TOEFL Exam 2021

Updated by: Subhashri Roy on Oct. 12, 2021, 1:39 p.m.

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Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, is a test to evaluate the English proficiency of a student in the four basic communication skills — Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. TOEFL is one of the most popular English proficiency exam in the world.

TOEFL is used by universities and other institutions around the world to test the English proficiency skills of all non-native English speaking students for the purpose of admissions or immigration. TOEFL must be taken by any non-native English speaker who wants to take admission at an educational institution in an English-speaking nation.

TOEFL is one of the most widely accepted entrance exam in the world. TOEFL is also considered as a gateway to international education in foreign universities in many countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, France and many others. Hence, it is quite a popular choice among international education aspirants. Being such a widely accepted test, TOEFL is also one of the most widely-taken exams in the world.

Latest Updates on TOEFL 2021

AAERI to Promote TOEFL in India following IDP IELTS Acquisition

The Association of Australian Education Representatives in India has signed an MoU TOEFL following concerns of agents over acquisition of IELTS India by IDP Education.

Members of AAERI suggested that the announcement would lead to more competition, as IDP works as an agent as well and IDP using testing data for student recruitment activities.

Aadhaar Card To Be Accepted As ID Proof for TOEFL From July 1

Indian students can now use their Aadhaar Card as an identity proof to take the TOEFL. ETS, the administrator of the exam tool the call taking into account the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and numerous students facing difficulties in getting passports.

ETS Announces New English Language Test ‘TOEFL Essentials’

ETS has announced TOEFL Essentials, a new English language 90-minute test, which focuses 50% on academic English content extracted from university-level academic material and 50% on general English. This is unlike the TOEFL iBT test which is based 100% on academic English content. 

The test, expected to be made available by August 2021, will also measure four skills important for communication in both academic and non-academic environments such as in interviews or internships.

iBT Home Edition Widely Accepted, Says TOEFL

According to a recent webinar, the TOEFL iBT Home Edition is currently accepted by more than 11,000 universities and organisations worldwide. In it it was further noted that the all the universities which accept TOEFL iBT accept the home version as well since both the exams are identical.

TOEFL iBT at Home Option to Stay Post-Pandemic

Given the students' determination to keep their study abroad dreams on track and the remarkable response to the TOEFL iBT at home, the ETS has decided to continue the test post-pandemic.

TOEFL Exam Highlights 2021

An overview of the key highlights and important details pertaining to TOEFL exam can be found in the table below:

Name of Exam


Full Name

Test of English as a Foreign Language

Year of Development


Developed By

National Council on the Testing of English as a Foreign Language

Developed In

The United States of America

Overseeing Body

Educational Testing Services (ETS)

Eligibility Criteria


Exam Sections





Exam time

3 hours

Number of Accepting Institutions


Number of Accepting Countries


Test Date

60+ test dates every year

Types of TOEFL

Currently, for students across the globe aspiring to studying in one of the top study abroad destinations, there are two versions of the TOEFL exams that they can attempt: —

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-Based Test)

  • TOEFL PBT (Paper-Based Test)

TOEFL iBT - TOEFL iBT is, simply speaking, a version of the test, delivered and taken over the internet. Almost all of the candidates appearing for the TOEFL exam appear for the iBT version of the test which replaced the TOEFL CBT (computer-based test). Since the exam is delivered via a computer, it is much more interactive in nature and considered to be a better version of the two.

TOEFL iBT scores are given preference over the TOEFL PBT scores at almost all of the universities that accept international applications.

TOEFL PBT -  TOEFL PBT, or paper-based test, is just as the name suggests. It is the version of the TOEFL exam delivered and taken via a pen and paper. However, the TOEFL PBT is not the commonly available version of the two. It is only available at TOEFL exam centres where internet connectivity is not available.

TOEFL PBT does not contain the ‘Speaking’ section of the exam since there is limited availability of equipment during the exam. TOEFL PBT is conducted four times a year and only a handful of TOEFL exam centres conduct the PBT version of TOEFL. Currently, there are no TOEFL PBT exam centres available in India.

TOEFL Conducting Body

TOEFL is conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the largest global non-profit educational testing organization. Headquartered in New Jersey, the organisation administers a number of standardized tests majorly for students seeking admission to US universities.

The Educational Testing Services or ETS was created in 1947, which currently delivers research and learning solutions apart from developing and conducting tests such as TOEFL, GRE, TOEIC and Praxis tests in over 180 countries at more than 9,000 locations across the globe.

