TOEFL : Test of English as a Foreign Language

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General things:

The Test of english as a foreign language (TOEFL) is a widely-used and accepted englishtest, that can be absolved in almost every country of the world (you canfind all the testcentres in the undermentioned information brochure ). It is required or can be used for the application to study in almost all englishspeaking countries. Especially if you plan to study in the United States or Canada you won´t be able to do so without the TOEFL (well, but of course you don´t have to take the TOEFL if English is your native language but in this case you wouldn´t have search for information on the TOEFL I suppose). But the test will be useful to prove your english knowledge in all other countries as well. You can find more on this topic and about the test itself on the official webside (see the link on the bottom of this page!) There you can also order or download an information bulletin for free.
Test Of English As a Foreign Language is a standardised test that evaluates the English proficiency of people whose native language is not English.This mainly caters to the  Far-east,South-east and South Asia besides the Gulf Countries. Nearly 2400 education institutes in the United States and Canada require TOEFL scores from each applicant. The test is also used by institutions in other countries where English is the language of Instruction. The TOEFL tests the ability to understand North American English.
Over the years, TOEFL is administered as a written exam in India. However, October 2000 onwards, TOEFL has become computer based test in India.

Toll-free TOEFL helpline

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) has announced a new, toll-free customer support centre to serve TOEFL test-takers in India. The TOEFL India Customer Support Centre offers guidance and timely information for students regarding the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
The new centre is accessible by phone toll-free directly from India,
Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., India Standard Time, at 000-800-100-3780.
In addition, student enquiries can be sent by e-mail to:
The centre will provide assistance in identifying test preparation materials, locating test centres, obtaining their score reports, ordering additional score reports and other pre or post-administration enquiries.
Computer Based TOEFL
The test is designed in such a way that it would be unlike any other test you would have taken at school or college. First, the test has no question paper or answer sheets, nor does it have the same set of questions for all the examinees. Further, it does not give you the option of not answering a question (unless, of course, you run out of time at the end). All this because the TOEFL is now an entirely Computer based test - the keyboard and mouse do the work of a pen or pencil.  The TOEFL is only to test your English proficiency. A high score alone does not translate into an admission offer from a great school. But the test is mandatory and cannot be overlooked.It is only in certain cases where the candidates' proficiency in English language  has been proved beyond doubt, by means of their  professional career (e.g. teaching, journalism etc)  can the test be waived.    
Who administers TOEFL?

The TOEFL is developed and administered by the US-based "Educational Testing Service" (ETS). This implies that ETS sets the questions, conducts the test, and sends each examinee the score report. For the conduct of the test, ETS has appointed Testing Agencies in various countries, which act as franchisee for ETS. In India, this agency is the "Sylvan Testing Services Pvt Ltd" which administers the test at 9 centres in the country: Ahmedabad, Allahabad, Bangalore, Calcutta, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi, and Trivandrum.
When is TOEFL held?

Computer based TOEFL is held all-round-the-year. Unlike other exams, you can choose your own date and time for taking the TOEFL! The test is administered in the above cities five-days-a-week (Monday through Friday), twice-a-day. September to December is the high season for TOEFL, so in case you intend to take the test during this period, you need to register very early (say 90 days in advance) to get a date of your choice. Otherwise, registering at least three days in advance is mandatory. The test lasts roughly four hours.
Eligibility and Fees

Anyone and everyone is eligible for taking the TOEFL - there are no restrictions based on age or qualifications. The test scores are valid for two years. Most universities accept scores up to two years.

Test fees for TOEFL may vary according to the country in which you take the test. In India, this fee is US $110 (approx Rs. 5060), payable at the time of registration. You cannot pay in Indian Rupees. The fees has to be paid in US Dollar denominated draft, made out in favour of "ETS - TOEFL" payable in the U.S. Such a draft is usually available with the main branches of banks which have a foreign exchange counter in most of the big cities. The charges are very nominal. Alternately, the payment can also be made through a credit card which has global acceptance.  The name on the registration form should be exactly the same as in your passport or you may not be allowed to test. It is advisable to attach the photocopy of the Passport with the application form, to avoid any faulty registration.
How to apply?

Obtain the "TOEFL Information Bulletin" available free with Sylvan Testing Services and USEFI. The Test Scheduling Form comes with the bulletin. There are three ways to register:
Registering by Phone: You may call up Sylvan Delhi office until 12:00 noon to register. Make sure to call at least three business days before the test date.

Registering by Fax: If registering by fax, you must send your fax at least seven days prior to your first choice of a test day.

Registering by Mail/Courier: Fill in the form, get the draft made (if you are not paying by credit card), and submit these to the Sylvan Learning Centre at New Delhi either by hand or by registered post/courier. You must send the documents at least three weeks before your choice of a test day.

On receipt of your documents, an appointment will be scheduled for you to test at the Sylvan Technology Center. Confirmation of the date, time and location of the appointment will be sent to you. If you do not receive confirmation at least three business days before your first choice of test day, please call the Sylvan office to verify your appointment.
Sylvan Learning Centre
Sylvan Testing Services Private Limited,
Senior Plaza, 160-A, Gautam Nagar,
Yusuf Sarai,
Behind Indian Oil Building,
New Delhi-110049, India.
Ph: (011) 651-1649
Fax: (011) 652-9741
You will receive an admit card normally within a week of applying. Remember to keep a copy of the form and the draft with you
Content and Format of the TOEFL
The test has four sections : Listening, Structure, Reading and Writing.

