What does TOEFL stand for?

“What does TOEFL stand for?” you might be wondering if you are an international student whose first language is not English.  Maybe you have a goal of attending an English-speaking university. Or, perhaps you desire to complete a vocational program that requires a high level of English proficiency. Whatever the reason, you may need to take the TOEFL exam. TOEFL is an acronym that stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. Currently, the TOEFL ITP, the TOEFL iBT, the Paper-delivered TOEFL Test, , and the shortened, slightly modified version of the TOEFL iBT coming out in August 2019 are specific types of English proficiency TOEFL exams that you might need to take.


What does the TOEFL ITP stand for?

Many have queried, “What does TOEFL stand for?” Others want to know what “ITP” stands for. It is an acronym for “Institutional Testing Program.”  Local universities administer this version of the TOEFL exam so that these specific schools can evaluate academic English proficiency among non-native English speakers. Admin officials deliver this test only in certain areas. The test consists of three sections:

  • A 35 minute listening section: 30 short conversation questions, 10 longer conversation questions, and 10 academic lectures.
  • A 25 minute grammar section: 15 structure questions in which the testers choose answers which most correctly complete sentences and 25 written-expression questions in which the testers choose incorrectly written words/phrases within sentences.
  • A 55 minute, 50 question reading section: main idea, detail, negative detail, implied detail, vocabulary, pronoun referent, and organization question types.

In fact, California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB), where I teach, offers the TOEFL ITP as both a pre-test and post-test for the international students studying in our English Language Program (ELP).  Our ELP students can use the results from this test to gain admission into undergraduate and graduate programs at CSUSB. However, these students cannot use the TOEFL ITP for other universities.

What does the TOEFL iBT stand for?

Now you have the answer to “What does the TOEFL stand for?” “iBT” stands for the Internet-based test. This is the four hour version of the TOEFL test that 98% of all students need (and probably even you.). You will take this test on the Internet at a secure testing location. This version of the TOEFL comprises four sections:

  • Reading: Tests your ability to understand conceptually-dense academic texts.
  • Listening: Evaluates your competency through the understanding of conversations, discussions in classrooms, and academic lectures.
  • Speaking: Assesses your skills in responding to six speaking tasks: two personal experience and four integrated campus-related and academic tasks.
  • Writing: Measures your ability to write in response to reading and listening passages. In addition, you will be asked to state a opinion in response to personal experience topics.

What is the Revised TOEFL  paper-delivered test?

Not all testing locations in the world have reliable access to the Internet. Therefore, ETS offers the revised TOEFL Paper-delivered Test in these rare cases. This test is exactly the same as the format of the TOEFL iBT, except that there is no speaking section.

What is the shortened TOEFL iBT: August 2019 Version?

In August 2019, the TOEFL iBT will be shortened to about three hours. In addition, the test format and question types will remain the same as they are right now on the current version of the TOEFL iBT. Here is what you need to know:

  • Instead of 3-4 reading passages with 12-14 questions for each passage in the current 60-80 minute reading section, the reading section will change to 3-4 reading passages with 10 questions. In addition, the new test will be shortened to 54-72 minutes.
  • Currently, the listening section has 4-6 lectures with 6 questions each. Moreover, the present listening section has 2-3 conversations with 5 questions each. Overall, it takes users 60-90 minutes to complete the listening section. However, the new TOEFL iBT listening in August 2019 comprises 3-4 lectures (6 questions each) and 2-3 conversations (5 questions each). Furthermore, testers will be able to complete the new listening section after August 1, 2019 in 41-57 minutes.
  • Before August 1, 2019, the speaking section consists of six speaking tasks over a 20 minute period: 2 independent and 4 integrated tasks.  After August 2019, the speaking section will consist of 4 tasks: 1 independent and 3 integrated tasks.  On the new speaking version, ETS has eliminated independent speaking task 1 (personal preference) and integrated task 5 (listening, speaking–campus-related).

For more information about the different versions of the  TOEFL iBT, visit ETS’s web site: CLICK HERE.

To choose a TOEFL course to help you achieve your desired target score, CLICK HERE.

Good luck!

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com


1 thought on “What does TOEFL stand for?”

  1. Pingback: TOEFL Bank of Practice Questions - Better TOEFL Scores Blog

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