The term TOEFL is an acronym, which means that each letter stands for something. In this case, the TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is created by an organization called ETS (Educational Testing Service), a test of professional development, based in the U.S..
The TOEFL is a test of proficiency in English of nonnative speakers of English. It measures a person's ability to read, write, speak and understand English used in colleges, universities, or online. This means focusing on the formal academic English used in conferences, as well as informal English used in the normal college life for students, teachers and other college or university employees.
Most people take the TOEFL for admission in colleges and universities where English is used or required. Some people take the TOEFL to meet the requirements of a government department, the licensing board, certification body or fellowship program. In fact, today more than 6000 colleges, universities and licensing agencies in 110 countries accept TOEFL scores.
Some students of the career-minded, take the exam to improve their career prospects, demonstrating English language proficiency to future employers in their home countries.
Although the TOEFL may seem like a difficult test, preparing for what really helps you improve your English in powerful ways. This is due to study English at a university as a challenge - you have to do a lot of reading, perform many papers, documents and projects, and oral presentations. So all the skills tested on the TOEFL iBT are the real skills you need.
If you keep that perspective in mind, will help you feel more positive about the whole experience and appreciate that these same skills will be essential for you in college and later at work.