TOEFL Overview - A Complete Guide



Did you know that TOEFL is not as hard as you think it is? In fact, you can easily score that perfect mark and pave the way to your dream university. Yes! With strategic preparations and right guidance, scoring well in TOEFL is nothing but a cakewalk!

This GyanDhan’s complete TOEFL preparation guide covers all the essentials that you need to master the test - right from overall preparation guides and sectional guides for Reading, Writing, Speaking, and Listening sections to free online TOEFL ibt practice tests. Our guides reveal foolproof strategies and tons of daily practices and exercises which will help you develop mastery over all sections of TOEFL.



Recent Updates on TOEFL

ETS, in response to the current pandemic, had rolled out TOEFL iBT Home Edition for students who were impacted by mobility restrictions. The test is identical in content, format, and experience. The test is available 24 hours a day, 4 days a week, with an appointment as early as 24 hours after the candidate registers.

TOEFL Essentials

ETS has introduced the TOEFL Essentials Test for students wanting to study abroad. The registration for the test is open with the test start date of 31st August 2021. The test will not replace the trusted TOEFL iBT. The purpose of introducing the test is to provide high-quality test scores to the students and institutions while balancing it with “convenience, affordability, and access”. The test will evaluate the knowledge of English beyond the academic setting.
The exam is only 1.5 hours long with the same four sections - Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. At the end of the exam, students can also submit a 5-minute Personal Statement Video for institutions to know the student. This personal statement video is not scored and is just for the institutions.

Why is TOEFL Required?

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is important for students wanting to study in a country where English is the only medium of English. It will test the English proficiency of the candidate and their ability to study and live in an environment with native English speakers. It is primarily used by the institutions as a part of the admissions process.

Which Type of TOEFL Test Should You Take?

There are mainly three types of TOEFL tests administered by ETS - TOEFL iBT, TOEFL PBT, and TOEFL Essentials.

  1. TOEFL iBT - It is administered through the internet and is available at authorized test centres. The test has four sections - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking.
  2. TOEFL PBT - It is a Paper Based Test, meaning it is delivered through paper. The test is available where there is no internet connection or facility. The test has three sections - Reading, Writing and Listening. There is no speaking section due to the lack of a technological system for registering responses. This test is no longer offered effective April 11, 2021. However, the test scores will remain valid for two years from the test date
  3. TOEFL Essentials - It was introduced recently. The registration for the exam has started and the exam will start from 31st August 2021. It is similar to the TOEFL iBT. The only difference is that the test duration is only 1.5 hours and the students can submit a Personal Statement video for the institutions. The personal statement video is not scored and is only for the institutions to get to know the candidate better. The exam can be taken at home.

There are other TOEFL tests as well for students and individuals to learn the language.

  • TOEFL Primary - for ages 8 and above.
  • TOEFL Junior - for ages 11 and above.
  • TOEFL ITP - for ages 16 and above.

TOEFL Highlights

Exam Name TOEFL
Full-Form Test of English as a Foreign Language
Official Website The TOEFL Family of Assessments
Accepted By Institutions in the USA, Canada, UK, New Zealand, and Australia.
Conducted By Educational Testing Service (ETS)
Mode of Exam Internet-based, Home Tests
Test fee - TOEFL iBT $185
Test fee TOEFL Home Edition $185
Test fee - TOEFL Essentials $100
Late Registration Charges $40
Score Range 0 - 120 (four section of 30 points each)

TOEFL vs IELTS

Both exams test the English Language Proficiency and are accepted by all major universities and countries. However, some universities and countries have specific test requirements. So, before booking the test, students should ensure that the test is accepted by their target university and country.

Which Popular Universities Accept the TOEFL Score?

More than 11,000 universities worldwide accept the TOEFL score. The TOEFL Essentials was recently launched and is in the process of getting approved by major universities.

