The TOEFL tests non-native English speakers on their mastery of the four key language skills: writing, reading, listening and speaking. The test is divided into four parts, one that focuses on each skill. During the writing and speaking sections, listening and reading skills may also be needed to interpret the prompts.
The first section is the reading section. It lasts between 60 and 80 minutes, and involves reading 3 or 4 passages from academic texts and answering questions about them.
The next section is listening. Test-takers hear lectures, conversations, etc. and answer questions about the content for 60 to 90 minutes.
After a short break, test-takers move on to the speaking section of the test. Each test-taker speaks into a microphone and his speech is recorded. The speaking section only lasts for 20 minutes.
The writing section is the final part of the TOEFL. It involves two writing tasks and lasts for 50 minutes.
For each section, there are 30 points possible. Your final score will be out of 120. There is no passing score for the TOEFL, so your goal should be based on the organization to which you are planning on submitting your TOEFL scores.
Overall, the TOEFL lasts for up to 4.5 hours and tests every element of English language usage. There is no limit to how many times one person can take the TOEFL, so you can take it until you get the score you want. However, it is an expensive test, costing between $160 and $250 depending on the testing location.
Get a great score the first time by studying hard and taking advantage of all the resources available to help you prepare.