Everything You Need to Know About the TOEFL Test

Everything You Need to Know About the TOEFL Test

By Clara N. 

Now I know what you’re thinking, why should I take the TOEFL® test yet I have been speaking in English since I was a child oh and wait my language of instruction has been English ever since 😏😏 The thing though is, many employers and programs require proof of English competence if you want to study, work or live in an English Speaking country.

The IELTS® and the TOEFL® are the two most widely-accepted English tests.

Right……so let’s find out what the TOEFL® test is all about.

What is the TOEFL® test?

TOEFL® stands for (Test of English as a Foreign Language). It simply measures your ability to use and understand English at the university level. It evaluates how well you combine your reading, listening, speaking and writing skills to perform academic tasks.

What does TOEFL iBT® mean?

TOEFL iBT® simply means Test of English as a Foreign Language – Internet Based Test. That means that the test is administered on a computer via the internet as opposed to writing down on paper.

Who makes the TOEFL® test?

ETS which is the world’s largest educational research and assessment organization, develops, administers and scores TOEFL® exams. They are also the makers of the GRE test, among other tests.

Who takes the TOEFL® test?

Since the TOEFL® has a strong focus on academic English abilities, international students planning to go to undergraduate or postgraduate programs make up a large bulk of TOEFL® test takers. Other test takers may include scholarship seekers and students/workers applying for visas.

When is the TOEFL® test?

Generally, the TOEFL® test in Kenya is taken two or three times a month.

LTS operates as the official representative in East Africa for ETS Global and is ETS Preferred Partner in Kenya. Additionally, LTS is an authorised TOEFL iBT® Testing Center with full mandate for test registration and administration. ETS is the world’s largest educational research and assessment organization and develops, administers and scores TOEFL® exams.

I generally advise test-takers to book for their test early to avoid missing out on deadlines which more often than not leaves them very frustrated when they miss out on the application deadlines. So to avoid the tears, book for your test early and give yourself enough time for test preparation before taking the exam. It’s important to note that registration closes 7 days before the test date. If you miss out on the registration deadline, you can register late, up to 4 days before the test date but keep in mind you will be required to pay a late fee of $40.

What does the TOEFL® test?

 TOEFL® tests 4 English language skills (Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing) which take a total of 3 hours.

During the test, you are asked to perform  tasks that combine your English communication skills such as;

  • Read, listen, and then speak in response to a question.
  • Listen and then speak in response to a question.
  • Read, listen and then write in response to a question.

Let’s look at the table below which outlines the tasks for each section.

Reading60-80 minutes36-56 questionsRead 3 or 4 passages from academic texts and answer questions.
Listening60-90 minutes34-51 questionsListen to lectures, classroom discussions and conversations then answer questions.
Break10 minutes
Speaking20 minutes6 tasksExpress an opinion on a familiar topic; speak based on reading and listening tasks.
Writing50 minutes2 tasksWrite essay responses based on reading and listening tasks; support an opinion in writing.

Many test-takers are shocked to see extra questions in the Reading or Listening section but you shouldn’t panic as these do not count toward your score. These are either questions that enable ETS to make tests scores comparable across administrations or new questions that helps ETS determine how such questions function under actual testing conditions.

It’s important to read the timing instructions for the Reading Section carefully. These instructions will indicate how many passages you will receive and the amount of time you have to respond to questions for those passages. Be sure to pace yourself so that you have time to answer all the questions.

Also, note that a Standard English language (QWERTY) computer keyboard is used for the test. Please practice typing on QWERTY keyboard before taking the test.

How do I register for the TOEFL® test?

Registration for the TOEFL® test is pretty simple. LTS is an authorised TOEFL iBT® test registration center and we therefore help test-takers register for the test.

Where do I take the TOEFL® test?

There are a number of TOEFL iBT® authorised testing centers in Nairobi. LTS is an authorised TOEFL iBT® testing center.

How is the TOEFL® scored?

Your scores are based on your performance on the questions in the test. You must answer at least one question each in the Reading and Listening sections, write at least 1 essay, and complete at least 1 Speaking task to receive an official score.

For the TOEFL iBT® test you will receive 4 scaled section scores and a total score:

The table shows the TOEFL® Score Scales;

Skill Score RangeLevel
Reading0 – 30

High (22-30)

Intermediate (15-21)

Low (0-14)

Listening0 – 30

High (22-30)

Intermediate (14-21)

Low (0-13)

Speaking0 – 30

Good (26-30)

Fair (18-25)

Limited (10-17)

Weak (0-9)

Writing0 – 30

Good (24-30)

Fair (17-23)

Limited (1-16)

Total Score0 – 120 

Read this to understand more about the TOEFL® scoring.

What is a good TOEFL® score?

To be honest, there is no passing or failing the TOEFL®. Individual higher education institutions and agencies set their own score requirements.

But generally, 80 is a pretty good score, 90 is a good score and 100 is a great score.

When are TOEFL® scores released?

The scores are released 10 days after the test and are valid for 2 years after the test date. There’s no limit to the number of times you can take the test. However, you can not take it more than once in a 12-day period.

How can I best prepare for the TOEFL® test? 

The TOEFL® isn’t an easy test to hack and just like any other test, it requires a lot of practice and preparation in order to get a good score. Subpar language skills just won’t cut it. Taking the TOEFL® test when you have not prepared for it is as good as not taking it at all. So it’s a good idea to be proactive if you think that an English certificate will come in handy someday – just don’t wait until you find the job of your dreams and then rush through the test in order to qualify.

It’s important that you start your TOEFL® preparation early to make sure you are adequately prepared and here at LTS we help test takers just like you achieve that.

Final thoughts 

And there you have it, now that you know what the TOEFL® is and where it can take you, start prepping for it now and see where it can take you!!!! If you have any questions, let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

LTS Blog Comment Policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! Due to the high volume of comments, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other student’s comments if you can!

  1. Melisha Atieno
    Melisha Atieno
    March 15, 2022 at 9:36 am

    How will I get the materials for practicing.. like the sample papers/tests and are they paid for?

    • ltsadmin
      ltsadmin • Post Author •
      March 16, 2022 at 6:03 am

      Hi Melisha,
      We provide a FREE TOEFL diagnostic test to assess your readiness to sit for the exam and help you familiarize yourself with the test content and structure.
      The test prep classes, however, are charged. Please find our test prep packages and rates here https://lts-africa.com/product-category/toefl/

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