TOEFL FAQ: All Your Top TOEFL Questions, Answered

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At Zinkerz, our students are always emailing us with questions about the TOEFL exam. So, we thought we’d compile a list of the questions we get the most, as well as our answers. Consider this a cheat-sheet for all your most pressing questions about the exam.

Is the TOEL on the computer?

The short answer is: in most countries, yes. The long answer is: not necessarily. There are two versions of the TOEFL test: the Internet-based test (iBT) and the paper-based test (PBT). In the majority of countries, only the TOEFL iBT is available to students. These countries include the US, Brazil, Argentina, China, India, Russia, the UK, and Panama. The TOEFL PBT is, however, the only option in many countries throughout Africa and the Middle East.

Is the TOEFL hard?

ETS, the company that creates the TOEFL, designs the test to measure a student’s ability to understand English at a university level. A good score on the TOEFL shows universities that you’ll be able to handle the coursework and thrive in a community where English is the prominent language. According to the ETS, the average TOEFL score in 2015 was an 84, which equates to about 21 on each of the 4 sections. While that’s an interesting statistic, it doesn’t really tell you much about how hard the test is.

So, let’s turn to the students! A quick look at a number of different message boards show that, if you’re exposed to English regularly, you likely won’t find the test too difficult:

From this post on Quara: “If you are somewhat good at English, you can ace the test without much effort.”

From this post on CollegeConfidential: “If you can have an everyday conversation and write academic papers in English, you are all set for the test.”

Can I prepare for the TOEFL in one month?

The answer to this question depends on your comfort level with English, but yes, you can prepare in one month! While the ETS provides an 8-week plan, there’s no need to stress if you’re short on time. The best way to prepare is:

  1. Make a schedule that includes daily study-time. We recommend at least one hour per day.
  2. Assemble some top-notch test-prep resources! Our TOEFL mobile app and web platform are very affordable, and let you practice each of the 4 sections of the exam. In addition, you can sign-up for the Zinkerz Online Tutoring course for TOEFL, in which you’ll learn from one of our expert tutors.
  3. Expose yourself to English as much as possible. The best way to do this, if you’re not around a lot of English speakers, is through online videos and articles. Take time each day to watch an episode of an English show (may we recommend The Office, Game of Thrones, and Stranger Things) or read an article on NPR or the New York Times.

Is the TOEFL expensive?

Registration fee for the TOEFL varies from country to country, but the cost will likely be between 160 and 200 USD.

Is the TOEFL required?

If you want to study in the US, most schools will require that you complete the TOEFL.