Summary of TOEFL Rules

The TOEFL test is considered one of the most accredited and certified tests for measuring English language proficiency for non-native speakers. The TOEFL test is accepted in different local and international organisations around the world. In this article we are going to talk about the TOEFL test and its rules.

What is the TOEFL? 

TOEFL test is an international test designated to measure English language proficiency, it is held by the Educational Tests Service organisation in the United States of America, and its partners. It is required to apply to different organisations, especially educational organisations in the United States of America and other different countries like France, and Germany.

The TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is an internationally recognized standardized test that measures the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers. The TOEFL is widely accepted by universities, colleges, and institutions in English-speaking countries as a requirement for admission or as a benchmark for English language proficiency.

The test evaluates the individual’s ability to understand and use English in academic settings, including reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills. It is designed to assess the language abilities necessary for effective communication and success in academic environments. The TOEFL is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is available in both internet-based (iBT) and paper-based formats.

What are the TOEFL rules?

The TOEFL rules are the rules required for application for this test in addition to the English proficiency rules. The TOEFL test rules include:

  • You have to know the test date and the test centre. All the TOEFL test sections are held on the same day.
  • You have to know the instructions of the test centre, and follow them carefully to avoid any disturbance on the test day.
  • There are some differences between the IELTS and the TOEFL test rules, as the TOEFL test has some links between its sections so you should take care of those linked sections.
  • You have to know the rules of cancellation and postponing the test according to the test centre.

How to prepare for the TOEFL test according to its rules?

  • Begin with the placement test. The placement test will help you to begin from your real English level.
  • Learn English grammar very well. This will enable you to use the right English in the speaking and writing sections.
  • Train well on the listening section. As we mentioned before, the TOEFL test uses the American accent so you have to make sure that you can understand the American English accent.
  • Get a study partner to train on speaking English with him.
  • Give more attention to the vocabulary. Read a lot of English articles and make a certain notebook to collect the vocabulary and revise them before the test.
  • Train well on the TOEFL test forms, this will make you become familiar with the rules in the TOEFL test forms, and decrease your anxiety and attention on the test day.

The TOEFL test requires good training, in addition to good training on the TOEFL rules and training on the TOEFL test forms to be able to answer the questions in the defined time.

Read more about: TOEFL study plan between knowledge and application

Types of the TOEFL test

There are two types of the TOEFL test. The TOEFL-IBT, which is the computerized form of the TOEFL test, which is also the most common and the most accepted form around the world. The other form of the TOEFL test, which is the TOEFL-paper delivered test, this test form is not accepted at all organizations, and it is less common than the other test form. All of the TOEFL test forms have the same TOEFL rules for application.

1. TOEFL iBT (Internet-based Test): This is the most commonly taken version of the TOEFL. It is administered online and measures the test taker’s ability to use and understand English in an academic setting. The TOEFL iBT consists of four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Each section assesses different language skills and is scored on a scale of 0 to 30. The total score ranges from 0 to 120.

2. TOEFL PBT (Paper-based Test): The TOEFL PBT is an older version of the test that is still administered in some areas where internet access may be limited. It is a paper-based exam and differs slightly in format from the TOEFL iBT. The TOEFL PBT has three sections: Listening, Structure and Written Expression, and Reading Comprehension. The Writing section of the PBT is not included in the total score and is reported separately.

It’s important to note that the availability of the TOEFL PBT is limited compared to the TOEFL iBT. Most test takers have the option to take the TOEFL iBT, which is more widely accepted by universities and institutions worldwide.

In addition to these two main types, there are also specialized versions of the TOEFL test, such as the TOEFL Junior test, which is designed for younger students aged 11 and above, and the TOEFL ITP (Institutional Testing Program), which is used for internal purposes by educational institutions to assess English language proficiency.

When registering for the TOEFL, test takers should confirm whether the iBT or PBT is available in their location and choose the appropriate test based on their needs and the requirements of the institutions they are applying to.

TOEFL test sections

TOEFL test forms are  divided into four sections as follows:

  • Listening section, which includes 2-3 conversations, and 4-6 academic lectures, and has a time limit of 60-90 minutes to be solved.
  • Conversation section. This section includes four questions on the other parts of the test, and two seperate questions. This section is not found in the TOEFL paper delivered test.
  • Reading section, which includes 3-5 articles, and has a time limit of 60-90 minutes.
  • Writing section, which includes two tasks, the first one is commenting on some of the listening audio, and the second task is to write an article about a certain topic chosen by the test centre.

Read more about: Top instructions you should know about TOEFL

The difference between TOEFL and IELTS rules

As we mentioned before, the difference between between TOEFL and IELTS rules as an English language examinations is not found in the English language grammar, but it is found in some other points as follows:

  • The IELTS test has a general and academic types, while the TOEFL test has one type for general and academic purposes.
  • All the different IELTS test types have a speaking section, while the paper delivered type of the TOEFL test does not have a speaking section.
  • The TOEFL tests are given a score of 120, and each section are given a score of 30, while the IELTS test is given a score of 9.
  • The TOEFL listening part of the test accent is the American accent, while the IELTS listening test has different accents.
  • The TOEFL test is useful mostly for academic purposes, while the IELTS can be used for academic purposes and immigration purposes because it has 2 types as we mentioned before.
  • Each of them are held by different organizations so each test of them has different rules for application.

TOEFL score and grade

The TOEFL test is given a score of 120, each section is given 30 degrees as we mentioned before. There is no failure in the TOEFL test, it is just a measurement of the English language proficiency.

The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a standardized test that measures the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers. It is commonly used as an admission requirement by universities and colleges in English-speaking countries.

TOEFL scores are reported on a scale of 0 to 120, with each of the four sections (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing) receiving a scaled score of 0 to 30. These section scores are then combined to calculate the total score. The scores are valid for two years from the test date.

In addition to the scaled scores, test takers also receive performance feedback in the form of proficiency levels for each section: high, intermediate, and low. These levels indicate the test taker’s ability in each skill area.

Furthermore, the TOEFL score report includes a separate score for the Writing section known as the “Integrated Writing Task” score. This is based on the combined performance in both the Writing and Reading sections.

Universities and colleges typically have their own TOEFL score requirements for admission. Some institutions may specify a minimum total score, while others may set minimum scores for individual sections. It’s important to check the requirements of the specific institution you are applying to.

It’s worth noting that TOEFL scores are just one component of the admissions process, and universities also consider other factors such as academic qualifications, recommendation letters, and personal statements when evaluating applicants.

Overall, the TOEFL score is an important indicator of an individual’s English language proficiency and is widely recognized by academic institutions around the world. You need to practice the English language very well and follow the TOEFL test rules in order to get the best results in the TOEFL test.


In summary, The TOEFL is a standardized English proficiency test governed by ETS. To prepare, individuals should familiarize themselves with test rules, practice with official materials, and understand the format. It comprises four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing, assessing different language skills. Distinct from IELTS, TOEFL scores accurately gauge English proficiency and remain valid for two years, serving purposes like education, employment, and visas. Comprehending TOEFL rules and striving for a good score can offer opportunities to non-native English speakers.

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