Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a language test that examines the English proficiency of those who do not have English as their mother tongue. TOEFL is the most common international English exam, and is recognized by thousands of universities, states and educational institutions.
Do I have to take the TOEFL exam?
You may need to take the TOEFL test to prove that you know English if:
- you are applying to study abroad
- you are applying for a grant
- you are applying for a work or residence permit in an English-speaking country
- you are completing an English course
- you simply want to check your status in English
TOEFL iBT Exam Dates
The TOEFL iBT test is delivered more than 60 times a year at testing centers around the world. Check this website to find test dates available in your location.
TOEFL Paper-delivered Test Dates
The following table shows test dates and deadlines for 2020 and 2021 TOEFL exams.
|TOEFL Test Dates||Registration Deadline by Mail||Online Registration Deadline||Score Report Mailing Date|
|10 Oct 2020||24 Aug 2020||11 Sep 2020||11 Nov 2020|
|14 Nov 2020||28 Sep 2020||16 Oct 2020||16 Dec 2020|
|13 Feb 2021||28 Dec 2020||15 Jan 2021||17 Mar 2021|
|10 Apr 2021||22 Feb 2021||12 Mar 2021||12 May 2021|
How do I register for the TOEFL exam?
It may seem complicated to sign up for a TOEFL exam at first glance, as the TOEFL website is quite confusing, but do not despair and follow these simple steps. Be sure to do nothing else on your computer while you are on the TOEFL page, as it will log you out as soon as you do something else.
- Create a profile on the TOEFL website. Follow the instructions to the end.
- When the profile is ready, select “register for a test” under “my tests” and follow the instructions. You can choose from several dates. Choose the date that suits you. You will be offered a help package. Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity if you want to practice for the exam.
- You will also be invited to send grades immediately to the school you are applying to. PLEASE NOTE that it is very important to accept this option, because schools do not usually accept TOEFL diplomas that you send yourself, but must come directly from the TOEFL center to be considered valid. If you are going to send the grades afterwards, it will cost extra money.
- At the end of the registration you have to pay. The registration will not be valid until you have paid. The website states that various credit cards, checks and PayPal are accepted. If you want to pay by credit card, you may need to call your card service to authorize the transfer and then call the TOEFL service center in the Netherlands. We do not recommend it. The only thing that works without problems for Icelanders is PayPal. It’s simple and fast. Therefore, you must have created a PayPal account before signing up for the exam.
- When the payment is completed, there is nothing left but to attend the exam. Arrive half an hour before the exam, because before the exam you have to go through a short check-in process.
How is the TOEFL exam structured?
The test is taken on a computer via the Internet. It takes four to four and a half hours and is divided into four parts:
- Reading Comprehension. Then you get a few texts to read, and then you have to answer a few crossword puzzles from each text. The texts are varied and assess the understanding of theoretical language, formal language and informal everyday language.
- Listening. Then you listen to some everyday conversations and some theoretical lectures and then have to answer a few crossword puzzles about each sound example.
- Speech. Then you get some open-ended questions that you need to answer and some theoretical texts that you need to retell, all into a microphone.
- Writing. Then you get one theoretical text to rewrite in your own words or answer a few questions in a short written language, and one open-ended question that you need to write a longer essay on.
For each part, a grade is given between 0 and 30, so a total of 120 can be obtained for all the parts. A grade point average below 60 is assessed as insufficient proficiency in English, a grade between 60 and 95 is considered reasonable and anything over 95 is assessed as good proficiency in English. Keep in mind, however, that different schools and institutions have different requirements for a TOEFL grade. In some schools it is enough to reach over 60, and in others it is even necessary to reach over 110. The vast majority accept a grade above 95.
The grades, along with an in-depth examiner’s review of your English comprehension, are posted on your profile on the TOEFL page. It can be helpful to read the review and use it to improve yourself.
How do I prepare for the TOEFL exam?
As with all exams, it is important to sleep and eat well on exam day. It’s a good idea to practice for a few days in advance by spraying yourself with writing some text on your own, chatting with your friends in English and reading English for fun online.
For those who consider themselves fluent in English and can easily read English texts, the exam should not be difficult.
On the TOEFL website you can find practice exams and various study materials for those who feel they need more practice. Some there are free, but others have to be paid for.