These days, possessing at least one foreign language certificate, especially English certificates like IELTS, TOEIC, etc., has become widespread and chosen by many people. Among them, the TOEFL certificate is also favored for its high practicality. So, what is TOEFL? What benefits does owning a TOEFL certificate bring to the holder? Let’s explore in the article below with Estudyme!

what is toefl
What is TOEFL exam?


1. What is TOEFL exam? 

TOEFL stands for the “Test of English as a Foreign Language,” and it evaluates the English proficiency of individuals who use English as a second language. It is commonly required for those studying or working in English-speaking countries or participating in international programs.


2. How is TOEFL classified?

Unlike other certificates, TOEFL has various test formats based on individual needs. There are five types of TOEFL certificates: PBT, iBT, ITP, Primary, and Junior. We categorized TOEFL into 2 groups: 


2.1. Based on Test Format

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test): Conducted online on a computer connected to the internet, widely available globally.
  • TOEFL PBT (Paper-based Test): Conducted on paper, suitable for regions where TOEFL iBT is inaccessible.
  • TOEFL ITP (Institutional Testing Program): Conducted on paper for internal use by businesses or organizations to assess the English language skills of their employees or students.


2.2. Based on Age

  • TOEFL Primary: For candidates in primary school, aged 8 and above.
  • TOEFL Junior: For candidates in middle school, aged 11 and above.


Generally, TOEFL is often required for admission to international universities, English language learning programs, or as a recruitment requirement in international work environments.


3. What are the advantages of taking the TOEFL exam?

To begin with, after completing the TOEFL test, you will receive a TOEFL certificate. This certificate serves as an international credential demonstrating your English language proficiency, playing a crucial role in preparing for studies or work in English-speaking countries. Specifically, the benefits of owning a TOEFL English certificate include:


3.1. Enhancing your international academic opportunities

TOEFL certification is widely accepted at over 10,000 universities in more than 150 countries. Recognized globally, it facilitates easy enrollment in international programs, opening up new perspectives for personal and academic development.


3.2. Increasing job opportunities in multinational corporations

TOEFL certification not only certifies your English proficiency but also serves as a key to international career opportunities. Nowadays, many multinational corporations value candidates with international certificates, including TOEFL, as it helps them quickly integrate into a global working environment.


3.3. Improving your English language skills

Through TOEFL preparation, individuals not only achieve the goal of obtaining a certificate but also significantly improve their four English language skills. Regular exposure to the English language helps individuals gain confidence in daily communication, as well as in the English-speaking working environment.


toefl exam benefits
TOEFL helps improve your English language skills


3.4. Maximizing immigration opportunities

TOEFL scores are often required for visa applications, especially for study or work visas in English-speaking countries. Always check the specific requirements of the immigration program you are interested in and take proactive steps to meet those requirements.


4. When should you take the TOEFL exam?

Consider obtaining a TOEFL certificate if you are in the following situations:

  • Applying to a university or an international English language program
  • Seeking international job opportunities
  • Wanting to assess and improve your English skills


Besides, before deciding to take the TOEFL test, it’s essential to check the requirements of the university, program, or organization you are aiming for to ensure that TOEFL is a suitable and accepted certificate.


5. How is the TOEFL exam structured?

In general, the TOEFL test, especially the TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test), consists of four main sections to assess comprehensive English skills. The detailed structure of a TOEFL test is as follows:


5.1. TOEFL Listening

The TOEFL test begins with the Listening section, where candidates are required to listen and understand various materials such as news, lectures, academic discussions, and different communication situations. 

The number of listening tasks can range from 4 to 6, and the duration for each task may extend from 3 to 5 minutes

The challenge in this section goes beyond comprehending content; it also involves identifying specific details, main ideas, and relationships between ideas. Candidates need to quickly process the auditory information and utilize language skills to answer related questions.


5.2. TOEFL Reading 

The Reading section of the TOEFL evaluates candidates’ reading comprehension and information processing abilities. 

Within a time frame of 54 to 72 minutes, candidates are required to read 3-5 passages, each consisting of various types of texts such as articles, academic passages, and other documents. 

The questions revolve around the content of the passages, demanding candidates to understand the main idea, details, and organizational structure of the text. Additionally, they need analytical and inferential skills to provide accurate answers.


5.3. TOEFL Speaking

The Speaking section of the TOEFL assesses candidates’ English communication skills. Candidates must complete 6 different speaking tasks, ranging from introducing themselves to discussing academic or social topics. 

The main challenge lies in the diversity of tasks and the limited time for preparation and clear presentation. Evaluation is not only based on the ability to express ideas but also on organizational skills, idea development, and creativity in expression.


5.4. TOEFL Writing

The Writing section of the TOEFL evaluates candidates’ writing abilities in academic and communicative situations. Candidates are required to write two essays, including an essay based on reading and listening materials and a personal opinion essay on a specific topic.

The challenge here is not only using vocabulary and grammar accurately but also constructing a logically structured text with coherent ideas. Candidates also need to demonstrate the ability to analyze deeply and infer from the provided information.


Below is a summary table of key information about the TOEFL exam that candidates should know:


Criteria Listening Speaking Reading Writing
Time 41-57 minutes 17 minutes 54-72 minutes 50 minutes
No of tasks 4-6 taks 6 tasks 3-5 passages 2 tasks
Type of tasks News, lectures, academic discussions Introduce oneself, discuss a topic, and provide feedback on a reading or listening passage Articles, academic passages academic essays


toefl certificate
Sample of TOEFL Certificate


6. How is the TOEFL exam scored?

The TOEFL test consists of four sections, and each section is scored separately. Each section has a maximum score of 30, and the total score is the sum of the scores from all four skills. The maximum total score for the test is 120.


Scoring for each section is based on the number of questions in that section. However, the difference in scores is minimal (1 point), so test-takers need to be careful not to lose your opportunities due to a 1-point difference. A valid test requires test-takers to answer at least one question in each of the Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing sections, as well as write at least one essay to be scored by the test board.


Scores for the Listening and Reading sections are available immediately after the test, while scores for the Speaking and Writing sections are evaluated and scored by ETS experts. Results are typically communicated via email or posted on the ETS website about two weeks after the test date. This poses a significant challenge for test-takers, requiring them to maintain diligence and thorough preparation for all parts of the test.


The above information covers the basic details about the TOEFL exam that we aim to provide to readers. It is hoped that after completing this article, readers have found answers to the question of what is TOEFL, as well as gained additional useful information. Additionally, if you are interested in practicing TOEFL online, don’t miss the TOEFL online test on this website!