Studying in the USA

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)

TOEFL stands for the Test of English as a Foreign Language . It evaluates the ability of an individual to use and understand English in an academic setting.

To be admitted at English-speaking colleges and universities, it is required for non-native English speakers.

Format and content

The four-hour test is composed of four sections. Although each component measures one of the basic language skills, some tasks require integrating multiple skills. All tasks focus on language used in an academic, higher-education environment.


The reading section consists of 3–5 passages, each approximately 700 words in length and questions about the passages. The passages are on academic topics.


The listening section consists of six passages 3–5 minutes in length and questions about the passages. These passages include two student conversations and four academic lectures or discussions. The listening material is heard once and test takers may take notes and may refr to these notes wehn they answer the questions.


The Speaking section consists of six tasks: two independent tasks and four integrated tasks.

  • In the two independent tasks, test-takers answer opinion questions on familiar topics.
  • In two of the integrated tasks, test-takers read a short passage, listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and answer a question by combining appropriate information from the text and the talk.
  • In the two remaining integrated tasks, test-takers listen to an academic course lecture or a conversation about campus life and then respond to a question about what they heard.


The Writing section measures a test taker's ability to write in an academic setting and consists of two tasks: one integrated task and one independent task.

  • In the integrated task, test-takers read a passage on an academic topic and then listen to a speaker discuss the same topic. The test-taker will then write a summary about the important points in the listening passage and explain how these relate to the key points of the reading passage.
  • In the independent task, test-takers must write an essay that states, explains, and supports their opinion on an issue, supporting their opinions or choices, rather than simply listing personal preferences or choices.

The different component of the TOEFL and the timing

Task Description Approx. time
READING 3–5 passages, each containing 12–14 questions 60–100 minutes
LISTENING 6–9 passages, each containing 5–6 questions 60–90 minutes
BREAK - 10 minutes
SPEAKING 6 tasks and 6 questions 20 minutes
WRITING 2 tasks and 2 questions 55 minutes

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