PUBLISHED BY Mayank UPDATED: 25 Sep 2023

Nervous about your first attempt to score well in TOEFL? Well, we all have our first times and going through that experience is very important in order to add another skill to your resume. You might be feeling too nervous and wondering, whether the exam center will have multiple people, whether it will be the only one giving the test in a room, whether it will be able to confidently respond to all questions etc. etc. Although nothing can take that nervousness away, consistently focusing on your TOEFL exam preparation can help to ease you in a number of ways.

Below, you will find an exquisite guide that will not only help you with TOEFL exam preparation but also brief you about the meaning of the exam, eligibility, the TOEFL syllabus, tips and tricks along with many other answers to the questions that have been bothering you for so long.

What Is TOEFL?

Before tightening your shoelaces and beginning to prep for the exam, you need to understand what is TOEFL. Although you might have an idea, we are sure you don't know about the latest updates and other important things before beginning with TOEFL exam preparation

Name of the exam TOEFL(Test of English as a Foreign Language)
Test conducted by ETA (Education Testing Services)
Exam Mode Online and Offline
TOEFL Exam Fee INR 16,900
Types of TOEFL 5

TOEFL is one of the most popular English Proficiency tests that can be taken by students who wish to study abroad or candidates who wish to apply for a work permit in a foreign country. The test is conducted to evaluate four parameters that are Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing Skills.

TOEFL is widely accepted in a number of countries and you can choose between the option of giving a paper-based test or an internet-based test. Let’s further get to know the types of TOEFL exams a candidate can prepare for.

Types of TOEFL

There are a total of five types of TOEFL but don't freak out! We will discuss each one in detail so that you don't have to wander around looking for answers.


TOEFL iBT also known as the TOEFL internet-based test is one of the most common types that most of you are familiar with. This exam can either be taken at home or in the TOEFL centre but the home version requires certain equipment so candidates prefer taking it at the centre. It is taken by candidates who are usually professionals and need to prove their proficiency in English or students willing to study in North America or European countries. This type is accepted by more than 12,000 institutions across 160 countries. You will find three variants under this category:

  • TOEFL iBT test
  • TOEFL iBT Paper Edition
  • TOEFL iBT Home edition

Ensure to check the availability of your choice before beginning TOEFL Exam Preparation.

Section Duration No. of Questions TOEFL iBT Score
Reading 35 minutes 20 Advanced : 24-30 High Intermediate: 18-23 Low Intermediate: 4-17 Below Low Intermediate: 0-3
Speaking 16 minutes 4 Advanced : 25-30 High Intermediate: 20-24 Low Intermediate: 16-19 Basic: 10-15 Below Low Intermediate: 0-9
Writing 29 minutes 2 Advanced : 24-30 High Intermediate: 17-23 Low Intermediate: 13-16 Basic:10-15 Below Low Intermediate: 0-9
Listening 36 minutes 28 Advanced : 22-30 High Intermediate: 17-21 Low Intermediate: 9-16 Below Low Intermediate: 0-8

Although TOEFL test preparations can be done at home, it is always beneficial to take guidance. There are many TOEFL iBT Test Prep Courses available on the official website of ETS responsible for conducting this language proficiency test. The website includes an entire package to help you with the TOEFL exam preparation but, if you are looking for an assessment, they do not include scoring in their writing section task. So, if you are looking for a proper guide who assesses the TOEFL iBT practice tests and sets, choosing a professional is more beneficial.

  • TOEFL Essentials

This category is a newly developed test for candidates who are willing to take TOEFL. Launched in the year 2021, this is a shorter version of the TOEFL iBT and is timed for completion in 90 minutes. This test is particularly designed to assess the general English proficiency of a candidate and consists of listening and reading passages only that are based on academic topics you might find at entry level in a university textbook. TOEFL exam preparation will be the same for this category as well but will be a little easier than TOEFL iBT because the questions revolve around the circumstances you come across in your daily life.

More than 500 institutions are currently accepting the results for TOEFL essentials so, if you are planning to go for this one, you must confirm it with your school authorities first.

  • TOEFL ITP Assessment Series

This format of TOEFL is specifically designed to assess all kinds of environments where a candidate might speak English ( Corporate, governmental institutions, schools, shopping malls etc.) This format is currently being utilised by 25, 00 institutions in around 5o different countries. This particular test focuses on evaluating the following:

  • Listening comprehension
  • Reading comprehension
  • Speaking
  • Structure and written expressions

The main aim of these tests currently is to enhance the clarity of feedback between the students and teachers without handling any other certification requirements. If you wish to build your skills before going for the iBT exam, seek admission in a non-degree program or looking for placement in intensive English Classes then, this is the right category to choose.

  • TOEFL Junior tests

This category has two variants falling under:

TOEFL Junior Standard Test which assesses Listening Comprehension, reading comprehension and language form and meaning. The test is to be completed in two hours and the scores are compared with the MetaMetrics.Lexile tool to help teachers understand the requirements of students in order to match their reading level and choose books for them for the same.

TOEFL Junior Speaking Test which evaluates the English speaking ability of a student and lasts for 18 minutes.

This category is usually utilised to assess English language skills with reliable scores mapped to CEFR levels.

  • TOEFL Primary Tests

This test category is designed for the students who are 8+ years old. Taking this test helps teachers assess a student's goals, progress, weaknesses and strengths with the help of evaluating their listening, reading and speaking levels. This lasts for about an hour. If you are planning to go abroad for study or Permanent Residency, the one you choose is TOEFL iBT! Rest is mainly meant for practice purposes.

TOEFL Exam Syllabus

Now if you are wondering how to start preparing for TOEFL without the syllabus then, you read our minds! The next thing in this guide is the TOEFL Exam syllabus.

  • Reading

During TOFEL exam preparation, you must know that the reading section has 2 passages with 10 questions each and the total time given to attend them all is 35 minutes. Each passage is supposed to be approximately 700 words long. As there is no TOEFL pass mark or fail mark, the scoring is based on the number of questions correctly answered.

  • Writing

You will be provided with writing for an academic discussion and 1 integrated writing task for which the responses should be highly organised and developed with relevance and detailed support. If you wish to achieve a high score in writing ability, ensure to demonstrate syntactic variety and use of the right words with minimal errors in grammar. This section is timed for 30 minutes and you have to time your answers accordingly.

  • Speaking

In speaking you will be given 1 open question which will include 3 integrated tasks. To score high in the selection of speaking, it is imperative for you to fulfil the demands of the task with no or minor mistakes. The graders will look for some really intelligent and sustainable conversation and scoring will be based on three main aspects namely: Delivery, language use and the development of the topic.

  • Listening

The listening section will include 2 lectures of 3 to 5 minutes and some might be with class discussion. You will be given 6 questions per lecture along with 3 conversations of 3 minutes each. You will have to answer for 5 minutes per conversation. Taking notes during the audio session is permeable to help answer the questions correctly. The whole test is 36 minutes.

TOEFL Exam Eligibility and Documentation Required

As per ETS, there are no particular eligibility criteria to attend TOEFL. However, students taking the test should have cleared their senior secondary education from a recognised board in order to appear for the exam. Talking about the age limit then, there is no specified limit set by the organisation (ETS) so, applicants can apply anytime they want to appear for a TOEFL exam.

Talking about the TOEFL Documents Requirements, a candidate must submit:

  • Valid passport with a clear depiction of name, photograph along signatures
  • National ID or AAdhar card (in case it is an Indian candidate)

If the candidate applying for the exam is a minor i.e. 15 or younger then, he/she has to be accompanied by the parent along with a valid Identification for both parties. Once you have attempted TOEFL, you cannot attend the exam till 3 days before taking another attempt so, make sure that you keep your TOEFL exam preparation up to date to avoid any hassle later.

How Do I Start Preparing For TOEFL?

After knowing all the details on TOEFL, you are now ready to begin your TOEFL exam preparation. If you don't have a tutor or coach helping you out then, you can get help from the official website i.e. ETS which is responsible for conducting TOEFL or follow the tips mentioned below:

  • Set A Goal Score

The most important step before beginning with TOEFL exam preparation is to set your goal. As we all know there is no pass or fail in the exam, all you are required to do is check the score required to seek admission to the university of your choice or the requirements to apply for your Permanent residency. So, research a little and check out your target goal.

