Many students often ask us what the difference is between the TOEFL iBT and the TOEFL PBT test. Today we are going to go over the differences between these two versions of the TOEFL.
iBT stands for Internet based test and PBT stands for paper-based test. You will take the TOEFL iBT on a computer, using a headset to listen, a microphone for your speaking parts and typing your answers on a keyboard for the writing section. The TOEFL PBT test is a strictly paper and pencil based exam.
The TOEFL iBT is more available compared to the PBT. ETS, recently announced that they will eventually remove the PBT version and only offer the iBT version. However, the TOEFL PBT is still available in a few countries where internet access is limited.
Both the iBT and PBT include the sections reading, listening, and writing. However, the PBT also includes a grammar section (Structure and Written Expression) while the iBT includes a speaking section.
The iBT and PBT do not only differ in the way it is taken but the score scale also differs between the two versions.
The length of the exams are also different between the two versions, the iBT is about one hour longer than the PBT. This is due to the iBT having longer texts and two essays on the writing section. The PBT has only one essay writing part.
Which version of the TOEFL is easier?
We often hear this question from many students and the answer is that both versions are comparable in terms of difficulty and overall level. You may have advantages on different versions due to the different formats but they are rarely substantial.