Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

TOEFL® is an internet based Test and it measures what colleges and universities need to know: a prospective student's ability to use English in an academic setting.

Use of Internet-based testing (iBT)?

Internet-based testing makes it possible to capture and score test-taker speech in the most efficient, standardized, and objective manner. Internet-based testing will also make it possible to greatly increase the number of test centers, which is good for test takers. Lectures and conversations in the Listening section are longer, but note-taking is allowed. In fact, note-taking is allowed throughout the entire test. The speech in the listening material sounds more natural, and one lecture may use a British or Australian accent. Also, there are new questions that measure understanding of a speaker's attitude, degree of certainty, and purpose.


The new TOEFL®differs is important ways from previous versions of the test, for example...

  • It tests all four language skills that are important for effective communication: Speaking, Listening, Reading and Writing.
  • It will be delivered via the Internet in secure test centers around the world.
  • Some tasks require test takers to combine more than one skill

Integrated questions or “tasks” in the new test help learners build confidence needed to communicate in the academic environments they plan to enter the new integrated tasks ask test takers to

  • read, listen and then speak in response to a question.
  • listen and then speak in response to a question.
  • read, listen and then write in response to a question

TOEFL® Reading

The TOEFL® Reading section includes 3 to 5 reading passages, each approximately 700 words long. There are 12 to 14 questions per passage. You have from 60 to 100 minutes to answer all questions in the section.

Passages – are excerpts from college level text books that would be used in introduction to a discipline topic. The excerpts are changed as little as possible because the goal of the TOEFL®is to assess how well students can read the kind of writing that is used in an academic environment.

TOEFL® Reading Question types

Basic information and Inferencing questions 11 to 13 questions per set)

  • Factual information questions
  • Negative factual information questions
  • Inference questions
  • Rhetorical purpose questions
  • Vocabulary questions
  • Reference questions
  • Sentence simplification questions

Reading to learn questions

  • Prose summary
  • Fill in a table

The passages are mainly expository. In other words, they explain something. However, some passages may be narrative (telling the story of an event or a person) or persuasive (arguing in favor of or against some point or issue). Passages may employ various patterns of organization and development: cause and effect, com­parison and contrast, definition, classification, and analysis.

The vocabulary used in the Reading Section is sophisticated but not unrealistically difficult. Some specialized vocabulary is "glossed"—in other words, it is marked with a blue underline, and you can get a definition by clicking on the word or phrase. If there are words that you don't know that are not glossed, sometimes you can guess the meaning from the context of the sentence. And remember that it is not necessary to understand every word in the passage in order to answer the questions correctly.

TOEFL® - Writing

There are two tasks in the writing section of the TOEFL® an integrated writing task and an independent writing task.

The integrated writing task

You will read a passage about an academic topic for three minutes, and then you will hear a lecture related to the topic. Then you will be asked to summarize the points in the listening passage and explain how they relate to specific points in the reading passage.

The independent writing task

This second task in the writing section of TOEFL® is the independent writing task. You are presented with a question, and you have 30 minutes to write an essay in response. The question asks you to give your opinion on an issue.


The fourth section of the TOEFL® tests your ability to produce clear, well-organized academic writing. This section contains two writing tasks: an Integrated Writing Task and an Independent Writing Task.