK usually prefer IELTS, colleges in the US usually favor TOEFL.

  • UK --> IELTS

  • US --> TOEFL
The TOEFL test covers a range of levels, generally between intermediate and advanced.

What does the test consist of?

There are two versions of the TOEFL test.

The first is the TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test), which is taken over the internet.

This can be done at over 4,500 test centers worldwide.

There are between 30 and 40 test dates available for this.

If your center does not offer the iBT, then you can take the PBT (Paper-based Test), which is the paper based test.

This is only available a few times each year.

For both exams, it is important to register in advance.

The test covers the kind of tasks you would be expected to do if you were studying at an English language university, and the skills are more integrated than with some other exams.

You may have to read text from a textbook, then summarize it, or listen to part of a lecture and talk about it.

All parts of the test are taken in one day, whether you take the iBT or the PBT.


A total score is given, out of 120 possible grades.

This is subdivided to show your score for each skill (reading, writing, listening, speaking).

There is no pass grade and each institution or organization which recognizes the qualification sets their own entry criteria.

Further feedback is also given so the candidate and potential college or employer can know what could be expected of them.

How to prepare for the TOEFL

The best way to prepare for any English exam is to take a specific exam preparation course at a college or language school.

These courses are usually available worldwide, and often the examination centers offer them.

If you can't take a course, then there are a lot of resources available on the internet.

There are some sites that are free, and others where you can pay to download training and exam practice questions.

There are also some great study packs available to buy.

These typically include a book and a CD-ROM or DVD to help you prepare for the test. They will give you authentic test materials and practice questions to evaluate your progress.

Other options

If you look into the TOEFL exam in more depth and decide it isn't for you, then there are other options.

You may want to find out about the IELTS exam, or the Cambridge English exams such as FCE, CAE, CPE, or the specialist business exams.

Whichever exam you choose, to ask "What is TEFL?" is a good first step to making an important and worthwhile decision.

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