TOEFL Exam Pattern 2023: Check Revised Pattern & Duration

9 minute read
TOEFL Exam Pattern

ETS introduced new changes to the TOEFL exam pattern in July 2023. In the revised TOEFL exam pattern, ETS reduced the duration of the exam from 3 hours to around 2 hours and the number of questions was reduced as well. Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a widely accepted English Proficiency Test for students. It is famous worldwide but especially in the USA for the purpose of university admissions. The TOEFL exam pattern and syllabus are more centred around university content and literature, hence the popularity among students. It is crucial to understand the exam pattern before starting the exam preparation. In this blog, we will discuss the TOEFL exam pattern in detail. 

Name of ExamTOEFL ( Test of English as a Foreign Language )
TOEFL Exam Fee USD 195 (Rs 16,900)
TOEFL Score Range0-120
Number of Sections4 (Reading, Writing, Listening & Speaking)
Exam Duration1 hour 56 minutes
Conducting BodyETS

What is TOEFL?

TOEFL is an English proficiency test which assesses a candidate’s reading, listening, grammar, and writing skills, especially for non-native English speakers. TOEFL is conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is widely accepted by over 12,000 universities and academic institutions in more than 160 countries, such as the US, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia as well as across Asia and Europe.

Latest TOEFL iBT Practice Test: Download Here!

Latest Updates on TOEFL

The year 2023 has brought many changes to the TOEFL test. All of them are good news for International students who are planning to study abroad in an English-speaking nation. First of all, in the revised TOEFL exam pattern, ETS reduced the duration of the exam from 3 hours to around 2 hours and the number of questions was reduced as well. Another important update is that the TOEFL exam is now acceptable in Canada SDS entry. This is excellent news for students as they now have more options to choose from.

TOEFL Exam Pattern: Old vs New

Test SectionOld TOEFL Exam Pattern (Long version)New TOEFL Exam Pattern (Short Version)
Reading3-4 reading passages (10 questions each)  

Total time: 54-72 minutes 
2 reading passages (10 questions each )

Total time: 36 minutes
(no changes to question types)
Listening3-4 lectures (6 questions each)
2–3 conversations (5 questions each)
Random unscored questions

Total time: 41–57 minutes + unscored questions
3 lectures (Each 3-5 minutes; 6 questions each)
2 conversations (Each 3 minutes; 5 questions each)
No more unscored questions

Total Time: 36 minutes 
(no changes to question types)
Speaking4 speaking tasks
Speaking Independent Task 1
Speaking Integrated Task 2
Speaking Integrated Task 3
Speaking Integrated Task 4 

Total time: 17 minutes
No changes to the speaking section
Writing2 writing tasks
Writing Integrated Task 1 (20 minutes)
Writing Independent Task 2 (30 minutes)

Total time: 50 minutes 
2 writing tasks
Integrated Task 1 (20 minutes)
Academic Discussion Task 2 (10 minutes)

Total time: 30 minutes 

Overview of TOEFL Exam Pattern 2023 (Revised)

The TOEFL Exam Pattern has been recently updated to adjust the reduced duration of the exam. Here is an overview of the latest TOEFL exam pattern.

Mode of ExamTOEFL iBT
TOEFL iBT Home Edition
TOEFL Paper-Based Test
TOEFL Score Range0-120
Number of SectionsFour (Reading, Writing, Listening & Speaking)
Latest Exam Duration1 hour 56 minutes
Conducting Body ETS

Section-wise TOEFL iBT Exam Pattern

Latest TOEFL Exam Pattern
SectionQuestions / DurationTasks
ReadingQuestions: 20 questions
Duration: 35 minutes
Reading three to four academic text excerpts
and responding to questions based on them.
ListeningQuestions: 28
Duration: 36 minutes
Answering questions based on lectures, dialogues, and
classroom discussions that you have just listened to.
Break: 10 minutes
SpeakingQuestions: 4 tasks
Duration: 16 minutes
Candidates must talk based on reading
and listening exercises and provide their
viewpoints on a common topic.
WritingQuestions: 2 tasks
Duration: 29 minutes
Candidates need to write essay responses
based on reading and listening tasks,
along with supporting their opinion in writing.

