TOEFL (Test of English as Foreign Language) is one of the most respected and widely accepted English language test that is accepted by thousands of universities across the world. TOEFL scores are considered by universities, immigration departments, and workplaces in many English speaking countries to gauge candidates’ English comprehension abilities. Today, more than 10,000 universities spread across more than 150 countries in the world, including the US, New Zealand, the UK, Canada, and Australia. TOEFL enjoys the distinction of being the only standardized test that simulates campus life and university classroom. The test is designed and developed ETS with the help of some of the leading and most prestigious universities of the world.

Exam Structure

TOEFL has four sections – Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening. Students taking up this test will require doing tasks that will combine all these communication skills, like:

  • Read and listen to a question and then write in response to it
  • Listen to a question and then speak in response to it
  • Read and listen to a question and then speak in response to it

Though it takes to about 3 hours to complete TOEFL, an additional half-hour can be planned by students for check-in.

The Reading section requires students to read passages and answer questions related to them. Altogether there will be 30-40 questions in this sections and the same need to be attempted within 54-72 minutes.

The Listening section will have 28-39 questions and all of them have to be attempted by students within 41-57 minutes. Here, students will answer questions relating to classroom discussions or brief lectures.

There will be a break for students spanning 10 minutes.

In the Speaking section, there will be 4 tasks assigned for the students that they need to attend within 17 minutes. Here, students will be talking about a topic familiar to them. They will also discuss material they read and listened to.

The Writing section will have 2 tasks that students need to attempt within 50 minutes. Here, students will read a passage and will listen to a recording after which they will type their response.


This section is designed to gauge the candidate’s ability to read and understand different kinds of materials that are used in an academic environment. Typically, this section will have 3-4 reading passages with 10 questions per passage. Furthermore, each passage will be 700 words long. Students need to answer all the questions within 54-72 minutes.

Passages in this section are of university-level and are usually excerpts used as introductions to a topic or a discipline. The passages included in the test cover different subjects. Students need not worry if the topic of a passage is unfamiliar to them. As such the passages will have all information necessary for answering the questions. Also, if students need them, there will be a glossary feature that can be used for understanding words that are not commonly used.

There may also be some extra questions in the Listening and Reading sections that will not be counted in your score. Usually, these questions are included to facilitate ETS to:

  • Figure out how such questions work in real test conditions
  • Enable test scores to compare with other administrations


This section is designed to gauge student’s ability to understand lectures and conversations in English. This section includes listening for:

  • Basic comprehension 
  • Practical understanding and connecting and processing information

The listening items in this section are of 2 types – lectures and conversations. Campus-based language is used in both these types.

  • 3-4 lectures with 6 questions attached to each lecture. Each lecture will be 3-5 minutes long
  • 2-3 conversations with each of them 3 minutes long from 2 speakers. Each conversation will be followed by 5 questions.

To make it easier to answer questions, students can take notes while listening to the audio items. In all, students have 41-57 minutes to complete this section.

There may also be some extra questions in the Listening and Reading sections that will not be counted in your score. Usually, these questions are included to facilitate ETS to:

  • Figure out how such questions work in real test conditions
  • Enabling comparison of test scores with other administrations


This section is designed to gauge your ability to speak effectively in English in academic settings. In all, there will be 4 tasks students need to attempt that, in a way, reflect real-life situations students may experience both in a classroom and outside it.

  • The 1st question will be an ‘independent speaking task’ as it will prompt you in bringing out your original ideas, experiences, and opinions.
  • Questions 2,3, and 4 are ‘integrated speaking tasks’ as they will require you to combine different English skills – reading and speaking, listening, or listening and speaking – just as you would do both inside a classroom and outside it.

The preparation time for each response will be 15-30 seconds and the time given for each response is 45-60 seconds.

The microphone on your headset needs to be used for recording your response. This response will be recorded and sent to ETS where certified human raters and AI scoring will work in combination to provide a score for the student in a quality and fair manner.

In all, students are given 17 minutes for completing this section.


This section is designed to gauge student’s writing ability in an academic setting. Through the writing section, students are also tested on how well they can present their ideas.

In this section, there will be 2 tasks:

  • Independent writing task – A writing topic will be provided to the candidate. He/she has to write an essay giving out his/her opinion and personal experiences. This task needs to be completed within 30 minutes.
  • Integrated writing task – In this task, the candidate has to read a passage and then listen to a lecture. Thereafter, the candidate has to respond in a way he/she has read and listened to. The time allocated for this task will be 20 minutes. 

