TOEFL Essentials : Complete Guide

The TOEFL Essentials Test is a shorter version of the TOEFL iBT. It is an innovative and multiadaptive type of language proficiency exam. And also, it measures the four primary English skills of an individual. 

It is now gaining popularity because of its convenience and affordability compared to other standardized language proficiency exams available. Many educational institutions now recognize and accept this exam. 

Even if it is only a short version of the TOEFL iBT exam it does not compromise the high quality and accuracy of its test results which is comparable to other TOEFL exams. To know more about the TOEFL Essentials we have come up with this complete test guide. 

What is the TOEFL iBT Test?

The TOEFL iBT Test is the internet-based version of the TOEFL exam, which means that you need to take the test using the computer rather than the traditional paper and pen in answering. 

Moreover, it is an English language proficiency exam that measures the language skills of an individual in areas such as reading, writing, listening, and speaking. 

In addition, the language exam contents are more inclined academically and that is why it is preferred by most universities and colleges, among the other available language proficiency exams. It also assesses the integrated English skills of ‌test-takers at ‌a university level. 

And this exam also uses a formal English language in its contents, which is considered one of the most complicated and complex types of English exams there is. The TOEFL iBT also focuses on one’s ability to use the English language in communication and comprehension in a higher education setting.  

What is the TOEFL Essentials Test?

The TOEFL Essentials Test was launched by the ETS (Educational Testing Center) last August 21, 2021, to answer the need of test-takers. It is because most of the testing centers are affected by lockdowns due to the pandemic. 

Moreover, this language proficiency exam has the same standard and quality as the other TOEFL exam. It is also the shorter version of the TOEFL iBT, meaning this exam is also internet-based, wherein you can easily take it in the comfort of your home. 

In addition, the TOEFL Essentials Test offers it at an affordable price to all of its test-takers compared to the TOEFL iBT, which is a little bit expensive. And also, this language exam has a multiadaptive test structure wherein the test questions are adjusted to your skill level as you progress in taking it. 

It also measures the four English language skills; however, it contains another test section called the Personal Video Statement. It is a five-minute, unscored test section of the TOEFL Essentials Test that allows you to express yourself better, which helps institutions get to know you better. 

One of the features of this exam is its duration. It is only one hour and 30 minutes long. Nonetheless, it does not affect its quality to measure your English skills accurately. 

How Much Does the TOEFL Essentials Test Cost? 

The TOEFL Essentials Test is a convenient and easy English language assessment exam. Moreover, this language exam is made affordable, and it only costs around USD 100 to USD 120.

It is budget-friendly and suited for students who wish to take the exam. However, the cost of the exam also differs per location. You can check the table below for the different prices for the TOEFL exam per country. 

You can also pay for the test via credit card, PayPal, paper check, eCheck, or money order, whichever payment method is convenient and accessible to you. 

Here is the different TOEFL Essentials Test Fee per country. 

Exam Fee
AustraliaUSD 120
Belgium USD 120 
BrazilUSD 100
CanadaUSD 110
Germany USD 120
Hong Kong USD 120
IndiaUSD 100
IndonesiaUSD 110
ItalyUSD 120
JapanUSD 110
MalaysiaUSD 110
MexicoUSD 110
PhilippinesUSD 110
SingaporeUSD 120
United Arab EmiratesUSD 120
United KingdomUSD 120
United StatesUSD 120

Who Accepts the TOEFL Essentials Test?

The TOEFL Essentials is now gaining recognition from various universities and colleges worldwide. 

And since it is under the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Test series, it is trusted and recognized by different institutions to provide a valid, reliable and accurate assessment of the individual’s English language proficiency. 

Moreover, the TOEFL Essentials Test is 90% accepted by academic institutions in Canada, the United States, China, and the U.K. 

Countries Accepting the TOEFL Essentials: 

  • Belgium 
  • Brazil
  • Canada
  • China
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • Malaysia
  • Qatar
  • Singapore
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

Universities and Colleges that Accept the TOEFL Essentials Test:

  • UC Leuven Limburg – Belgium
  • Federal University of Minas Gerais – Brazil
  • Canadian Imperial College – Canada
  • Fort Irie International Academy – Canada
  • University of Ottawa
  • Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications – China
  • Huazhong University of Science and Technology – China
  • Wuhan University of Technology – China
  • Nanjing University – China
  • East China University of Science and Technology – China
  • Shanghai University – China
  • Zhejiang University of Science and Technology – China
  • University of Eastern Finland – Finland 
  • ESSEC Business School MBA – France
  • Bard College Berlin – Germany
  • Barenboim-Said Akademie – Germany
  • The University of Tokyo (Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences) – Japan
  • SUNY Korea – South Korea
  • Malaysia Sabah University – Malaysia
  • Texas A&M University at Qatar – Qatar
  • ESSEC Business School MBA, Asia Pacific – Singapore
  • National University of Singapore – Singapore
  • Fulbright Espana – Spain
  • Saint Louis University Madrid – Spain
  • Stockholm School of Economics – Sweden
  • EU Business School – Switzerland
  • London School of Economics and Political Science – United Kingdom
  • University of Edinburgh – United Kingdom
  • The University of Alabama at Birmingham (Graduate School) – United States
  • University of Arizona – United States
  • Arkansas Tech University – United States
  • California College of the Arts – United States
  • Los Angeles Pierce College – United States
  • Stanford University – United States
  • University of San Francisco – United States
  • Westcliff University – United States
  • University of Hartford – United States
  • University of Delaware – United States
  • Goldey-Beacom College – United States
  • Broward College – United States

