What is the TOEFL Junior?

I have a cousin in Korea who’s 11 years old. A while back, he asked me about the TOEFL Junior. He wanted to know more about what this exam is, what it’s like compared to the regular TOEFL, how it’s used, where he could take it, and so on. He had some very good questions, so I decided to do a post all about the TOEFL Junior. This one goes out to my cousin Seung-Oh, and all you other Magooshers who are curious about this version of the TOEFL exam for younger learners.


How is the TOEFL Junior similar to the TOEFL?

The TOEFL Junior, like the TOEFL, is of course made by ETS. And ETS has designed the TOEFL Junior to have the same basic structure as the regular TOEFL exam.

You’ll recall that there are two versions of the TOEFL: the PBT (a test administered with paper and pencil) and the iBT (a test taken on a computer). The PBT has three sections: Listening, Reading, and a section that focuses on grammar, called “Structure and Written Expression.” The iBT, which is a much more commonly-taken exam, has four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. And of course, the iBT is taken on a computer.

There are two versions of the TOEFL Junior that also have the two structures described above. The TOEFL Junior Standard exam is like the PBT. It is administered as a pencil-and-paper exam, and has sections that test listening, reading, and grammar. The TOEFL Junior Comprehensive exam is like the iBT— it’s administered by computer, and it tests skills in reading, listening, speaking, and writing.


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How is the TOEFL Junior different from the TOEFL?

The TOEFL focuses on language related to university coursework and college life. The language in the TOEFL Junior is also written with school settings in mind—but it’s geared toward middle school and high school, not higher education. So TOEFL Junior Listening will have middle/high school conversations, school announcements, class bulletins, and textbook passages. These materials are similar to the TOEFL in some ways, because they have academic themes. But the themes themselves focus on pre-college learning. And the language is a lot simpler.

One of the biggest differences between TOEFL and TOEFL Junior can be seen in Reading. TOEFL Junior readings include fiction—written stories that aren’t true and are more entertaining than informative. So students preparing for the TOEFL junior should be comfortable with the key characteristics of fiction: dialogue, characters, plot, and so on.

TOEFL Junior is the most different from the TOEFL in Writing and Speaking. Both of these sections are structured very differently from the regular TOEFL.

There are four speaking tasks: a “read-aloud” where the test taker simply reads something out loud in English, a picture narration activity where a series of pictures must be described, and two Integrated Speaking activities where the test taker summarizes a school conversation and school lecture. Note that the TOEFL itself has six speaking tasks, all of which are more challenging and complicated than the tasks listed above.

The TOEFL Junior Writing Section has 4 tasks, compared to the 2 Writing tasks on the TOEFL. In the first task, students must edit a paragraph, finding and correcting four mistakes in the writing. The second task involves writing a short email that answers a few questions. The third task is somewhat like TOEFL Independent Writing. Students must write their opinion about something. But the written opinion only needs to be one paragraph long. This is quite short, compared to the 3-5 paragraphs in a typical TOEFL Independent Writing question. The fourth writing task asks students to summarize a teacher’s lecture in writing.


Where is the TOEFL Junior taken, and how are the scores used?

While the TOEFL is administered at official test centers, the TOEFL Junior is given to students at English language academies, institutions, and secondary schools (middle and high schools). Schools purchase the rights to administer the TOEFL Junior, and they use the exam in a few different ways.

Language academies use TOEFL Junior test scores for placement in different level classrooms. The score will help teachers decide what level of English each student should study. Schools that teach more than just ESL—such as public and private secondary schools and international schools—use the TOEFL Junior as part of their admissions process. In that case, test scores determine whether a child is accepted into a school whose classes are mostly (or all) in English.


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  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he's helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master's Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he's presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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12 Responses to What is the TOEFL Junior?

  1. Eni May 24, 2016 at 3:39 am #

    Hello there,

    my students are taking the Toefl Junior Standard exam, but it is very difficult for me to find materials.
    It seems very few is published for this exam.
    What about using materials of paper based / computer based Toefl?
    Are the helpful?
    please help

    • David Recine
      David Recine May 24, 2016 at 8:27 pm #

      You’re right that there just aren’t many materials out there for TOEFL Junior Prep. Using TOEFL materials meant for the PBT or iBT really can be useful. The PBT is comparable to TOEFL Junior Standard, and the iBT is similar to the TOEFL Junior Comprehensive. But be careful– some PBT and iBT questions are at a similar difficulty level to TOEFL Junior, but most PBT/iBT questions are more difficult. So you’d need to “cherry pick” questions from the regular TOEFL exam that match the TOEFL Junior skill level.

      If you have the time, it may be better to simply use the limited number of official TOEFL Junior ETS materials (all of which are free on the website), and actually create some additional materials yourself, imitating the format of the official stuff. Other than that, it does appear you can order whole TOEFL Junior exams from ETS. These are normally meant for use in actual testing, but maybe they could be used as prep materials as well? They’re a little pricey– $40 per each unique test according to the order form— but could be worth it if you have the funding.