A Brief History of TOEFL

The early 1960s - More than thirty educational institutions come together to form the National Council on the Testing of English as a Foreign Language. The council consists of educators and government officials who were charged with the responsibility of developing an exam to test the English competency. The council developed the ‘Test of English as a Foreign Language™’, which is now popularly known as TOEFL.

1964 - TOEFL is delivered for the first time in a paper-based format. However, the test is nothing like its present-day version.

1965 - CollegeBoard and Educational Testing Services (ETS) take over the administration of the TOEFL exam.

1973 - TOEFL Board forms to advise ETS on the policies governing TOEFL.

1998 - TOEFL CBT (computer-based test) is conducted for the first time.

2005 - TOEFL iBT is conducted for the first time.

2006 - TOEFL CBT discontinued and replaced by TOEFL iBT.

2019 - TOEFL iBT is introduced in a new, streamlined format.

FAQs about TOEFL

1. Is TOEFL better than IELTS?    

IELTS and TOEFL both test basic English proficiency tests although both have different structures and content. The preference between the two will vary from one candidate to another depending on their strengths and weaknesses. Please go through both the tests thoroughly in order to understand which among the IELTS and TOEFL would be better for you.

2. Has the TOEFL Paper-Delivered test been discontinued?

Effective April 11, 2021, the revised TOEFL paper-delivered test will not be offered anymore. Students may choose to take the TOEFL iBT test to TOEFL Essentials Test.

3. What type of English does the TOEFL Essentials Test measure?

The TOEFL Essentials test measures around 50% academic English and 50% general English, while the TOEFL iBT test measures 100% academic English.

4. Why should I take the TOEFL exam?

If you are planning to study abroad then an English language test score is needed to prove your proficiency in the language. TOEFL scores are widely accepted by universities abroad when offering admissions to international students. Check the entry requirements of the university you are applying to and then decide to appear for the test.

5. Who is a suitable candidate for TOEFL?

TOEFL can be taken by any candidate. However, a TOEFL score is commonly used to apply for admissions at universities abroad. The test taker must have a good command of basic communication skills Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing in English.

6. Who conducts TOEFL?

TOEFL was developed by the National Council on the Testing of English as a Foreign Language and is now conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), a non-profit educational testing organization.

7. Is TOEFL a Paper-Based Exam?

No, TOEFL used to be delivered in both online and offline formats. However, in April 2021, the paper-delivered TOEFL format was scrapped.

8. Is there any break between each section of TOEFL?

A 10-minute break is provided after the Reading and Listening Section after which a candidate can attempt the Speaking and Writing Sectio. 

9. Is TOEFL conducted in online mode?

A popular choice among non-English speaking students, a TOEFL test is commonly conducted in online mode, known as TOEFL iBT, which had replaced TOEFL CBT a few decades ago.

10. What is the new TOEFL Essentials Test?

The TOEFL Essentials test measures the 4 language skills of Listening, Reading, Writing, and Speaking in about 1 and half hours. It can be taken from home, from any part of the world, with appointments available 24 hours a day, 1 day a week.

TOEFL 2021 Test Dates

There are no specific TOEFL test dates. The exam is administered 60 times a year across the world...

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TOEFL 2021 Eligibility

The TOEFL test, administered all around the world and accepted by universities worldwide, has no ...

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TOEFL 2021 Test Centers

The TOEFL test is conducted over 60 times a year at authorized test centres across the world, inc...

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TOEFL 2021 Registration

To apply for TOEFL, ETS provides candidates with a convenient online system to register for the t...

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TOEFL 2021 Exam Pattern

The TOEFL 2021 exam pattern includes four sections including Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Wr...

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TOEFL 2021 Syllabus

The Educational Testing Services, the conducting body of TOEFL, is in charge of prescribing ...

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TOEFL 2021 Preparation Tips

The TOEFL, while standardised, is attempted by students with varying levels of understanding of t...

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TOEFL 2021 Best Books

While strategies for TOEFL are important to ace the test, it is also crucial for candid...

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TOEFL 2021 Practice Papers

The more TOEFL practice tests you take, the better will be your TOEFL preparation. TOEFL is an En...

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TOEFL 2021 Result/Scores

Each section on the TOEFL is scored on a scale of 0-30, which are then added together for a total...

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TOEFL 2021 Scholarships

The TOEFL Board and ETS offer a total of 14 scholarships every year for individuals working in fo...

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TOEFL 2021 Cut-offs

The TOEFL iBT cutoff at higher education institutions abroad may range between 76 and 80, althoug...

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TOEFL 2021 Exam Acceptance

TOEFL is one of the leading English language proficiency tests in the world accepted by more than...

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Admission 2021

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