TOEFL 2013 Test Registration, Exam Dates & Sample Papers

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TOEFL iBT/PBT- Structure and Scoring

by Oren Lahav

iBT- Internet based test:

What is the TOEFL Internet-based test?

The test is given in English, has 4 sections on reading, listening, speaking and writing and takes about 4½ hours.

How often is the TOEFL-iBT administered, and what format does it take?

The test is administered 30-40 times a year, at secure Internet-based test centers. Check for the appropriate locations for your area through the ETS website.


The break-down for the questions is as follows:

Section Time Limit No. of Questions
Reading 60-100 minutes 36-70
Listening 60-90 minutes 34-51
Break 10 minutes -
Speaking 20 minutes 6 tasks
Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks

Which sections of the test should I take?

The entire test must be taken to receive a score.

Which computer keyboard is used for the TOEFL-iBT?

QWERTY, the most common English-language keyboard is used. It takes its name from the first 6 letters at the top of the keyboard. Test takers should practice on a QWERTY keyboard before taking the TOEFL-iBT.

Scores and Score Reports

How do I get my scores?

Scores are posted online 15 business days after the test date, then mailed to you and the institutions you selected.

Included with your registration fees are:

  • 2 score reports (1 printed and 1 online) for you
  • up to 4 official score reports that ETS sends directly to the institutions or agencies selected at registration

What if I have applied to more than 4 schools?

To notify as many schools as you want (sending score reports), you pay a small fee.
How long are scores valid?

ETS will report scores for 2 years after the test date.

TOEFL-iBT Score Scales

Skill Score Range Low Level Intermediate Level High Level
Reading 0-30 0-14 15-21 22-30
Listening 0-30 0-14 15-21 22-30
Speaking 0-4 points converted to 0-30 score scale Weak 0-9 /Limited 10-17 Fair 18-25 Good 26-30
Writing 0-5 points converted to 0-30 score scale Limited 1-16 Fair 17-23 Good 24-30

Total Score: 0-120

Please note that the Reading and Listening sections are scored by a computer.

Speaking Section

  • Each of 6 tasks is rated from 0 to 4. The average is converted to a scaled score of 0 to 30.
  • ETS-certified test scorers rate responses and evaluate how well you develop your topic and deliver your message in English.

Writing Section

  • 2 tasks are rated from 0 to 5. The average is converted to a scaled score of 0 to 30.
  • ETS-certified experts score responses by:
    o evaluating the integrated writing task for development, organization, grammar, vocabulary, accuracy and completeness
    o rating the independent writing essay on overall writing quality, including development, organization, grammar and vocabulary.

PBT- Paper based test:

What is the TOEFL Paper Based Test like?

The paper based version of the test has 3 sections, plus a 30-minute writing test (Test of Written English), which is required of everyone who takes the paper-based test. It takes about 3-1/2 hours. There is no scheduled break.


Section Time Limit No. of Questions
Listening Comprehension 30-40 minutes 50
Structure and Written Expression 25 minutes 40
Reading Comprehension 55 minutes 50
Writing (Test of Written English) 30 minutes 1 topic

What do the TOEFL PBT sections cover?

  • Listening Comprehension measures the ability to understand English as it is spoken in North America.
  • Structure and Written Expression measures the ability to recognize language that is appropriate for standard written English.
  • Reading Comprehension measures the ability to understand non-technical reading material.
  • Writing measures the ability to write in English on an assigned topic.

How and when do I register to take the test?

The TOEFL PBT is offered 6 times a year. You can register online or by mail.

(adapted from material available at the TOEFL official site)

Image Credits: ccarlstead, spdkmaq3.


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Last Updated At Dec 07, 2012


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