Frequently Asked Questions About the TOEFL iBT® Test
About the Test
- What is the TOEFL® test?
The TOEFL® test measures the ability of nonnative English speakers to use and understand the English language as it is heard, spoken, read and written in the university classroom.
- What is the difference between the TOEFL iBT® and TOEFL® PBT tests?
The TOEFL iBT® test is administered via the Internet, and the TOEFL PBT test is administered in a paper-based format. The TOEFL PBT test is being phased out.
- The TOEFL iBT test measures reading, listening, speaking and writing skills. It is offered more than 50 times a year and is administered online at testing sites around the world.
- The TOEFL PBT test measures reading, listening, grammar and writing skills and is currently offered only in locations where testing via the Internet is not available.
For more information, see:
- Where are TOEFL test scores accepted?
More than 9,000 colleges, universities and agencies in 130 countries accept TOEFL scores. To learn more about how the TOEFL test can be your passport to study anywhere English is spoken, see Who Accepts TOEFL Scores.
- How do I know what an institution's score requirements are?
Each institution sets its own score requirements. You can start your score requirement research with the TOEFL® Destination Search and then contact the institution for more specific requirements. If you're applying for postgraduate studies, find out if your institution requires other tests, such as the GRE® (Graduate Record Examinations®) test. For more information about the GRE test, go to www.ets.org/gre.
- How often is the test given?
The TOEFL iBT test is given on fixed dates, more than 50 times a year. Select your test date and location here.
- How do I find testing locations and dates?
Choose an available test date from among testing locations around the world. Register online, by mail, by phone or in person.
- Can I take the test in one day?
Yes, the test is given in one day. The test takes about four hours, but with check-in you should plan to be at the test site for at least four and one-half hours.
- Can I retake the test?
Yes, you can retake the test as many times as you wish, but you cannot take it more than once in a 12-day period. If you already have a test appointment, you cannot register for another test date that is within 12 days of your existing appointment. There is no passing or failing test score — score requirements are set by each higher education institution or agency.
- Why should I take the TOEFL test over another test?
- It's the most highly respected around the world
- It's the most widely accepted
- It's the most accurately measured
- It's the most fair and unbiased
- It offers the most testing locations
Learn more: Why Take the Test?
- How much does the TOEFL iBT test cost?
Costs depend on the test location you choose. Usually, the cost ranges from US$160 to US$250. For more information on registration fees, locations and test dates, see How to Register.
- How many score reports are included in my test fee?
Your test fee includes:
- one online score report for you, and one paper copy if you requested it before you took the test. Your scores will be posted electronically only, unless you request a paper copy by selecting that option when you register. You can change this option at any time up to 10 p.m. (local test center time) on the day before you test. Go to your online account to change your Score Report Preference.
- up to four official score reports to the institutions or agencies you select before you test; ETS will send the official score reports directly to these destinations
- Can I order additional official score reports?
Yes, you can order additional score reports after your scores are available online, approximately 10 days after your test date.
- Additional reports can be ordered through the TOEFL online registration system or by completing the TOEFL iBT Additional Score Report Request Form.
- Reports are mailed approximately four to seven days after receipt of your request and payment.
- The fee is US$19 for each report ordered.
- What is the test fee refund policy?
If you are taking the test in Korea, see the specific refund policy for test takers in Korea.
If you cancel your registration by the three-day advance deadline (not including test day), you will receive a refund of half the original test fee you paid. Refunds are in U.S. dollars. Cash refunds are not available.
- What are the fees for other services?
- What do I need to know before I register?
Before you register, you must decide where you want to take the test. Go to testing locations and dates.
You will be required to enter identification (ID) information before you register for a test date. Be sure to use the same form of ID that you will bring to the test center. ID requirements depend on your country of citizenship and where you plan to test. See ID Requirements for details
- When can I register for the test?
