TOEFL is one of the popular English proficiency tests accepted at universities around the world. Knowing the correct TOEFL Exam Pattern and Format is compulsory if you want to prepare well for the TOEFL Preparation. Here is all you need to know about the TOEFL Pattern.

TOEFL Reading Section Pattern

  • The first section you will have on the TOEFL iBT is the Reading section.
  • Reading will be 60 minutes long and contain 36 to 42 questions. If you do get experimental questions, it will be 80 minutes long and contain 48 to 56 questions.
  • Here you have to read passages and answer questions about them.
  • Each reading passage is usually about 700 words and you will have 3 or 4 passages in total.
  • Each passage also comes with 12 to 14 questions.
  • You are not timed on each passage and question set, so it is important to manage your time wisely.
  • There are 3 Reading question types: multiple- choice, inserting a sentence, and reading to learn.
    1. Multiple Choice - For this question type, you may have to define a vocabulary word in the text or answer a question about the content or form of the passage.
    2. Inserting a Sentence - With this question, you get a new sentence and 4 possible places to insert it in the passage. You have to put the sentence in the area of the passage where it sounds logical.
    3. Reading to Learn - Here you are required to arrange the main points of the passage in a chart or summary by clicking and dragging sentences.

TOEFL Listening Section Pattern

  • The listening section can range from 60 minutes and 34 questions to 90 minutes and 51 questions.
  • In total, you will listen to 4 to 6 lectures and 2 to 3 conversations.
  • Each lecture lasts 3 to 5 minutes and comes with 6 questions, while each conversation lasts about 3 minutes and comes with 5 questions.
  • You will hear each audio clip only once.
  • As you listen to a clip, you will usually get to see a picture of the speaker(s) on-screen. You may hear 1 or multiple speakers in audio clips.
  • There are 3 question types for Listening: standard multiple-choice, multiple answer, and replay.
    1. Multiple Choice - Each question comes with 4 answer choices and 1 correct answer.
    2. Multiple Answer - You will have 4 answers to choose from; however, you may select more than 1 answer choice.
    3. Replay - The part of the audio is replayed and then you have to answer the multiple-choice question about that part of the clip.

TOEFL Exam Pattern: Break

You will be given a 10-minute break in the middle of the test. By this point, you have been sitting at a computer for more than 2 hours! Thus, it will be better if you move your body and take your eyes off the screen. Though you can use the bathroom any time during the test but remember the clock won’t stop for you. So use the bathroom on your break.

Drink some water and eat a quick snack to keep your stamina up for the remaining part of the test. Breathe and relax. Try not to worry about how you have done on the TOEFL so far or how you might do in upcoming sections. If you are feeling nervous, take a few moments to breathe deeply. You can do this.

TOEFL Speaking Section Pattern

  • Now it’s time to use the microphone! The TOEFL Speaking section is the shortest section, lasting just 20 minutes in total.
  • For this section, you will have 6 tasks.
  • The first 2 tasks, the Independent tasks, require you to speak for 45 seconds about your opinion on familiar topics.
  • The latter 4 tasks, the Integrated tasks, require you to speak for 60 seconds about passages and audio clips.
    1. Independent Speaking Tasks - It focuses on familiar topics. For task 1 you must choose 1 of many options, and for task 2 you must choose 1 of 2 options. For both tasks, you will read a prompt and then have 15 seconds to prepare your response. Once that time is up, you will have 45 seconds to speak. As you speak, you must support your opinions with ample examples and reasons.
    2. Integrated Speaking Tasks- It requires you to combine your reading and listening skills with your speaking skills.

Below is an overview of the 4 Integrated Speaking tasks:

Task 3 Task 4 Task 5 Task 6
Content Reading + Listening Listening
Topic Campus situations Academic course content Campus situations Academic course content
Time Reading: 45 to 50 seconds
Listening: About 60 seconds
Preparation: 30 seconds
Speaking: 60 seconds
Listening: About 60 to 120 seconds
Preparation: 20 seconds
Speaking: 60 seconds

TOEFL Writing Section Pattern

  • Finally, you will reach to the last section of the TOEFL, writing section.
  • For this section, you must write 2 essays (an Integrated essay and an Independent essay) within 50 minutes.
  • You will have 20 minutes for the first essay and 30 minutes for the second essay.
    1. Integrated Writing Task - For this task, you will have 3 minutes to read an academic passage of about 300 words. After, listen to an about a 2-minute long audio clip of a lecture and then write an essay explaining how the lecture and passage support or challenge each other. You will have 20 minutes to prepare and write your response. You can see the passage the entire time you write. The length of your essay should be about 150 to 225 words.
    2. Independent Writing Task - You will have no reading passages to read or audio clips to listen to for this task; all you will get is prompt. You have to write about your own opinion on the prompt or make one up. You will have 30 minutes to plan and write a response of at least 300 words.

You can then use the above information to help you figure out how to approach different questions, take notes efficiently, and get more questions right. You can view your TOEFL scores in your ETS account approximately 6 days after your test date. Each section of the TOEFL iBT test has a score range of 0-30, for a total score of 0-120.