What is TOEFL? Questions About the TOEFL Exam

The TOEFL is the exam that people wishing to study or live abroad take to measure and prove their English language skills. This exam is administered by ETS (Educational Testing Service), which is a private and non-profit organization, headquartered in New Jersey, USA. TOEFL, which stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language, was first administered for entrance to universities in the USA in 1964.

What is TOEFL for?

This exam is recognized as an English placement test accepted in much of Europe and Asia, in over 130 countries, including the Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand, Austria, Canada, Malaysia and Singapore. TOEFL score, which is used to apply to undergraduate and graduate degree programs, is also requested and important in some educational institutions in majority of countries to prove English proficiency.

Today, in many job interviews, TOEFL exam scores are looked at, just like in education applications. For this reason, it is possible to say that this exam, which fully measures the ability of people to understand and use oral and written English, is a requirement for acceptance. In short, your language proficiency is tested with the TOEFL score, and as a result of this test, you will have a language certification document valid in more than 160 countries.

What You Need to Know About the TOEFL Test

How is the TOEFL Exam Taken?

The TOEFL test, which can be administered both as an internet-based system and as a traditional paper-based system, is a test that makes it possible to analyze participants’ English language skills through reading, listening, speaking and writing practices.

Those who prove their English language proficiency with the scores they have collected in all these areas have the chance to take the first step in their targeted education or career fields. The validity of the score obtained after the TOEFL exam is 2 years. Individuals who have completed 2 years after their first exam experience are required to take the TOEFL exam again in order to re-apply to institutions.

The expected base score from the TOEFL generally varies between 61 and 100 points, depending on the educational institution or the organization to which the job application is made. A maximum of 120 points can be obtained from this exam at a time.

Where is the TOEFL Test Taken?

You can take the TOEFL iBT test at authorized test centers around the world or at home because it is an online test. TOEFL PBT, on the other hand, is done in written at certain test centers.

What are the TOEFL Exam Parts?


Reading Section

In the reading section of the TOEFL, 3 to 5 reading texts related to various academic subjects and in different genres are given to the participants. The participant is asked to interpret the meanings of the words in the reading text, extract the main idea of the text and catch the details supporting this idea, relate the topics in the text, and finally to answer the questions according to this text within a period of approximately 60 to 80 minutes. The purpose of the Reading section is to measure candidate’s ability to understand and analyze written English texts.

Listening Section

The listening section of the TOEFL is the second part of the test and takes approximately 60 to 90 minutes. In this process, pre-determined passages are played to the participants and questions are asked depending on the subject.  34 to 51 questions are asked, and their listening comprehension skills are measured in this process. During the exam, two types of podcasts are listened to, namely conversation-discussion and speaker-lecture. Participants who pass these stage and start answering the questions cannot return to the listening part again. For this reason, it is recommended that the participants listen very carefully and take the necessary notes.

Writing Department

TOEFL writing section is a section where participants’ English grammar and vocabulary knowledge are measured. At this stage, the participant is expected to write a well-organized essay on the topics identified for each section. In this section, which lasts approximately 60 minutes, the participants are required to analyze and explain both their own ideas and those of other people, depending on the materials listened to and read. In order to answer the questions correctly, it is very important to be able to synthesize the main ideas and the details given and to put them on paper with the right sentences.

Speaking Section

20 minutes are spent to measure the English-speaking proficiency of the participants. In order to be successful in this section, people are expected to master the questions in the other 3 sections and to construct effective sentences by adding their own comments. In this section, where the ability to understand written and spoken English and the ability to verbally answer the questions to be asked is measured, the first two asked questions are independent, while the remaining 4 questions are determined as questions integrated with the topics.

The required score for TOEFL usually varies between 61 and 100 points, depending on the educational institution or the organization to which the job application is made. A maximum of 120 points can be obtained from this exam at a time.


How to Prepare for the TOEFL Exam?

The most important advice we will give to those who are considering taking the TOEFL exam is to first thoroughly research what kind of exam is it. So this exam consists of which sections. You should have information about what awaits you and draw your study route with this information. Exam format, score calculation, what you will encounter in the sections, etc. you need to learn in full detail.

First of all, we should state that this exam will measure all your language skills in various aspects. In other words, you should have a language skills above a certain level for this exam. When we look at the level averages of those who take the exam, “intermediate” and “advanced” are predominant. So if your level is “beginner” and “elementary”, this exam is not suitable for you. So what you need to do is to improve your English language level first.


What are the TOEFL Test Types?

TOEFL has two different exam formats. These are called TOEFL IBT and TOEFL PBT . Exams are held every 2 weeks, continue throughout the year and applications can be completed online. There are approximately 4,500 exam centers located in 165 countries. Participants who took the exam before and were not able to get the target score can re-enter the TOEFL as many times as they wish, taking a 12-day break between exams.

What is TOEFL IBT?

The TOEFL IBT exam, which stands for Internet-based TOEFL and is offered as online, is a comprehensive exam that includes all parts of reading, listening, speaking and writing. IBT, which lasts approximately 4 to 4.5 hours, is done by computer at authorized exam centers. Recently, ETS has provided convenience and IBT’s special Home Edition exam has also been put into practice. With Home Edition, which is identical to the classic IBT format and shares the same screen experience, participants also have the chance to take the exam from wherever they are. During the exam, which is offered online through ProctorU, the participants are also followed by an officer appointed through this system. About 6 days after the end of the exam, the exam results are delivered to the participants.

How to Apply for TOEFL IBT?


TOEFL IBT, which is organized quite frequently at authorized centers around the world or at your location, offers convenience to those who want to take this type of exam. Candidates who will apply online have to first get registered on the official website of ETS. With the username they receive, they can complete the first step by choosing the date they have determined according to the city and test center where they will take the test. The name used when registering must be the same as the name to be presented on test day. Apart from the online system, candidates can also register by phone or mail with the guidance of authorized TOEFL consultants. Registration closes one week before the test date, so candidates are advised to complete their applications at least one month before the test date. ETS is also committed to provide the necessary service to candidates with special requirements due to health problems or disabilities. Detailed information and registration procedures are available on the official website of ETS.

What is TOEFL PBT?

PBT, which stands for Paper Based TOEFL, is a TOEFL test consisting of three parts: listening, writing and reading and is paper-based. Unlike IBT, there is no speaking part in PBT. Known as an old version of TOEFL and accepted only in certain countries, this test is not as preferred as IBT. The PBT, which has an exam duration of approximately 2 hours and a half, is exaluated using a different scale.

What is the Difference Between TOEFL IBT and TOEFL PBT?

The difference between TOEFL IBT and TOEFL PBT is that TOEFL PBT does not include the speaking part. TOEFL IBT is done online and TOEFL PBT is done in written at the specific test centers.

How Much is the 2023 TOEFL Exam Fee?

The test fee determined for TOEFL is in dollars. Accordingly, the TOEFL IBT exam fee is $195 and the TOEFL PBT exam fee is $170. Payments can be made by credit card, electronic check, PayPal or money order.

For more detailed information about IELTS exam, you can review our IELTS article.