TOEFL Reading Section Pattern

The TOEFL exam pattern of the Reading section is about testing your comprehension skills. Therefore, the central idea of most of the passages revolves around everyday issues and are usually excerpts from high-education-level textbooks. 

Composition2 Comprehension Passages,
Length 700 words
Number of Questions: 10 questions per passage.
Duration of the TestNew time limit: 35 Minutes
Type of QuestionsMultiple-choice questions with one correct answer
Score Scale0-30

How to Attempt the Reading Section?

  • You need not read the section thoroughly. You have to skim through the passage to get a surface-level knowledge of the central idea of the passage.
  • Don’t waste much time reading the passage as the questions are tricky and they do require a thorough reading.
  • Ensure that you answer the questions as per the text provided to you and not according to your opinion and belief.
  • The passages are descriptive and the facts are often presented confusingly so you have to be careful while skimming the information.

TOEFL Listening Section Pattern

ETS includes listening activities in the TOEFL exam pattern to examine a candidate’s ability to comprehend the audio and summarise the information correctly. 

The audio could be of a speech or a talk. It could be a general discussion or some kind of conflict resolution. Below are the details of this section.

Composition2 lectures
3–5 minutes long each
6 questions based on each lecture
3 conversations each 3 minutes long
5 questions based on each conversation
Duration of the TestLatest Duration: 36 Minutes
Type of QuestionsMultiple-choice with only one correct response to them
Score Scale0 – 30

How to Attempt the Listening Section?

  • You have to carefully listen to the audio and understand the subject. 
  • You need to comprehend the tone of the speaker.
  • The section involving a conversion can be a little tricky as you have to keep track of what each speaker is saying.

TOEFL Speaking Section Pattern

The integrated task is based on the text where a combination of your skills [Reading-Speaking/ Listening-Speaking/ Listening] is assessed.

On the other hand, the Independent questions in the TOEFL exam pattern of this section evaluate your articulation ability. and the audio provided for the reading and the listening section respectively.

Composition4 tasks – one independent
& 3 integrated (question number 2-4).
Requires to present your views on a given subject. 
Duration of the TestLatest Duration: 16 Minutes
Type of QuestionsYou will speak into the microphone and your recorded answers will be evaluated. 
Score ScaleEvaluated by a human rater and an AI-based rater, Both grade it on a 0 to 4 scale,
The score is scaled to a range of 0 to 30.

How to Attempt the Speaking Section?

  • Don’t try to prepare a speech that you can memorize and deliver.
  • Decide the points you want to present and put them in order so that your presentation seems structured. 
  • Practise TOEFL speaking topics before appearing for the exam.

TOEFL Writing Section Pattern

There are two sub-sections in this section. For Integrated Question – Read a passage, listen to a lecture, and write down your answers. Independent Question – You have to write an essay. 

Composition2 tasks
One independent & one integrated.
Duration of the TestLatest Duration: 29 Minutes
Task 1 – 20 Minutes
Task 2 – 09 Minutes
Type of QuestionsYou will have to type the answers which will be then sent to ETS. 
Score ScaleThe Writing Section is evaluated by a human and an AI-based rater,
Both grade it on a scale of 0 to 5,
Scores are scaled to a range of 0 to 30.

How to Attempt the Writing Section?

  • Make a blueprint of what you want to write in your head.
  • Have a proper structure and a good flow to what you are writing.

TOEFL Syllabus 

Understanding the TOEFL syllabus is one of the key elements in exam preparation. Even though the syllabus is not specifically defined, candidates can go through the following topics to enhance their knowledge and skills and perform better in the showdown. Given below is a detailed break-down of topics that constitute an important part of the exam: 

Testing SkillExplanation 
SpeakingApplicants have to speak on the given topics. 
WritingStudents have to write a well-structured essay. 
ReadingThere are 2 passages with 10 questions for each passage. 
ListeningStudents have to answer questions based on an audio clip. 

