TOEFL iBT Test- What Does It Contain?

TOEFL or Test of English as a Foreign Language is a test that is administered to check the writing, speaking, reading and listening skills in the English language. This test is taken by students who want to study in English speaking countries.

This test comes in 2 formats, an internet based test and a paper based test. Many centers offer TOEFL iBT test. Some centers do not have this and they offer the paper based test. If you want to take up the TOEFL iBT test, choose a center that offers this format of TOEFL.

iBT Test

Prior to 2005, two formats of the TOEFL were available. One was the paper-based test and the other was computer-based test. In 2005 ETS, Educational Testing Services, the organization that administers the TOEFL, introduced the internet-based test or TOEFL iBT test. This format of the test was introduced first in the USA, Canada, France, Germany and Italy. In 2006 this format of the test was available all over the world. They stopped the computer-based test but still offer the paper-based test.

The registration for the test is simple and can be done online at You can also register by phone, by mail or in person at the test center. Details for the registration by the different methods can be accessed at The registration fee varies from country to country and the range is from $160 to $250.

Sections in the iBT

The time taken for the TOEFL iBT test is around 4 hours. There are 4 sections in the test, reading, listening, speaking and writing. All the 4 sections of the test are administered on the same day. Integrated tasks are given to the candidates in some of the sections. The ability to combine the different skills to communicate effectively is tested in these sections.

Reading Section

The reading section comprises 3-5 passages. 12-14 questions have to be answered for each passage after reading and understanding the passage. The time duration is 60-100 minutes. This section aims at testing 3 abilities of the examinee. The first is to check if you can read a passage for information. The second is to test your basic comprehension and the third is to analyze how well you learn after reading a passage.

There are 3 major question formats in this section, multiple-choice format, sentence insertion format and reading to learn format. In the reading to learn questions, you will be given four choices for the question and more than 1 answer can be right. You have to categorize and summarize. Partial scores are given for these questions if the questions are answered partially.

Listening Section

4-6 lectures with 6 questions for each lecture and 2-3 conversations with 5 questions each are provided in the listening section. 60-90 minutes is allotted for this section. The main purpose of this section is to test if you can listen to comprehend the basic information, listen to understand the speaker's views and listen to the information given by 2 or more sources and understand the whole issue.

Multiple-choice questions with only one right answer, multiple-choice questions with 2 correct answers, questions that ask the examinee to order the events or process and chart questions that ask you to match objects are the question formats in this section.

Speaking Section

For the speaking section, 2 independent tasks and 4 integrated tasks have to be performed. The time allotted is 20 minutes.

In the 2 independent tasks you are asked to speak about familiar topics and you are expected to give an answer from your own ideas and opinions.

For the first 2 integrated tasks you have to read a passage, listen to a conversation or lecture related to the topic and give an answer to a question. You are required to combine the information given in the passage that you read and the lecture you heard. For the last 2 tasks you have to listen to a lecture or a conversation and respond to the questions asked.

Writing Section

In the writing section one independent task and one integrated task are given. The total time duration of the writing section is 50 minutes.

For the integrated task you have to read a passage of 230-300 words and listen to a related lecture and write a summary of 125 to 225 words. For the independent task you have to write an essay on a given topic.

With a good English vocabulary and a good concentration, TOEFL iBT test is an easy test.

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