What is the TOEFL?

The TOEFL is the Test of English as a Foreign Language. The acronym, TOEFL, is pronounced “toe-full” or sometimes “taw-fil”. The TOEFL is the test that most colleges and universities in the United States require before admitting international students whose native language is not English.

The test measures a student’s ability to use and understand American English at the college level. The TOEFL focuses only on a student’s ability to read, write, and understand spoken American English.

A complementary test, the TSE (Test of Spoken English), evaluates a student’s ability to speak and converse in English. The TSE is sometimes required in addition to the TOEFL, but is usually only required of graduate students who are applying for a position as a Teaching Assistant.

Some schools may require that non-English speaking students take entirely different tests, such as the TOEIC, MTELP, or IELTS. Other schools may even admit students who have not taken the TOEFL but have successfully completed an intensive ESL (English as a Second Language) program on campus. However, the TOEFL is by far the most widely required test of international students.

A minimum score on the TOEFL is required to enter an American university and adequately preparing for the TOEFL is essential.