TOEFL Exam Fee 2023 

TOEFL Costs in India 2023: The cost to take the TOEFL exam varies depending on where you are. In India, the TOEFL exam costs Rs. 16,900. In addition to this, candidates must pay extra for additional services including score reviews, exam rescheduling, and late registration.

Ace your TOEFL preparation with Leverage Edu and get 15% off on the registration. Click here!

TOEFL Preparation Books

Books Name Authors
Official Guide to the TOEFL Test ETS
Official TOEFL iBT Tests ETS
TOEFL Preparation CourseMacmillan
TOEFL iBT Prep PlusKaplan
Essential Words for the TOEFLBaron
The TOEFL iBT Test Prep PlannerETS

TOEFL Exam Scores & Results

Here is how TOEFL scores are divided along the four sections of the TOEFL exam.

Section Score RangeLevel
Reading 0 to 30Advanced (24–30)
high-Intermediate (18–23)
Low-Intermediate (4–17)
Below Low-Intermediate (0–3)
Listening 0 to 30Advanced (22–30)
high-intermediate (17–21)
Low-Intermediate (9–16)
Below Low-Intermediate (0–8)
Speaking 0 to 30Advanced (25–30)
high-intermediate (20–24)
Low-Intermediate (16–19)
Basic (10–15)Below Basic (0–9
Writing 0 to 30Advanced (24–30)
high-intermediate (17–23)
Low-Intermediate (13–16)
Basic (7–12)
Below Basic (0–6)
Total Score 0-120These are added together for a total score of 0–120.

Note: The official TOEFL iBT score will be accessible to you within 6 days of the exam date, and test-takers who choose the Special Home Edition of the TOEFL exam will receive their results within 6 to 10 days after the test date. If a candidate requests a print copy of their score report before taking the exam, it will be mailed to them within 11 days after the test date. Delivery timeframes will be determined by local postal services.

How are TOEFL Exam Scores Calculated? 

The four sections of the TOEFL—Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing—are typically administered online. Each section is given a raw score before being scaled between 0 and 30. The ultimate score, which ranges from 0 to 120, is then calculated by adding these four scores together.

TOEFL exam scores are calculated using both human raters and computerized scoring systems. This is done to provide a comprehensive and accurate picture of the candidate’s ability. While the automatic scoring technique is neutral, it does not assess the efficacy of the language and content. Human raters must consider a broader range of factors, such as the quality of ideas and substance, as well as form. In addition, you are expected to answer at least one question in each area. You must answer at least one question for reading and listening. You must complete one task each for writing and speaking. For the online TOEFL iBT test, the result is four-scaled along with a total score.

ETS has offered 4 to 5 competence levels for each skill to make your exam experience more personalized and to help you understand your score better. So where your score falls within that range indicates your skill level for that ability. This will offer you a good sense of your performance, your strengths, areas that need to be improved, and so on.


What is the passing score for the TOEFL test?

TOEFL has no passing score but your cut-off will depend on the requirement of the country and university you wish to apply to.

Is a TOEFL score of 80 easy?

It’s challenging to score 80 on the TOEFL. A high level of English proficiency is necessary. With effort and planning, it is possible to get this score.

Is TOEFL more difficult than IELTS?

Many students preparing for an English Language Proficiency test currently believe that IELTS is an easier exam than TOEFL. This was mainly due to IELTS being a shorter exam while there was generally little to no difference between the difficult level of questions asked in the exam.

However, with ETS releasing the revised TOEFL exam pattern, this is no longer the case. TOEFL is now a shorter exam than before, which has significantly dropped the difficulty level of the exam. It has also surpassed IELTS in terms of acceptability with 12,000+ universities in 160+ now accepting TOEFL scores.

Hence, this blog gives you an overview of the TOEFL exam pattern which will undoubtedly help you plan your preparation and identify your strengths and limitations!

Candidates who want to prepare for TOEFL or any other language proficiency test, can build a plan with Leverage Edu‘s Leverage Live classes and our top trainers and strengthen your English score as well as your application so that you can secure your spot in your dream college. Fulfil your dreams of studying abroad with Leverage Edu, to get a free counselling session, reach us at 1800-572-000. 

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *