Students are often confused when choosing between IELTS and TOEFL exam for their English proficiency scores. While both the tests measure your reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills, there are a few subtle differences between the tests. The TOEFL tests are predominantly structured as multiple-choice questions which are easier for candidates. However, the total time taken to finish the TOEFL test is longer than IELTS.
In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about the TOEFL examination. We will share all the necessary details regarding fees, registration, tips to prepare for the test, and the test procedure to help you with the TOEFL examination.
What is the TOEFL exam?
The TOEFL exam is an English proficiency test. It is conducted by the Educational Testing Services (ETS) to qualify candidates to move to an English-speaking country. The exam is popularly opted for by students who are planning to study abroad for graduation or post-graduation programs.
Why do you need to take the TOEFL exam?
Most American and Canadian universities accept the TOEFL score for eligibility. This is because the lectures and classroom discussions are all conducted in English. The students must be able to comprehend the subject matter effectively. They should also be able to participate in group discussions and tasks which are all conducted in English.
Types of TOEFL exam
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If you are thinking about applying for the TOEFL exam, you have 2 options to choose from, based on the mode of the test:
- The TOEFL iBT test
iBT is the TOEFL internet-based test. It is a more popular option for urban test-takers due to the sheer convenience of application and testing process.
- The TOEFL paper-based test
This method of test-taking is only available in areas that do not have an internet connection. The pattern of the paper-based test is almost the same as the iBT, except it does not have a speaking test.
The candidates must take the reading, writing and listening exams on paper. However, due to a lack of sufficient recording facilities, the speaking test cannot be conducted.
The TOEFL iBT exam is a better choice, especially if you want to study in one of the top colleges abroad. It is a well-rounded test that evaluates your proficiency in the English language.
TOEFL eligibility criteria
There are no age limits for the eligibility of TOEFL. There are also no prerequisites of educational qualification, admission etc. According to the governing council of TOEFL, i.e., the ETS, anyone can apply for the TOEFL exam at any time.
TOEFL exam fees, and charges for rescheduling or cancellation
The registration fees for TOEFL differs based on various factors. The standard fees are INR 13555. There will be additional charges based for late registration. In case of cancellation, rescheduling, re-evaluation, etc. there will be surplus charges as well.
Here are the terms and charges for registrations, rescheduling, cancellation and re-evaluation:
|Standard Registration Fees
|Charges for late registration
|Charges for rescheduling the test
|Charges to Reinstate cancelled scores
|For additional TOEFL scorecards
|INR 1465 / University or company
|Reviewing the Writing section
|Reviewing the Speaking section
|Reviewing both the Writing and Speaking sections
- Any rescheduling and cancellations must be done 5 days before the commencement of the exam.
- Emails and letters will not be accepted for rescheduling. You must call the Regional offices on +91 124 414 7700 and provide your full name, date of appointment, and appointment number to reschedule your TOEFL exam.
- You can reschedule the test online through your official TOEFL account.
- You must have the full amount to be paid for the above conditions when you place a request for registration, cancellation, rescheduling or re-evaluation.
Registering for TOEFL
There are 4 available modes of registration for the TOEFL exam:
- Registering at the test centre
You can register for TOEFL in person by visiting the test centre. The address is,
2nd floor, DLF Infinity Tower – A,
Haryana – 122002,
You can submit an application form and pay in cash or by check. Credit and debit cards are also accepted. However, Demand Drafts and post-dated checks are not acceptable.
- Online Registration
Here are the steps to register online for your TOEFL exam:
- Open the official registration page for TOEFL
- Log into your existing account with your username and password. If you do not have an account then you can create one
- Provide all the relevant personal details.
- Enter your address where your scorecard must be delivered.
- Provide the location details to select an accessible admission centre for the TOEFL exam.
- You must choose a convenient date to take the exam from the available dates.
- You can choose the nearest available test centre to take your TOEFL exam.
- Check all the details about the exam to confirm that they are convenient. Once you make the payment, you will have to pay additional costs to alter the choices of dates, location, etc.
