The TOEFL Paper-Based Test is an older version of the TOEFL and is only available in certain countries. It is by far the least common of the two versions of the TOEFL. The TOEFL PBT is an entirely different test from the online TOEFL, called TOEFL iBT. Some of the main differences are that the test itself is shorter, it doesn’t include a speaking component, and it is scored on a different scale.

Test structure

The TOEFL PBT lasts 2.5 hours and is divided into 4 sections. The listening section is first and lasts 30 to 40 minutes with a total of 50 questions. The first part of the listening section has short recordings and questions about them. The second part has longer recordings.

The second section of the TOEFL PBT has no equivalent on any of the other standardized English tests. This is a Structure and Written Expression section, in which the student must fill in blanks in sentences and find errors in written texts. This section lasts 25 minutes.

The third section is reading comprehension and it lasts 55 minutes. It contains several reading passages of different lengths and questions about the passages.

The final section of the TOEFL PBT is the writing section. It lasts just 30 minutes and is a single essay prompt.


TOEFL PBT is scored on a scale of 310 to 677 which includes only the first three sections of the test. The writing section is not included in the overall score, it is instead reported separately on a scale of 0 to 6. TOEFL PBT scores are valid for 2 years and can be used at any university that accepts TOEFL iBT scores. Most universities in the United States have a minimum TOEFL iBT score required for admittance. ETS publishes a conversion table so that universities can easily convert PBT scores to iBT scores.