Once you have that in mind, take a mock test and assess yourself to analyse where you are required to put emphasis and hard work.

  • Learn The Skill Of Making Notes

As you read above, while attending your listening TOEFL test, you will be required to take notes so that you can answer the given questions accordingly. Now, you must know that you cannot listen to an audio clip multiple times to write down a precise answer so note-taking skill development stands essential.

  • Listen To Podcasts Regularly

Another great way for you to begin your TOEFL exam preparation, especially for the listening section is to practise listening with podcasts. It does not matter what you are listening to, catching the tone and comprehending the situation is what you are required to work on. If you practise listening to native English speakers, you will definitely improve your skills.

  • Draft Your Own Strategy

Preparing for an exam that is of utmost importance without a strategy is not what is going to get you the grades you are aiming for. Take a mock test and assess the areas you are behind. With the help of this test, you will be able to understand the types of questions that can be asked. So, it will be easier for you to begin your TOEFL exam preparation once you know your potential. You can curate a study plan by dedicating proper time according to your needs for the preparation of each section. Ensure to target time management skills so that you can complete the final test without leaving anything behind.

  • Find The Best Resources To Begin Your Prep

Once you curate your plan of action, the next thing in line is equipping yourself with the best resources to enrich your knowledge. Now, you can check out the official website of ETS for books and references for practice materials. If you don't want to do that then, you can explore a number of online websites that offer study materials along with free practice tests.

  • Get Your Hands On Time Management Skills

Time management is very important to answer all the questions without panicking. All four categories of the test do not last more than 40 minutes and you have to make sure that you attempt all the questions carefully and gracefully without making an error. So, practise as many mock tests as you can in order to get a hold of your time.

  • Keep An Eye On The Official Website For Changes

Along with practising mock tests regularly, you also have to make sure that you keep a keen eye on the official website of the test i.e. ETS. They recently changed their test format in July 2021 and there are great chances of more changes being introduced in the future. So, till the last day of the exam, regularly check the website and stay updated with the latest information.

  • Get Your Mock Tests Assessed By Third-Party

One of the most important things in doing TOEFL exam preparation by yourself is assessment. Along with practising for answers, it is important that you get it assessed by a third-party individual who can tell you where you are wrong and what requires improvements. You can ask assistance from your mentor, school teacher or someone who scored well on the test when they attempted. Doing this will help you catch the loopholes and achieve perfection before the final day of the examination.

That's all! Now that you know all the details, you are ready to begin your TOEFL exam preparation and become a pro. Before going for the final exam remember that confidence is the key to success! Showing how confident you are, has the potential to change the whole game. So, ensure and stay calm, drink lots of fluids and stay confident. All the Best!!


IELTS Vs. TOEFL Vs. PTE: Which English Test Should I Take?

IELTS makes use of a vast variety of question types such as fill-in-the-blanks, FAQs, matching etc. whereas others focus on writing essays. If you feel comfortable with an Australian or British accent, go for IELTS. If you wish to stand out from the crowd then, you can also take TOEFL as IELTS is taken by 60% of students going abroad.

Do We Need A Passport For TOEFL?

Yes, you require a valid passport in order to apply for TOEFL. You have to ensure that the passport is valid at the time of your registration and throughout the period of your examination.

How Long Is The TOEFL Certificate Valid?

The certification for TOEFL is valid for two years from the date of your final exam.

A Good Score On TOEFL?

Although TOEFL scores vary from institution to institution, an average has been recorded of 90 marks. If you score 100 in TOEFL, it will be considered an excellent TOEFL score.

Is The TOEFL Exam Online Or Offline?

You get an option to attend TOEFL both online and offline depending on your location.

How TOEFL Score Is Calculated?

The TOEFL score is calculated based on sections that carry 30 marks each. You will receive the final results and marks will be given out to 120 which is the total of all the categories combined.


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