What to Expect
Because so many individuals and institutions rely on TOEFL® test scores, there are rules that need to be followed at the test center to ensure the test is administered in a fair, secure manner.
Watch our TOEFL iBT® Testing Site video for a preview of what you can expect on test day when you:
- Arrive at the test center
- Check in
- Take the test
- Report or cancel your scores
- Sign out
Knowing what to expect can put you more at ease on test day. Here is what typically happens:
Before the Test
- Plan to arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes before your specified start time. If you come late, you may not be able to take the test.
- ETS reserves the right to ensure the security of the test content by using electronic detection scanning devices (for example, hand-held metal detectors/wands). Failure to comply will result in dismissal from the test center and your test fee will not be refunded.
- Your photo will be taken and placed at your assigned seat. It will also appear on your score report.
- You will be asked to sign a required confidentiality agreement.
- Identification documents are the only personal items you are allowed to have in the testing room. Cell phones and other electronic devices are not permitted. In some test centers where there is no secure storage space available for your personal belongings, you will receive a plastic bag in which to store them. The plastic bag will be placed under your chair.
- Your seat will be assigned by the test administrator.
- No schedule changes can be made at the test center.
- Testing premises may be videotaped for security reasons.
- ID verification may also include thumb printing, signature comparison, voice biometrics or other forms of electronic ID confirmation.
During the Test
- The test takes about 4 1/2 hours. No one is allowed to continue beyond the time limit.
- There is a mandatory 10-minute break midway through the test.
- Watch your pace so you do not go over your time for each section; the computer is the official timekeeper.
- If you need help for any reason, simply raise your hand.
- Cell phones and other devices are not permitted during the test or during breaks. (If you have health-related needs requiring you to bring equipment, beverages or snacks into the testing room or to take extra or extended breaks, you need to request accommodations in advance. Procedures for requesting accommodations are described in the Bulletin Supplement for Test Takers with Disabilities or Health-related Needs.)
- A standard QWERTY English-language keyboard is used for the test. It is a good idea to practice on this type of keyboard prior to the test so that you are familiar with the layout and function keys.
- Scratch paper is provided and must be returned at the end of the test. You must use up all your scratch paper before you can ask the test center staff for more.
After the test
- Your scores will be posted online approximately 10 days after the test date.
- You can view your scores online by logging in to your TOEFL iBT account and selecting "View Scores" on your home page.
- Scores are also mailed to you (if you requested a paper copy) and the universities or institutions you selected approximately 13 days after the test date.
- You can take the test again to improve your scores. There is no limit to the number of times you can take the test, but you cannot take it more than once within a 12-day period. If you already have a test appointment, you cannot register for another test within 12 days of your original appointment.
Reporting Suspicious Behavior – Test Fraud Hotline
Contact ETS to report behavior that may interfere with test security or cause a disturbance. All reported incidents of fraud are taken seriously and investigated closely. All information is held in the strictest confidence.
- 1-800-353-8570 (United States, U.S. Territories, Canada)
- 1-609-406-5430 (all other locations)
- Register for the TOEFL Test
- Test Takers with Disabilities and Health-related Needs
- What to Expect on Test Day Flyer
- Video: The TOEFL iBT Testing Site (Flash)