A computer keyboard will be used by the candidate for typing all the responses. The responses will be sent to ETS, where a combination of human evaluators and AI scoring will decide the actual score of the candidate. This method is followed to ensure there is quality and fairness in the scoring system.

The writing section needs to be completed within 50 minutes.

What scores are preferred by top universities?

Here are some of the top US universities that accept TOEFL scores and their cut-offs:

University                                                                   TOEFL Cut-off

Harvard University                                                            100-109

Yale University                                                                  100

University of Pennsylvania                                                100

Brown University                                                              100

Massachusetts Institute of Technology                             90  

Princeton University                                                          100

Stanford University                                                           100

UCLA                                                                                87

Columbia University                                                         100

University of Washington                                                 76

University of Illinois, Chicago                                          80

Auburn University                                                             79

Florida International University                                        80

University of Dayton, Ohio                                               80

University of Central Florida                                             80      

University of South Carolina                                             77

Adelphi University                                                            80

American University                                                         100

University of Kansas                                                         79

University of Massachusetts, Boston                                79

California Institute of Technology                                    78

UC Berkeley                                                                     100

Duke University                                                                90

University of California, Los Angeles                              87  

University of Michigan – Ann Arbor                                88-100 

Northwestern University                                                  90 

University of California, San Diego                                 85

Carnegie Mellon University                                             102

Boston University                                                             90

Bryn Mawr College                                                          100

New York University                                                       100

Bentley University                                                            90

Rice University                                                                 100

Cornell University                                                            100

University of Rochester                                                   100

Emory University                                                             100

Ball State University                                                        79

Boston College                                                                 100

Central Michigan University                                            79

Clemson University                                                          79-80

College of William and Mary                                           93-100

Colorado State University                                                45-71

Drexel University                                                             80-100

Florida A&M University                                                  80

Fordham University                                                          90

George Mason University                                                 88-100

Georgetown University                                                     100

Illinois Institute of Technology                                        80

John Hopkins University                                                   100

Michigan State University                                                79

Montana State University                                                 80-93

New Jersey Institute of Technology                                 79

Northeastern University                                                   79-80

Oakland University                                                          79

Ohio University                                                                80

Purdue University – West Lafayette                                77                                             

San Diego State University                                              80

Southern Illinois University – Carbondale                      80

Trinity International University                                       92

Tufts University                                                               100

Tulane University                                                            84

University of Hartford                                                     79

University of Houston                                                     79


University                                           Country                          TOEFL Cut-off      

University of Cambridge                    United Kingdom                      110

University of Oxford                          United Kingdom                      100

Heidelberg University                        Germany                                  90

LMU Munich                                     Germany                                  80

Humboldt University of Berlin          Germany                                  79

KU Leuven                                        Belgium                                    79-80 

University College London               United Kingdom                       100

University of Durham                       United Kingdom                       88

RWTH Aachen                                  Germany                                   90

Tampere University                          Finland                                      79-80

University of Manchester                 United Kingdom                        100

University of Warwick                     United Kingdom                        92

University of Bologna                       Italy                                          79-80

King’s College, London                   United Kingdom                        72

Technical University of Munich       Germany                                   88

University of Bonn                           Germany                                    80

University of Tuebingen                  Germany                                    79

Imperial College London                 United Kingdom                        82

London School of Economics          United Kingdom                       100

Leiden University                             Netherlands                               88

University of Freiburg                      Germany                                   100

University of Leeds                          United Kingdom                       83

University of Edinburgh                  United Kingdom                        100

Central European University            Hungary                                    88

University of Lancaster                    United Kingdom                       87

Erasmus University Rotterdam        Netherlands                               90

University of St. Andrews               United Kingdom                        92-100

Newcastle University                       United Kingdom                       100

Chalmers University of Technology Sweden                                    90


University                                      TOEFL Cut-off    

University of Toronto                        89-110

University of Ottawa                         86-96

University of Calgary                        80-108

University of British Columbia         90

University of Alberta                         90

McGill University                              79-100

McMaster University                         86

University of Waterloo                      90

Western University                            83

York University                                 79-80 

University of Montreal                      86

Simon Fraser University                    93

Queen’s University                            110  


University                                      TOEFL Cut-off    

University of Melbourne                    79

The University of Adelaide                79

University of Wollongong                  61

University of Sydney                          96

UNSW Sydney                                   90

Curtin University                                84

University of Western Australia         82

RMIT University                                79

Monash University                             94

University of Technology, Sydney     102-109

University of Queensland                   87

Australian National University           80-100

Deakin University                              65

Macquarie University                         83

Victoria University                             55

University of New South Wales        90

Griffith University                             79

University of South Australia            60

New Zealand 

University                                      TOEFL Cut-off    

University of Auckland                           80

University of Waikato                             80

University of Canterbury                        80

University of Victoria, Wellington         90

Auckland University of Technology      80

University of Otago                                80

AUT University                                      80

Massey University                                  80

Wellington Institute of Technology       46

Manukau Institute of Technology          60

Lincoln University                                  60

What are the passing scores and what do the scores represent?