Seats can fill up quickly, so register early. We recommend that you register three to four months before your desired test date to reserve your seat. Your test date should be two to three months before your earliest admissions application deadline.
- How do I register to reserve my seat?
You can register using one of four methods — online, in person, by phone or by mail. Online registration is the fastest, easiest method. You can choose where you want to test and see which dates are available.
See How to Register
When you register, remember to:
- Have your identification with you. Your name must be entered exactly as it appears on the identification you bring with you on test day. You will be required to enter identification (ID) information before you register for a test date. Be sure to use the same form of ID that you will bring to the test center. ID requirements depend on your country of citizenship and where you plan to test. See ID Requirements for details.
- Have your credit/debit card, electronic check, or PayPal® account information for payment.
- Provide the names of up to four institutions you want to receive your scores. You can select them from the TOEFL® Destination Search. If you are registering by mail, you will also need to provide the TOEFL codes for each institution. If you register online and are not ready to select your score recipients, you can do so up until 10 p.m. on the day before your test by logging in to your online account.
- Know where and when you want to test. Select from this list of testing locations and dates.
- What forms of payment do you accept?
- What is a TOEFL iBT® Resource Center?
A TOEFL iBT Resource Center is a place where you can go to get more information about the TOEFL test and assistance with registration. Some locations will help you register online with your own credit card. At other locations, you can purchase a TOEFL iBT Registration Voucher in local currency. A printed TOEFL® Test Prep Planner is given to you for FREE when you register for the test with the help of a TOEFL iBT Resource Center. See Contact Us.
- How should my name appear on my registration?
The spelling of your name should match exactly the name printed on the valid ID document you will present at the testing site. If this information does not match, you will not be permitted to test, and your test fee will not be refunded.
- How can I find a testing site?
When you select a date and general location in the online registration system, you'll see a list of test sites in that area. You can search by site or date to find a match to your needs.
- What can I do with my TOEFL iBT account?
When you register online, you will create a TOEFL iBT profile, including a user name and password. You will be able to return to the site to:
- update your address
- update your ID information
- view your registration at "View Orders"
- add a TOEFL® Value Pack to your order
- reschedule or cancel your registration
- change your score report preference
- view your scores
- place orders for additional score reports
- check the status of previous orders
- pay an outstanding balance
- Will I receive a confirmation of my registration?
Yes — you can print your confirmation by choosing "Print and View Your Registration Confirmation" on the page with the heading "Thank You for Your Order." Your test date, start time and test site address are listed on your confirmation. Return to your online profile the day before the test in case changes have been made to your registration details (for example, different time or building than originally scheduled). You will also receive an email confirmation.
- When do late fees apply?
Registration closes seven days prior to the test date (not including the day of the test). A late fee of US$35 is charged for registrations received after this deadline. Late registration closes three days prior to your test date (not including the day of the test).
- I missed the deadline for scheduling a test. What should I do?
Select another test date.
- I was registering online and my browser froze so I couldn't register. What should I do?
- Close your browser and try to log in again. Avoid using the browser's "Back" button when navigating the registration site. When entering information, do not use any accent marks or double-click any of the buttons or links.
- If you are still having problems, please call Customer Service. See Contact Us.
- If I can't register online or at a TOEFL iBT Resource Center, can I register by phone?
In the United States or Canada, call 1-443-751-4862 or 1-800-GO-TOEFL (1-800-468-6335). For all other locations, see Contact Us.
- What if I need to cancel or reschedule?
You can reschedule or cancel your registration up to three full days before your test date, not including the day of the test or the day of your request. That means if your test is on a Saturday, you must reschedule or cancel by Tuesday. The fee to reschedule is US$60 and must be paid before you can reschedule. If your request is not received at least three full days in advance, your test fee will not be refunded. Test administrators are not authorized to make schedule changes. To reschedule, you will need to provide your registration number and the full name you used when you registered.
- How can I reschedule?
You can reschedule via your online account or by calling the appropriate phone number.
