Information about the TOEFL Test

Basics

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is the most widely-used standardized test of fluency in English in the world. It was originally developed in the 1960s to ensure English proficiency for non-native English speakers wishing to study at U.S. universities. It has become an admission requirement for non-native English speakers at many U.S. universities and is now used by more than 8,500 colleges, universities and agencies in 130 countries, including the U.S., U.K., Canada and Australia.

While colleges and universities make up the majority of institutions that use the TOEFL, it is also used by medical and licensing organizations for professional certification purposes and by immigration departments for the issuance of residential and work visas. In Australia the TOEFL can be used to meet the language requirement for student visas. In the UK it can be used to show English proficiency for tier 1, 2 and 4 visas.

Since its inception, more than 27 million people from around the world have taken the TOEFL. The test is administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS).

TOEFL iBT and PBT

There are two versions of the TOEFL. The TOEFL iBT is an Internet-based test, and the TOEFL PBT is a paper-based test. The TOEFL iBT was first introduced in 2005, and is now used by most test takers. Test centers that do not have Internet access administer the TOEFL PBT. The paper-based test is being phased out. Currently, 96 percent of test takers take the TOEFL iBT and that number is continuing to grow.

The TOEFL iBT measures the ability to read, write, listen and speak in English. The paper-based test measures reading, writing and listening, but does not measure speaking. Previously, there was a computer-based version of the test (CBT) but that version was replaced by the TOEFL iBT and eliminated in 2006. TOEFL CBT scores are no longer valid.