Now that ETS® is offering the TOEFL iBT Home Edition, test takers wonder how the test compares to the test you would take in a test center. One very common question is how long it is compared to the typical TOEFL test.
The TOEFL iBT® Home Edition is about 3 hours long, the same length as the TOEFL iBT. Since it is the same as the test you would take at a testing center, it is identical in content, format, and on-screen experience. It is available almost everywhere TOEFL is available, except Mainland China and Iran.
Now, while there are many aspects that are similar, there are quite a few aspects that change, so in this article, we will go into those as well. We will also examine whether the Home Edition is accepted, what you can expect on test day, and how long it will take to get your scores.
The length of the TOEFL iBT Home Edition
The Home Edition of the TOEFL iBT is exactly the same length as the one you would find in a testing center, which means that the test takes about 3 hours to complete. Here’s how it breaks down:
|Whole test||3 hrs 2 mins – 3 hrs 36 mins|
The length of the test can vary because sometimes ETS (the makers of TOEFL) includes questions that they use for research purposes, but these questions are not scored. That is, they do not count against you if you get them wrong. However, you will not know beforehand which questions are used for this purpose.
Since it is a good idea to allow for 20-30 minutes to complete the check-in process with your proctor, you should allow for about 4 hours.
What do I need to take TOEFL iBT Home Edition?
In order to take the test at home, you will need to make sure you meet the following requirements:
Equipment and Browser
- Desktop or Laptop computer, which is either a PC with Windows 8 or 10 or a Mac OS X® 10.5 or higher (10.13 High Sierra is recommended). Note: you are not allowed to take the test on a phone or tablet.
- Browser requirements: Chrome or Firefox®
- You will need to check your equipment before you start the test to ensure there are no issues. To do this, ETS has a Secure Test Browser you can download here.
- You will need to check that there is no interference with any firewalls you may have
- Speakers: internal or external. No headsets or or earphones are allowed on test day.
- Microphone: internal or external, but not part of a headset or earphones.
- You cannot take your test in a public open space.
- You must be in a room alone, where all doors can be closed.
- Computer and keyboard must be on a desk/table and you must be seated in a normal chair (i.e. no couch, bed, or overstuffed chair).
- Position your desk and chair such that you have your back to the door and that the proctor can see that nobody else comes in the room.
- The only items you can have on your desk are a small whiteboard with an erasable marker or a piece of paper inside a transparent sheet protector and an erasable marker
- No food and drink are allowed.
- Your ears and face must be visible during the entire test. You can wear religious headwear, as long as it doesn’t cover your ears.
- No face masks are allowed.
- Your proctor will take a photo of you which will be on your score report, so dress appropriately.
- Avoid any jewellery and accessories such as tie clips, cufflinks, headbands, and other hair accessories.
ETS has prepared a very useful printable checklist, which you can access here, if you find it helpful.
What happens on TOEFL Home Edition Test Day?
On test day, make sure you arrive on time, so that your test does not get canceled. When you log in, you will be met by a proctor from ProctorU, who will monitor you during your test. They will ask you for identification, and ensure that the room you are taking the test in meets the requirements. This process usually takes about 20 minutes.
Once the test begins, things will be exactly the same as if you were in a test center. You will complete the test at your computer, including the speaking portion, which will be recorded through your microphone.
A word of warning: since the only way to know what you are doing is through your webcam, don’t do anything that might make the proctor suspicious, such as looking away from the screen, talking to yourself, moving out of the scope of the webcam, etc. If they have any doubts as to whether or not you have had an unfair advantage over other test takers, you test may be canceled and you will lose your money!
Is the TOEFL Home Edition accepted?
When the in-center TOEFL iBT is not available, such as during the COVID-19 pandemic, ETS can offer the TOEFL iBT Home Edition, which is designed to mimic the same testing conditions of an official testing center. For this reason, most universities have been accepting the TOEFL iBT Home Edition under special circumstances, such as the pandemic. That said, it is always best to check with the university you are applying to before you take it.
How long does it take to get your scores after taking the TOEFL Home Edition?
You will receive your electronic score report in your ETS account or app 6-10 days after completing the test. Just as with the in-center TOEFL test, you will also see your unofficial reading and listening scores on your screen just after completing your test. Once you see those scores, you will have the option of having your scores sent to the institutions you have applied to or cancel your scores.
Best of luck!