What is TOEFL Listening Test: Tips and Types of Questions

4 minute read
What is TOEFL Listening Test

TOEFL Listening Test: TOEFL is also known as the Test of English as a Foreign Language. It is a standardised test used to measure non-native speakers’ English language ability. Those who want to study at English-speaking universities must take this exam. The exam consists of multiple rounds, of which the TOEFL listening test is one. The TOEFL listening test is the second section of the TOEFL iBT test. It is conducted to test the candidate’s understanding of spoken English by testing their ability to answer based on lectures and conversations. 


In this blog, we will talk about the TOEFL listening test, its structure, the types of questions that are asked, and much more. Here is a quick preview of the TOEFL exam. 

Name of the ExamTOEFL iBT listening test
Full FormTest of English as a Foreign Language
Number of Questions28-39 questions
Time Duration41-57 minutes

TOEFL Listening Test: Structure, Format 

The listening test of the TOEFL iBT test is designed to judge the candidate’s English proficiency in terms of listening to lectures and conversations. Based on this, the aspirant attempts to answer questions. In this test, the candidates are required to listen to a basic comprehension and then connect the information. 

Check out the table below to understand the TOEFL listening test structure.

Standard Listening:

Time TasksTime Required to AnswerMarks Common Topics
41 minutes28 questions (3 lectures, 2 conversations)10 minutesOut of 30Academic topics and university subjects: Education, Science, History, Social Sciences, Arts, etc

Experimental Listening:

Time TasksTime Required to AnswerMarks  Common Answers
57 Minutes 39 questions (4 lectures, 3 conversations)10 minutesOut of 30Academic topics and university subjects: Science, Education, Social Sciences, History, Arts, etc

Types of Questions Asked in the TOEFL Listening Test

One should note that in the TOEFL listening test, the questions are given to the candidate via an audio message. In order to answer the questions, the candidates are required to listen to an audio clip and answer the questions that follow. One important thing to remember is that the audio message is played only once. Therefore, the candidate must remember the questions. 

Since no one can remember all the questions, the candidate can always make quick notes of the questions and use them later. Worrying about the speed of the audio? Well, worry not, as the audio message is played very slowly. This will help the candidate grasp the information very quickly. 

Here are some of the types of questions that are asked in a TOEFL listening test:

  • Summary-based questions: In this type of question, the candidate is asked to summarise what they have heard in the audio clip. Here, the exam taker is required to identify the main topic. Questions like ‘What was the audio clip about’?, and ‘What was the gist of this audio clip’? can be asked.
  • Detailed questions: Here the candidate is asked detailed questions so as to test their attention to the details as well as their ability to pick out key facts. 
  • Connecting content: Under this question category, the candidate will be required to put together information from different places. One could be asked to fill in the table, the blacks, etc. 
  • Inference: In this, one is asked to identify the meaning of the sentence or even specific phrases. 

Preparation Tips for the TOEFL Listening Test

In order to ace the TOEFL listening test, it is required for the candidate to have a proper plan. It is very important for the student to have some strategies in place to pass this round. Here are some basic tips and tricks that will help the candidate ace the round:

  • Focus on key points: When preparing for the listening test, it is very important to focus on only relevant information. Doing so will help the candidate solve the questions more easily. 
  • Understand the question: It is very important to understand the type of question. With this, the candidate will have a basic understanding of what to focus on. 
  • Increase your vocabulary: In order to understand the context of the conversation happening in the audio clip, one should have a strong vocabulary. Be sure to learn a lot of phrasal verbs and idioms. 
  • Take several practice tests. Lastly, don’t forget to take as many practice tests as you can. This will help you prepare for the final day. 

Hopefully, these tips will help you ace your TOEFL listening test. 


How is the TOEFL listening test conducted?

The TOEFL listening test is conducted via an audio clip, from which the questions are delivered. In addition to this, the candidate will also see a picture on the screen that will indicate the context of the question. The candidate will be required to listen to the question and answer it accordingly. 

How many questions are there in the TOEFL listening test?

In the standard TOEFL listening test, there are 28 questions, whereas, in the experimental test, there are 39 questions that have to be answered. 

How do I pass the TOEFL listening test?

In order to pass the TOEFL exam, the candidate must keep the following points in mind:

– Pay attention to intonation
– Understand your question
– Practise listening tests as much as you can
– Learn to distinguish between sounds

We hope this blog has provided you with all the necessary information about how to take the TOEFL listening test. It talked about the types of listening tests, how to prepare for them, and much more.

For more such informative blogs, do check out our TOEFL page. You can also 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 at your dream college.

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