ETS or TOEFL Program doesn’t set passing or failing scores. Each agency or institution has its score requirements. Students need to contact their respective institution in finding out how their TOEFL scores will be interpreted or used.


University                                                                                    Country                          

Tsinghua University                                                                     China

College of Global Talents                                                            China

Oak Hill School of Shenzhen                                                       China

Shenzhen University, College of International Exchange          China

St. Mary’s – Wuhan                                                                      China

Hohai University                                                                          China

Nanjing University of Information Science & Technology         China

China University of Petroleum (East China)                                China

St. Mary’s Jinhua High School                                                    China

New York University Shanghai                                                   China

East China Normal University – Asia Europe Business School  China

English School of Phonetics, MVA Trust PUSA                        India

Butterfly                                                                                       India

Indian Institute of Management, Amritsar                                   India

Aegis School of Business                                                             India

C-CAPS                                                                                        India 

Tata Institute of Social Science                                                    India

Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies                        India

University of Mumbai                                                                  India

S P Jain School of Global Management                                      India

The American School of Bombay                                               India

Global Institute of Management Technology                              India

Maharishi Institute of Management                                             India

Indian Institute of Social Welfare & Business Management      India

Stella Maris College                                                                    India

The National Management School                                              India

Central Institute of English & Foreign Languages                      India

Indian School of Business                                                           India

Pune Institute of Business Management                                     India

Mahkota College                                                                        Malaysia  

James Cook University                                                               Singapore

Curtin Singapore                                                                        Singapore

Yale – NUS College                                                                   Singapore

California International USA School                                         Hong Kong

Lasalle College                                                                           Hong Kong

Lingnan University                                                                     Hong Kong

Tehran University of Medical Sciences                                      Iran

Osaka University, OSIPP                                                            Japan

Osaka University – School of Engineering Science                   Japan

Kyoto University, Graduate School of Science                          Japan

University of Tokyo – IS&T                                                       Japan

Keio University                                                                           Japan

Seoul National University of Science and Technology              South Korea

Sejng University                                                                         South Korea

University of San Carlos                                                            Philippines

Ateneo Graduate School of Business                                        Philippines

Reading Section

Score range 24-30 (Advanced)

Candidates who score at an advanced level in the reading section are capable of understanding academic passages in English that are of university level. These candidates typically understand less common meanings of words. They are also capable of synthesizing information even in those passages that are conceptually dense and contain complex language.

Score range 18-23 (High-Intermediate)

Candidates whose reading score fall in the High-intermediate range typically understand important details and ideas that are presented through academic passages. However, these candidates may have an incorrect or incomplete understanding of different parts of passages, especially the ones that are dense with propositions. The candidates at this level are capable of synthesizing information given in the passage but tend to struggle a bit when the passage is abstract, rhetorically complex, or conceptually dense.

Score range 4-17 (Low-Intermediate)

Candidates whose reading score fall between 4 and 17 or in the Low-Intermediate level have limited understanding of information presented to them through passages. However, these candidates understand the main ideas and are capable of understanding connections between two or more sentences, especially when the relationships are simple and clear. However, they face difficulty in handling complex or dense parts of passages.

Score range 0-3 (Below Low-Intermediate)

These candidates are yet to demonstrate reading proficiency at the Low-Intermediate level.

Listening Section

Score range 22-30 (Advanced)

Candidates whose score fall in the Advanced level can easily understand lectures and conversations in an academic setting. These test takers should not have any difficulty in understanding main ideas as well as explicitly given details. Furthermore, these candidates can easily differentiate important ideas from lesser ones. 

Score range 17-21 (High-Intermediate)

Candidates whose listening score fall in the High-Intermediate level can understand important details of lectures and conversations that are in an academic setting. However, they may face difficulty with conversations and lectures in which information is presented densely. 

