What is the Institutional TOEFL&Reg;?

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  • Written By: A. Leverkuhn
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2019
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The institutional TOEFL® is a specific form of the Test of English as a Foreign Language®. This test is supported by a particular institution, usually a college or university, that has its own standards for English proficiency that students must meet before being admitted into various programs. Other TOEFL® tests may be more general proficiency tests that do not meet the standard for a particular school or institution.

Students who take an institutional form of the TOEFL® will prove that they have the competence necessary to participate in classes, and to handle an academic course load. These tests can apply to admissions into ESL (English as a Second Language) programs, or into general undergraduate departments.An institutional TOEFL® test is usually used to make sure that students will be able to handle the educational environment of a school in an English speaking country, or a school where course are operated using English as the common language.

Although institutional TOEFL® tests remain much like general TOEFL® exams, they may contain specific aspects that suit the university or other institution. Universities and schools administer these tests themselves, setting their own rules for testing. Students may need to pay fees, and comply with testing environment requirements. Experts note that many institutional TOEFL® exams are still done in the pencil-and-paper format.


In the course of applying and taking the institutional TOEFL®, students may have to comply with documentation requests. For example, students may need to submit a passport before taking the test. Additional rules are often communicated by the party in charge of exam administration. A standard fee may also apply to the TOEFL® test.

It’s important to note that a “general purpose” TOEFL® score may not be accepted by a specific school or venue that uses an institutional TOEFL® system. Students should first ask about specific requirements for admissions before going ahead with a TOEFL® test that may not meet the requirements. Other details will be available at the admissions department of schools, or, for job related test requirements, in human resources departments.

Like other TOEFL® tests, the institutional TOEFL® is often comprised of three parts. Each of these sections will address various key components of English. Students can get more detail in appropriate TOEFL® training and preparation courses, or with books and software or other material resources. Think about the difference between an international general TOEFL® and an institutional TOEFL® when planning test dates.


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