"The New Generation TOEFL" — iBT (Internet-based Test)

The Internet-based Test (iBT) is delivered in secure testing centers around the world. This phase started in the USA in September 2005; and in Canada, France, Germany, and Italy in October 2005. It was then introduced in the rest of the world in 2006.

What is different about the TOEFL iBT test?

  • It tests all four language skills that are important for effective communication: speaking, listening, reading and writing. The emphasis is using English to communicate.
  • It is delivered via the Internet in secure test centers around the world. Once the new test is introduced in an area, the computer-based and paper-based tests will no longer be offered there.
  • Some tasks require test takers to combine more than one skill. To succeed academically in English-speaking colleges and universities, students need to be able to combine their language skills in the classroom. New integrated questions, or "tasks", help students build the confidence needed to communicate in the academic environments they plan to enter.
  • The iBT test includes a Speaking section. This section includes 6 tasks, and test takers wear headphones and speak into a microphone when they respond. The responses are digitally recorded and transmitted to ETS's Online Scoring Network, where human raters evaluate them. The raters are carefully monitored for accuracy, so test takers and score recipients can be assured of the reliability of the Speaking score.
  • The Writing section has been expanded. The new test requires test takers to write a response to material they have heard and read, and to compose an essay in support of an opinion. Human raters also evaluate the responses to the Writing task via ETS's Online Scoring Network.
  • The test is approximately 4.0 hours long. All test sections are completed on one day.
  • Note taking is allowed. Test takers can take notes on any section of the test and they can use those notes when answering questions. After testing, notes are collected and shredded before the test takers leave the center.
  • The test helps to explain test takers' English language ability. ETS provides comprehensive scoring information that includes 4 skills and a total score. In addition, test takers receive helpful performance feedback on their score reports.
  • The new scores are reported online. Test takers are able to view scores online 15 business days after the test, as well as receive a copy of their score report by mail. Colleges and universities can view scores online but also continue to receive scores via their delivery methods.
  • The test measures the ability to communicate successfully in an academic setting. The Speaking section evaluates a person's ability to use spoken English, and the integrated Writing and Speaking tasks measure the ability to combine information from more than one source and communicate it.
  • The test reflects how the language is really used. By preparing for the TOEFL students build the skills they need in order to use the language in an academic setting and communicate it with confidence.


The TOEFL iBT test consists of four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. All sections are taken on the same day in the same test. The entire test is approximately four hours long.


  • Instructions for answering questions are given within each section; there is no computer tutorial.
  • TOEFL iBT is not computer adaptive — each test taker receives the same range of questions.
  • Test takers can take notes throughout the entire test. At the end of the testing, all notes are collected and destroyed at the center.
  • For the Speaking section, test takers speak into a microphone, and their responses are digitally recorded and sent to the ETS Online Scoring Network.
  • For the Writing section, test takers must type their responses, and their responses are sent to the ETS Online Scoring Network.
  • Human raters, trained and certified by ETS, rate the Speaking and Writing responses.

The chart below shows the range of questions and the timing for each section. The time limit for each section varies according to the number of questions.

Test Section: Number of Questions: Timing:
Reading 3 - 5 passages, 12 - 14 questions each 60 - 100 minutes
Listening 4 - 6 lectures, 6 questions each
2 - 3 conversations, 5 questions each
60 - 90 minutes
BREAK 10 minutes
Speaking 6 tasks: 2 independent and 4 integrated 20 minutes
Writing 1 integrated task
1 independent task
20 minutes
30 minutes