Score range 9-16 (Low-Intermediate)

Candidates whose listening score fall between 9 and 16 are typically the ones who can understand important details and main ideas of lectures and conversations that fall within the academic settings. However, these candidates may need elaborated or extensive examples to get ideas in complex discussions. 

Score range 0-8 (Below Low-Intermediate)

These candidates are yet to demonstrate their listening capability at the Low-Intermediate level.

Speaking Section

Score range 25-30 (Advanced)

Candidates who score in the range of 25-30 in the speaking section do not feel any difficulty in communicating effectively and fluently on different types of topics. Furthermore, these candidates demonstrate full control of vocabulary and grammatical structures. 

Score range 20-24 (High-Intermediate)

Candidates whose score fall in the High-Intermediate range generally do not encounter any difficulty in communicating on most familiar or general topics. They understand even those topics that are academic or complex. Candidates in the High-Intermediate level pass on sufficient information that is enough to produce opinions, explanations, and summaries.

Score range 16-19 (Low-Intermediate)

Candidates falling in the Low-Intermediate category are generally able to speak on a variety of familiar or general topics with relative ease. However, these candidates may occasionally take longer pauses while speaking on academic or more complex topics. Also, their mispronunciations may dilute meaning some times. 

Score range 10-15 (Basic)

Candidates who score between 10 and 15 in the speaking section can communicate limited details about every day, familiar topic. Typically, these candidates speak carefully and slowly so they are understood easily by others. Also, the pronunciation of the candidates is generally influenced by the first language of the speaker. 

Score range 0-9 (Below Basic)

These test takers have still not been able to indicate speaking proficiency at the Basic level.

Writing Section

Score range 24-30 (Advanced)

These candidates can easily write on a wide range of non-academic and academic topics with lots of clarity and confidence. Candidates with an advanced score in the writing section can also produce well-organized and well-developed texts. Furthermore, they can write in English clearly and grammatically way which is a rarity in most students. Candidates in this score range can collect important information from different sources, integrate it, and produce it clearly and coherently while writing.

Score range 17-23 (High-Intermediate)

These test-takers can easily write in English on a variety of familiar or general topics. They generally do not encounter any difficulty while conveying ideas on academic topics or complex ideas. 

Score range 13-16 (Low-Intermediate)

Candidates falling in this score range can generally produce simple written texts on topics that are familiar to them. However, their development of ideas may be restricted because of inappropriate or insufficient explanations and details. They may induce language errors obscuring meaning or connections at certain junctures between texts.

Score range 7-12 (Basic)

These candidates are generally able to produce basic information in written English. However, their produced text may come with fewer details. Though the information their texts convey certain ideas, the poor sentence structure and grammatical errors may make their texts difficult to understand at times.

Score range 0-6 (Below Basic)

These test takers have still not been able to indicate writing proficiency at the Basic level.

Edument approach for your TOEFL preparation

Edument believes in providing the best preparation services for TOEFL. Our team of experts are dedicated and passionate about helping students crack standardized tests like TOEFL.

Our Practice sections and lectures are delivered to students in a systematic way and help cover all areas of the test. Also, to help students make the most of their preparation, we introduce them to video lectures that are incorporated with key techniques necessary for cracking the test easily. Our friendly and experienced tutors are always there for students in explaining them address problem areas and set aside difficulties that they may encounter in homework or class work.

There is a lot of flexibility in the way we have structured our TOEFL program. Students who wish to succeed in a standardized test like TOEFL can work through it at a pace they are comfortable with. Usually, we design our TOEFL classes to last for 4 weeks. However, we are open to extending it or reducing it depending on your needs and preference.

We want our students to be well-prepared for TOEFL. This is why our emphasis has been on designing and developing simulated tests and computer-based study units. At the end of the day, we want students to build a strong foundation in key areas of the test, including reading, reasoning, and grammar. 

The mock tests we line for students at the end of the course will help you figure out how well prepared you are in taking the test. If you wish to take up our coaching program for TOEFL, get in touch with us.

Where to book your TOEFL exam?

Preparing for TOEFL well in advance is the key to succeeding in the test. At Edument, we help you in every possible way to ensure you take up TOEFL without a glitch and succeed in too. Our expert TOEFL tutors will teach all the nuances of the test and monitor your progress at regular intervals. However, to book your TOEFL exam, you need to visit the official website of ETS and register yourself there.

Students are advised to visit and follow the required steps. After creating an ETS account there, students have the option of selecting their preferred test centre location and test date. In case you need help while registering, you can use their email or call the support staff directly.

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