TOEFL Essentials Exam Frequency and Registration Policies

This language proficiency exam is internet-based and is designed to deliver high-quality and reliable test results. And since the test is accessible at home, there is no need for you to go to their testing centers to take the test. 

Moreover, the TOEFL Essentials Test is also made this way because of the pandemic where most test-takers have difficulty in going to testing centers. Most of these TOEFL testing centers are closed due to restrictions and lockdowns. 

The TOEFL Essentials Test has one to three days prescheduled test dates weekly. And the exam registration is always available every day so you can register for the test anytime you can. Moreover, the exam slots are also available 24 hours after you have registered for it. 

And as for the exam requirements, you need to visit the official ETS website where you need to create an account. No age requirement for test-takers. However, the TOEFL Essentials Test follows the same test requirements as the TOEFL iBT. 

The ETS also highly recommends to every applicant strictly follow their exam registration policy. Consequently, the ETS recommends ages 17 or those in 11th grade to take any TOEFL exam. 

And for those exam applicants who are 15 years old and below, are advised to be accompanied by an adult or guardian to sign a consent form. 

If you are planning to take the TOEFL Essentials Test, you are also required to present a valid passport reflecting your name, photograph, and signature. And any valid ID as proof of your identity. 

Here is a table showing the TOEFL Essentials Exam Frequency and Registration Policies. 

Exam Frequency
  • With available test schedule 1 to 3 days per week
Testing Centers
  • No Test Centers Available
  • The exam is accessible using computers at home
Exam Requirements
  • A valid passport
  • Any national ID with name, photograph, and signature
  • Any Government-issued driver’s license
  • Any national/state/province identity card

TOEFL Essentials Test Design

The TOEFL Essentials Test is a shorter version of the TOEFL iBT. However, its exam content does not only focus mainly on academic topics but also non-academic contexts. 

Academic and General Content

The TOEFL exam is well known because of its high academic context and formal English in its contents. On the other hand, the TOEFL Essentials Test is designed and structured both on academic and general content. 

It measures your English skills in a different environment not just in the academic setup but also in other general settings. 

Adaptive Format

One of the key features of the TOEFL Essentials Test is its multiadaptive test format.

Consequently, the test questions in this exam are adjusted to match your skill level. That is why many test-takers find the exam easy and reliable. 

Shorter Tasks

This exam only lasts for one and 30 minutes, so it does not take much of your time. However, this will not change the accuracy and reliability of this language proficiency exam. 

In addition, this exam uses a simple and flexible test format and tasks so that the test taker will find it manageable while assuring a high-quality assessment of one’s English language skills. 

A Global Test

Due to the innovative test format of the TOEFL Essentials Test, it offers convenience and flexibility to its test-takers. Plus the test is accessible wherein you can easily register and take it in the comfort of your homes. 

In addition, this exam is affordable and short but will not compromise the quality of its test results. It is still the same standardized language proficiency exam that is highly recognized and trusted by various universities and colleges worldwide. 

TOEFL Essentials Test Structure

This language proficiency exam contains four test sections including, listening, reading, writing, and speaking. It also has an additional test section which is the Personal Video Statement. 

The Core Skills Test Section of the TOEFL Essentials Test are:

  • Listening Test
  • Reading Test
  • Speaking Test
  • Writing Test
  • Personal Video Statement

1. Listening Test Section

This section of the TOEFL Essentials exam measures one’s comprehension and understanding of spoken English. For example speeches, talks, lectures, conversations whether in academic, personal, or public settings. 

There are four different task types in this section and the exam only takes about 21 to 34 minutes long. And also, there are 30 to 45 test questions that you need to answer regarding the audios that were presented. Consequently, there is a time limit in answering the questions. 

Four TOEFL Essentials Listening Task Types:

  • Listen and Reply
  • Listen to a Conversation
  • Academic Listening: Announcements
  • Academic Listening: Talks

a. Listen and Reply

This task requires you to listen to a question or a specific statement in a conversation between two individuals.

And you need to select the most suitable answer for it and the audio will only be played once. 

Sample Test Question for the Listen and Reply Task:

b. Listen to a Conversation

There will be a short conversation that you need to listen to between two speakers.

And the task here is you need to answer two questions regarding the topic that they have talked about, it can either be about travel, entertainment, health, and other general topics. 

c. Academic Listening: Announcements

This task type is based academically wherein you need to listen to a short academic-related announcement.

And you also need to answer two related questions about it. 

Sample Test Question for the Academic Listening to an Announcement Task:

d. Academic Listening: Talks

This is the second academic-based listening task where you are required to listen to a short academic-related talk that may contain 100 to 250 words.

And then answer the four test questions that follow. The talk may discuss topics about art, history, science, business, and other academic-related topics. 

2. Reading Test Section 

The reading section assesses the individual’s skill in comprehending academic and non-academic reading materials. And it aims to measure an individual’s understanding of written English. It contains multiple tasks such as vocabulary and reading contexts about non-academic and academic subjects. 

Moreover, this section also includes tasks about reading tables and passages from different academic resources. The duration of this section is approximately 22 to 33 minutes and you also need to answer the 30 to 45 test questions. 

Four TOEFL Essentials Reading Task Types are: 

  • Vocabulary
  • General Reading: Daily Life
  • Academic Reading: Tables
  • Academic Reading: Passages

a. Vocabulary

This section requires you to choose the most similar words from the choices that have the closest meaning to the given word. 

b. General Reading: Daily Life

The task in this section is for you to read a short and non-academic context that may contain 15 to 150 words. And you also need to answer the two to four multiple-choice types of questions. 

The context talks about everyday life happenings such as daily news, medicine prescriptions,  menu in a restaurant, posters, social media posts, and other related topics. 

Sample Test Question for the General Reading about Daily Life Task:

c. Academic Reading: Tables

This section requires you to read a short and academic context that is presented in a table or grid format. In addition, the table will provide significant information about certain academic topics that are derived from textbooks, newspapers, magazines, and other resources. 

And also this section consists of four test questions and each question has three options including true, false, and not stated. The table also contains 50 to 85 words. 

d. Academic Reading: Passages

In this task, you are required to read a short passage with approximately 200 words. And the passage may discuss topics about science, history, art, and other academic subjects. There are also six follow-up test questions that you need to answer.

Sample Test Questions for Academic Reading about Passages Task:

3. Writing Test Section

This section of the TOEFL Essentials Test has four different tasks which include building a sentence, writing an email, describing a photo, and writing for an academic discussion. It also measures your ability to use the English language in written form. 

In addition, it also tests your knowledge of grammar, using the English language in communication, and how you will respond to different situations. And the test is approximately 30 minutes long. 

Four TOEFL Essentials Writing Task Types are: 

  • Build a Sentence
  • Write an Email
  • Describe a Photo
  • Write for an Academic Discussion

a. Build a Sentence

This is the first writing task wherein you need to arrange the given set of words in the right order to form a grammatically correct sentence. 

b. Write an Email

This task requires you to respond to an email regarding specific concerns. It may be about responding to an invitation, proposing a solution, or making a recommendation. 

Sample Test Question for Write an Email Task:

c. Describe a Photo

In this task, you are required to write a social media post about the photo presented. You need to elaborate more and describe the situation in the photo. 

Sample Test Question Describing a Photo Task:

d. Write for an Academic Discussion 

Sample Test Question Write for an Academic Discussion Task:

4. Speaking Test Section

This section assesses your ability in using the English language effectively in speaking engagements and communication. And there are three tasks that you need to accomplish and respond to. 

These speaking tasks include reading aloud, listening and repeating, and a virtual interview. You may require to repeat sentences and other spoken responses. This section lasts for 13 minutes. 

Three TOEFL Essentials Speaking Tasks are: 

  • Read Aloud
  • Listen and Repeat
  • Virtual Interview

a. Read Aloud

In this section, the setup is you will have a conversation with another person. You will hear someone speak to you and afterward you will read aloud the words shown on the screen. And also you only need to say the words one time. 

Moreover, this section will assess your speech fluidity, clear voice, proper intonation, the stress of words, and pauses. 

b. Listen and Repeat

You are required to listen and repeat eight sentences about different scenarios or settings. First, you will listen to someone and repeat what you have heard.

And you are only to repeat the sentences once, and the other speaker will speak again until you have completed all eight sentences. In addition, this section will assess your pronunciation, clarity, and other speaking skills.  

Sample Test Question for Listen and Repeat Task: 

c. Virtual Interview 

In this part, you are required to participate in a pre-recorded conversation with an interviewer. There are five questions that you need to answer regarding the interview topic. And also, you will be asked to share your experiences and opinions. 

Sample Test Question for Virtual Interview Task: 

5. Personal Video Statement

This additional test section of the TOEFL Essentials Test is an unscored task. You have five minutes to answer the two questions which are about yourself. And also, this task allows you to express your opinions and ideas. 

