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TOEFL Exam Pattern

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TOEFL Exam Pattern

TOEFL Exam- An English Proficiency Test

If you are looking for studying overseas and want to apply to colleges /universities, the foremost requirement is that you will have to be given English proficiency tests. There are two most popular tests for the same, one of them is IELTS and the other one is TOEFL. Now, what is the TOEFL exam? What is the TOEFL exam pattern?  When can you write this exam and what are the different sections in this exam? And where is this test applicable?  We will be discussing all of that in our coming section.

What is the TOEFL test about?

TOEFL is one of the most important English Language Tests available for college students and employees from non-English speaking countries. Let us dive straight into this and make you understand all about the TOEFL exam.

TOEFL was initially developed at the Centre for Applied Linguistics at Stanford University. It was rolled out in 1964 and was first started in the United States. Over the period, almost all the institutions around the world and all the internationally claimed universities in various countries have been accepting TOEFL.  Some of them include The United States of America, Canada, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and many other institutions across Asia.

TOEFL Exam Pattern

The next segment of the TOEFL exam is the TOEFL exam pattern.  Now the test majorly comprises 4 sections namely –



Listening and


This means that in these four sections you will have a certain designated amount of time to answer each of them followed by a 10-minute break between the two sections. So you start with Reading, Listening, and then a 10-minute break, and then you will head on to the Speaking and Writing section.

Now let’s understand what all these sections have in terms of the time limit and what kind of questions you may receive –

READING – The Reading section comprises of full- length 3-4 passages –

– 700 words

– 18 minutes per passage

– Not separated – This means that you will get 50 to 70 minutes on the clock for completing the whole Reading section. You will have to divide the time between the passages.

12/14 questions per passage

Similar to university textbooks – It is very similar to comprehension/ reading passages. The passages can be about science, history, humanities, and other academic topics. The task is going to be about reading these passages and answering the questions based on these passages.

Now you will either get a short reading section of 50 minutes duration or you’ll have a longer one that could be of 70 minutes duration

Total Number of questions– 30 to 40

LISTENING – Next, you will have the listening section. Listening section has

5 or 7 recordings

Groups of three – Each group has two lectures.

The number of lectures- 3 to 4 lectures. Similar topics to those in the Reading section.

Time- You will get about 40 to 57 minutes to answer questions in the listening section.

Number of questions – 28 to 39 question

Listening is all about a series of recordings ranging from lectures to classroom discussions or about living on campus to a conversation with the professor.

Note- If you will have a long Reading section then you’ll have a short Listening Section. And together, Reading and Listening add up to 2 hours (approx)

After this, you’ll get a 10-minute quick break to relax and mentally prepare for the next two coming sections

SPEAKING- For completing the Speaking section, you will have about 17 minutes to answer each given task.

Number of tasks – 4 tasks

Task1- Independent – It’s about yourself, and your opinions and you’ll only have to speak.

Task2- Integrated -you have to read and listen and then talk about it

Task3- Integrated – read, listen, and Speak.

Task 4- Integrated – listen and Speak

You have to express your opinion on a given topic and accordingly structure your answer.

WRITING – For completing the writing section, you have a good 50 minutes which is a lot of time.

Number of tasks- 2 major tasks

You will have to write an essay that will be a response based on what you have listened to or what you have read on the previous tasks.

Note- Altogether, Speaking and Writing add up to 1 hour (approx)

The TOEFL test happens at least 50 times throughout the year and there is an Internet-Based Test (iBT) and the Paper-Based Test (PBT) available.

TOEFL Skills

There are a number of skills that you need for the TOEFL exam

Main language Skills

√ Grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation

√ Taking notes

√ Finding information in between the text

√ Structuring your thoughts

√Summarizing – to put the information in different words

√ Time management – for all the sections

√ Staying focussed


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