If one has plans to study abroad or to migrate to an English-speaking land, he/she might have heard about various tests which estimates one’s proficiency in English language. One such well known test is TOEFL.

Test of English as a Foreign Language, famously known as TOEFL is an exam which has been mandatory for US and certain Canadian universities, to prove their ability and proficiency in English (especially for international students). The soul purpose of this test TOEFL is to evaluate a non-native speakers ability to use English language in an academic set up. Candidates can take up the test in iBT (internet-based test) format as paper-based test has phased out. This test is conducted more than 50 times a year by the Educational Test Service (ETS), so candidates need not worry about the test dates and it is recommended that one should book/register their test slots before in hand to reserve their seat.

Similar to the other language tests, TOEFL also estimates a person’s or candidates excellence by testing the major 4 skills of English language, i.e., Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking.


Section Time Tasks Description Requirement
Reading 60—80 minutes 36—56 questions One has to read the passage and answer the questions with an appropriate answer. Performance on the task
Listening 60—90 minutes 34—51 questions One has to listen to the lecture or a class room discussion and has to answer with an appropriate answer. Performance on the task
BREAK Relax for 10 minutes      
Speaking 20 minutes 6 tasks

Integrated & Independent

One has to Speak into a microphone about familiar topics and discuss material which he/she reads about and listen to and give an appropriate answer. Answer delivery, Language usage and the development of the question.
Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks

Integrated & Independent

One has to read a passage, listen to a recording and then type their written response according to the question. Answer delivery, Important information, Coherence and Accuracy, Organised answer, presentation of content.



TOEFL testassessment is considerably intense and most fair as the answers are evaluated by 3 to 6 raters and they will give a brief explanation for their scoring. The total test score is between 1-120, and the test scores are valid for 2 years. One need not worry about whether they could appear for the test only for a speculated number of times but can take up the test many times as there’s no limited retakes.

Preparation and Tips:

Preparation for the TOEFL iBT test varies according to student’s level of their proficiency in English language. There are basic preparations one needs to follow before getting into the full flow of practise.

Do a skill assessment and a check how far your typing skills are, as they are the major component for TOEFL.

Firstly, he/she needs to understand the format of the test. The four aspects like Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking may be the same as other tests but the approach to the test and their (TOEFL) way of analysing a candidate is totally different. So, understanding the structure and a knowledge about the test is very important.

Secondly, time is precious. The amount of time one devotes for practising will help them to achieve great marks. As per the saying, “what you practise is what you will do”, Practise is the essential key factor for TOEFL. There are many materials online. Hence, with a proper guidance from an expert trainer and a thorough practise will help students to achieve their estimated marks easily.

Thirdly, what students tend to forget areTime and how their answers are evaluated. There are various tasks which are time bound. And so, practise with time and follow a strategy accordingly to perform well. An add on points for TOEFL iBT test is that they give a clear picture of how their answers are evaluated. For example, for Speaking and Writing there is a grading rubric with which the raters evaluate the students. The students should go through the rubric and get a clear picture of what is expected from them. The raters will have a benchmark answers for the Speaking module, and so the candidate’s answers are compared with the benchmark answers and evaluated.

Similarly, for Writing task also the raters have a rubric through which the candidate’s answers are assessed. These key factors are the most important points that students tend to omit. With these factors in mind one could easily crack the TOEFL test attaining their desired marks.


Preparing without learning the knacks to clear the test will be a little strenuous.

For TOEFL, there are 3 major skills one needs to inculcate to excel the test. Note Taking, Paraphrasing and Summarizing. These three key skills will help one to attain their desired marks at ease.

Note taking will help one to listen for key points and note down the signal words which will help to answer the questions appropriately. There are many methods for taking good notes and the best and appropriate style depends on the type of lectures and listening activity so accordingly students should practise and adapt their own strategy. This skill will help in Listening, Writing and Speaking tasks.

Paraphrasing skills are used very frequently in academic set up. This would help the students to approach Writing task at ease.

Summarizing skill will help one tosynthesize and connect the important points for all the 4 tasks.

Thus if one adapts and trains themselves to these skills it will be an effortless task to excel in TOEFL.

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