TOEFL Exam Pattern

TOEFL Exam Pattern

You need to understand the TOEFL exam pattern before you start preparing for the exam. TOEFL consists of four different sections namely, Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking with each section having a unique requirement. Furthermore, to calculate the TOEFL results and scores, each section is graded on a 0 to 30 scale and added. ETS uses a normalizing scoring system in order to ensure uniformity across all versions of the test. In this blog, we will discuss the TOEFL exam pattern in detail. 

TOEFL Exam Pattern

As the commonly preferred version of TOEFL, the iBT exam is a computer-based examination that aims at analyzing your English language fluency skills and for this purpose, it is divided into four sections which are elaborated in the following table:

SectionDurationNumber of Questions
Reading54-72 minutes30-40
Listening41-57 minutes28-39
Break10 minutes
Speaking17 minutes4 tasks
Writing50 Minutes2

TOEFL New Exam Pattern

There are some new changes introduced by ETS for the TOEFL iBT format which is the commonly preferred exam format for this exam. Take a look at the updated version of the new TOEFL iBT pattern:

TOEFL Exam Pattern

TOEFL Exam Pattern: Reading Section

Composition3-4 comprehension passages followed by 10 questions based on each passage
What do the questions entail?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. 
Duration of the Test54-72 Minutes
Type of QuestionsThese questions are multiple-choice questions and it has only one correct response to it.
Score ScaleThe number of questions answered correctly is the raw score. This raw score is graded on a 0 to 30 scale

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 in a confusing manner so you have to be careful while skimming the information.

TOEFL Exam Pattern: Listening Section 

CompositionThe Listening section consists of 3-4 lectures followed by 6 questions based on each lecture and 2-3 conversations followed by 5 questions based on each conversation.
What do the questions entail?The idea of including listening activities in the TOEFL exam pattern is 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.
Duration of the Test41 to 57 Minutes
Type of QuestionsQuestions will be multiple-choice and will have only one correct response to it.
Score ScaleJust like the Reading section, the number of questions answered correctly becomes the raw score which is graded on a 0 to 30 scale

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 a track of what each speaker is saying.

TOEFL Speaking Pattern

CompositionThe Speaking section consists of 4 tasks, one independent and 3 integrated (question number 2-4). It requires you to present your views on a given subject. 
What do the questions entail?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
Duration of the Test17 Minutes
Type of QuestionsYou will speak into the microphone and your recorded answers will be evaluated. 
Score ScaleThe speaking test is evaluated by a human rater and an AI-based rater. Both the evaluators grade it on a scale of 0 to 4 which is further scaled to a range of 0 to 30.

How to Attempt the Speaking Section?

  • Don’t try to prepare a speech which 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 Exam Pattern: Writing Section

CompositionThis section consists of two tasks. One independent and one integrated.
What do the questions entail?For Integrated Question – Read a passage, listen to a lecture, write down your answers.

Independent Question – You have to write an essay. 
Duration of the Test50 Minutes 

Task 1 – 30 Minutes
Task 2 – 20 Minutes
Type of QuestionsYou will have to type the answers which will be then sent to ETS. 
Score ScaleFollowing the lines of the Speaking section, the writing test will be evaluated by a human and an AI-based rater. Both the evaluators will grade it on a scale of 0 to 5 which is further scaled to a range of 0 to 30.

How to Attempt this 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 the 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 final 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 3- 5 passages with 12- 14 question each passage. 
ListeningStudents have to answer questions based on an audio clip. 

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What is the passing score for 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 the TOEFL test hard?

While TOEFL is not considered as a very hard exam, it is very lengthy. So, the hard part is to complete it in the speculated time.

Is TOEFL Harder than IELTS?

While TOEFL and IELTS are both english proficiency tests, TOEFL is considered harder than IELTS in respect to its reading section and it is lengthy as well.

Hence, this blog gives you an overview of the TOEFL exam pattern which will certainly help you plan your preparation and identify your strengths and limitations! Not sure about how to prepare for English proficiency tests? Get in touch with our experts at Leverage Edu through an E-meeting and get a personalized test prep plan!

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