TOEFL is the abbreviation for Test of English as a Foreign Language. The TOEFL was developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton, USA, and is the internationally recognised English language test, which is required for admission to many degree courses both at home and abroad. In Germany, more than half of the internationally oriented Bachelor degrees are taught entirely in English. Around three quarters of the international master’s programs and doctoral programs have English as their sole teaching language. With an upward trend.

Since the fall of 2005, the TOEFL in Europe is exclusively carried out at certified testing centres as an internet-based TOEFL (iBT). Since then, the old version of the computer-based test (TOEFL CBT) is no longer offered.

The Paper-Based-Version of the TOEFL is occasionally requested and accepted, however it is not as common as the iBT. Nevertheless, numerous universities, colleges and educational institutions continue to publish the minimum number of points required (minimum scores) in the point systems of the paper-based TOEFL or the computer-based TOEFL. In this case you will have to convert the required number of points with help of a comparison table (see below) into the TOEFL-iBT format.

This is also true if you read other – as out of date- information about the TOEFL. Nowadays, you can only take the TOEFL iBT. The TOEFL PBT will only be accepted on very rare occasions and then only for very specific reasons. The only exceptions are institutions, such as MBAhelp, ebs or some colleges, which perform an institutional version of the TOEFL PBT. This is called TOEFL ITP (TOEFL Institutional Testing Program). This TOEFL ITP can only be used for applications to institutions which recognise this format. You should therefore only take the ITP if you are applying exclusively to such institutions (for example for a semester abroad at a partner university or at the ebs in Oestrich-Winkel which also performs the TOEFL ITP). Should you, however, want to apply at several universities then you should take the TOEFL-iBT which is recognised worldwide.

The TOEFL ITP is a multiple-choice test.

The TOEFL ITP consists of three sections: Listening Comprehension (50 questions) Reading Comprehension (50 questions) and Grammar (40 questions). The overall duration of the test is 115 minutes. You can take the TOEFL ITP at any time at MBAhelp in Frankfurt. The test fee is EUR 150.00 per candidate. You will receive the results of your TOEFL ITP in form of a certificate no later than two weeks after the test date. To arrange for a test date for the TOEFL ITP please call us on 069-230020.

You will take the TOEFL iBT on a computer at a certified testing center. The TOEFL iBT has 4 sections: listening, speaking, reading and writing, which are each worth 30 points. Thus, 120 points are the highest grade. The TOEFL iBT is no longer adaptive. In the listening section of TOEFL iBT dialogues and lectures from academic situations are much longer – up to 5 minutes – and more difficult than in previous versions of the TOEFL. These are no longer spoken only by American native speakers, but from people with different pronunciations and accents (including Japanese, Irish, and Scotts etc.) Test candidates can take notes during this section. In the writing part of the TOEFL iBT one must write two essays. In the reading comprehension section, the texts are much more difficult and longer than in the previous TOEFL CBT. The up to 700 word long texts are subject specific , that is, from biology, astronomy, physics, chemistry, history etc. as will be required when studying for a degree. Since 1 November 2011, the reading section contains a maximum of four texts (until then it was a maximum of five), this means that the maximum time for reading was reduced from 100 minutes to 80 minutes. A special feature of the TOEFL is the so-called “integrated questions”, which consist of several parts.

The Speaking-section of the TOEFL iBT

To test the “Speaking” skills, the candidate must dictate his answers to the questions into a microphone. Of these questions, two relate to general themes, the others to short (written) texts. Between reading the assignment and recording it, the examinee only has 5 to at most 30 seconds in which to prepare for the answer. Recording the answer lasts 45 seconds. Each of the six questions is rated 0 to 4, and the sum of all partial results is converted to an outcome of between 0 and 30. The answers are evaluated by people, not computers. They check the candidate’s ability to work out issues and communicate them as well as paying attention to the use of language.


The TOEFL iBT is much more demanding than the paper-based test and the previous computer-based test, not only because of the newly added section “Speaking”. Good English skills alone are no guarantee for good results in the TOEFL. Make sure to prepare well!

Outline of the TOEFL iBT at a glance:

Section Time Number of questions
Reading since 01.11.2011
60-80 minutes
Listening 60-90 minutes 34-51
Pause 10 minutes
Speaking 20 minutes 6
Writing 50 minutes 2

The overall result is determined according to the following scheme:

Sections points
Listening 0 to 30
Reading 0 to 30
Speaking 0 to 30
Writing 0 to 30
Total 0 to 120

With the TOEFL paper-based test (PBT) it was possible to obtain between 310 and 677 points, for the TOEFL computer-based test (CBT) between 0 and 300 points, for the TOEFL internet-based test (iBT) it is between 0 and 120 points. To see a concordance table with the overview of the relationship between the three test formats, please click here.

Our experience from the TOEFL preparation, as well as being a certified TOEFL test center, shows that the TOEFL iBT is much more demanding than the previous versions.

Most undergraduate programs (e.g. Bachelor) require TOEFL iBT scores of 79-100, on the other hand, graduate and postgraduate studies (Master Degree, MBA, PhD) generally require at least 100 or more points. Harvard, for example, requires 110 points in the TOEFL Internet Based Test for admission to its MBA, the London Business School and INSEAD request 110 points (260 CBT) as a prerequisite for admission to its Master’s program and the University of Warwick requires 115 points for admission to its Master program in Marketing. Some courses, in turn, require a minimum grade in all 4 sections (for example, 22 points per section = at least 88 points), some merely ask for a minimum grade in a section (usually it is writing) in addition to a minimum total score. Do inform yourself exactly what score you need for your studies in order to prepare for your specific needs.

MBAhelp is a certified TOEFL test center. In Germany you can take the TOEFL iBT in several cities – Aachen , Augsburg , Berlin , Bonn , Bremen , Dusseldorf, Frankfurt , Freiburg , Hamburg, Hanover , Koblenz , Mannheim, Munich , Osnabrück , St. Blaise , Sankt Augustin , Rostock , Schönebeck , Stuttgart and Tübingen. There are plans to expand the number of test centers. You can find an up to date list of test centers at The TOEFL can no longer be taken on any given day. The next TOEFL iBT test dates (subject to change) are given below. Due to popular demand additional test dates will be organized.

TOEFL Vorbereitung Termine

Please note that not all test centres in all cities propose all test dates. Due to high demand we recommend to register in time for testing. Please also note that you can only register online 3 months in advance. If the test centres are fully booked, please ask the university or institution at which you are applying, if they recognize the TOEFL ITP or the TOEIC (both also from ETS) or the IELTS test or the Pearson Test of English as an alternative. MBAhelp also offers preparation courses for the TOEFL ITP, IELTS, TOEIC and Pearson PTE. You can also take the TOEIC test and the ITP at any time at MBAhelp.

Registration for TOEFL-Test

Registration for the TOEFL iBT can be done online, by phone, by fax or by letter but only with a credit card.

Internet: > Register for the Test > select the country where you wish to sit the TOEFL. At the indicated dates, test places are available. Pay attention to the date when the list was last updated. Also, note that a test date may appear as free but which can then be taken within seconds.
The online registration for the TOEFL iBT is not very easy and sometimes requires several attempts due to the reservation system being overloaded. Once you have successfully registered, make sure to press “PRINT” or “MAIL” so that you can print out or receive an email confirming the test centre (name, street, city and time of testing commencement.) ETS has now created a manual in PDF format, in which the procedure for online registration to the TOEFL iBT is explained step by step. It can be downloaded in the section “News and Links»

By Phone: You can arrange an exact test date or possible alternative dates by phoning the European call centre in Holland (English speaking) Phone number: 0031-320-239-540, Fax: 0031-320-239-541

When registering by telephone, callers will be told the examination date, a registration confirmation number and the address of the test centre as well as the necessary documents they should bring for the test.

