Overview of The TOEFL iBT Exam


What It IsWhere It Takes PlaceHow Long It Is
The Format Of The ExamHow It Is Scored


“The Coolest Thing About The TOEFL iBT Exam

Overview Of The TOEFL iBT Exam GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!

In the last two posts about The TOEFL iBT Exam, we first covered The Most Important Thing To Know about the exam and then When To Start Preparing for the exam.

Now we will return to the subject from the first post — where-in it was stated that the most important thing is to know the format of the exam itself.

What Does The Acronym “TOEFL” Stand For?

In my experience — most people who start to learn about the TOEFL already know a little bit about what it is before they start to research more.  This is usually because they find out from a teacher, fellow student, or someone who works in the admissions department of a university.

But most of the text-books about the TOEFL seem to think that this is REALLY important to cover — along with long explanations about the history of the exam.  However — this will not help you Achieve Excellence On The TOEFL iBT Exam, so we will only BRIEFLY touch on it here.

Don't Wast My Time - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!

  • Test
  • Of
  • English
    (as a)
  • Foreign
  • Language

And “iBT” stands for:

  • Internet
  • Based
  • Test

I can only imagine that the reason for not capitalizing the “i” in “iBT” comes from the huge popularity and success of all the “i” products from that one computer company around the same time of the last major changes to the exam were made.

Wow... That's... Very "Original"... Good Work.

Wow... That's... Very "Original"... Good Work.
Wow… That’s… Very “Original”… Good Work.

Despite the fact that all of the text-books feel that it is necessary to start this way, and then to tell you who created the exam, and finally to tell you about the history of the exam… None of this information will help you to get the score that you need on The TOEFL iBT Exam.

If you want to waste your time reading about that, be my guest.  It certainly won’t hurt you.  But I would rather focus on getting you the results that you need.

Now On To The Important Stuff

The exam is done on the internet, but it not possible to take the exam from one’s home.  The exams are held every weekend throughout the world in certified testing centers.  These are usually language schools or Universities, but may also be business centers and even the US Embassies in different countries.

Every TOEFL Testing Center is different, but will probably look very similar to this.

Every TOEFL Testing Center is different, but will probably look very similar to this.
Every TOEFL Testing Center is different, but will probably look very similar to this.

Unfortunately for some would-be test-takers, the testing centers are not evenly distributed throughout the world. The locations and available dates for taking the exam vary according to the population and sometimes, according to the political and social stability of the country as well.

You can check what dates and locations are available in your area here.  But as was stated in the last post, dates and locations change all the time, and some locations are booked up to a month in advance (or more.)

So Check Early and…  Check Often…

The test takes about 3 & 1/2 to 4 & 1/2 hours to complete and there is only a 10-minute break in-between the first and second half, so bathroom-time is limited.  Especially if the testing center has only one bathroom…  For more about this, check out the word“Facilities” on this TOEFL Vocabulary Post.

I Gotta Pee - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!

The exam is broken up into four different sections, each with it’s own allotted time.  You can learn more of the details of each of these sections, including all of the Questions & Tasks in each section in any of the Full TOEFL Preparation Courses in The TOEFL Excellence Training System.  Those sections — in order are:

Each part of the exam tests a persons ability to Comprehend, Combine, and Use various English skills that he or she will need in a University-type setting.

The Best Part Of The TOEFL iBT Exam (at least for many people)

This Is The Best - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!

There in NO dedicated Grammar section on the exam, but one’s use of grammar will be taken into consideration in the scoring of The Speaking and Writing Sections – and one’s comprehension of the basic points of grammatical structure (such as direct and indirect pronouns), and the ability to comprehend vocabulary with-in the context of certain reading and listening passages is tested in the Reading and Listening Sections of the exam.


Each section of the exam is worth a total of 0-30 points for a grand total of 120 possible points for the entire exam.  Most people will need to achieve at least 80-85 points on the entire exam for whatever University or program for which they are required to take the exam.  People entering Medical, Legal or highly technical programs usually need to score 90-100 points.

The scoring for each section is done with a different criteria and will be explained in a future post, but for right now, the most important thing is to simply learn the format.  You will learn all about the scoring for each Question & Task in our Full TOEFL Preparation Course.

But One Of The Coolest Things about The TOEFL iBT Exam… (besides no grammar) Is…

It Is Possible To Make Mistakes And Still Get A “Perfect” Score On Certain Question- & Task-Types!!!

Celebration - GiveMeSomeEnglish!!!

How is this possible?

Each of the sections has many different types of questions which are worth different amounts of points (depending on the section and question type.)  And, as this is a test of one’s ability to function in an English-Speaking Environment, rather than one’s memorized text-book knowledge about the English LanguageThe TOEFL iBT Exam makes concessions for minor mistakes in the Speaking and Writing sections.

This is because, nobody speaks and writes perfectly all the time.  Therefore, this is “Authentic” English. 

Getting Excited Yet?

We still have a lot to cover, but I think that this is a good place to take a break for now.  We will go much further in-depth about each section in future posts — and all of this is explained fully in the TOEFL Excellence courses:  “How To Answer Every Question & Fulfill Every Task-Type On The TOEFL iBT Exam”  &  The “TOEFL Dominator” — Full TOEFL iBT Training System.

If you’re interested in staying informed about any up-coming posts about The TOEFL Exam, then make sure to subscribe (using the forms above on the right side of this page). If you need individual help on preparing for The TOEFL iBT Exam, then DEFINITELY check out The TOEFL Excellence Training System.  You won’t find a better & more affordable TOEFL Preparation System, anywhere in The World…  And this I promise!  😉


Have An Excellent Day!




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