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TOEFL IBT is the version of the test that is most widely used today. IBT stands for Internet Based Test. The entire TOEFL IBT is done on a computer and it is the first TOEFL test to have Speaking questions. It started in 2005 and replaced the CBT (Computer Based Test) which started the trend towards computer-based testing.

From 1964 to 1998, the only TOEFL version available was the (original) PBT (Paper Based Test). The PBT test is still offered by ETS, but only in certain countries. The PBT format was significantly changed in June 2017 to be closer to the IBT version. It was discontinued in April 2021 until December 2021 when it came back again. The PBT version available currently has to be done in 2 sessions. The Listening, Reading and Writing sections are done on paper at a test center. The Speaking section is done on a computer within 3 days of completing the paper portion. The questions and format for all 4 sections match the IBT version prior to the IBT version effective July 26, 2023. For details about the current PBT, see the Test on Paper section at ETS.

The parts of the TOEFL test have changed with each new version. Things like the question types, test sections, number of questions, and scoring tables have changed a lot. ETS has invested an enormous amount of money in the IBT system to show their university customers that the TOEFL is an accurate measure of your English level. Your fee (cost varies by location) helps them to recover this cost.

The info in this guide only covers the TOEFL IBT. This guide emphasizes the current format of the IBT that has been in use since 2007, including the revisions to the test format done back in August 2019, and the latest revision effective July 26, 2023.

The length of the TOEFL IBT test takes has gotten shorter over the years. It's gone from taking over 4 hours to complete down to about three hours as of August 2019. The length of the test used to vary depending on the number of passages in the Reading and the Listening sections. For the July 26, 2023 version the test is uniform and been trimmed down to be a little under two hours. Listening is about 36 minutes, Reading is about 36 minutes, Speaking is about 17 minutes and Writing is about 30 minutes.

You will do the four sections in this order: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. The number of questions in Reading is 20 questions. The number of Listening questions is 28. There are 4 tasks in Speaking, and 2 tasks in Writing.

This guide will cover the question types in more detail later on. You will see mostly multiple choice questions in the Reading and Listening parts. With multiple choice questions, there are always 4 answer options and only one correct answer.

The highest total score for the TOEFL IBT test is 120. Each of the 4 sections has a maximum score value of 30.

When you take the TOEFL IBT at your local ETS authorized test center, the entire test must be completed in one session, and if you leave without finishing the test, you will need to register for the test again, and pay to take the entire test over again.

You can get a better understanding of what the TOEFL IBT is like if you take one of TestDEN's free mini TOEFL sample tests.

You can get more information on the official TOEFL IBT test by going to the ETS website.

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