By post: Thomson Prometric, PTC Registrations Europe, P.O. Box 2024, 8203 AA Lelystad, Holland. The registration form can be downloaded from our News and Links section. The epistolary registration for the TOEFL test is cumbersome.
Please note: Due to high demand and low test capacity, the test dates are booked up very quickly. Sign up for TOEFL at least 8-10 weeks before the desired test date.
Note: Although we are a certified, official test centre, you have to sign up by phone in Holland or via the website It is not possible to directly register for the TOEFL at any test centre.
Cost: In Germany the TOEFL iBT test costs USD 240.00. This includes, if desired, the electronic sending of score reports to four recipients (institutions which have a TOEFL Code), provided that they are already known to the examination venue, in addition to the written results. Each additional score report will cost $ 17. This fee applies even if you ask for the direct submission of your TOEFL test results to one or more institutions directly after passing the test. Should places be available and you want to register just before the test, additional costs are incurred (US $ 35.00). When rebooking an appointment up to 3 days before the test, a fee of US$ 60.00 will be charged.

Payment: Is not possible by debit card or bank transfer. Credit cards for application via the Internet, telephone or fax: Visa, MasterCard, American Express. Payment by order check or money order is only possible when applying by mail. The order checks in dollars, drawn on a bank in the US, are payable to: ETS TOEFL iBT. International Money Orders are available from American Express for a fee. Since the payment without a credit card is very complex and time consuming, we offer a free registration service to our students without a credit card.
Validity: Officially, the TOEFL scores are valid for two years. Some institutions, however, require results which are not older than six to twelve months.
Test results: The results of the TOEFL iBT can be accessed online at the latest after 14 days. The written certificate will be sent from the United States by mail about 2 weeks after the test date. Some candidates have to wait up to 4 weeks, until they receive their TOEFL certificate.

AAlternatives: Despite the TOEFL’s popularity, the TOEIC, IELTS or the Pearson Test of English are increasingly being accepted. Please inquire at the institution at which you are applying, which tests are accepted.


Even with good English knowledge, it is advisable to prepare for the TOEFL intensively. Many candidates overestimate their skills and underestimate the difficulty of the TOEFL iBT.

To complete the TOEFL with a good result, you have to prepare specifically for the particular format of the various parts of the test. The section Reading Comprehension is not only the first of the TOEFL iBT, it is also significantly more demanding than the Listening Comprehension for most candidates. Some publications for TOEFL allege that the section Reading only covers 3 texts. Accordingly, some candidates mentally prepare for a section consisting of three texts with 12-14 questions each. It’s often happened that candidates have complained during the test, because they were not expecting a forth section. However, it is not true that the TOEFL Reading section only includes three articles. Since November 2011 the TOEFL iBT Reading section includes four articles each with a length of 700 words and 12 to 14 questions per text. Since the processing time per text is 20 minutes, the entire section can take you between 60 and 80 minutes.

Tips for preparing the „Reading“ section: Mastering the most common prefixes and suffixes and adjectives and adverbs in English (such as un-, dis-, pre-, -y, -ed, -able) is an important prerequisite. The best way to improve your reading skills is to regularly read texts from distinct areas, especially scientific texts of an academic nature. Try specifically to get an overview of the main ideas, instead of reading every word and sentence carefully. Get used to not getting hung up on unfamiliar words, but to induce their meaning from the context. Remember the important facts such as dates, numbers and terms. Differentiate between primary and secondary information and determine the text category (cause and effect, comparison and contrast, problem and solution, description, narration). Pay particular attention to the connection words (so-called “connectors”), such as by, for example, because, however, in contrast to, although, either / or, insofar which not only determine the argumentative context of a text, but put paragraphs in relation to one another. The mastery and application of these connectors in particular is also essential for the “Writing” section.

The internet is a very good source of academic texts, but there are also many books and magazines with subject-specific content.