In the United States and Canada, call 1-443-751-4862 or 1-800-GO-TOEFL
(1-800-468-6335). For other locations, contact your Regional Registration Center. See Contact Us.
Note: You cannot reschedule or cancel your registration via email.
- Can I get a refund on my test fee?
If you are taking the test in Korea, see the specific refund policy for test takers in Korea.
Yes. If you cancel your registration no later than three full days before your test date (not including the day of the test or the day of your request), you can receive a refund of half your original test fee. Refunds are in U.S. dollars. Cash refunds are not available.
- How can I get a refund on my TOEFL iBT registration voucher?
If you purchased a registration voucher and wish to get a refund:
- If you have not yet registered for a test date, contact the organization where you purchased the registration voucher.
- If you already have a test appointment, follow the regular TOEFL refund procedures found in the TOEFL iBT Registration Bulletin and on the TOEFL website. You can cancel your registration no later than three full days before your test date (not including the day of the test or the day of your request) and receive a refund of half the original test fee paid. Refunds are in U.S. dollars. Cash refunds are not available.
- If you received a free registration voucher from a sponsor, the refund will go to the sponsor.
Test Planning and Test Preparation
- When do I take the test?
Plan to take the TOEFL test two to three months before your earliest application deadline so your scores arrive at your institutions in time. Find application deadlines by checking each institution's website.
- How far in advance do I register?
Register three to four months before the test date.
- Where are TOEFL test scores accepted?
More than 9,000 colleges, universities and agencies in 130 countries accept TOEFL test scores. You can even use your TOEFL scores to satisfy visa requirements in Australia. To learn more, see Who Accepts TOEFL Scores.
- When should I start preparing for the test?
Start preparing for the test at least eight weeks before your test date.
- What is the best way to prepare for the TOEFL test?
Practicing your English reading, listening, speaking and writing skills as much as possible will help you feel prepared and confident on test day. We offer resources to make it easier. Because ETS is the maker of the TOEFL test, it is the only source for authentic sample questions. For detailed descriptions of test preparation materials available, see test preparation. Watch our new video, TOEFL® Resources: An Overview for Students (Flash) to learn about the tools from ETS that can help you prepare for the test.
- What is included in The Official Guide to the TOEFL® Test?
The book provides practice with hundreds of real TOEFL test questions and includes three full-length, authentic practice tests. The Official Guide to the TOEFL® Test can be purchased online at the ETS Store.
- What is TOEFL® Practice Online?
TOEFL® Practice Online allows you to experience actual test questions and get same-day scores and feedback. Complete practice tests are available on the TOEFL Practice Online website and can be taken in timed mode to simulate the real TOEFL iBT testing environment. You can also purchase specific skills practice for the Speaking section.
- What is the Official TOEFL iBT® Tests with Audio, Volume 1 book?
This book provides five real past TOEFL iBT tests and all of the audio passages on disc. This prep book provides you with lots of TOEFL iBT test practice and is the perfect companion to The Official Guide to the TOEFL® Test. It also includes the TOEFL® Test Prep Planner to help you create an eight-week plan to prepare for the test. The Official TOEFL iBT® Tests with Audio, Volume 1 can be purchased online at the ETS Store.
- Are there any additional FREE TOEFL test resources from ETS?
Other free resources that you may find helpful include:
Test Section Details
- What is the Reading section like?
- The Reading section includes three or four reading passages. There are 12 to 14 questions per passage. You have from 60 to 80 minutes to answer all the questions in the section.
- TOEFL iBT Reading passages are excerpts from university-level textbooks that would be used in introductions to a discipline or topic. The passages cover a variety of different subjects. Don't worry if you're unfamiliar with the topic of a passage. All the information you need to answer the questions will be in the passage.
- What is the Listening section like?