University of Montreal (Canada) University of Winnipeg (Canada)
University of British Columbia (Canada) Seneca College (Canada)
Essec Business School (France) Erasmus University (Netherlands)
University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) London School of Economics and Political Science
University of Essex University of Glasgow
University of Leeds University of Westminster
University of Arizona University of California, Berkeley
University of Denver University of Colorado
Yale University University of Florida
Northwestern University John Hopkins University
University of Maryland Boston University
Columbia University New York University
Pace University Cornell University
Oregon State University University of Michigan

Which Countries Accept the TOEFL Score?

TOEFL is accepted by English-speaking countries like the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and several European countries as well.

What are the Eligibility Criteria for the TOEFL Exam?

There are no eligibility criteria to take the TOEFL exam. Students can take the exam to test their English language skills or for purely academic reasons such as studying in an English-speaking country. There are no age restrictions as well.

What is the Exam Fee to Take the TOEFL?

The exam fee depends on the country of residence. For Indian candidates, the exam fee is as follows -

  • TOEFL iBT - $185
  • TOEFL Home Edition - $185
  • TOEFL Essentials - $100

What are the Important Dates for the TOEFL Exam?

The TOEFL iBT exam is administered all around the year, more than 60 times a year. The TOEFL Home Edition is available 24 hours a day, 4 days a week, with an appointment as early as 24 hours after registration.

Format for the IELTS Academic Test

Listening Section Questions - 30 to 40
Duration - 41 - 57 minutes
Reading Section Questions - 30 to 40
Duration 54 - 72 minutes
Writing Section Questions - 2
Duration - 50 minutes
Speaking Section Questions - 4
Duration - 17 minutes

What is the TOEFL Score Range?

There are 4 sections in the test.

  • Each section is scored on a scale of 30 points.
  • Sections added together form a total score range of 0-120.
Skill Level
Listening Section Advanced (22–30)
High-Intermediate (17–21)
Low-Intermediate (9–16)
Below Low-Intermediate (0–8)
Reading Section Advanced (24–30)
High-Intermediate (18–23)
Low-Intermediate (4–17)
Below Low-Intermediate (0–3)
Writing Section Advanced (24–30)
High-Intermediate (17–23)
Low-Intermediate (13–16)
Basic (7–12)
Below Basic (0–6)
Speaking Section Advanced (25–30)
High-Intermediate (20–24)
Low-Intermediate (16–19)
Basic (10–15)
Below Basic (0–9)

What are the Top Preparation Tips for the IELTS Exam?

Some tips to improve your score -

  • Start Preparing in Advance: begin studying at least 3 months before the scheduled exam date.
  • Set a Timetable: prepare a schedule and account for every section equally. Follow it religiously.
  • Concept-Clarity: instead of rote-learning, understand the concept and then attempt questions based on it to judge your level of understanding.
  • Practice and Mock Tests: attempt at least one practice test paper every week to evaluate your preparation.

What are the test centres in India?

The test is available pan India. Moreover, there is a TOEFL Home Edition test available for students unable to travel due to the pandemic or any other reason. The available test centres, date and time can be checked on the ETS website.

How Can GyanDhan Help You?

Apart from our extensive online TOEFL preparation guides, you can also seek one-on-one assistance from the top TOEFL preparation coaching institutes in the country through GyanDhan. GyanDhan over the years has collaborated with some of the top admission counsellors and test preparation coaching instructors and institutes who hold years of experience and unparalleled expertise in TOEFL. If you are interested in getting coaching mentorship from our partners, we will get you in touch with them absolutely for free!


Frequently Asked Questions


TOEFL scores are valid for 2 years.
You can cancel your test up to 4 full days before the test date, not including the test day. Login to your ETS account to cancel the test.
Yes, you can retake the test as many times as you want. However, only once within a 3-day period.
You only need to carry.
  • A valid ID, with your name, photograph, and signature
  • Registration confirmation (with registration number printed on it)

No personal items are allowed in the test centres.