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What is the TOEFL iBT&Trade;?

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  • Written By: Jami Yontz
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 26 November 2016
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The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) iBT™ is the online, computer-based version of the standardized test required by some institutions, employers, universities, and government offices that need information on an applicant’s knowledge of the English language. Students who are looking to study in a foreign country where English is the dominant or official language may need to take the test to send a score to the admissions department in order to apply for scholarships or to apply for a visa. Most students will take the TOEFL iBT™, but testing facilities in Ethiopia and Eritrea only offer the paper-based TOEFL.

This exam is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in 165 countries across the world, and there are nearly 40 official test dates each year. Prices of the exam vary by country, but the cost is usually between $150 US Dollars (USD) and $225 USD. Some of the currencies accepted by the ETS include the British Pound, Hong Kong Dollar, Swiss France, the Euro, and the Japanese Yen. Students should register for the TOEFL iBT™ seven days prior to the testing date, otherwise the person can register up to three days before the test by paying a late registration fee. The test usually takes four and a half hours to complete.

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The TOEFL iBT™ was introduced in 2005 and eventually replaced most of the paper-based tests that were the standard at the time. Scores are given on a scale of 0 to 120, while the paper-based test is scored on a scale of 310 to 677. Educational facilities will have a standard minimum score that is accepted for admission, so a student should check the requirements before completing the exam or sending the university his or her score. The test can be taken as many times as the student wishes, but only four scores can be sent the university of his or her choice.

Scores are based on the four sections included in the TOEFL iBT™, which are reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The reading section is composed of a text selection and followed by multiple choice questions which ask the tester to identify the main idea, determine facts, and infer information about the passage. During the listening section, the test-taker will wear headphones and listen to a passage in English before the test presents multiple-choice questions about what the person has just heard. The speaking section of the test requires a student to listen to questions and then formulate his or her own ideas before speaking into a microphone, which will record the person’s responses. During the writing portion of the exam, the student is required to write a response to the questions or topics presented.

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