The Listening section includes questions about academic lectures and longer conversations in which the speech sounds very natural. You can take notes on any audio material throughout the entire test. The Listening section is composed of:
- Four to six lectures, each three to five minutes long, six questions per lecture, 60 to 90 minutes
- Two to three conversations, each three minutes long, five questions per conversation, 60 to 90 minutes
- What is the Speaking section like?
The Speaking section is approximately 20 minutes long and includes six questions.
- The first two questions are called "independent Speaking tasks" because they require you to draw entirely on your own ideas, opinions and experiences when you respond.
- The other four questions are called "integrated Speaking tasks" because they require you to integrate your English-language skills — listening and speaking or listening, reading and speaking — just as you would in or out of a classroom.
You will speak into the microphone on your headset and your responses will be recorded and sent to the ETS Scoring Network, where they will be scored by certified human raters.
See TOEFL sample questions and responses.
- How are my Speaking responses scored?
- Your recorded responses are sent to the ETS Scoring Network, where three to six certified human raters score them holistically on a scale of 0 to 4. The average score on the six tasks is converted to a scaled score of 0 to 30.
- Raters do not expect your responses to be perfect, and even high-scoring responses may contain occasional errors. Your pronunciation does not need to sound like that of a native speaker of English. The raters are listening for the effectiveness of your communication and your ability to accomplish the tasks you are given.
- See the Speaking scoring guides and listen to sample responses to help you understand how responses are evaluated.
- What is the Writing section like?
The total time for the Writing section is 50 minutes. You are asked to write responses to two writing tasks: an integrated Writing task and an independent Writing task.
- Integrated Writing task (20 minutes) — read a short passage and listen to a short lecture. Then write in response to what you read and listened to.
- Independent Task (30 minutes) — write an essay in response to a Writing topic.
Get The Official Guide to the TOEFL® Test for a list of topics. Go to the ETS store to purchase The Guide.
You'll type your responses on the computer keyboard and then your responses will be sent to the ETS Scoring Network. See TOEFL sample questions and responses.
- How are Writing responses scored?
- Writing responses are scored holistically on a scale of 0 to 5. The average score on the two tasks is converted to a scaled score of 0 to 30.
- You're not expected to produce a comprehensive essay about a specialized topic — your response is recognized as a first draft. You can receive a high score with an essay that contains some errors.
- See the Writing Scoring Guides and read sample responses to help you understand how responses are evaluated.
- How long is the test session?
The entire TOEFL iBT test session (including check-in) is approximately four and one-half hours. The test itself is four hours. Check-in time is 30 minutes.
- What can I take into the test center?
Identification documents are the only personal items allowed in the testing room. You cannot bring cell phones, smartphones or any other electronic devices.
- Can I take notes during the test?
Test takers can take notes throughout the entire test. At the end of testing, all notes are collected and destroyed at the test center to ensure test security.
- Do I need to wear headphones for the test?
Yes. You will be given noise-canceling headphones with a microphone that you will speak into for the Speaking section of the test.
- Which computer keyboard is used?
The TOEFL iBT test uses a standard English-language (QWERTY) computer keyboard. It takes its name from the first six letters in the third row of the keyboard. If you haven't used this kind of keyboard before, practice on one before test day to become familiar with it.
- Can I take only one section of the test?
No. The entire test must be taken at the same time. To receive a score, you must answer at least one question in the Reading section and the Listening section, write at least one essay and complete at least one Speaking task.
- What things should I remember to do before test day?
- Return to your online TOEFL iBT account under "View Orders."
- Select the recipients of up to four FREE official score reports before 10 p.m. local test center time the day before you test if you did not do so when you registered. Log in to your online account, click on "View Orders" on your home page and select your first recipient from the list provided. Verify your first selected recipient and select a department, if applicable. You can choose to "add another recipient." If you select your institutions after the 10 p.m. deadline, there is a US$19 fee for each score report. Score recipients cannot be deleted or changed after 10 p.m. deadline.