- Make the payment for your TOEFL exam.
- Registering via mail
In order to send your registration details vial mail or courier, you must download the application form and fill out the relevant information. Then you can send the application form along with the cash or check for payment to the address that is mentioned on your application. You can also choose to mail or courier it to the office in Gurgaon at the address mentioned above.
Remember, the form must arrive at the registration centre or Gurgaon office at least 4 weeks before your chosen test date. So plan accordingly.
- Registering via phone
You can also register for your TOEFL test with a phone call to +91 124 414 7700. Follow the steps below:
- Make sure to check out the registration form before you call and keep the necessary documents ready.
- Once you connect, provide the relevant details.
- Follow the directions to pay by debit or credit card at your discretion.
- You can register via phone call until 5 pm.
- You must finish the registration process at least 7 days before the chosen test date to avoid any late fees.
The online registration is the most preferred choice among test-takers. All the details can be easily furnished and the acknowledgement is always available on the dashboard. They can also check back at any time to confirm the number of days remaining for the exam or take some practice tests.
Whatever mode of registration you choose, remember to enter your details correctly. Check the spelling of your name on the form or spell it out on the phone. The spelling must match the one on your identification card that you will carry on the date of the exam.
How to choose your preferred test slot?
The TOEFL exam plays an important role in your eligibility for a good school. Therefore it is necessary to choose a date that gives you enough time to improve your English proficiency. You need to keep the following points in mind:
- The date of admission to your preferred university.
- The last date of submission of the TOEFL score.
- Your current proficiency in English and how much time you need to prepare.
- Available slots for the TOEFL exam at your nearest test centre.
- The clause for late fee for registration.
Based on your current proficiency in the English language and keeping the admission and submission dates of the universities in mind, you can choose a test date from 10 – 45 days for maximum efficiency. Check the list of available dates and choose the one that works best for you.
Let us take a look at the syllabus for the Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking tests for the TOEFL exam:
- TOEFL reading
The TOEFL reading test is approximately 50 – 72 minutes long. During the test, you will receive 3 – 4 passages. You must read each passage and answer 10 questions for each passage, i.e., 30 – 40 questions in total. Your score is evaluated on your level of comprehending the passage and providing the correct responses for each question based on the passages alone.
- TOEFL writing
For the TOEFL writing test, you must write 2 essays with well-developed opinions. The 2 tasks are as follows:
- Integrated task – You will have to read, listen, and write. You will have 3 minutes to read, 2 minutes to listen and then write the essay in 15 minutes.
- Independent task – You will have 30 minutes to answer 2 questions.
- TOEFL listening
In the TOEFL listening section, the examiner will play recordings of lectures and conversations. You must then answer relevant questions based on each recording. This section is 40 – 57 minutes long.
The examiner will play 3 – 4 recordings of lectures taken on campus. You must understand them and answer 6 questions for each recording. The examiner might also play 2 – 3 conversations that are approximately 3 minutes long. You will then have to answer 5 questions in each conversation.
- TOEFL speaking
The TOEFL speaking test is divided into 2 tasks:
- Independent activity – You will have 15 seconds to prepare and then speak for 45 seconds.
- Integrated activity – You must read, listen and speak. The examiner will ask 4 questions based on what you read and heard. You will have 17 minutes to provide the answers.
Tips to prepare for TOEFL
For the TOEFL reading test
- Read English newspapers, magazines, journals, books, and articles to acclimate to the jargon, idioms, and common phrases.
- Improve your vocabulary. Learn new root words and add prefixes and suffixes to form other words.
- Implement the words you learn when you speak or write instead of just memorizing them.
- Practice speed-reading techniques such as skimming, finding keywords, or simply improving your overall reading time.
For the TOEFL writing test
- Read different sources such as magazines, newspapers, etc. to learn about various topics.
- Practice writing an essay on those topics within 15 minutes with a clear vision and opinion.
- Learn new words and their synonyms and incorporate them into your essays.
- Practice following the directions of the tasks precisely.
