TOEFL iBT: Complete Introduction for 1st Successful Test

Since the first time introduced in 2005, TOEFL iBT has been popular as a test for measuring the ability to understand and apply English in the academic context. As it measures people’s ability through the internet, it’s presented in 180 countries around the world since then. Therefore, more than 28 million test takers from those countries have tried taking the TOEFL test.

Among all of the test-takers, some of them do score well and some don’t. The truth is the best TOEFL score will not you get by luck, it requires great passion to learn, well preparation, resilient, and effective strategies to have it. I know that you’re here because you have all of them if not, I believe you will. As you’ll take the TOEFL iBT test or want to know more about it, I provide you with a complete introduction to TOEFL iBT so you’ll know what to do next. Without further ado, here are the objectives of this article to clarify what you’ll get from here.

At the end of this article, you should be able to:

  • Understand the concept of TOEFL iBT
  • Identify the language skills tested on TOEFL iBT
  • Understand how to register for TOEFL iBT, how the test administered, how the exact examination session of TOEFL iBT, and how to get your score report
  • Succeed TOEFL iBT test

Sounds fair? Alright, let’s do this!

What is TOEFL iBT?

TOEFL iBT is a test measuring your ability to understand and apply English for academic context at the university level. It tests your language skills such as reading, listening, speaking, and writing. That’s why there are four sections on the TOEFL iBT test.

Maybe you’re wondering why you should take TOEFL iBT, for that, I have strong reasons to satisfy your curious mind. First, TOEFL iBT helps test takers to make their dreams come true. I know it sounds exaggerating, but it’s true. According to ETS, TOEFL scores of 90% test takers made them accepted into their 1st and 2nd choice university.

You can imagine there are more than 10,000 university and other institutions worldwide more preferred and accepted TOEFL scores as their requirements, it’s like you have bigger chance to get enrolled to your dream university or institution wherever it is as long as it’s still located on earth, you know what I mean.

Second, TOEFL iBT not only helps you to get your dream university or institution but also helps you to stand out and succeed in the classroom. What? For real? Yes, here’s why. Only the TOEFL test that tests and prepares your English in and for an academic context. Therefore, you’ll likely be more familiar and prepared for an academic classroom.

For instance, about how you should interact with your professors in any situations, how you interact with other students about any topic related to academic activities, how to correctly give excuses for your late assignment that you just have done the night before, and many more (I made it up for the last one). Certainly, the test questions of reading, listening, speaking, and writing sections are the combinations of how it’s like in the classroom.

Last but not least, TOEFL iBT is genuinely an unbiased and fair test. Really? How come? So, I can’t use my special unrevealed techniques of cheating like I always successfully do in the classroom previously? Yes, I’ll tell you, and yes, sadly your special unrevealed techniques of cheating won’t work here. Here’s why, when you take the test at a test center near you, your test results aren’t scored there. So, even how many times you wink at test administrator there, it won’t help you, because your test results are only scored through a centralized scoring network.

Especially for your speaking and writing sections, there are multiple professional raters and AI who don’t know you scoring them. This prevents the bias that can occur in other tests that use a face-to-face interview with a single rater. Sounds encouraging and intimidating at the same time? Don’t worry and be happy, I believe you can succeed as long you prepare well here and I’ll help you no matter what.

What are the language skills tested on TOEFL iBT?

As I mentioned earlier, there are four language skills tested on TOEFL iBT – reading, listening, speaking, and writing. I’ll provide a brief and comprehensive explanation about each of them for you. Let’s get started!

  • Reading Section

Just like its name, the reading section tests your reading ability to understand reading passages. Keep in mind, there are three short format passages and four long-format passages – all of them are just like in a college textbook. Your job here is to answer questions right after each passage, there are 12 – 14 questions about it. Also, keep in mind, you only have 60 – 80 minutes for all of them. Therefore, you need creative and extraordinary strategies to make it work. Don’t worry, that’s why I write this for helping you by sharing strategies that work just right.