- Check your registration confirmation. Note any change in the test center (for example, different time or building than originally scheduled.) Bring your registration number with you to the test center.
- Bring valid identification that exactly matches the name you used when you registered. If you do not have acceptable identification, you may not be permitted to test and your test fee will not be refunded. See ID Requirements for details.
- Make travel plans to get to the testing center. Your test registration confirmation will list the street address of the test center. Arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled start time.
- What do I need to bring on test day?
There are only two important things you need to bring with you on test day:
- Acceptable, valid ID with your name, recent photograph and signature.You will be required to enter ID information before you register to test. ID requirements depend on your country of citizenship and where you plan to test. See ID requirements for more details.
- Your registration number.
- What happens on test day?
Here are a few things to keep in mind on test day:
- Arrive at the test site at least 30 minutes early. If you arrive late, you may not be admitted and your test fee will not be refunded.
- Bring your registration number and valid ID with you. See "What to Bring" above for more details. Without the required documents, you will not be permitted to test and your test fee will not be refunded.
- There is a 10-minute break midway through the test.
- The test takes approximately four hours, and you cannot go beyond the time limit.
- No electronic devices or other personal items are allowed in the testing room.
Watch a short video (Flash) for a preview of what to expect when you go to a TOEFL iBT testing site.
See what to expect on test day for more details.
- Will I be allowed to go for a break during the test?
- You can use the restroom at any time, but remember that the total length of the test is four hours. The time clock does not stop while you are absent. There is one mandatory 10-minute break for all test takers after the Reading and Listening sections of the test have been completed.
- Raise your hand if you need to leave your seat for any reason.
- If you must leave the room, you must show the administrator your identification document before you leave and when you return.
- You cannot use your cell phone, smartphone, or any other electronic device during the test or during breaks.
Scores and Score Reports
- What are TOEFL test scores like?
The TOEFL iBT test provides scores in four skill areas — Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing — and a total score:
- Reading 0–30
- Listening 0–30
- Speaking 0–30
- Writing 0–30
- Total Score 0–120
The total score is the sum of the four skill scores.
- What is on my score report?
Your score report includes scores for each test section, a total score and performance feedback about what test takers at your score level can typically do.
- How and when do I get my scores?
Scores will be posted online approximately 10 days after the test date. Log in to your TOEFL iBT account, enter the ETS ID you received when you registered, and click "View Scores". Your scores are also sent to the universities or institutions you selected. A score report posting schedule for each test date is available on the TOEFL iBT website. Allow 7–10 days for mail delivery in the United States and 4–6 weeks for other areas. ETS has no control over mail delivery to locations around the world. We recommend that you take the test two to three months before your earliest application deadline.
- How soon do score recipients get my scores?
Score reports are sent electronically or mailed to recipients approximately 13 days after the test date. However, ETS has no control over mail delivery to various locations around the world. Allow 7-10 days after the mailing date for delivery in the United States, and 4-6 weeks for locations outside the United States. For information specific to your location, contact your postal service.
- How long are scores valid?
ETS reports scores for two years after the test date.
- How many score reports are included in my test fee?
Your test fee includes:
- One score report for you (electronic only unless you requested a paper copy before you took the test)
- Up to four official score reports that ETS will send directly to the institutions or agencies you selected
- Can I order additional official score reports?
Yes, you can order additional score reports after your scores are available online, approximately 10 days after the test date. The fee is US $19 for each score report.
- How do I order additional score reports?
You can order additional score reports as soon as your test scores are available, approximately 10 days after test day. You can send your scores to as many institutions or agencies as you choose for a fee of US$19 per report. Scores are mailed approximately four to seven days after receipt of your request and payment.
Order Online: Order through your TOEFL iBT account.
Order by Fax: Fill out the TOEFL iBT® Additional Score Report Request Form. Fax it with your registration number and credit/debit card information to 1-610-290-8972. If you send the same fax more than once, write "DUPLICATE" in large letters on the form to avoid extra charges to your credit/debit card.
