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TOEFL International Exam: useful information

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TOEFL International Exam: useful information

The TOEFL International Exam is one of the 3 most popular English language exams in the world for study and work abroad. The Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), International Language Testing System ( IELTS ), Cambridge English exam determine the level of English proficiency for finding work, studying at school and university.

Based on the results of the exams, the admission committee of the educational institution or the employer determines whether the applicant will be able to study and work where they speak English. Cambridge English exam, it is recommended to take for a resume, getting a job abroad. Future students and graduate students who are planning to study abroad and, also, scientists who are applying for international grants need to pass TOEFL and IELTS.

The TOEFL exam is more in demand by American and Canadian institutions, and IELTS - in English and Scottish, but this is not always the case: it is necessary to clarify what requirements a particular college or university needs. Some universities accept the results of TOEFL and IELTS at the same time, however, the universities of the famous American Ivy League recognize only TOEFL.

TOEFL International Exam: what you need to know?

The TOEFL International Exam has 2 forms:

  1. written exam ( PBT)
  2. exam online ( I BT) .

IBT allows students to take TOEFL in their own country. 

  • Examination schedules in the centers are not identical, therefore, the TOEFL delivery center must be chosen not only by geographical coordinates, but also by schedule. You need to register for the exam in advance, as well as pay a fee (approximately $ 250) online. Registration for testing ends a week before the exam, for 3-7 days you can register for an additional fee. The cost of the exam is the same in all centers of one state.

  • Due to the omission of the exam, the money will not be refunded, however, testing is postponed to another date if the transfer is announced in advance. In case of failure, the test can be retaken an unlimited number of times, the cost of each retake will be the same as the exam itself. The date of the next retake is not earlier than 3 days after the failed test.
  • To pass the tests, you will need the original passport. No copies, even notarized, are accepted: the document must be valid, with a margin of validity. The data of the questionnaire are filled out in accordance with the passport, the spelling of the name and surname must match the data of the passport.
  • Test results after 2 weeks are sent to e-mail. When registering at the TOEFL center, you can specify the foreign universities where you are supposed to enter, and the test results will be sent to the admissions committee of these educational institutions.
  • The validity of the international TOEFL certificate is 2 years, that is, the test determines the level of English proficiency at the moment. But some universities set their validity period and may require results no later than 18 or even 6 months. These conditions, together with others, are prescribed on the website of a particular university or college, they also indicate the minimum TOEFL score with which you can enter an educational institution. Dates and the amount of points may vary depending on the department or faculty of one university.

If you do not have a small amount of points to pass the TOEFL, then a conditional admission is practiced: a student before studying for a specialty studies English for six months or a year at the university. The duration of this education depends on the number of missing points.

TOEFL International Exam: Procedure

The TOEFL international exam is taken in specially equipped centers where comfortable conditions for passing the test are created: opaque partitions separate the passers from each other, the headphones create sound insulation. It is difficult to pass the TOEFL test, tasks of 4 stages require maximum concentration. IBT allowed - even recommended - take notes.

TOEFL Exam Steps



TOEFL Stages



Maximum points



60-80 minutes





60-90 minutes





20 minutes




50 minutes


  1. Reading: 3-4 tests containing texts and questions to them. Each part takes 20 minutes. You need to read the texts, understand the content, answer the questions, the time for answers is given without interruption.
  2. Listening: 6-9 materials are offered. It is necessary to listen to lectures or dialogues, after each material to answer questions.
  3. Speaking. Different types of tasks are given: when answering, you need to rely on personal experience, give examples, compare, draw conclusions. If the lecture deals with some kind of problem, you need to talk about your views on it, to propose solutions. Speech should be literate, with an understanding of scientific terms. It takes 10-15 seconds to think about the answer, about a minute to answer. Only 20 minutes of a monologue in the Speaking part.
  4. Writing: 2 essays. The examiner is offered to read a scientific text, listen to a speech on this issue, and then write an essay, compare points of view, express the opinion. This written work takes 20 minutes. Then you need to write a reflection text on the proposed situation, which takes 30 minutes.