If you do not want to leave anything up to chance and want to prepare for the TOEFL test professionally, we recommend our preparation programs.

Copyright: MBAhelp Frankfurt 2011

Advice for the “Speaking” part: During the “Speaking” section of the TOEFL test one should pay particular interest to the content, vocabulary and grammar, but also to natural formulation, pronunciation and intonation. Listen closely to the way certain words in questions are pronounced and stressed and to the intonation and pauses of the speaker. As an exercise, try using a tape recorder or Dictaphone to record your own spoken texts; subsequently analyze if you have spoken clearly, avoided grammatical mistakes and used the proper vocabulary in the playback. This exercise form, with questions such as “Describe a familiar place”, «Recount a personal experience” or “State a personal opinion about something that is going on in your community or the world”,  proves to be especially helpful for the Independent tasks from the Speaking Section.

A useful exercise for the Integrated Tasks of the Speaking section is texts for which you can search the internet, which are complemented by listening pieces on the same subject. Write a brief synopsis of the content using keywords in which you summarize both the written and the spoken texts. Also pay attention to the speaker’s intonation and emphasis enabling you to more easily identify “key elements” for the subsequent question.

Copyright: MBAhelp Frankfurt 2010

Tips for the „Writing“section:

To complete the TOEFL with a good result, you have to prepare specifically for the particular format of the various parts of the test. Writing is one of the four sections of the TOEFL test. It consists of 2 essays – Independent Task and Integrated Task – which must be written using a (US) keyboard in 50 minutes. Per essay you should write about 300 words. As in all other parts of the TOEFL you can achieve up to 30 points in the Writing section.

For candidates who have not systematically prepared for the TOEFL iBT, Writing is usually one of the hardest parts of the TOEFL.

Tips for preparing for “Writing”:

For all writing tasks:

  • Expand your vocabulary and to ensure you use it correctly also expand your knowledge of language and idioms. Practice grammatical structures so well that they come to you naturally when writing.
  • Learn spelling, character set rules and layout conventions (for example, creating paragraphs). Express yourself in a structured manner – the text should flow freely and be coherent.
  • Use so-called Linking Words also called connectors, with which one’s thoughts and conclusions are linked thus giving a clear structure to your opinion.
    When practicing, ask yourself the following questions:
    – Have I fully completed the task?
    – Have I formulated my sentences correctly?
    – Have I made grammatical mistakes?
    – Have I used the words correctly?
    – Have I structure my thoughts clearly and coherently?
    – Have I used the time efficiently?

Workbook: Find yourself a workbook with texts – preferably with scientific content – and associated questions . Practice writing answers.

Summary: Read an article of about 300-400 words. Design a rough structure, which contains the key information and important details. Use this structure to write a summary. A summary should always be short and only include the main information and important details. Be sure to use your own words and different grammatical structures. This technique is called “Paraphrasing”.

Synthesis: Search the Internet or the library for different listening and reading material around a chosen topic. The individual materials may present similar or differing perspectives. Make notes on each source of information and proceed as follows:


·         Summarize the information and ideas of the individual texts.·         Compose a synthesis based on this information in which you demonstrate how the individual texts relate to one another: Explain how certain ideas are similar, how the ideas build on each other or contradict one another.


Paraphrase: When paraphrasing you reiterate information form a source in your own words. Those who merely transcribe words from the reading section in the TOEFL IBT will receive zero points for the task. Therefore practice intensely how to paraphrase words, sentences and whole paragraphs – the following tips will help you:

  • Develop routines for finding synonyms – choose  10-15 words from a text for you which you quickly have to find a synonym without using a dictionary or a thesaurus
  • Write a paraphrase on a reading section purely based on your notes. Should you not have taken any notes write your paraphrase without looking at the text.  Then check your paraphrase against the original text – make sure that the content is correct and that you have used different words and grammatical structure.