The number of questions and the time allocated to each question may vary. Therefore, one student may get 35 questions in Listening section while another may get 45. But, the additional questions are for research purposes only and the scores of all test takers are based on the same number of questions.
The following table gives out the format of the TOEFL-CAT: 



Computer Tutorial



Listening Section

30 - 50 questions

40 - 60 minutes

Structure Section

20 - 25 questions

15 - 20 minutes

Reading Section

44 - 60 questions

70 - 90 minutes

Writing Section

1 Essay 30 minutes


94 - 135 question & 1 Essay

4 hours (approx.)

The tutorial is meant to make you feel comfortable with the infrastructure and the environment and does not have a prescribed time limit. You are expected to be through with it in 40 minutes or so. It makes sense to acclimatise yourself fully with the setting even after you think you have understood how the system works.
Reporting the Scores

ETS has the provision of reporting your TOEFL scores to a maximum of four universities of your choice, the cost of which is built into the TOEFL fee you pay. But the catch is : you have to select these four universities which will receive copies of your score report before you begin to take the test. This implies that even before taking the TOEFL, you need to do some homework on which universities you are re finally going to apply, based on the score that you expect to attain. For reporting to each additional university, the ETS charges you $11 (approx. Rs. 506), payable by an international credit card or a dollar denominated draft.
The Scoring Pattern in TOEFL CAT

The TOEFL results comprise four different scores : a total score (0-300), a separate score for Listening section (0-30), a separate score for Structure/Writing section (0-30) and a separate score for Reading section (0-30). The total score is reported on a scale from 0 to 300.
Note that your Essay score will individually be rated (0-6). However the essay score is incorporated into the Structure/Writing scaled score with the rating of essay constituting approximately one half of the Structure/Writing scaled score. You get to know your Listening and Reading section scores immediately after taking the test. You will also see your Structure/Writing scores as score ranges because your essay will not yet have been read and rated. Your final score will be within the range shown on the screen after you finish the test. As the evaluation of essays take about 2 to 4 weeks, your official TOEFL score reports, which include the Writing scores, are mailed approximately two to four weeks after you take the test and take another ten days or so to reach your address.
If you would like to reschedule your exam or need to cancel you must contact TOEFL before 12:00 pm, three business days prior to your exam date. There is a USD 40 fee to reschedule the exam. You will receive a partial refund of USD 65 on request when canceling before the deadline. 
Materials Required on the Test Day
You are required to bring your valid passport on the day of your exam. This is mandatory.
Some signature bearing identification, i.e., Driving License, Notarised identification.
Confirmation letter or Number
Test Preparations:

By this time the TOEFL can only be absolved as computer-based test (that means you don´t have to write anything on paper but you can write at least the essay with pen and paper if you prefer this - see below). So you should be able to use a computer now how to work with a mouse but if you made it to this page I think this should be no problem for you. If you feel uncomfortable working with a mouse you should train this. Otherwise you will have some (time) disadvantages during the test!!
You can´t fail the TOEFL! You will get points for the different sections of the test (reading, listening, structure/writing and an essay) as well as an overall number of points at the end. The different institutions which require the TOEFL have an individual number of minimum points for their applications - you should find out about this before you take the test.
Basically I think that every person that feels more or less comfortable in speaking, listening and reading english (books, films, conversations etc.) should have no problem to get good points. There are serveral books and CD-Rom´s (see below) for the direct testpreperation. I can hardly say how usefull they are because I didn´t use them for my own preparation which was like this:
A few weeks before the test I began to read some english novels to get into the language again. I can also recommend reading english newspapers or magazines (i.e. you can get the TIME-Magazine at almost every place on the world - in some countries there are very cheap subscriptions for students!). I think this is very recommendable especially for the reading-part of the test. Two month before the test date I began to periodically watch english movies once or twice a week to practice for the listening part of the test (here in Germany you don´t have the opportunity to watch english movies on TV very often so I had to borrow them - some of you may also have the opportunity to download movies (illegally) from the internet but that´s your descision) . In my opinion this is the best preparation for this part of the test because there you have to understand short conversations about some general topics and afterwards you have to answer questions about the contents of this conversations. You can of course also watch CNN or something like this but I think it´s more fun watching movies and so it is easier to motivate yourself! The last thing you should do is to write some essays unter testconditions. You have 30 minutes for your essay. You will get a topic assigned and then you have to express your opinion, write pro- and contra-arguments or something like this. The topics are all very simple (by this I mean that there is no special knowledge needed) and deal with everyday problems or questions for example you have to express your opinion about a planned new cineam in your hometown or if you think that it is better for kids to grow up in a big city or not. All topics are printed in the informationbrochure mentioned above. I think you will not be able to learn them all and this is really not necessary anyway. But you should work on some of the topics to get a feeling of the time and to train how to formulate some easy pro- and contra-arguments in english.
TOEFL scholarships

Nine TOEFL scholarships will be awarded to Indian students for undergraduate or graduate study in 2011. Three of these scholarships each worth US $10,000 are available for study at a college or university in the U.K, USA and Canada. Three scholarships each worth US $ 5,000 are available for study at a college or university in the UK, USA and in Canada and the remaining three scholarships each worth US $ 5,000 are available for study in colleges at any other location. The last date for submission of completed applications is April 15.
Detailed information regarding the TOEFL scholarship programme, including application materials and scholarship requirements are available on the TOEFL Scholarship Program in India webpage at
Students who have additional questions can contact More information regarding the TOEFL test can be had at