Between stages 2 and 3, a 10-minute break follows. The total exam time is 4-4.5 hours. Stages need to be completed in one day. Some of the answers are checked by computers, so typos are equated with errors.

TOEFL International Exam: Strategy and Tactics

The international TOEFL exam is designed for those who will receive an education or engage in science in English. Its task is to select people with a sufficient educational level who will understand the lectures, will participate in the educational process, write scientific papers.

The network contains articles with different test scores: from “passing TOEFL is easy” to “impossible”. The fact that this is possible is evidenced by a considerable number of tips from today's students of American universities in social networks. Among them are students from Harvard and other Ivy League universities. About how “simple” this is, the statistics say: English to TOEFL applicants have an average score of 96 with a maximum of 120 - that is, it is not enough to be a native English speaker to successfully pass the test.

The strategy is a serious multi-faceted preparation for the TOEFL exam: it takes time, a carefully designed lesson plan, and funds. Tactics consist in understanding in which directions to act. You need to start by setting a goal, by figuring out what point is needed to achieve it. The next stage after the task is set is to check your own level of knowledge.

  1. The TOEFL trial assignments and a description of the requirements for the answers are posted on the Internet. A test exam is offered by English schools, services for finding tutors. The level of studying dictates the choice of tools that will help to achieve results. Low TOEFL scores are a waste of money, they won’t help you move towards your goal, so you need to sign up for an exam when the results of the trial tests have reached the desired level.

Acquaintance with useful tips from successfully passed testing is an obligatory stage of preparation for TOEFL. Lifehacks are searched on YouTube, in other social networks, where you can carefully view and listen to useful tips, noting for yourself everything that will help with the answer. Any advice may come in handy: how to better concentrate, which should not be said, where you can use home-made “blanks”.

Practice shows that few can prepare themselves for TOEFL testing - most need the help of a tutor, preferably a native speaker. In large cities, it can be found in English schools: it is important to remember that you need not just a native speaker, but a specialist for preparing for TOEFL, who knows the intricacies of passing the exam.

In small towns, hope for the Internet. Classes with an online tutor give way to face-to-face lessons in ease of contact, but they have many advantages: a large selection, convenient schedule, price options. Special resources on the network (Preply, Vinsky Forum, Multiglot) help you find the right tutor and chat with him, collect feedback, find out how successful the tutor is - and not be afraid to change if there is no progress.

  1. The Internet will also help with the preparation for the Listening stage: films, programs in English with subtitles at the initial stage will help you get used to the flow of speech, learn to isolate semantic units in the stream. It is better to choose popular science films, discussion programs, remembering that questions on the exam can be from any field: geography, politics, anatomy, art, and in each of these areas you need to have a certain amount of knowledge in order to express an opinion on the issue under discussion and use the necessary terms. TOEFL checks the level of proficiency in the American version of English, so it is better to watch the american films.
  2. Reading the non-fiction literature and articles on topics that may be the subject of discussion on the exam will not hurt: this will help to prepare not only for the reading part, but also for the entire testing. Expanding horizons, replenishing the dictionary with special vocabulary will make you feel more confident.
  3. If the weak point is speaking, communication with native speakers on the network and visits to English speaking clubs will help. It is important to choose the right people to talk to, ideally you need people with higher education, best of all education or media workers, as knowledge of the academic language is required. Academic language is the language of lectures and scientific discussions, with the correct construction of phrases and appropriate vocabulary.

An excellent opportunity to learn the correct spoken language - English courses and summer camps abroad: conditions are created for immersing a foreigner in the language environment under the guidance of specialists.

Preparation for the last part - writing - is to write a large number of essays on various topics, developing your own style, building a system of arguments. A well-thought-out structure of the essay, the selection of phrases expressing personal opinion, consent-disagreement will save time, help to avoid mistakes made in a hurry.

The international TOEFL exam requires preparation: considerable effort, time, investment. However, successful passing the test will allow you to change your life according to your own scenario, study at the university of your dreams and build a career in any country in the world.

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