  2. Rifat December 27, 2016 at 6:12 am #

    Thank you so much. This blog is really helps me. I’m an amateur teacher and I’ve been chosen to teach TOEFL Junior class. It’s really challenging, but this blog is really helps! Thank you!

    • Magoosh Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 27, 2016 at 5:21 pm #

      Hi Rifat,

      I’m so glad you find our blog helpful 🙂 Keep up the great work with your TOEFL class, and best of luck to you and your students!

  3. Joel Monkarsh December 29, 2022 at 12:29 pm #

    I am an ESL teacher in South Korea. I hold F5 visa status, so I can avoid most of the Korean Immigration nonsense. I teach TOEIC, TOEFL, IELTS, SPA, and the other standardized tests Korean students take. I might purchase your materials, but they might have to be sent as attachments via email, because the South Korean postal system is a tad unreliable and things get lost in Customs. I have several TOEFL books, but they are used for adults.

    According to your blog, the TOEFL Junior tests are administered by “hagwons” (language institutes), who use the test results to help place students in schools in Canada and America. I suspect that the difference between the junior version and the regular version is a bit like the difference between the PSAT and the SAT and the TOEFL Junior test might not be needed.

    The reason I am suddenly bringing this up now is that I have interview with a “tiger mom” tomorrow, whose Native English Speaker Teacher suddenly quit, so before we make any decisions, I want to first here from you.

    • Magoosh Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 29, 2022 at 12:58 pm #

      Hi Joel,

      Thanks for writing! All of our product materials are delivered online, and require the internet to use. We don’t typically send many attachments via email, but if you’d like more specific details feel free to write in directly about your questions to [email protected].

      Additionally, you are correct that the full TOEFL test is most important and most frequently used in Canada and the U.S.A.

      I hope this helps! Best of luck to you!

  4. Joel Monkarsh December 30, 2022 at 11:43 am #

    Getting the specific names of language schools in Korea from ETS is nearly impossible. I’m inclined to sign up, but let me be somewhat specific. From my perspective, this might be like taking the PSAT before the SAT, almost the same thing but not quite. TOEFL Junior is used by these Korean schools to place these students in middle and high school in Canada and the USA.

    This evening, I am going to dealing with a Korean “tiger mom” and she seems interested in letting me teach her children for 6 months to a year, only 1 of these children will be taking TOEFL Junior. If I get them, I will have them 7 hours a week. It would be extremely helpful, if I knew the score the 11 year old must achieve and the name of some specific schools in the Hwaseong-si, Suwon, and Seoul areas where they can actually take the exams.

    I direct email me to would be helpful. I have email a similar query to your “help” email address. I will check this blog in a few hours.


    • Magoosh Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 6, 2023 at 6:56 am #

      Hi Joel,

      I hope you were able to find the location information from ETS! I’m sorry that we could not be more helpful here, since ETS is a separate company and we are not aware of all of their testing locations.

      Best of luck to you!

  5. Joel Monkarsh December 30, 2022 at 6:52 pm #

    First, I need to thank you. I have the tiger mom this evening and then we will decide whether teaching her 11 year old is feasible. I really need to know which schools actually run the tests in Korea and then I will see which schools in the US and Canada accept those TOEFL Junior test scores. This is what received from ETS:

    Dear Joel,

    Regarding your inquiry:

    The TOEFL Junior Program is currently not available in your country. The first administration of this test was in October 2010, and we are still adding ETS Preferred Associates in countries around the world.
    As the test is introduced in additional countries, we will update our website with information on the countries’ ETS Preferred Vendor. Check http://www.ets.org/toefl_junior/where/ to see when the test becomes available in your country.

    We appreciate the opportunity to assist you. If replying via email, please include all previous correspondence, or a summary of your inquiry. If you would like to speak with a customer service representative, please call us at (609) 771-7206, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM EST.

    For more information about TOEFL Junior®, please visit http://www.ets.org/toefl_junior?WT.ac=toefljunior_home_140527


    TOEFL Junior®

    Be sure to add @ets.org to your address book or safe sender list to ensure that you receive e-mail messages from ETS.

    • Magoosh Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 6, 2023 at 6:57 am #

      Hi Joel,

      Thanks for sharing the information. I’m glad you found out about the test in your country!

      Cheers! 😀

  6. Angela January 9, 2023 at 11:22 am #

    Hi there,

    Thank you for sharing these details. They’ve been very helpful. I did notice one part you should edit. You’ve stated the following:

    “TOEFL Junior readings include non-fiction—written stories that aren’t true and are more entertaining than informative. So students preparing for the TOEFL junior should be comfortable with the key characteristics of non-fiction: dialogue, characters, plot, and so on.”

    Your description of non-fiction is not correct. You’ve described what fiction is. So, you’ve either stated the wrong term or the wrong definition. (Please feel free to keep my comment off the page.)


    • Magoosh Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 13, 2023 at 6:34 am #

      Hi Angela!

      Thanks so much for catching that typo–I’ve updated the post so that it should be accurate now!

      We really appreciate it!

      Happy studying! 😀

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