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TOEFL English Exam Pattern 2023

Understanding the TOEFL test structure for success.

TOEFL English Exam Pattern

What Is the Overall TOEFL Exam Pattern?

The TOEFL is an English proficiency test. The entire test is divided into four sections, reading, writing, listening, and speaking. The reading sections consist of three to four passages from academic texts with questions based on them. There are usually 30-40 questions and the time allotted is between 54-72 minutes. In the listening section candidates listen to voice clips of lectures, conversations, and classroom discussions, and later questions are provided related to the voice clips.

There are about 28-38 questions and candidates have to answer them within 41-57 minutes. Then a ten minutes break is provided after these two sections. After the break is the speaking test which is for 17 minutes and consists of four tasks. The candidates need to give their opinions on topics provided to them. Finally, in the writing section, the candidates need to write an essay on two topics. The time allotted is 50 minutes.

TOEFL Exam Pattern: Reading Section

The reading section consists of three to four passages, each approximately 700 words long and each passage have ten questions. They are multiple-choice-based questions.  The overall time that is provided for this section is 54-72 minutes. This is the first section out of the four. The section is scored based on the number of correct responses based on comprehension.

TOEFL Reading Question Types

The multiple choice questions in the reading section consist of various genres of questions. Some questions are straightforward factual information-seeking questions.

The next is the negative factual information questions where the candidates need to identify the incorrect or false options. The third type is the inference or conclusion drawing where the basic idea of any part of the comprehension needs to be understood and selected from the options.

The fourth type is the rhetorical type of question where the option needs to be selected that best describes the reason behind a certain part. Questions related to enhancing vocabulary, inserting words in blanks and paraphrasing are also present. Finally, prose summary completion questions are the last types of questions that are present in the reading section.

Tips for Attacking the TOEFL Reading Pattern

The three tips are:

  • Managing time is an important aspect of this section. candidates must not waste too much time in one passage.
  • The strategy of reading the passages should be selected beforehand. They can read the full passage once first or read the questions and skim the passage that answers the question. 
  • In case a candidate cannot answer any difficult question, they should move forward with the other question and come back to the difficult question later if time permits.

TOEFL Exam Pattern: Listening Section

In the listening section, the candidates are provided with audio clips which they can hear only one time. there are four to six lectures present and two to three conversations. The average time of each lecture is about three to five minutes and consists of six questions. The conversation clips are of three minutes and come with five questions. Al the questions in this section are multiple-choice based.

Tips for Attacking the TOEFL Listening Pattern

The three tips are:

  • While listening to the clips, constant notes should be taken since the audio clips are played only once.
  • In the case of replay questions, special attention should be given while listening since the answer to that question is in that part only.
  • The minute details should be noted since most questions are related to minute details in the audio.

TOEFL Exam Pattern: Speaking

This is the third section of the TOEFL exam pattern. It is a 20 minutes test section. it consists of a total of six tasks. The first two tasks involve speaking for 45 seconds each for independent familiar topics and static the opinions of the candidates. The next four tasks are called the integrated task which requires 60 seconds of speaking on passages and audio clips. Each task is scored on a scale of one to four. Finally, they are converted into a score between zero and thirty. A score above 22 is considered good in this section.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The TOEFL scores can be sent to universities from the ETS accounts of the candidates. In the account, they can click on the option, ‘Send Additional Score Report’ and pay through online means of payment. After that, the score reports are mailed.

There are no such passing marks for the TOEFL test. The cut-off marks vary for different universities. For example, in a university like Bowling Green State University, 61 points are accepted as the minimum result while for getting admission to Harvard University, one has to score more than 109.

Both exams are equally important for checking English proficiency, However, candidates who are more comfortable with online-based exams should opt for the TOEFL and those who prefer a pen-and-paper mode of examination rather than computer-based tests should choose the IELTS.

All four sections should be practiced before taking the TOEFL exam. Candidates should practice note-taking from audio clips and practice listening and understanding communication in an American accent English. They should also improve their vocabulary by reading books and articles. All candidates must be well aware of the pattern of questions in each section so that not much time is wasted in understanding the questions.

In comparison, the IELTS exam is considered easier than the TOEFL exam since the reading section of the IELTS is easier than the same in TOEFL.

The English tests taken up by Cambridge University are considered the most difficult English exam.

The TOEFL iBT Home Edition can be taken up at home and monitored online by a human proctor.

In order to take admitted to foreign universities, the English score that is accepted by the universities should be given by the student. The English test TOEFL and IELTS is the most common English test that is accepted by all foreign universities.

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