TOEFL Test Prep


I have been helping students with TOEFL test prep  for over 10 years and it has always been my endeavor to ensure that you achieve your desired result in the first attempt. The TOEFL exam tests your listening, reading, writing and speaking (LRWS) skills and is graded on a scale of 30 points for each skill. Subsequently, all the four scores are added and the student gets an overall score on a scale of 120 points. Usually, students need to score above 100 to qualify for applications to top-tier universities across the world and an overall score of 79 for most other universities. Moreover, the TOEFL exam is also accepted by the Government of Australia for the purpose of immigration.

My students are consistently among the top scorers and it gives me immense joy to know that I have played a part in writing their success story. There are various aspects about TOEFL test prep that you should be aware of and I will try my best to give comprehensive answers to all your questions. So let us have a detailed discussion about the TOEFL examination:

What is the TOEFL exam?

TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is a globally popular English language proficiency test that is taken by aspirants planning to go abroad for higher studies. It is also accepted by a few governments as a proof of English language proficiency of the purpose of immigration.

Which organization conducts the TOEFL exam?

The TOEFL is owned by a U.S. based organization knowns as ETS (Educational Testing Service).

What is the pattern of the TOEFL exam?

The TOEFL exam consists of four sections, viz. reading, listening, speaking and writing. Your reading and listening sections will be combinations of long and short modules. For example, if you get a long reading section, then you will get a short listening section and vice-versa. Following is a detailed break-up of the format of the TOEFL exam:

Section Short Module Long Module
Question Format Number of Questions Time (minutes) Question Format Number of Questions Time (minutes)
Reading 3 Passages 30 (10 per passage) 54 4 Passages 40 (10 per passage) 72
Listening 3 Lectures 18 (6 per lecture) 41 4 Lectures 24 (6 per lecture) 57
2 Conversations 10 (5 per conversation) 3 Conversations 15 (5 per conversation)
Break (10 minutes)
Speaking Independent Task 1 17 Independent Task 1 17
Integrated Tasks 3 Integrated Tasks 3
Writing Independent Task 1 25 Independent Task 1 25
Integrated Task 1 25 Integrated Task 1 25


How is the TOEFL exam scored?

The TOEFL is scored on a scale of 120 points. Each of the four sections is scored on a scale of 30 points and all the scores are added up to arrive at your final score. Interestingly, in case you don’t achieve your desired score on the test, TOEFL allows you to re-take the test and combine your best sectional scores from all your attempts in a given 2-year period.

How much do I need to score on the TOEFL exam?

Top-tier universities usually require a TOEFL score of more than 100 and other good universities have a cut-off score of 79. To have a fair idea of what is considered a good score, you can refer to the following table:

Section Score Level
Reading 22-30 High
15-21 Intermediate
0-14 Low
Listening 22-30 High
14-21 Intermediate
0-13 Low
Speaking 26-30 Good
18-25 Fair
10-17 Limited
0-9 Weak
Writing 24-30 Good
17-23 Fair
1-16 Limited
0 Score of zero


For how long is the TOEFL score valid?

Your TOEFL score will remain valid for a period of 2 years from the date you take the test.

How many re-attempts are allowed for the TOEFL exam?

There is no limit on the number of times you can take the TOEFL, but there must be a gap pf at least 3 days between any 2 attempts.

What are the documents that I need to carry with me for the exam?

The only document that you need to carry to the examination hall is your passport and a print-out of the e-mail confirmation of your exam slot sent to your registered e-mail ID by ETS. You must carry your ORIGINAL passport. This is very important because if you do not carry the original passport, the invigilators will not allow you to take the test and you will not be given any refund of the examination fee either.

Is the TOEFL a computer-delivered test or a paper-delivered test?

Though the TOEFL is offered in both formats, the TOEFL iBT (Internet Based Test) is the one offered at most test locations all over the world and has become synonymous with the word TOEFL. In fact, the paper-delivered version of the TOEFL is not available at a majority of test centres and remains available only at a selected few test centres.

How often is the TOEFL exam conducted?

The TOEFL is conducted 50 times every year, which is a little more than 4 times a month, on average.

How can I book the TOEFL exam?

You can book the TOEFL by visiting the official website of ETS and creating an account there. Subsequently, you can login to your account, check the available dates at your chosen test centre and proceed to book the exam.

Where can I take the TOEFL exam?

The TOEFL is available at test centres designated by ETS in various cities across the world. You can find a centre near your location on the official ETS website.

What is the exam fee?

The registration fee to take the GRE is $180.

In how many days will I get the result?

You can check your score online 10 days after taking the test and your official scorecard will be mailed to you by ETS within 4-6 weeks’ time from the date of your test.

How much time should I devote to my TOEFL test prep?

You should devote 1 month to your TOEFL test prep if you follow a proper study plan dedicating around 2 hours every day. However, if your English is weak, it may take you 2-4 months as you will have to improve your language skills before you start preparing for the TOEFL exam.

How do you conduct TOEFL test prep classes?    

I will take TOEFL test prep classes 2-3 times a week depending on how well you are following the study plan that we will prepare. Each class is 2 hours in duration and I only make small batches of upto 4 students. This ensure that you learn from your peers and get personal attention at the same time. We will start with concept classes and subsequently, I will ask you to attempt mock-tests on a weekly basis. Once you are scoring well on the mock-tests and I am satisfied with your progress, I will ask you to book your exam slot.

Where do you conduct TOEFL test prep classes?

I conduct online TOEFL test prep classes using platforms such as Skype, Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc. and I also conduct in-person classes at my home office in Karapakkam, Chennai.

What preparation material should I buy to study for the TOEFL exam?

I would advise you to use the Official Guide to the TOEFL Test which you can easily buy online. To learn words, Kaplan TOEFL Vocabulary Prep is a great book. Moreover, if you enrol for my TOEFL classes, I will also provide you with preparation material that I have compiled. You can take the Official TOEFL Mock Test on ETS website and the Galvanize Test Prep Mock Test to assess your performance and get an idea where you stand in terms of preparation.


Where can I get more details about your classes?

You can read the FAQs I have posted here and you can also reach out to me via e-mail or phone for further details. If you are in Chennai, you are most welcome to visit me at my home office in Karapakkam, for which I have provided the address and Google Maps link in the Contact Me section.

I hope that I have answered most of your questions regarding TOEFL test prep and that you have a good amount of clarity about the structure of the exam, how to prepare for it and where your score is applicable. Please click here to find out more about me and you can read my other articles below: