TOEFL iBT vs. TOEFL Essentials: Differences

Do you want to become familiar with the difference between TOEFL iBT vs. TOEFL Essentials? Look no further because this guide is designed to assist you in selecting the best option for your English proficiency test, and learn about major distinctions, insights, and FAQs.

Introduction To TOEFL iBT vs. TOEFL Essentials Tests

The TOEFL iBT and TOEFL Essentials tests are frequently mentioned when discussing how to demonstrate your English language competence for academic or professional purposes. Although they both use the TOEFL acronym, their functions and distinguishing characteristics are distinct. 

The main difference(s) between the TOEFL iBT and TOEFL Essentials will be discussed in this post, providing insights and crucial knowledge for anyone thinking about taking these exams in 2023.

TOEFL iBT vs. TOEFL Essentials

What Is TOEFL iBT?

The acronym TOEFL iBT refers to the “Test of English as a Foreign Language – Internet-Based Test.” It is a widely accepted exam of English language proficiency, particularly among students hoping to study abroad and others looking for career prospects.

Since its debut, the TOEFL iBT has been taken by more than 35 million individuals. Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing are the four major language skills that are assessed on the test. More than 160 nations offer the TOEFL iBT.

What Are TOEFL Essentials?

The TOEFL family now includes TOEFL Essentials, which is a relatively new member. It is intended to serve a wider spectrum of test takers, including high school students, professionals, and people in need of a more affordable and accessible English proficiency test.

Since its 2021 launch, TOEFL Essentials has grown in popularity as a practical and affordable substitute. The reading, listening, speaking, and writing portions of the English language proficiency test are all evaluated.

TOEFL iBT vs. TOEFL Essentials: Differences

Now, let’s dive into the crucial distinctions between TOEFL iBT and TOEFL Essentials:

Test Length

  • TOEFL iBT: It is a longer test, with a typical duration of about 3 hours and 30 minutes. It consists of four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.
  • TOEFL Essentials: It is a shorter test, with a duration of about 1 hour and 30 minutes. It is designed to provide a quicker assessment of English language skills and includes sections for Reading and Listening only.


  • TOEFL iBT: This test assesses all four language skills – Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.
  • TOEFL Essentials: It primarily focuses on Reading and Listening skills, excluding Speaking and Writing sections.


  • TOEFL iBT: Provides detailed section-wise scores for Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing, along with an overall score. Each section is scored on a scale of 0 to 30, resulting in a total score range of 0 to 120.
  • TOEFL Essentials: Provides a single overall score, which is reported on a scale of 0 to 180.


  • TOEFL iBT: This test is widely recognized and accepted for admission to universities and colleges, as well as for visa and employment purposes.
  • TOEFL Essentials: It is designed for a more streamlined assessment, often for admission to colleges and universities with specific language proficiency requirements.


  • TOEFL iBT: Typically more expensive due to its comprehensive nature.
  • TOEFL Essentials: Generally priced lower, making it a cost-effective option for those who need a quick English proficiency assessment.

Test Centers

  • TOEFL iBT: Available at a wide network of test centers worldwide.
  • TOEFL Essentials: Availability may be more limited compared to TOEFL iBT, depending on your location.

TOEFL iBT vs. TOEFL Essentials: Similarities

  1. ETS Ownership: Both TOEFL iBT and TOEFL Essentials are developed and administered by ETS, a reputable organization with a long history of creating standardized tests.
  2. Language Assessment: Both tests are designed to assess the English language proficiency of non-native English speakers. They evaluate your ability to understand and use English in academic and everyday contexts.
  3. Online Delivery: Both TOEFL iBT and TOEFL Essentials are administered online, allowing you to take the tests from a secure test center or remotely from home, depending on the options available in your region.
  4. Reading and Listening Sections: Both tests include sections that assess your reading and listening skills. These sections evaluate your comprehension of written and spoken English, which is crucial for academic and general communication.
  5. Instant Scoring: Both TOEFL iBT and TOEFL Essentials provide instant scoring for the sections they include. This means you’ll receive your scores immediately after completing the test.
  6. Score Reports: Both tests provide score reports that include your performance in the assessed sections. These reports can be sent to institutions or organizations you’re applying to, helping them assess your English language skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are both exams accepted internationally? 

Yes. Numerous universities, institutes, and organizations throughout the world accept and recognize TOEFL iBT and TOEFL Essentials.

2. TOEFL Essentials is the less expensive test. 

For many test takers, TOEFL Essentials is a cost-effective option because it is typically less expensive than TOEFL iBT.

3. Am I able to study for TOEFL Essentials at home? 

Yes. It is a practical choice to use TOEFL Essentials because you may take the exam on your schedule and from the comfort of your home.

4. Which test offers a more thorough evaluation of your English language skills?

The TOEFL iBT is the test that offers the most thorough evaluation of English skills. Since speech and writing are included in its evaluation of a wider spectrum of language abilities, the TOEFL iBT offers a more thorough evaluation.

5. Which test is simpler? 

That depends. Your level of English language competence and the particular abilities being tested will determine how challenging each test is for you. What one individual may find “easier” may not be the same for another.

6. Can I apply for a visa using the results of either test? 

Yes. Scores from the TOEFL iBT and TOEFL Essentials are both accepted when applying for visas. You should, however, confirm the precise conditions of the visa you are asking for.

7. Which examination is more suited for high school students?

The TOEFL Essentials is the test that high school students should take. High school students can take TOEFL Essentials, which provides a quicker as well as cheaper alternative.

8. How long do the results from both tests remain valid?

In most cases, two years. Keep in mind that the validity of TOEFL iBT and TOEFL Essentials scores is normally two years.

9. If I’ve already signed up for one of these exams, may I switch to another one? 

Yes. You are permitted to switch between tests after registering for them but do so while keeping in mind the deadlines and any additional costs.


When deciding between the TOEFL iBT and TOEFL Essentials, it’s important to take your objectives, financial situation, and desired degree of English proficiency into account. Both exams are essential for determining one’s level of proficiency in the English language and for fostering cross-cultural dialogue. 

Therefore, whether you choose the traditional TOEFL iBT or the more recent TOEFL Essentials, each serves a useful purpose in the realm of English proficiency testing by providing accessible options for a wide spectrum of test-takers. I hope this article helped shed more light on the difference between TOEFL iBT and TOEFL Essentials.

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