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The TOEFL evaluates students’ English language proficiency levels by measuring reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills. The test is most commonly taken by non-native English speakers seeking admission to English-speaking colleges and/or universities.


The TOEFL is a 3 to 4 hour exam (including a mandatory 10-minute break), consisting of four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.

TOEFL Test Section # of Questions and Types Content Timing
READING 30-40 multiple-choice Read 3-4 passages from academic texts 54–72 minutes
LISTENING 28-39 multiple-choice Listen to lectures, classroom discussions and conversations 41-57 minutes
SPEAKING 4 tasks; speak responses into headset Express an opinion on a familiar topic; speak based on reading and listening tasks 17 minutes
WRITING 2 essays Write essay responses based on reading and listening tasks; support an opinion in writing 50 minutes

The TOEFL is an online test administered at authorized test centers throughout the year. Students are allowed to take the test as many times as they want, but cannot take it more than once in a 3-day period. Experimental and unscored questions are often included in the Reading and/or Listening sections and are used by TOEFL to evaluate new material. Experimental questions are not marked as unscored, so it’s best to treat every question as real.


The TOEFL scoring model includes 4 scaled section scores and one total score. For a detailed breakdown of what each score means, please see the table below.

Score Type Score Range Details
RAW SCORES Reading: 0-30/40
Listening: 0-28/39
Speaking: 0-4
Writing: 0-5
These scores are the total number of correct answers per each section. Raw scores for Writing are calculated via the writing rubric.
SCALED SCORES Reading: 0-30
Listening: 0-30
Speaking: 0-30
Writing: 0-30
These scores are scaled per each section.
TOTAL SCORE 0-120 This score is the sum of your scaled scores.

For additional details, please see TOEFL’s score breakdown explanation.


TOEFL does not deduct any points for an incorrect question. This means that you should not leave any questions blank on the test. With the sections varying greatly by time, pacing is crucial. Your tutor will help you master these skills.


Official test dates are regularly updated and posted by TOEFL. To view currently offered test dates, sign into your TOEFL account and view TOEFL Test Dates. Be sure your selected test date matches your prospective school’s admissions requirements.

Note that as of Spring 2020, TOEFL can be adminstered online at-home. More details can be found here.