Accepted and preferred by universities worldwide, the TOEFL IBT test is a high-quality, high-standard test that assures admissions officers of your readiness for the classroom and beyond. More than 35 million people worldwide have chosen the TOEFL test to demonstrate their English-language proficiency.
1. What is TOEFL?
The TOEFL (“Test of English as a Foreign Language”) is a standardized test that measures a test taker’s mastery of the English language. Universities primarily use TOEFL scores as part of the admissions process.
Typically, those who take the TOEFL want to attend university or graduate school abroad. But anyone who needs to demonstrate a mastery of English for an academic purpose can take the TOEFL. This includes anyone applying to a foreign high school, exchange program, community college, or student visa.
The TOEFL focuses on how English is used academically, so schools and universities use TOEFL scores for admissions purposes. The reading passages in the TOEFL use formal, academic language and high-level vocabulary rather than casual or conversational English.
2. Why TOEFL?
Academic language is often dense and formal, so even people who’ve studied English for many years can struggle in an English academic environment. Before a university accepts you into an educational program, the admissions board wants to know that you can handle the course load of an English-based program: they use your TOEFL score as a standardized metric for your English skills.
If you’re an international student applying to schools in a country where the primary language is English, you’ll most likely be required to take the TOEFL as part of your application. Many schools accept scores from other English tests, but the TOEFL is currently the most popular English-language assessment test.
9,000 universities in 130 countries accept TOEFL scores, including the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. All schools in the top 100 universities in the world accept the TOEFL. If you’re interested in attending an English language university, your school of choice will likely either require or accept TOEFL scores.
3. Who Should Take the TOEFL?
The TOEFL is intended for students looking to attend a university or graduate school program in an English-speaking country. But people can also take the TOEFL for other purposes. Those who may take the TOEFL include:
- Students entering a high school in an English-speaking country
- Students attending 2-year community college programs in an English-speaking country
- People who are looking to be licensed or certified in a particular field
- People who need to demonstrate their mastery of the English language for immigration purposes
- Those who simply want to assess their English language skills in a formal setting The test creators recommend that students be at least in the 11th grade (or 17 years of age) before attempting to take the TOEFL. The test requires you to read some difficult passages and be familiar with some high-level vocabulary, and most students are not exposed to this type of language before the 11th grade.
Not every college or university requires incoming international students to take a TOEFL.
Those that do generally ask for the TOEFL if:
- English is not your primary language
- If your primary language of instruction hasn’t been English for at least five years Some schools will waive the need for you to take a TOEFL test if you have:
- Scored in a certain percentile on the English, reading, and writing sections of the ACT or SAT
- Taken a TOEFL sometime in the past two years
- Earned a diploma or degree from an English-speaking country