Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the TOEFL Test

TOEFL Registration FAQs

How do I register for the TOEFL?

The preferred registration method is online via the ETS website, but registration by phone and standard mail is also available. For more information on TOEFL registration, click here and here.

How much does registration cost?

The registration fee for test-takers in the United States is $195. The cost of registering to take the TOEFL in other countries can be up to $300. More information on TOEFL fees is available here.

After I have registered, may I change my registration to a different date or test center?

Yes, changes of registration are allowed, but these changes can be made no less than four days before the test date. The change fee is $60, and any changes are subject to availability. Click here for details on change of registration.

Under what circumstances will my registration be cancelled or changed without my consent?

Registration is involuntarily cancelled only for issues at the testing center (such as loss of power or inclement weather) and in cases of suspected academic dishonesty (such as attempting to impersonate someone else while taking the test). More information on these policies can be found here.

TOEFL Administration FAQs

How many times may I take the TOEFL?

Aside from a mandatory 12-day waiting period between tests, there are no official limits on how many times an individual student may take the TOEFL. More information on retaking the TOEFL is available here and here.

What am I allowed to bring with me to the test center?

Most personal items are allowed in the test center building, but no personal items may be brought into the room where the test is administered. Test-takers must store their belongings in on-site lockers. For details on test center policies, click here and here.

What types of identification will I need in order to be admitted to the test center?

Admission to the test center requires two forms of identification, such as passports or driver's licenses. Identification documents cannot be expired. See this page for more information on TOEFL test center identification policies.

How often is the TOEFL offered?

The TOEFL iBT is available more than 50 times per year at test centers around the world. Click here for details on TOEFL availability.

TOEFL Preparation FAQs

What are the available methods of TOEFL prep?

The majority of educators agree that the most effective methods of preparing for the TOEFL are prep courses or private tutoring sessions taught by professional instructors. There are also a number of books, videos, and online resources. More information on TOEFL prep can be found here and here.

Should I include practice tests in my preparation routine?

This is a very good idea. Practice tests are vital preparation resources. See this page for a discussion of practice tests.

Which books are recommended for TOEFL preparation?

The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test, published by ETS, is the most reliable printed resource on the exam. However, many books published by other entities offer valuable perspectives. Details on TOEFL books are available here and here.

How much time should I devote to TOEFL preparation?

At least a few months or more, depending on the current level of your English language abilities. Preparing for any standardized test takes time, and learning is best accomplished in small daily increments. For an overview of TOEFL prep, see this page.

TOEFL Scoring FAQs

What types of scores will I receive after taking the TOEFL?

Test-takers are given a total score of 0 to 120 and sectional scores of 0 to 30 each. For a comprehensive discussion of TOEFL scoring, click here, here, and here.

How is the TOEFL graded?

The reading and listening sections are graded by computer. The speaking and writing sections are evaluated by human graders. See this page for more information on how the TOEFL is graded.

How do TOEFL scores compare to those of the IELTS?

Concordances between the two tests have been established. See this page for a comparison of TOEFL and IELTS scores.

What is considered a "good" score on the TOEFL?

There is no universally accepted passing score for the TOEFL, but a total score of 100 (with 25 on each section) is good enough for most purposes. For further information on TOEFL standards, click here, here, here, and here.

TOEFL Acceptance FAQs

Do all universities in English-speaking countries accept the TOEFL?

We are not aware of any degree programs at either the undergraduate or graduate levels that do not accept the TOEFL as proof of sufficient English skills. Find out more about TOEFL acceptance by clicking here.

What are some of the other purposes for which the TOEFL is accepted?

In addition to its use by universities, the TOEFL is also accepted by immigration departments and professional licensing bodies. See this page and this page for more information.

Do any schools prefer the TOEFL over the IELTS?

While most institutions will accept either test, some schools in the United States clearly prefer the TOEFL, and a few will accept only the TOEFL. A comparison of the TOEFL with the IELTS can be found by clicking here.

How do I qualify for a TOEFL waiver?

If your native language is not English, you will probably only be granted a TOEFL waiver if you have completed a substantial amount of education in English. Respective waiver practices for undergraduate and graduate students are discussed here and here.

TOEFL PBT FAQs

Is the PBT easier than the iBT?

It's possible that some students will find the PBT less challenging than the iBT, but the primary issues are availability and acceptance. The PBT is not offered very often, and only in countries with no internet testing. The PBT is still widely but not universally accepted at universities. For more information on the PBT, see this page and this page.

Are there still preparation materials available for the PBT?

Yes, but they aren't particularly recent. PBT guidebooks can be found at online bookstores, and the ETS website provides some PBT-specific practice exercises. A comparison of the PBT and iBT can be found here.

How much longer will the PBT continue to exist?

Nobody knows, but ETS does plan to eventually discontinue the paper version of the TOEFL. Paper tests are generally more difficult to create, administer, and grade, and the iBT has several additional features that make it a superior assessment to the iBT. Click here for general information on the PBT.

How can I find scoring comparisons of the PBT and iBT?

Click on this link for a summary of scoring for the PBT. Click here for concordances with the iBT.