The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a test taken by non-nativeEnglish speakers to test their English language proficiency. More than 27 millionpeople are known to have registered for the test, with around 10,000 organisationsaccepting its score. Administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS), the TOEFL test is conducted 50 times a year at around 4500 test centres acrossthe world. .

Listening, Speaking, and Writing

The Reading section has 36–56 tasks based on reading passages from three-fouracademic texts and answering questions. Test takers will be awarded one point foreach correct response except for the last question of each set, which is worth twopoints. The total TOEFL scores for the reading section are converted to a scoreon a scale of 0–30.The Listening section consists of 34–51 tasks based on listening pertaining to lectures, classroom discussions and conversations, then answering questions. Candidates are allotted one point for each correct answer. Few questions are even worth2 points. The total points that are converted to a score pattern on a scale of 0–30.Speaking skills are scored with a SpeechRater program - an automated scoringsystem used for TOEFL speaking test. The SpeechRater program uses all sixtasks; responses to determine the overall speaking abilities, which is then converted to TOEFL scores on a scale of 0–30.The two writing (one independent and one integrated) tasks are scored by e-raterautomatic scoring technology. The score range for the writing skill is from 1 (low) to 5 (high), the writing task rating is summed and converted to a score on a scaleof 0–30. Candidates might even get 0 for incorrect answers.

Syllabus and Exam Pattern of TOEFL

TOEFL test is devoid of any specific syllabus but a candidate is expected to be preparedto face a number of questions which would require careful listening (Englishnative speaker), thorough understanding and analytical thinking. Overall, the testwould evaluate all the skill-sets required to be proficient in one particular language,which is not the mother language. The test consists of four sections, namely Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking.

Extra Questions

The test one takes may include extra questions in the Reading or Listening section,but that does not count towards the aggregate score of TOEFL. These are either questionsthat allow ETS to make test scores comparable across administrations or newquestions that help ETS determine how such questions function under actual testing conditions. It is recommended to read the timing instructions for the Reading Sectioncarefully. The instructions will indicate how many passages test takers will receiveand the amount of time they need to take to respond to questions for those passages.Candidates should ensure to pace themselves so that they have enough time to answerall the questions without leaving any, answered.

TOEFL Preparation Tips

Aspirants should start preparing for TOEFL well in advance. Equal focus on all thefour sections will yield a good score. As the sections are quite defined and structured, itis advisable that one practices individual tests and well as complete mock tests. Timingthe tests and analysing after the completion will help candidates to score beyond 100with ease. The self-analysis helps in understanding one’s preparation including areasof strengths and weaknesses.

Section Time Limit Number of Questions Tasks
Reading 60–80 minutes 36–56 questions Read 3 or 4 passages from academic texts and answer questions
Listening 60–90 minutes 34–51 questions Listen to lectures, classroom discussionsand conversations, answer questions
Speaking 20 minutes 6 tasks Express an opinion on a familiar topic; speak based on reading and listening tasks
Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks Write essay responses based on reading and listening tasks; support an opinion I in writing.