Note that this additional task is not scored but you need to complete this. To do this, you are to record yourself answering the questions like “What would you like to tell people about yourself?”. 

The second question or task is you can choose one topic out of two randomly picked questions and you need to share your opinions regarding it. You will be given 30 seconds to gather your thoughts and two minutes to discuss the topic you have chosen. 

Moreover, you can also be allowed to re-record yourself in this task if you are not satisfied with your first take. However, if you have already submitted the video recording you are not allowed to review it. 

And also, the Personal Video Statement will help you showcase yourself and your personality to the educational institutions you are applying for. 

Sample Test Question for Personal Video Statement Task: 

Here is a comprehensive table showing the TOEFL Essentials Test format. 

TOEFL Essentials
Test Section
DurationNumber of
Test Questions
Listening Test Section21 to 34 minutes30 to 45 test questions
  • Listening to different conversations, announcements, talks, and conversations. 
  • Answering the questions that follow after each audio. 
Reading Test Section22 to 33 minutes30 to 45 test questions
  • Reading non-academic and academic contexts with different topics. 
  • Answering follow-up questions after every context presented.
Writing Test Section24 to 30 minutes15 to 19 test questions
2 tasks
  • Composing emails, building sentences, and other written responses. 
Speaking Test Section13 minutes3 tasks with 19 responses 
  • Reading aloud sentences, listening, and repeating the audio presented. 
  • Speaking and communicating effectively using the English language.  
Personal Video Statement5 minutes2 test questions
  • Expressing opinions, ideas, and talking about yourself. 
  • This is an unscored section; however, the applicant must accomplish these tasks. 

Scoring and Interpretation: TOEFL Essentials Test 

The TOEFL exam is a highly recognized and accepted language proficiency exam by various educational institutions worldwide. In addition, the TOEFL Essentials Test has the same high standard when it comes to its test results. 

It uses best-in-class professionals and Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems to proctor and assess your test scores. And because of this advanced scoring system, you can easily check your unofficial listening and reading test results after taking the exam. 

The official test scores will be sent to your ETS account approximately six days or less. And also offers unlimited score reports that will be sent to the different educational institutions of your choice. 

Score Scale: The TOEFL Essentials Test scores use bands in their scoring. All the test sections are scored using the band scale from 1 to 12, and the overall score also uses the same band scale of 1 to 12 as well. 

Additional FAQs –  TOEFL Essentials Test:

Is the TOEFL Essentials Test Accepted?

The TOEFL Essentials Test is also accepted and recognized by various educational institutions that accept the TOEFL iBT. It is trusted by universities and colleges to provide a reliable and accurate assessment of the English language skills of individuals. 

And also, due to the pandemic, many testing centers were forced to stop operating because of lockdowns and restrictions. The TOEFL Essentials was launched by the ETS (Educational Testing Service) to answer the needs of its test-takers. 

What is the TOEFL Essentials Test?

The TOEFL Essentials Test is also a language proficiency exam under the TOEFL series of exams. This exam measures an individual’s primary English language skills in areas such as reading, listening, writing, and speaking.

One of the features of this exam is that it is shorter compared to others language exams that TOEFL offers to its test-takers. And also, the TOEFL Essentials Test uses a multistage adaptive design in its test structure while providing the same accuracy in its test results. 

What is the Difference Between TOEFL Essentials and the TOEFL iBT?

The TOEFL Essentials Test is shorter and has a multistage adaptive test structure than the TOEFL iBT. Aside from that, the TOEFL Essentials is much cheaper, costing about USD 100 compared to the TOEFL iBT. 

Moreover, the TOEFL Essentials still assess the four English listening, speaking, writing, and reading skills. And it also delivers accurate and reliable test scores, the same as the TOEFL iBT. 

Can the TOEFL Essentials Test Scores be Interpreted Using the CEFR Proficiency Scale? 

Yes, like any other TOEFL exam, the TOEFL Essentials Test scores can be mapped out using the CEFR proficiency scale as its benchmark. It ensures that the language exam still delivers a reliable and accurate assessment of an individual’s language skills. 

The CEFR uses six proficiency scales to determine the language proficiency level of the test-taker. And these proficiency levels include C2, C1, B2, B1, A2, and A1 proficiency levels. Consequently, the highest CEFR proficiency level is the C2 level, while the lowest is the A1 level, the beginner level.  

Who is Accepting TOEFL Essentials?

The TOEFL Essentials language exam is accepted and recognized by various universities and colleges worldwide. In addition, nearly 250 institutions in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and other countries. 

In addition, the TOEFL Essentials is also affordable, easy, and convenient to take because you can access it on your own computers at home. Plus, the exam is short and does not take much time, perfect for students who wish to take a reliable language proficiency exam.