- Take multiple mock tests to practice understanding the passages and recordings in the integrated tasks quickly.
- Improve your speed of writing. Make sure that you can answer 10 questions based on each passage within the allotted time limit.
For the TOEFL listening test
- Start by watching English news channels, video newsletters, Ted talks, and shows.
- Adapt to listening to different accents and try to follow the conversations, monologues, and speeches.
- Take notes of important points in order to remember them.
- Take practice tests to acclimate to the TOEFL listening test format.
For the TOEFL speaking test
- Practice speaking in English as much as possible. You need to adapt to speaking fluently and confidently.
- Use the mirror technique to observe the use of pauses, hesitations, and filler-words. Then improve upon them by mentally preparing what you want to say before you start speaking.
- Choose random topics on both Academia and general subjects and practice speaking about them.
- Learn to express your opinions clearly and concisely.
The results of the TOEFL exam will inadvertently affect your eligibility in a good institution. Make sure that you prepare well and do your best to meet the eligibility criteria. Take the time and put in the effort to gain fluency in the English language as the TOEFL exam is designed to help you in your future endeavours. All the lectures and conversations will be conducted in English. Therefore it is pivotal that you improve your reading, writing, speaking and listening skills so you can perform well during your higher education in the most esteemed colleges.
- How many times can you retake the TOEFL test?
You can retake the TOEFL test as many times as you want. You will have to wait 3 days from the previous test date to take another one. You will have to pay the registration fees every time you choose to take the test. If you register for the exam at the last minute, you will have to pay an additional INR 2930 as a late fee.
- How to select a TOEFL test center?
During the TOEFL registration process, you will find a drop-down menu where you can select your TOEFL test center, based on the location you have chosen.
- How long is the overall TOEFL test?
The total time taken to complete the TOEFL internet-based test is 3 hours. It takes an additional 30 minutes for check-in.
- When can you register for the TOEFL tests?
You can register for the TOEFL tests at any time. Ideally, it is good to register for the test approximately 3 months in advance as the dates are quickly booked. If you have a deadline to submit your scores, then book your test dates 3 – 4 months in advance. This is simply because you may not get your desired test date if you book it at the last minute.
With prior registrations, you will have ample time to prepare for your TOEFL exam, take practise tests, and seek expert advice to help you improve your score.
- Where are the test scores for TOEFL applicable?
TOEFL test scores are accepted in 150 countries. Universities in English-speaking countries such as Canada, the USA, UK, and Australia all accept the TOEFL score for your eligibility to the college.
- For how long are the TOEFL scores valid?
The TOEFL test scores are valid for 2 years from the actual test date.
- What to do if you enter the incorrect information during your TOEFL registration?
You cannot change the details such as Name, Date of Birth, or contact information on the TOEFL registration form once you have submitted it. Therefore, pay attention and cross-check all the details before you submit your registration form.
- What items are allowed inside the TOEFL test center?
The only items that you can carry into the test center are your documents of identification. Any electronic items, personal belongings, and papers should be left outside the testing room.
- Why should you opt for TOEFL Practice Online?
The TOEFL Practice Online site is helpful in preparing you for the real-time test scenario. You can practice taking actual test questions based on past exams. The results for the same will be evaluated and available to you within 24 hours. This will help you get an idea about your actual efficiency. You can work on improving the skills where you test poorly and take the TOEFL Practice Online test again.
This site is particularly helpful for those who have opted for the TOEFL iBT test format. The TOEFL Practice Online site simulates the exact TOEFL iBT test to help candidates evaluate their skills efficiently.
- What is the TOEFL scoring format?
The TOEFL exam scores are evaluated based on your scores in the 4 individual test categories.
The reading, writing, listening, and speaking categories each contribute a total of 30 points. The overall TOEFL score is, therefore, an aggregate of all the scores. So if you score,
- 25/30 in your TOEFL reading test,
- 25/30 in your TOEFL writing test,
- 20/30 in your TOEFL listening test,
- And 20/30 in your TOEFL speaking test,
- Then your overall TOEFL score is 90/120