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Test Of English as a Foreign Language ( TOEFL ) FAQ's

 What is the TOEFL® test?

 

The TOEFL® test measures the ability of nonnative English speakers to use and understand the English language as it is heard, spoken, read and written in the university classroom.

 

What is the difference between the TOEFL iBT® and TOEFL® PBT tests?

 

The TOEFL test is offered in two formats: the TOEFL iBT® Test is administered via the Internet, and the TOEFL PBT test is administered in a paper-based format. The format you take depends on your testing location. Test centers that do not have Internet access offer the TOEFL PBT test.

 

The TOEFL iBT test measures reading, listening, speaking and writing skills. It is offered 30 to 40 times a year, and is administered online via computer at more than 4,500 testing sites in 165 countries. Most test takers take the TOEFL iBT test.

The TOEFL PBT test measures reading, listening, grammar and writing skills and is offered six times a year in areas where Internet-based testing is not available.

For more information, see:

 

TOEFL iBT Test Content

TOEFL PBT Test Content

 

Do I have a choice of which format to take?

 

The format of the test depends on your testing location, the capabilities of the testing center and any accommodations required for special needs.

 

Where are TOEFL test scores accepted?

 

More than 8,000 colleges, universities and agencies in 130 countries accept TOEFL scores. View the TOEFL® Destinations Directory. To learn more about how the TOEFL test can be your passport to study anywhere English is spoken, watch our new video, The TOEFL® Test: Your Passport to the World (Flash).

 

How do I know what an institution's score requirements are?

 

Each institution sets its own score requirements. You can start your score requirement research with the TOEFL® Destinations Directory and then contact the institution for more specific requirements. If you're applying for postgraduate studies, find out if your institution requires other tests, such as the GRE® (Graduate Record Examinations®) test. For more information about the GRE test, go to www.ets.org/gre.

 

How often is the test given?

 

The TOEFL iBT test is given on fixed dates, 30 to 40 times a year. Select your test date and location here.

 

The TOEFL PBT test is offered where the TOEFL iBT test is not available and is given six times a year.

 

How do I find testing locations and dates?

 

Choose an available test date from among 4,500+ testing locations in over 165 countries. Register online, by mail, by phone or in person.

 

Can I take the test in one day?

 

Yes, the test is given in one day. The test takes about four hours, but with check-in you should plan to be at the test site for at least four and one-half hours.

 

Can I retake the test?

 

Yes, you can retake the test as many times as you wish. There is no passing or failing test score — score requirements are set by each higher education institution or agency.

 

Why should I take the TOEFL test over another test?

 

It's the most highly respected around the world

It's the most widely accepted

It's the most accurately measured

It's the most fair and unbiased

It offers the most testing locations

 

How much does the TOEFL test cost?

 

Costs depend on the test location you choose. Usually, the cost ranges from US$150 to US$225. For more information on registration fees, locations, test dates and test formats, see How to Register.

 

How many score reports are included in my test fee?

 

Your test fee includes:

 

one examinee score report for you

up to four official score reports to the destinations (institutions or agencies) selected when you register; ETS will send the official score reports directly to these destinations

 

Can I order additional official score reports?

 

Yes, you can order additional score reports after your scores are available online, approximately two weeks after your test date.

 

Additional reports can be ordered through the TOEFL online registration system or by completing the Official Score Report Request Form (PDF) in the Registration Bulletin.

Reports are mailed approximately four to seven days after receipt of your request and payment.

The fee is US$17 for each report ordered.

 

What is the test fee refund policy?

 

If you cancel your registration by the three-day advance deadline (not including test day), you will receive a refund of half the original test fee you paid. Refunds will be in U.S. dollars. Cash refunds are not available.

 

What are the fees for other services?

 

See Fees

 

What are TOEFL test scores like?

 

The TOEFL iBT test provides scores in four skill areas — Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing — and a total score:

 

Reading 0–30

Listening 0–30

Speaking 0–30

Writing 0–30

Total Score 0–120

The total score is the sum of the four skill scores.

 

What is on my score report?

 

Your examinee score report includes scores for each test section, a total score and performance feedback about what test takers typically achieve at your score level.

 

How and when do I get my scores?

Scores will be posted online within two weeks of the test date. Log in to your online TOEFL iBT account, enter the ETS ID received when you registered and click on the "View Scores" link. Your scores are also mailed to the universities or institutions you selected when you registered. A score report posting schedule for each test administration is available on the TOEFL iBT test site. Allow 7–10 days for mail delivery in the United States and more than four weeks for other areas. We recommend that you take the test two to three months before your earliest application deadline.

 

How soon do score recipients get my scores?

 

Score reports are sent electronically or mailed to recipients two weeks after the test date.

 

How long are scores valid?

 

ETS reports scores for two years after the test date.

 

How many score reports are included in my test fee?

 

Your test fee includes:

 

One examinee score report for you

Up to four official score reports that ETS will send directly to the institutions or agencies you selected

 

Can I order additional official score reports?

 

Yes, you can order additional score reports after your scores are available online, approximately two weeks after the test date.

 

How do I order additional score reports?

 

You can order additional score reports as soon as your test scores are available (two weeks after test day). You can send your scores to as many institutions as you choose for a fee of US$17 per report. Scores are mailed approximately four to seven days after receipt of your request and payment.

