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This page is for general information about the TOEFL.

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The TOEFL is a test that shows your level of English. Basically, the university wants to know that you know enough English to understand your courses and do well in school. Almost every university in the United States requires a certain TOEFL score. For example, if you want to go to a great school, like Harvard or Stanford, you need a really TOEFL high score, like 600. But, if you don't care about the school, you can go to an easier school. Many of these schools only require a TOEFL score of about 450.


  • For how long is my TOEFL score valid?

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    • Your TOEFL score is valid for only two years. In other words, two years after you take your TOEFL, your score will be deleted from the official TOEFL database and they will not send you another report of your score. If you still have a copy of your original score, you can ask the university whether they will accept it, but most universities will not accept a copy from you; they require a score directly from TOEFL.


  • What is a good score on the TOEFL?

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    • The highest score on the paper TOEFL is 677. The highest score on the computer TOEFL is 300. Most people now still use the paper TOEFL scores, even though most students take the computer TOEFL.

      The score that you need depends on the university that you want to go to; you will need to contact the university to find out. In general, however, the score requirements range from 133 to 250 (CBT scoring) or 450 to 600 (paper scoring).

      Some universities will tell you that they don't have a minimum requirement; usually these universities are the best ones, like Stanford or Harvard. However, even though they don't have a "requirement," most of the people who go to these universities have TOEFL scores from 267 to 300. Many TestMagic students have TOEFL scores higher than 270.


  • What score do I need on the TOEFL?

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    • The highest TOEFL score that you will need is probably about 630. The lowest TOEFL score that you will need is probably about 450. In general, better universities require higher TOEFL scores and worse schools require lower TOEFL scores. Some schools require no TOEFL score, but, be careful! These schools are not good schools!


  • How can I figure out my CBT score?

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    • After you take your test, you will get a range of your score. For example, you might see something like this: 207-270. Your final score depends on your essay score. Each point on the essay will raise your final score about ten points. So, for example, if you get a 1.0 on your essay, your final score would be 217. Or, if you get a 5.0 on your essay, your final score would be about 260.

    • How can I find out my essay score? Click here.


  • How can I raise my score on the TOEFL?

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    • Some people can raise their scores by speaking and watching television and American movies, other people can raise their scores by studying the TOEFL. The answer really depends on the student.

Click here to find out which books to buy and how you can study alone.


  • What is the best way to raise my score quickly?

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    • Check out our TOEFL section here on TestMagic. We have a lot of practice, tips, and info to help you.

    • In general, grammar scores go up faster than the scores on any other section.

    • Studying with a good teacher or book will help you a lot.


  • How long will it take me to raise my score on the TOEFL?

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    • This is usually the first question that people ask. It is extremely difficult to say--each person is different. Some people learn languages very quickly, others need more time. Learning a new language is very similar to learning any other skill, like ballet dancing or painting--some people learn very quickly because they have a natural ability in that area, others need more time.

    • However, in general, most people need from two to six hours of study for each point.


  • What do I need to know for the TOEFL?

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    • The TOEFL is getting harder and harder all the time. You will need to have a good understanding of English. You will need to be able to listen, read, and write for the TOEFL. Right now, the TOEFL does not require you to speak.

    • Most of the English on the TOEFL represents the kind of English that you will hear if you go to college in the US, so you should study English that is academic. For example, if you are studying for the TOEFL, you should read Newsweek or Time instead of reading Batman comic books! Similarly, watching documentaries about wildlife or space is much more helpful than seeing Hollywood action movies.


  • How much does the TOEFL cost?

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    • It costs about US $110 to take the computerized TOEFL. You can pay with a credit card (Visa, MasterCard, or American Express) or check. You can go to the Official TOEFL page for more info about how to pay, etc.



  • Do I have to take the computer TOEFL or the paper TOEFL?

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    • In every country except China, you will have to take the computer test.


  • How long will it take for me to get my TOEFL score?

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    • If we type the essay, TOEFL will mail the score about two weeks after the test. If we handwrite the essay, they will take longer. Sometimes, TOEFL takes up to five weeks to mail the scores since it is easier to lose a handwritten essay. Sometimes they "misplace" a handwritten essay and it takes them longer to find it. One of my students didn't even get her score--TOEFL lost her essay! This is one reason to type our essays instead of handwriting them.


  • What's the difference between the computer TOEFL and the paper TOEFL?

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    • There are many differences between the CBT TOEFL and the paper TOEFL.

    • The biggest difference between the CBT TOEFL and the paper TOEFL is that the CBT TOEFL requires an essay.

    • Also, the CBT TOEFL has some new question types that we have not seen before on the paper TOEFL.


  • Which TOEFL is easier? The computer TOEFL or the paper TOEFL?

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    • Most people agree: the paper TOEFL is much easier than the CBT TOEFL. For example, the listening on the CBT TOEFL is much harder than the listening on the paper TOEFL and the CBT TOEFL has an essay that you have to write.


  • What's the difference between the Institutional TOEFL and the International TOEFL?

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    • The Institutional TOEFL is the TOEFL that is given by a place so that they can measure the English level of the people who take the test. The score you receive from this test is NOT good for every university in the world. However, many colleges will accept a TOEFL score from the Institutional TOEFL. If you want your TOEFL score to be accepted at every university in the world, then you need to take the International TOEFL.


  • Can I still take the paper TOEFL instead of the computer TOEFL?

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    • For most schools, the answer is "NO." However, some schools think that the price of the International TOEFL is too high (US$110) and will still accept scores from the paper TOEFL (about US$40). You will have to ask the school that you want to attend to find out whether they will accept the paper TOEFL or not. If schools accept the paper TOEFL, you will have to find a place to take the paper TOEFL. The paper TOEFL is called the "institutional TOEFL" in the United States because it is not accepted at every place in the world.


  • Should I type or handwrite the essay for the computer TOEFL?

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    • The easy answer is this: you should type your TOEFL essay if you can! However, if you cannot type very fast, you should handwrite your TOEFL essay. If you type your TOEFL essay, you should receive your TOEFL score within two weeks. If you handwrite your TOEFL essay, it might take up to five weeks to receive your TOEFL score. Sometimes, TOEFL loses the handwritten TOEFL essays and TOEFL test takers have to take the TOEFL test again.


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