Why TOEFL Exam Is Required For Nonnative English Speakers


The TOEFL exam is for nonnative speakers of English.

The TOEFL exam is the Test of English as a Foreign Language intended for nonnative speakers of English. The TOEFL is required of students seeking admission to universities in the United States from schools outside of the U.S. at which English is not the primary language of instruction. It’s a four hour examination that measures Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking abilities that applicants need to find success at universities. The maximum scores on the TOEFL iBT (internet-based test) is a 120. Most highly selective colleges in the United States require a score of 100 on the iBT TOEFL, though colleges that require the TOEFL set their own minimum score.

What Does the TOEFL Exam Cover?

The TOEFL exam covers writing, reading, speaking, and listening abilities to ensure that students have the skills needed to excel in top universities. It’s a four-hour examination that is administered by the Education Testing Service (ETS). Colleges that require students to take the TOEFL establish their own minimum score requirements.


The TOEFL iBT exam is given over 50 times a year on specified dates and it is to be completed in one day (approximately four hours to be specific). If you’re not happy with your score, you can take the TOEFL again. In fact, you can take it as many times as you wish so long as you only do it once within a 12-day period. The cost of the test is dependent on your geographic location, though it typically ranges from $160 U.S. to $250 U.S.


If there’s no Internet where you happen to live, the TOEFL PBT is offered. This exam measures Grammar, Listening, Writing, and Reading skills. The TOEFL PBT is exclusively offered where the TOEFL iBT isn’t available to students. There are 140 questions total on this exam plus an essay topic.


IELTS is another English comprehension test that can be taken instead of the TOEFL exams. We encourage you to check with the university that you wish to attend which of these two tests they accept. Similar to the TOEFL exams, the IELTS tests reading, writing, speaking, and listening. However, both tests are significantly different in how the test is taken. During the speaking portion of the IELTS test, you will be speaking to a person rather than the computer. The writing test is also done on paper and the other sections of the test are shorter than the TOEFL. If you think you can score higher with a test administered like the IELTS, you may want to consider this option. If you’d like to find a IELTS test location near you, you can visit the IELTS site.

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