TOEFL CBT and Computer-Adaptive Sections
Read about the novelties introduced in the computer-based TOEFL compared to the paper-based test. Learn more the peculiarities of adaptive sections in the TOEFL CBT.
TOEFL CBT and Computer-Adaptive Sections

adaptive-sectionsTOEFL CBT is the test, which measures person’s knowledge and use of English language on the level appropriate to study in a college and university either in the country, where English is an official language, or in an institution, where English is the language of instruction.

The tendency to switch from paper-based to computer-based test started in 1998. The test consists of 4 sections, which are similar to its paper variant; however, reading and listening tasks include some novel questions apart from the traditional multiple-choice questions.

TOEFL computer-based test contains two adaptive sections, which are Listening and Structure. In these sections the questions are selected from a great amount of questions of different difficulty and content. The computer chooses the next question depending on how you answered the previous one. This work in such a way:
- first, you usually receive a question of average difficulty;
- depending on whether you give a correct or incorrect answer, the next question is chosen.

In such sections you can meditate about answers and change them as many times as you wish until you make up your mind and confirm (or submit) your final choice. Then the computer chooses the next task for you, basing its choice on your performance. So, the answers you give to the first questions determine the questions you receive further in the test. Understandably, you won’t get a chance to leave any questions unanswered or return and change your answers, you have to answer the question to move further.

Reading section consists of several passages and the questions to the passages. In this section your performance doesn’t influence the questions you receive and you are allowed to skip some items or go back and answer them later/change your answers.

In Writing section you will be given a topic chosen by a computer from a number of topics. There is a chance to choose between typing or writing your answer on the paper.


• More than 2,400 establishments of higher education in the US and Canada require foreign applicants to have a TOEFL score.
• More than 4,500 institutions around the world use TOEFL scores as an index of English language competence.
• More than 180 countries use the TOEFL.
• Every year around 1 million students take TOEFL CBT.
• The first paper-based TOEFL was completed in 1964; TOEFL CBT was introduced in July 1998.
• More than 20 million people have taken TOEFL since 1964.