Independent Writing-Tasks: You get asked a question and then you will need to state your own opinion on the topic and justify this with arguments (for example, “Should students wear uniforms?”). Often these are yes / no questions (“Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?). Once the time (30 minutes) has elapsed, the text disappears immediately and can no longer be edited. In this section in particular, preparation has a big impact on your results, thus it is important to familiarize yourself with the structure of the essays and get a feeling for the timing. When editing you should pay attention to a good essay structure. The following tips will help you:

  • Create a list of topics with which you are familiar and practice to write essays on these topics. Think of an opinion or statement on each topic and support these with facts. For practice reasons you should write at least one essay about each subject. Planning, drafting and final checking of each essay should take a total of about 30 minutes. Before writing the essay create a list of all thoughts on a topic / a task. Develop a basic idea and some important arguments in support of these and plan how you want to communicate this (for example you can design a structure which you use to organize your ideas). Then design a thesis in the form of a clear statement that helps you develop the thoughts that you want to present in the essay. From this you will be able to develop your essay using fitting explanations and details.

Copyright: MBAhelp Frankfurt 2011

Hints for the “Listening” section:

To complete the TOEFL with a good result, you have to specifically prepare for the particular format of the various parts of the test. Listening Comprehension is one of the four sections of the TOEFL test. It consists of 4 to 6 lectures, which can also include a discussion section, and from 2 to 3 dialogs. The lectures are 3 to 5 minutes long and for each, 6 questions must be answered, 5 questions must be answered in the three-minute dialogues. The candidate may take notes for this. Paper and pencils are provided by the test center, the use of own notepads and pens are not allowed.

Tips for preparing for the “Listening” section:

Consciously listen to as much English as possible. Don’t just listen, but learn to listen actively to capture thought processes and summarize what is said as quickly as possible. Practice writing short notes and key words which capture the essential elements and thoughts. The lectures from the Listening section generally follow one of two structural variations: sometimes the speaker expresses an opinion or a view on a certain point. Often however, the lectures are designed so that different views and viewpoints on a particular subject are discussed. While listening to a lecture, you should look for words that provide information on the type of presentation structure. Note down the terms that are characteristic for this – for example, cause / effect, comparison or contrast, or development of the facts.
It is equally important to pay attention to the speaker’s emphasis. Because, regardless of the language, people use emphasis as a tool to emphasize certain ideas. Identifying the emphasis of the speaker is essential in order to understand what he wants to communicate. Try the following exercise: Listen to a spoken text and identify the nature of language and emphasis: Is it a formal or informal speech; is the speaker calm or rather emotional? Identify what the speaker wishes to emphasize by his intonation. In the test you are faced with questions regarding the speaker’s mood, the degree of certainty with which he presents his arguments, and his intentions by using a particular intonation and emphasis.

There are several ways to improve your listening skills. General radio or TV programs may already be helpful. However, it is particularly important to specifically practice using audio material on scientific and academic subjects. The range of possible topics is endless; they can be historical, technical, sociological or even from completely different areas. The internet is a very good source of such audio materials. You can find podcasts and live streaming broadcasts at e.g. or

Copyright: MBAhelp Frankfurt 2011

If you do not want to take any risks, want to save time and not get stressed and achieve optimal results, we recommend the MBAhelp TOEFL courses, where you will be prepared by our American specialists for the TOEFL Internet-Based Test (iBT). Our four module TOEFL Preparation course – Listening Comprehension, Speaking, Reading Comprehension and Writing – in connection with our teaching materials (TOEFL iBT Study Books, Study material, essays, Practice Questions, Sample Tests and Practice Tests) ensures an optimum TOEFL preparation. The duration of your TOEFL preparation depends on your linguistic knowledge. To determine this, you have three options:

  • TOEFL-Diagnostic test at MBAhelp Frankfurt
  • TOEFL-Online-Diagnostic-Test
  • Written TOEFL-Diagnostic-Test

You can find further information on TOEFL preparation courses for an optimal preparation in the TOEFL Courses tab.

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