The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a standardized academic English test primarily taken by students applying to universities in the United States. The TOEFL is also accepted as proof of English ability by some universities outside the United States. The TOEFL is actually a suite of tests, the most popular of which is the TOEFL iBT. Other tests in the TOEFL suite are the TOEFL PBT (Paper Based Test), the TOEFL ITP (Institutional Testing Program), the TOEFL Junior Standard, and the TOEFL Junior Comprehensive. These other forms of the TOEFL are only available in particular locations, or only available to students via their schools.
The TOEFL iBT is composed of four sections – reading, listening, speaking, and writing. The TOEFL is a long and rigorous test (over 4 hours) designed to assess whether or not students are ready to study in an English-speaking university. Many students spend 3 to 6 months preparing for the TOEFL before taking the exam.
A TOEFL score on the online version of the test is on a scale of 0 to 120 and is valid for 2 years. Scores on the paper-based version are on a different scale, but there is an official conversion table published for that test. A student may take the TOEFL as many times as he wants, but no more than once every 12 days.