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Comparing the TOEFL® Essentials and TOEFL iBT® Tests

The TOEFL® Essentials test has a unique and distinct design that makes it the perfect complement to the TOEFL iBT® test. It balances quality with convenience, affordability and access to meet the needs of applicants who prefer its format to the more elaborate academic tasks found in the TOEFL iBT test.

TOEFL Essentials TestTOEFL iBT Test
What it MeasuresMeasures foundational elements of English proficiency that indicate how test takers would function in both academic and non-academic contextsProvides comprehensive, direct measurement of communicative language ability in an academic context
Who's likely to take itStudents looking for a test that blends quality and convenience with an engaging formatAspiring students looking to stand out
Language Domain50% academic English and 50% general English contexts100% academic English context
ContentTasks designed to efficiently measure proficiency, tailored to the test taker's ability level using multistage adaptive methodologyCarefully selected tasks that represent what students must do in an academic environment, requiring integration of all language skills
EmphasisBreadth with shorter, faster-paced tasks for an energetic experienceDepth with longer, interconnected tasks for an immersive experience
LengthAbout 1-1/2 hoursAbout 3 hours
Format4 sections: Listening, Reading, Writing, Speaking
5-minute personal video statement (not scored)
4 sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, Writing
Main Test Design PrincipleDesigned to be a highly efficient, multistage adaptive test that measures the full spectrum of English proficiency (CEFR A1 to C2) accurately with fewer test items and in just 1-1/2 hoursDesigned to be the most effective assessment of applied English communication in academic contexts, with a range corresponding to CEFR B1 to C2.
Presentation of Test ItemsAdjust to the test taker's skill level in an adaptive formatCarefully selected and matched in coherent, integrated sets simulating actual communication
DeliveryAt home, using the same platform, technology and security as the TOEFL iBT® Home EditionAt a test center, or at home with the TOEFL iBT Home Edition

Learn more about accepting TOEFL Essentials scores.