 

Order Online

 

Order by Fax: Fill out the TOEFL iBT® Official Score Report Request Form (PDF). Fax it with your registration number and credit/debit card information to 1-610-290-8972. If you send the same fax more than once, write "DUPLICATE" in large letters on the form to avoid extra charges to your credit/debit card.

Order by Mail: Print and complete the TOEFL iBT Official Score Report Request Form (PDF). Mail it with your payment as directed on the form.

Acceptable payment methods include credit/debit card or check or money order in U.S. dollars. For online orders, scores are mailed four to seven business days after your request and receipt of payment. For mail or fax orders, scores are mailed usually within two weeks after your request and payment is received.

 

Will score recipients accept scores from previous tests?

 

Check with each score recipient directly.

 

Does the TOEFL test have cumulative score reporting like the GRE test does?

 

No. Unlike the GRE test, TOEFL score reports do not report the scores for the last three tests taken. TOEFL score reports include scores for only the last test taken.

 

I received a Lexile® measure with my score report. What does it mean?

 

Your Lexile® measure allows you to find books that reflect your reading ability and interests, and are challenging enough to help strengthen your reading skills. MetaMetrics® and ETS offer this free service to take the guesswork out of choosing the right materials for you to read. Go to www.lexile.com/toefl for more information.

 

How are my Speaking responses scored?

 

Your recorded responses are sent to the ETS Scoring Network, where three to six certified human raters score them holistically on a scale of 0 to 4. The average score on the six tasks is converted to a scaled score of 0 to 30.

It's important to note that raters don't expect your responses to be perfect, and even high-scoring responses may contain occasional errors. Your pronunciation does not need to sound like that of a native speaker of English. The raters are listening for the effectiveness of your communication and your ability to accomplish the tasks you are given.

See the Speaking scoring guides (PDF) and listen to sample responses to help you understand how responses are evaluated.

 

How are my Writing responses scored?

 

Your responses are scored holistically on a scale of 0 to 5. The average score on the two tasks is converted to a scaled score of 0 to 30.

You're not expected to produce a comprehensive essay about a specialized topic — your response is recognized as a first draft. You can receive a high score with an essay that contains some errors.

See the Writing scoring guides (PDF) and read sample responses to help you understand how responses are evaluated.

 

Can I cancel my scores?

 

You are given the option of canceling your scores at the end of your test session. You cannot cancel scores for individual sections of the test.

 

Can I reinstate my canceled scores?

 

Yes, you can reinstate your scores if your request is received at ETS within 10 days of your test date, for a fee of US$20. Your reinstatement request must include your name, date of birth, daytime phone number, registration number and payment. You may fax or mail a written request to TOEFL Services. (See Contact Information.) Reinstated scores will be reported online approximately three weeks after receipt of your payment and will then be mailed to you and your score recipients.

 

Can I request a rescore of my Speaking and/or Writing responses?

 

Yes, you can request a rescore up to three months after your test date. You can make the request for rescoring of either the Speaking or the Writing section (US$60), or you can request rescoring of both the Speaking and Writing sections (US$120). Complete the Rescoring Request Form (PDF) and send it along with the required fee to the address on the form. If you are paying by credit/debit card, you can fax the form. The results will be available approximately three weeks after your payment is received.

 

Who do I contact if there is a problem with my score report?

 

Email toefl@ets.org or call ETS at 1-609-771-7100 (outside the United States and Canada) or 1-877-863-3546 (United States and Canada), Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–8 p.m., Eastern Time. Phones are busiest on Monday. Or call 1-609-771-7714 (TTY) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

 

What if my test is rescheduled or if there is a problem at the test site?

 

Weather conditions or other circumstances beyond the control of the test administrator or ETS may require a delayed start or the rescheduling of your test. If your test session is cancelled or if it is later determined that your scores could not be reported, you can:

 

Retest free of charge or receive a full refund of the original test fee.

Seek reimbursement from ETS for reasonable and documented expenses (for yourself only) associated with traveling to the testing site. To request reimbursement, contact TOEFL Services at toefl@ets.org within 30 days of your original test date.

Reimbursement requests must include your:

name

date of birth

mailing address

daytime telephone number (United States residents)

email address

original test date

registration number

brief description of what occurred at the testing site

ETS will determine the appropriateness of the request. Approved reimbursements are made in U.S. dollars.

 

If I experience technical problems at the testing site, can I ask that my test be rescheduled?

 

In rare instances, technical problems may require late starts and/or rescheduling of the test. If such an event at the test site makes it necessary for you to cancel your test session, or if it is later determined that your scores could not be reported, you can choose to retest for free or receive a full refund of the original test fee.

 

What if I observe questionable or unacceptable behavior at the testing site?

 

Please contact ETS as soon as possible to report any observed behavior that may lead to an invalid score — for example, someone copying from another test taker, taking a test for someone else, having access to test questions or answers before the test or using notes or unauthorized aids. All information is held in strictest confidence.

 

Email: TSReturns@ets.org

Phone: 1-800-353-8570 (United States and Canada) or 1-609-406-5430 (all other countries)

 

Does ETS ever cancel score reports?

 

Yes, ETS cancels score reports for administrative errors (for example, improper timing, improper seating, defective materials and defective equipment), natural disasters or other emergencies, improper access to test content, identification discrepancies, misconduct, plagiarism and inconsistent performance across different parts of the test.


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