TOEFL iBT, or the Test of English as a Foreign Language Internet-based Test, stands as one of the most widely preferred formats for individuals seeking TOEFL certification. In this article, let’s delve into the essence of TOEFL iBT, understanding its features to help you construct the most effective study plan and develop suitable methods to complete the exam successfully. Embark on the journey to conquer TOEFL iBT with now!


toefl ibt
What is TOEFL iBT?


1. What is TOEFL iBT?

TOEFL iBT, an acronym for “Test of English as a Foreign Language, Internet-based Test,” is an English language proficiency examination designed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). It assesses four key skills: Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing – conducted online through the Internet. TOEFL iBT is one of the five test formats under the TOEFL examination.


The purpose of the TOEFL iBT is to evaluate the English language proficiency of non-native speakers in academic and international work environments. Specifically, it is widely used by high school and university students planning to study in the United States due to its alignment with the country’s academic contexts, facilitating seamless transcript submission to educational institutions.


2. Who should take TOEFL iBT? 

TOEFL iBT is typically required for non-native English speakers intending to study or work in countries where English is the primary language. The primary target audiences for TOEFL iBT include:

  • High school students preparing for university admission to optimize direct entry opportunities
  • University or college students fulfilling institutional requirements, such as graduation conditions or necessary English language certifications
  • Job seekers aiming to work in international business environments, including public service, bureaucracy, or those planning to transition between industries
  • Prospective international students, where TOEFL iBT plays a crucial role in the application process, visa acquisition, and scholarship applications


toefl ibt candidates
Who should take TOEFL iBT?


3. What is included in the TOEFL iBT test?

The TOEFL iBT comprises four main sections that assess a test taker’s English language skills across diverse contexts:


3.1. TOEFL iBT Listening

This section features a series of audio passages, including 2-3 dialogues between students or a student and a professor, librarian, or dormitory manager. Additionally, there are 3-4 lectures or discussions on academic topics. Each dialogue comes with 5 questions, while each lecture has 6 questions. Common question types include main idea understanding, key detail retention, inference, speaker viewpoint comprehension, and structure comprehension.

The time allocated for this section ranges from 41 to 57 minutes. Importantly, test-takers do not know the questions or choices in advance, emphasizing the significance of accurate note-taking. Developing skills in listening at a slower pace, pausing when needed for note-taking, and gradually increasing speed can enhance proficiency in this area.


3.2. TOEFL iBT Reading

This section requires test-takers to read 3-4 passages extracted from university-level academic documents. The topics cover a wide array, including geography, history, anthropology, sociology, archaeology, astronomy, and more. After each reading passage, test-takers answer 10 multiple-choice questions covering main content, contextual vocabulary, details, finding synonymous sentences, sentence or paragraph arrangement, insertion of sentences, inference, and function of sentences/passages.

The time allocated for this section currently ranges from 54 to 72 minutes. Success in this section hinges not only on content comprehension but also on rapid reading skills, identifying main ideas, and revisiting details when answering questions.


3.3. TOEFL iBT Speaking

As of now, this section comprises 4 questions with a total response time of 20 minutes (including reading and listening to prompts):

  • 1 independent question about personal preferences or opinions
  • 1 integrated question combining reading, listening, and speaking skills, usually centered around a university-related topic and an academic issue. Test-takers read a short passage or listen to a conversation on the topic and summarize it
  • 2 integrated questions combining listening and speaking skills. These questions focus on university and academic themes, with test-takers listening to a conversation, summarizing it, and providing personal opinions within 20 seconds of preparation time and 60 seconds of response time for each question.


Responses are evaluated by both a computer program and a human grader. Evaluation criteria encompass accurate content, clear pronunciation, effective use of vocabulary and expression, as well as the logical development of ideas.

This section can be considered the most challenging in the TOEFL test due to its brief preparation and response times, necessitating not only proficient English speaking skills but also quick thinking, summarization, and effective time management.


3.4. TOEFL iBT Writing

The Writing section has a total duration of 50 minutes and consists of two questions:

  • Question 1 integrates reading, listening, and writing skills. Test-takers read a short passage on an academic topic, listen to someone’s opinion on it, and then write a synthesis essay summarizing both the reading and listening within 20 minutes. The reading passage remains accessible during the writing, but it is crucial to avoid direct copying and instead use personal vocabulary and expression.
  • Question 2 is an independent essay where test-takers express their personal opinions on a given topic, providing arguments, evidence, and examples. The time allocated for this task is 30 minutes.


Similar to the Speaking section, responses are evaluated by both a computer program and a human grader. Evaluation criteria include relevance to the given topic, effective idea development, coherence, fluency, and the use of diverse vocabulary.

This section demands a solid understanding of grammar and vocabulary, coupled with proficient essay writing skills, creativity, and persuasiveness. The time constraint emphasizes the need for effective time management, quick writing, and clear idea deployment.


For easy reference, here is a summarized table provided by

Criteria TOEFL Listening TOEFL Reading TOEFL Speaking TOEFL Writing
Questions 28-39 30-40 4 2
Thời Time 41-57 mins 54-72 mins 17 mins 50 mins
Score 0-30 0-30 0-30 0-30


>>See also: TOEFL score


toefl ibt writing
The Writing section has a total duration of 50 minutes


4. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about TOEFL iBT


4.1. How to Register for the TOEFL iBT?

You can register for the TOEFL iBT online through the official website of ETS, the organization that administers the TOEFL test.


4.2. What is the Validity Period of the TOEFL Certificate?

The TOEFL iBT certificate is valid for 2 years from the date of receiving the results.


4.3. How to Check Your TOEFL Score?

TOEFL iBT results will be published online on the ETS website, and you will receive an official score report via email.


4.4. How to Request a TOEFL iBT Score Review?

You can request a score review for the TOEFL iBT through the ETS website, but please note that a score review fee will apply.


In summary, the TOEFL iBT is a relatively challenging test that requires thorough preparation from candidates. Therefore, dedicate time to study and prepare to conquer the TOEFL iBT and achieve your desired score. We are always ready to support you with a diverse and rich system of TOEFL practice test questions. Practice now to achieve the highest score!