TOEFL Format

TOEFL Exam Pattern:

The TOEFL paper is divided in four sections,

  • Listening
  • Reading
  • Speaking
  • Writing

Each part is of forty marks, each part is further divided in sections from where questions pertaining to the English interpretation are asked. Each section score is calculated separately and the final score are revealed after exams. The section wise question patterns for TOEFL is:

  1. A) Listening: There are questions based on the passages spoken to the candidate. A candidate attempting TOEFL has to listen carefully and infer conclusions from it. The passages spoken to the candidate are generally conversations between a student or lecturer or academic discussions or simple lectures. The subject knowledge is irrelevant to the listening section as the candidate has to listen and answer questions based on the speech given to him.
Type of question
Conversations on general topics 5 questions based on the conversation
Lecture on any topic 1 question based on lecture


  1. b) Reading: In this section a different number of questions are asked related to the given passage. There are generally 4-6 passages and a candidate has to answer question on the implications, conclusions, logic, arguments etc. in the answers. The passages are from under graduate levels which are discussed and the questions are asked based on such passage readings.
Type of question
Passages Questions on the ideas, conclusions, vocabulary, rhetorical purposes etc.
Fillers Filling of charts and graphs, tables or summaries.


  1. c) Speaking: There are different sets of questions from this section. The lectures or discussions are given to candidates based on which they have to form ideas and speak about it. There are six tasks included in this section, two independent and four integrated tasks. Candidates have to answer accordingly the tasks where they are given ample time after listening to a speech or conversation.
Type of question
Task type 1 Speaking on opinions based on the lectures/ discussions.
Task type 2 Reading a passage, listening, and speaking on the discussion heard.
Interpretation and representation of ideas and implications, ability to express ideas clearly, talk effectively.


  1. D) Writing: In this section two different tasks are assigned to a candidate. He / She has to listen as well as write about the discussions that were given to him as a part of question. Three different examiners evaluate the expressions of the examinee and give scores accordingly. A candidate has to clearly formulate the discussions heard, read academic passages and write it in his /her own words in answers.
Type of question
Independent task: Essay writing describing choices of candidate’s.
Integrated task: Listen, read, and then write summary of the question given.


A break is given between the exams to candidates. In the TOEFL, there are some extra reading material which is added so a candidate has to answer each question. The extra passages are excluded for grading hence making it impossible to know which one should be or not attempted.

In some areas, TOEFL is conducted on paper with minor changes as explained above. The scores are valid for two years hence can be improved or test retaken if a candidate is not satisfied. Reviewing English newspapers, reading general texts, practicing accent and working on speaking and listening abilities can prepare a candidate well for TOEFL exams.

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