Order by Mail: Print and complete the TOEFL iBT Additional Score Report Request Form. Mail it with your payment as directed on the form.
- Will score recipients accept scores from previous tests?
Check with each score recipient directly.
- Where are TOEFL test scores accepted?
More than 9,000 colleges, universities and agencies in 130 countries accept TOEFL test scores. You can even use your TOEFL scores to satisfy visa requirements in Australia and the United Kingdom. To learn more, see Who Accepts TOEFL Scores.
- Do TOEFL and GRE® tests have cumulative scoring?
TOEFL score reports include scores for only the last test taken. GRE's new ScoreSelectSM option lets test takers decide which GRE scores from their five-year reportable history to send to institutions. Scores for a test administration must be reported in their entirety.
- Can I cancel my scores?
You are given the option of canceling your scores at the end of your test session. You cannot cancel scores for individual sections of the test.
- Can I reinstate my canceled scores?
Yes, you can reinstate your scores if your request is received at ETS within 60 days of your test date, for a fee of US$20 using the Reinstatement Request form. Reinstated scores will be reported online within three weeks after receipt of your request and payment. Your scores will be posted online and will then be sent to your score recipients (and to you if you requested a paper copy of your score report before you took the test).
- Can I request a score review of my Speaking and/or Writing responses?
Yes, you can request a score review up to 30 days after your test date. You can make the request for review of either the Speaking or the Writing section (US$80), or you can request review of both the Speaking and Writing sections (US$160). Complete the Score Review Request Form and send it along with the required fee to the address on the form. If you are paying by credit/debit card, you can fax the form. The results will be available approximately three weeks after your payment is received. Note: Your test cannot be reviewed if you have already requested that your scores be sent to an institution or agency.
- Who do I contact if there is a problem with my score report?
Email email@example.com or call ETS at 1-609-771-7100 (outside the United States and Canada) or 1-877-863-3546 (United States and Canada), Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–8 p.m., U.S. Eastern Time. Phones are busiest on Monday.
After the Test
- What if my test is rescheduled or if there is a problem at the test site?
If your test administration is canceled before you test, or your test cannot be scored or your scores are canceled due to a testing irregularity, you can select a different test date and you will not be charged the rescheduling fee.
If you arrive at the test center and find out that the test administration has been canceled by ETS, you can reschedule your test at no charge or receive a full refund of your test fee.
If you take the test and your scores are canceled by ETS, ETS will determine, at its sole discretion, whether or not you are eligible to re-test at no charge or to receive a refund.
If ETS cancels a test administration or cancels scores after you test, and you have incurred travel costs to get to the test center, you may be eligible for a refund of reasonable and documented travel expenses for yourself only within 30 days of your original test date. Refunds are in U.S. dollars. For more information on reimbursement, see Testing Policies.
- If I experience technical problems at the testing site, can I ask that my test be rescheduled?
In rare instances, technical problems may require late starts and/or rescheduling of the test. If such an event at the test site makes it necessary for you to cancel your test session, or if it is later determined that your scores could not be reported, you can choose to retest for free or receive a full refund of the original test fee.
- What if I observe questionable or unacceptable behavior at the testing site?
Please contact ETS as soon as possible to report any observed behavior that may lead to an invalid score — for example, someone copying from another test taker, taking a test or part of a test for someone else, having access to test questions or answers before the test or using notes or unauthorized aids. All information is held in strictest confidence.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Phone: 1-800-353-8570 (United States and Canada) or 1-609-406-5430 (all other locations)
- Does ETS ever cancel scores?
ETS may cancel scores for administrative errors (for example, improper timing, improper seating, defective materials and defective equipment), natural disasters or other emergencies, improper access to test content, identification discrepancies, misconduct, plagiarism and inconsistent performance across different parts of the test.
See Contact Information.