TOEFL® iBT or TOEFL® iBT Home Edition: Which Is Best for Me?

TOEFL iBT or TOEFL iBT Home Edition: Which Is Best for Me?


Since its introduction in early 2020, the TOEFL iBT Home Edition has become incredibly popular with students and is widely accepted at colleges and universities around the world. At the end of 2020, the TOEFL iBT Home Edition became a permanent part of the TOEFL family of tests, and it can now be taken four days a week.


The content of the TOEFL Home Edition is exactly the same as the TOEFL iBT taken at test centres. The price is also the same as the TOEFL iBT, as is the score validity period. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when choosing between the TOEFL IBT Home Edition and the regular TOEFL iBT. Today’s blog post will discuss three advantages of each version to help you make the right choice.


Reasons to Take the TOEFL iBT Test


  1. Score Reports Are Faster

Students who take the TOEFL iBT Test usually get their scores within six days. ETS has even published a  convenient schedule that lists exactly when you can expect to get your results. On the other hand, students who take the TOEFL iBT Home Edition must wait 10 days to get their results. This means that if you have a deadline coming up, the TOEFL iBT Test might be a better choice.


  1. Note-Taking Is Easier

If you take the TOEFL iBT Test at a test centre you’ll be given a pencil and a few sheets of paper to take notes on. You’ll be able to write on both sides of the paper and if you run out, you can just raise your hand to get more. In contrast, students who take the TOEFL iBT Home Edition must write on a single whiteboard or a single plastic sheet using an erasable marker. They must erase their notes when the whiteboard or sheet is filled up. Most students find note-taking on paper much more natural and convenient than using a whiteboard and marker. And, of course, you can take more notes when writing on paper. If you’re a student who depends heavily on your notes when answering questions, taking the TOEFL iBT Test at a test centre might be a good idea.


  1. Technical Problems Are Less Frequent

If you take the TOEFL iBT at a test centre, you will use computer equipment that’s regularly tested and properly maintained. This means that you will be unlikely to experience any technical problems. If you do experience a problem, you will simply be moved to a different seat. If you take the test at home, you will be dependent on your own computer equipment. If a problem occurs it will be much more difficult to replace your computer. If you are worried about the quality of your computer or your internet connection, it might be a good idea to take the TOEFL iBT Test at a test centre.


Reasons to Take the TOEFL iBT Home Edition


  1. The Testing Environment Is Quieter

Students are often surprised by how noisy test centres can get. Indeed, when 30 people are answering the TOEFL speaking questions at the same time it can be difficult to concentrate. Another surprise for some students is that not everyone starts the test or takes a break at the same time. This means that there’s quite a lot of movement around the test centre, which can also be distracting. On the other hand, most students can enjoy a quiet environment if they take the test at home. This often leads to better performance and higher scores. If you’re easily distracted by environmental noise, you should consider taking the test at home.


  1. Available 24 Hours per Day

The TOEFL iBT Home Edition Test is available four days per week, and during those four days students can book appointments to take the test at any time of the day. This means that students can take the test at whatever time of day they are most energetic and likely to perform well. In comparison, in most cities, the TOEFL iBT Test can only be taken in the morning. This can be a disadvantage for people who just aren’t at their best early in the morning.


  1. No Lengthy Travel Required

Some students are lucky enough to live quite close to a TOEFL test centre. Others are not so fortunate. A long commute to a test centre early in the morning can be costly, and it can also affect your performance on the test. The TOEFL iBT Home Edition helps students avoid these complications and focus on reaching their target scores. Before you make your final decision, log in to your account on the  ETS website and use the “Find Test Centers” tool to determine the location of the closest test centre to you.


Remember to Plan Ahead


These are just a few advantages and disadvantages of each version of the TOEFL. As you can see, both tests are attractive options.


Before you make your final decision, remember that even though the TOEFL iBT Home Edition Test is widely accepted around the world, there are some institutions which only accept scores from the original TOEFL iBT Test. If you plan to take the Home Edition, it’s a good idea to check with your ApplyBoard Representative to see if the institution will accept the scores.


If you plan to take the TOEFL at a test centre, remember that in some cities the centres can fill up quickly. Keep an eye on availability using your ETS account, and don’t wait until the last minute to book your test.