  • Listening Section

Simply, the listening section tests your ability to understand the non-written form of language or spoken language. That’s why you’ll listen to a bunch of conversations, lectures, and discussions – all in typical of interactions and academic speech on college situations. Specifically, you need to answer questions about two short format conversations, two lectures, and two discussions and a long format of three conversations, three lectures, and three discussions.

Pay attention to this, there are 5 questions for each short and long format conversation, 6 questions for each short and long format lectures, and 6 questions for each short and long format discussion. All you do, you have to answer all of them in 60 – 90 minutes. What do you think? I believe you can do that as long as you prepare well here.

  • Speaking Section

Speaking section, the part of all foreign language learners nervous about, the part that simply indicates your English proficiency, the part that makes others easily judge you, and the part you proudly show off when you master a language. Which part are you? Well, basically, this section tests your ability to communicate with English. All you need to do is to give respond verbally to a single question, a conversation, a talk, or a lecture. Keep in mind, you’ll be presented with 6 speaking questions and you have 20 minutes to finish all of them. Nervous? Worry? Intimidated? If your answer is yes, that’s great because you have something clear to overcome start from here. Of course, I’ll help.

  • Writing Section

Ugh… writing, essays, not interesting, boring, and you name it. I know how hard to write this, but I believe this writing will help somebody out there, that’s why it gives me inspiration, motivation, and energy to complete this. Okay, sorry, that’s a bit out of context. Back to the topic, just like writing a section on TOEFL iBT, it requires you to write essays in English just like you’ll write in college. Specifically, you need to write 2 essays – one about an academic topic and one about the topic that you familiar with. Keep in mind, you have to write them no more than 20 minutes for the academic topics and 30 minutes for familiar topics. I believe you’ll succeed after you learn from here.

Well, those all sections you’ll face in the TOEFL iBT test for measuring your language skills. I hope it gives you a clear understanding of what to prepare.

You can understand how to register for TOEFL iBT in the next section below. Check it out!

How to register for TOEFL iBT?

Registering for TOEFL iBT is so easy and simple. In fact, you can register online, by mail, or by telephone.

  • Online Way

For testing worldwide you can visit  (ETS doesn’t pay me to refer them but okay, I do it for you). I’ll provide you complete step-by-step to register for TOEFL iBT online. All you need to do is to follow the procedure below:

Source: ETS
  1. Click the link I provided above
  2. Once you’re on the page, choose the language you like by clicking “Language Preference” on the top right corner. ETS provides several language preference choices such as English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, France, and Turkish. Then, choose which language you prefer for an easier registering procedure.
  3. Insert your Username, Password, and hit “Sign In” blue button (if you have an account already)
  4. Click “Create an Account” (if you don’t have an account yet)
  5. Once you click “Create an Account”, you need to input your Profile Information including Personal Information, Address, Phone, and Communication Preferences.
    • Personal Information
      You need to input your first, middle (optional), and last name; your date of birth; your gender type; and your valid email address.
    • Address
      Choose your country;
      Input your address line;
      Input your second address line (if you have, if don’t, leave it blank);
      Type the city where you live;
      Type its state, province, or territory; and
      Type the postal code of your location.
    • Phone
      Country Code will automatically be filled once you choose your country;
      Input your active phone number;
      Input the extension if you have (leave it blank if you don’t have)
      If you have an alternative phone, you can input it just like I mentioned. If you don’t have, left just like that.
    • Communication Preferences
      Click the white dot on the left of the statement “No, I don’t wish to receive text messages.” (if you don’t want to receive important information notifications through email only);
      You can give a check to the little white box on the left of the statement “Yes, I agree to receive emails from EST regarding its products and services” (if you want to receive emails from ETS); and
      You can leave it blank and you won’t receive any updates from ETS.
      Click the blue “Next” button once you complete the required information.
  1. Once you click “Next”, you need to complete Additional Information including Country of Birth, Native Language, and Country of Citizenship.
    • Country of Birth
      Select a country where you were born.
    • Native Language
      Select your mother tongue language – the language you acquired not learned.
    • Country of Citizenship
      Select a country where you enlisted as its citizen if you’ve just changed, pick the newest one.
      Click the blue “Next” button once you complete the required information.
  1. Once you clicked “Next”, you’ll be presented options to agree or not to sing up for TOEFL Search Service free program where it helps potential schools to find you by your information provided earlier.
    • Click the little white dot on the left of the statement “Yes, I understand and agree to the Terms and Conditions above” (if you allow ETS to use your information to help potential schools find you); or
    • Click the little white dot on the left of the statement “No, thanks” (if you don’t want ETS to use your information for potential schools).
    • Click the blue “Next” button once you complete the required information.
  1. If you clicked “Yes, I understand and agree to the Terms and Conditions above” previously, you need to input additional information including your target countries (you can choose 5 maximally) to study, work, or settle. And other additional information about you that potential schools needed.
  1. If you clicked “No, thanks”, you’ll go straight to the next page for making your Username and Password and Acknowledgement.
    • Username and Password
      You required to input a Username you’d like;
      Your password;
      Your security question (in case you forgot the password later); and
      The answer to that question.
    • Acknowledgment
      You need to give an agreement to the ETS Terms and Conditions, Privacy and Security, and ETS Privacy and Information Security Policy for Test Takers.
      Click the blue “Next” button once you complete the required information.
  1. After you click “Next”, you need to review all your information, and “Submit”.
  2. In order to make your account active, you need to confirm your email. You can check the inbox of your email. After you find it, confirm it.
  1. Congratulation! You have an account already.
  2. Now, you can sign in using your username and password you’ve created.
  3. Once you signed in, you can register, find test centers, and the dates of the test by clicking “Register / Find Test Centers, Dates” blue button.
  4. After you clicked, you need to input the test centers near your location. You can start by typing your country or city. Also, you need to pick the dates within the 2-month period. Then, click the “Find Test Centers and Dates” blue button.
  5. You need to select the available date and test center you’d like.
  6. You need to provide information just like how you register for an account previously including Identification Information, Personal Information, Search Service, Background Information, Free Score Recipients, and Review Test Registration.
  7. After you finish with all of them, you need to click the “Proceed to Checkout” blue button.
  8. Pay the required amount.
  9. Congratulation! You’ve registered for TOEFL iBT.

Well, this is 20 step-by-step of how to register for TOEFL iBT online. I hope it helps you with the registration process.

If you think this online way is a bit complicated, you’re free to try the second option, mail way. Let’s check that out!

  • Mail Way

If the online way is a bit problem for you, this mail way gets your back. You can download the form HERE[AF1]. All you need to do is to complete the form. Keep in mind, if you’re testing outside the United States, U.S. Territories, and Canada, you can mail the completed form and payment to the Regional Registration Center (RRC) that services the country where you plan to take the TOEFL iBT test. You can check the address of your RRC HERE. Additionally, your form and payment must be received at ETS at least 4 weeks before your test date choice.

  • Telephone Way

If you need to proceed with your registration with real human interaction, the last but not least way, the telephone way is for you. All you need is a registration phone number of RRC that services the country where you plan to take the TOEFL iBT test. Do just like mail way, but all you need is the RRC’s registration phone number to call. Call the number and the real human will answer and process your registration.

Alright, I’ve presented you three options for registering for TOEFL iBT. You only need to pick one way that suits your needs. I hope the information clears your question mark bubble on your head.

How the TOEFL iBT test administered?

TOEFL iBT uses a computer lab or language laboratory as the test room. It’s just like a classroom with about fifteen computers at least four feet apart. You’ll be assigned a seat, but you won’t get admitted if you’re late. I recommend you to come 30 minutes earlier at least to prepare your physical body and mind for the test and check-in procedure. Rushing to the test will negatively affect your performance during the test. I highly not recommend that.

All you can bring to the test room are your valid identification and registration confirmation with your registration number. Your cell phones, watches, dictionaries, papers, pens, pencils are not allowed to bring inside the test room. The test supervisor will give papers, pencils, and a headset for the test inside. You can store all your belongings safely in the lockers provided by the test site.

Before testing, you need to copy a paragraph in which you agree not to share information about and you need to agree for your photograph taken. In case you didn’t know yet about the cost of the test you need to pay, it ranges from $160 to $200. That’s why I provide you with these helpful materials for you to get the best TOEFL score without paying, again and again, that test fees because of the unsatisfying score. I hope you find my writing helpful and I hope you’ll succeed in your TOEFL test. You can do that! I believe in you!

How the exact TOEFL iBT test session is?

TOEFL iBT takes about four hours to complete, including the time required for giving directions and the break between the listening and speaking sections. Give your stomach something yummy and useful to stay energized on that battlefield. Don’t leave your stomach empty, your brain starts eating itself then!

In terms of sections of the test, you’ll face each section accordingly – Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. You have no option to choose which section you’d like to do first. Unfortunately, you must follow the system this time.

Before the test begins, as you’re sitting on the seat in front of a computer screen and wearing a headset with mic, check everything. You can raise your hand to the test supervisor in case you find a problem like a headset doesn’t work, the screen acts weird, or internet connection problems. Keep in mind, don’t hesitate to communicate anything needed to the test supervisor before the test session. You can ask for a new headset if yours not functioning well.

As the test begins, you’ll find most questions are multiple-choice, but some questions have special directions to follow on the screen. Keep in mind, focus on each direction to avoid misinterpretation leading to the wrong answer. In case you don’t know the answer, you should guess. Don’t worry, the number of incorrect answers won’t subtract your score.

During the test, you’re allowed to take notes using give papers and a pencil or pen to help you answer the questions. Your notes won’t get scored, so if you’re trying to draw something nice hoping additional score from that notepaper, cancel that intention. Your notes will get shredded anyway after the test.

In case you change your mind about the answer to particular questions, you can do that. Here’s how:

  • Reading Section

You can change your answer as many times as you wish. How? You can change it by clicking on a new answer, that’s it.

  • Listening Section

You can also change your answer as many times as you wish until you click on the “Confirm Answer (OK)” button. Once you clicked it, you are unable to change your answer anymore.

  • Speaking section

Your response will be recorded and submitted to the professional raters. You’ll be notified with a beep to begin and end speaking. You can’t change your speaking response, so make each attempt succeed.

  • Writing section

In the writing section, you are free to revise your essays as much as you wish until the times up.

If you need to go to the restroom during the test, you can. But the time won’t stop while you’re gone. It’s better to use the 10-minute mandatory break between the listening and speaking sections to create peace with your stomach.

Additionally, if you have a special plan to beat the system or cheating, it won’t work. TOEFL considers cheating as a very serious matter. The worse scenario when you got caught, you’ll be dismissed from the room, your score will be canceled, and you’ll get banned for applying for a future test. So, it’s better to avoid cheating and other negative attempts in the first place.

Well, this is only a glace of how the TOEFL iBT test session exactly likes. Deeper and effective strategies to get your best TOEFL iBT score will be presented on the right spot.

How to get your score report?

Once you completed the TOEFL iBT test following the procedure without breaking any rules, you’ll get your score report online about 10 days after. Your email will tell you when your score has published. If you registered via mail or phone, you’ll get your delivery by mail of five copies of your test results, one for you and four official score reports, in ten days in the United State and as long as four weeks for outside the U.S. If you need more, you can order more by paying $17 each. You can contact your RRC about this matter.


TOEFL iBT is used by millions of test-takers to achieve their dreams. You can’t get your best TOEFL iBT score by luck, it requires great passion to learn and effective strategies that work to have it. Your score reflects your effort.

Well, congratulation you’ve reached the end of this article and I hope you learned something. So, are you going to take a TOEFL test this coming month? and do you have other questions about TOEFL iBT?

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Ajuzar Fiqhi
Ajuzar Fiqhi

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