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TOEFL PBT 2021: Overview, Fees, Section Details, Scoring and More

Sayantani Barman logo

Sayantani Barman

Study Abroad Expert | Updated On -Jun 10, 2021

TOEFL is taken mostly in the internet-based medium or as iBT. As the name suggests, the internet is a must for the TOEFL of this medium. However, it is not that the examinees of the areas where the internet is now well available cannot take TOEFL. ETS is aware of this and this is the reason behind the TOEFL PBT (paper-based test). Though more than 98% of test-takers prefer TOEFL iBT, the rest 2% also matter for ETS and us. So let’s understand TOEFL PBT here.

TOEFL PBT Exam Pattern

TOEFL PBT is a paper-based TOEFL exam in close resemblance to TOEFL iBT. TOEFL PBT measures the listening, reading, and writing skills of the test-taker. Due to the unavailability of technological requirements, TOEFL PBT doesn’t have any speaking section.

TOEFL pBT Exam Format

Check the following section to know the doable and number of each section in detail.


TOEFL Reading section in PBT examines how well an individual understands academic texts in English studied at the university level courses. Most excerpts for reading passages are taken from university textbooks. For this section, the candidates need to

  • Read 3 passages and answer the questions
  • Each passage has 10 questions with 4 or more answer options among which a one or more can be the correct answer

TOEFL PBT Listening

Listening section in TOEFL PBT tests the ability to listen to each English word spoken in an academic environment. Like TOEFL iBT, this section is also designed with lectures and conversations taken from an academic setting. Note-taking is allowed here. In this section

  • 2 conversations and 3 lectures will be played only once
  • Total number of questions: 28
  • Multiple choice questions will come with 4 options among which 1 or 2 will be correct


In this section, examiners measure the writing skills of the test-takers in an academic setting. Examiners measure how well test takers maintain coherence and fluency within the written essay. Writing section of TOEFL PBT consists of 2 sections- 1 Integrated Task and 1 Independent Task.

  • In the Integrated task, test takers have to read a passage and listen to the audio and write an essay by paraphrasing and citing information from the sources
  • For the independent task, the test-taker has to write an opinion essay stating an argument on a common topic and substantiate the stand with reliable examples and reason

TOEFL PBT Test Centers

In India, TOEFL iBT occurs in 59 cities across the nation. TOEFL PBT happens only 4 times a year. Every test center is not open to offline test patterns.

Globally, there are a few centers where the only mode of TOEFL is TOEFL PBT. Along with that, a few centers offer the candidates to choose whether to take TOEFL iBT or TOEFL PBT as the centers have facilities for both; however, these centers are not much in number. Check the following table for more details:

Centers offering TOEFL PBT Centers where both TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT are available
Angola Angola
Barbados Burkina Faso
Belize Cameroon
Bhutan Congo DRC
Brunei Darussalam Iraq
Burundi Kazakhstan
Cameroon Kyrgyzstan
Central African Republic Myanmar
Chad Nigeria
Comoros Suriname
Congo DRC Tanzania
Equatorial Guinea Togo
Eritrea -
Fiji -
Iraq -
Kazakhstan -
Kyrgyzstan -
Liberia -
Libya -
Madagascar -
Maldives -
Marshall Islands -
Micronesia -
Myanmar -
Niger -
Nigeria -
Papua New Guinea -
Sierra Leone -
South Sudan -
Sudan -
Syria -
Tanzania -
Tonga -
Turkmenistan -
Zimbabwe -


Alike TOEFL iBT, TOEFL PBT fees is US$180. Within TOEFL registration fee, test takers can add 4 institutions to send score reports directly but with additional charges, one can add more institutions

TOEFL PBT Duration

Total duration for TOEFL PBT is 2hrs 25 minutes.


As compared to TOEFL iBT, paper delivered TOEFL is scored differently. Test takers get a score on a scale of 310-677. For the scoring, examiners include the score of all the sections. Each correct answer of the sections carries 1 raw point. There is no penalty for incorrect answers. All these three sections are equally distributed in TOEFL PBT. ETS calculates the total TOEFL PBT score by adding the number scored by the test taker in each section, then multiply the total sum by 10 and then divide the total result by 3.

Example: If a test taker gets 50 in each section of the listening, reading, and writing section. Therefore total score is (50+50+50) = 150*10=1500/3=500. Therefore the test taker scores 500.

TOEFL PBT Score Validity

Regardless of TOEFL exam pattern, the TOEFL score will be valid for 2 years.

TOEFL PBT Score sending

At the time of registration, the score sending 4 destinations are selected. ETS allows the test takers to get an additional charge to mail score reports to more institutes.

TOEFL PBT Retaking

Within 3 months of publication of results, test takers can apply for re-assessment of TOEFL score.

Difference between TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT

The two versions of TOEFL are mostly similar with a few minor differences:

  • Registration for TOEFL iBT and PBT is different
  • The speaking section of TOEFL absent in TOEFL PBT
  • Duration of TOEFL PBT is around 1 hour less than TOEFL iBT
  • Score of TOEFL PBT varies between 310 and 677, TOEFL iBT score range is 0-120.

For a better understanding of the exam pattern of TOEFL iBT and PBT, go through the following table.

Reading 30-40 questions 30 questions
Listening 28-39 questions 28 questions
Speaking 4 tasks Nil
Writing 2 tasks 2 tasks
Structure and Written Expression Nil 40 questions
Total Time Duration Around 4hrs 2hrs 25 minutes

Rest, everything like the type of passages, listening materials, question types, and topics are the same.

TOEFL PBT Preparation Tips

Test takers who have no access to the internet so easily can opt for the TOEFL PBT. Few preparation tips for TOEFL PBT are as follows

  • Try interacting in English through speaking, writing, reading, and listening
  • Strengthen vocabulary and sentence structure
  • for making it easily comprehensible to learn note-taking
  • if online help is unavailable, use radio, TV, newspaper, academic journals, movies to understand English accent easily and to enhance your vocabulary

So, having no access to internet is no more a problem to take TOEFL because TOEFL PBT is available – fulfill your dream of studying abroad with it.

*The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College.


anuj singh chauhan
How many times toefl is conducted in a year?

Dear Anuj Singh Chauhan

Greetings from Collegedunia. Due to Covid-19 Pandemic, TOEFL is conducted online at home at your convenience. ETS conducts TOEFL at least 50 dates a year. Test takers can take TOEFL Exam either in TOEFL iBT (Internet-Based Test) or TOEFL PBT (Paper-Based Test). For more information, kindly go through this link – TOEFL Exam Pattern 2020

sandesh kumar
What is the fees for TOEFL Exam?

Dear Sandesh Kumar

Greetings from Collegedunia. The candidates know that the Exam Fee of TOEFL changes from nations to nations due to the change in currencies you know. TOEFL iBT Exam Fee varies from $160 to $250 whereas TOEFL PBT Fees is $180. For more details, kindly go through this link – TOEFL Payment Mode

shruti verma
What is the highest score for Toefl PBT?

Dear Shruti Verma

Greetings from Collegedunia. The Average Score in TOEFL scored by the candidates is 90 whereas, for Regional Speaking languages states, it is 23 overall band score. For more details, kindly go through this link – TOEFL Score