TOEFL Exam Pattern

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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 to ensure uniformity across all versions of the test. In this blog, we will discuss the TOEFL exam pattern in detail. 

What is TOEFL?

TOEFL is conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) and is widely accepted by over 11,000 universities and academic institutions in more than 150 countries, such as the US, the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Australia as well as across Asia and Europe. Earlier there used to be two types of TOEFL exams, i.e. TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT. TOEFL iBT is a computer-delivered test that is conducted in online mode whereas TOEFL PBT was a paper-based test that is only carried out in those areas where the internet is not available. But from 11th April 2021 onwards, the official authorities- ETS have discontinued TOEFL PBT. This implies that TOEFL is now available in iBT i.e.,computer-based format and TOEFL iBT Home Edition.

TOEFL Eligibility Criteria

There are some prerequisites that the candidates must fulfill to appear for the TOEFL exams. The TOEFL eligibility criteria have been given a rundown below:

  • There is no certain age limit specified to take the TOEFL exam.
  • The candidate must have a 10+2 level of qualification from a recognized Indian board.

TOEFL Exam Pattern 2022

Section QuestionsDuration Tasks
Reading Questions: 30–40 questionsDuration: 54–72 minutes Reading three to four academic text excerpts and responding to questions based on them.
Listening Questions: 28-38Duration: 41-57 minutes Answering questions based on lectures, dialogues, and classroom discussions that you have just listened to.
Break: 10 minutes
Speaking Questions: 4 tasksDuration: 17 minutes Candidates must talk based on reading and listening exercises and provide their viewpoint on a common topic.
Writing Questions: 2 tasksDuration: 50 minutes Candidates need to write essay responses based on reading and listening tasks, along with supporting the opinion in writing.

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

Composition 3-4 comprehension passages, each approximately 700 words long, 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 Test 54-72 Minutes
Type of Questions These questions are multiple-choice questions and it has only one correct response to them.
Score Scale The 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 confusingly so you have to be careful while skimming the information.

TOEFL Exam Pattern: Listening Section 

Composition The Listening section consists of 3-4 lectures, each 3–5 minutes long, followed by 6 questions based on each lecture.
2-3 conversations, each 3 minutes long, 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 Test 41 to 57 Minutes
Type of Questions Questions will be multiple-choice and will have only one correct response to them.
Score Scale Just 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 Exam Pattern: Speaking Pattern

Composition The 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 Test 17 Minutes
Type of Questions You will speak into the microphone and your recorded answers will be evaluated. 
Score Scale The 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 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 Exam Pattern: Writing Section

Composition This 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, and write down your answers.

Independent Question – You have to write an essay. 

Duration of the Test 50 Minutes 

Task 1 – 30 Minutes
Task 2 – 20 Minutes

Type of Questions You will have to type the answers which will be then sent to ETS. 
Score Scale Following 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 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 Skill Explanation 
Speaking Applicants have to speak on the given topics. 
Writing Students have to write a well-structured essay. 
Reading There are 3- 5 passages with 12- 14 questions for each passage. 
Listening Students have to answer questions based on an audio clip. 

TOEFL Exam Fee 2022 

TOEFL Costs in India 2022: The cost to take the TOEFL exam varies depending on where you are. In India, the TOEFL exam costs US$190, or INR 14,242.11. In addition to this, candidates must pay extra for additional services including score reviews, exam rescheduling, and late registration.

TOEFL Preparation Books

  • Official Guide to the TOEFL Test (ETS)
  • Official TOEFL iBT Tests (ETS)
  • Cambridge Preparation for the TOEFL iBT Test (CUP)
  • TOEFL Preparation Course (Macmillan)
  • TOEFL iBT (Barron)
  • TOEFL iBT Prep Plus (Kaplan)
  • The TOEFL iBT Test Prep Planner (ETS)
  • Essential Words for the TOEFL (Barron’s)

TOEFL Exam Scores & Results

Skill/ Score Range Level
ReadingScore Range 0–30 Advanced (24–30)
high-intermediate (18–23)
Low-Intermediate (4–17)
Below Low-Intermediate (0–3)
ListeningScore Range 0–30 Advanced (22–30)
high-intermediate (17–21)
Low-Intermediate (9–16)
Below Low-Intermediate (0–8)
SpeakingScore Range 0–30 Advanced (25–30)
high-intermediate (20–24)
Low-Intermediate (16–19)
Basic (10–15)Below Basic (0–9
WritingScore Range 0–30 Advanced (24–30)
high-intermediate (17–23)
Low-Intermediate (13–16)
Basic (7–12)
Below Basic (0–6)
Total Score These are added together for a total score of 0–120.

Source – ETS

Scoring across the different sections of IELTS is done on the following scale:

  • Reading: 0 to 30
  • Writing: 0 to 30
  • Speaking: 0 to 30
  • Listening: 0 to 30
  • Total: 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 requested 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? 

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.

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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 the TOEFL test hard?

While TOEFL is not considered 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 concerning 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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