An Introduction to ETS TOEFL Test

ETS, Educational Testing Service is a nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization. It is the largest of its kind in the world. It was established in 1947 and currently has its head quarters at Princeton, New Jersey. It conducts many exams like TOEFL and GRE.

TOEFL is Test of English as a Foreign Language. Any person, from a non-English speaking nation, who wants to take up higher studies in an English speaking nation, has to take up this test. ETS TOEFL tests the individual's proficiency in English communication. This evaluation is done in four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing.

ETS TOEFL test is administered world wide in more than 165 countries and is the most respected English language testing exam. It is recognized across 130+ countries in more than 8500 educational institutions and agencies.

The ETS TOEFL test is administered in 2 formats, the internet based test or iBT and the paper based test or pBT. The iBT is offered 30-40 times in a year and the pBT is offered 6 times in a year.

iBT Format

The total time duration for this test is around four and half hours. The maximum score for the whole test is 120 with 30 for each section.

Reading Section

For evaluating your reading skills this section is administered. In this section you will be given passages to read and you will be asked question from the passages. The number of passages given may be 3 or 4 and the number of questions for each passage would be 12-14. Your reading ability to identify information from the passage directly and your ability to understand and learn from the passage are tested. The total time duration can vary between 60 and 80 minutes.

Listening Section

A lot of information can be collected if you listen carefully. This is tested in this section. Your ability to capture the information, ability to analyze and understand an issue when more than one person is speaking is evaluated. The ETS TOEFL test Listening section is for 60-90 minutes. In this time, you will hear 4-6 lectures and 2-3 conversations. Following each lecture you will have 6 questions to answer and following each conversation you will have 5 questions to answer. The type of questions vary and can be multiple-choice questions with 1 right answer, multiple-choice questions with 2 right answers, event ordering or process ordering questions and object matching questions.

Speaking Section

For you have to survive in an English speaking nation, you have to have good speaking abilities. This is tested in this section by giving 6 tasks. Speaking ability can be broadly classified into speaking on any topic and speaking in response to something you listen or read. Both these skills are tested by giving independent and integrated tasks.

The first 2 tasks are independent tasks where you have to speak on a topic. In this the first task requires you to express your opinion and the second task requires you to make a choice and speak to defend your decision.

The next 4 tasks are integrated tasks. Task numbers 3 and 4 are in the read-listen-speak format. In these tasks, you will listen to an academic or general topic essay, and then listen to a pre-recorded audio about the topic. After this you have to give a response to the questions asked. The last 2 are in the listen and speak format. You will listen to conversation or lecture and will be asked questions. You have to respond with the information you have heard. This section is for 20 minutes.

Writing Section

The writing section of ETS TOEFL test has two tasks. One integrated and one independent. For the integrated task, you have to read a passage and listen to a speaker expressing his/her opinion on the topic. You have to write an essay of 150-225 words summarizing what you have read and heard. The last task is an independent task and you have to write an essay on the given topic. The essay has to be for 300 words. The time allotted for this section is 50 minutes.

pBT Format

The total time taken for this format of ETS TOEFL test is three and a half hour. The scores are given in a scale ranging from 310-677.

The pBT format is not the same as the iBT. Here there are four sections but the speaking section is not there. The Listening section is for 30-40 minutes and is divided into 3 parts. The first one has short conversations with 30 questions. The second has longer conversations with 8 questions and the last part has lectures or talks with 12 questions.

The next is a Structure and Written Expression section for 25 minutes. In this section you have 15 exercises for which you have to complete the given sentences and identify errors in 25 exercises. The third section is the Reading section for 55 minutes. Passages for reading are given and 50 questions have to be answered. The last is the Writing section. For this you have to write one essay for 250-300 words and the time allotted is 30 minutes.

Terms and Conditions

Information published in is provided for informational and educational purpose alone for deserving students, researchers and academicians. Though our volunteers take great amount of pain and spend significant time in validating the veracity of the information or study material presented here, we cannot be held liable for any incidental mistakes. All rights reserved. No information or study material in this web site can be reproduced or transmitted in any form, without our prior consent. However the study materials and web pages can be linked from your web site or web page for

  • Research

  • Education

  • Academic purposes

No permission is required to link any of the web page with educational information available in this web site from your web site or web page