You are currently viewing TOEFL iBT®- All About the Test Sections

TOEFL meaning the Test of English as a Foreign Language is a proficiency exam. As evident by the name, it tests the English language ability of an individual. It is for individuals whose first language is not English. The Education Testing System conducts the TOEFL exam with the goal of determining a person’s English language competency. It helps to identify a person’s ability to study in a country where either the first language, or the mode of instruction is English. The TOEFL iBT being the most popular one, let’s read more about the exam, its test sections, the format and more.

TOEFL Examination Methods

One can take the TOEFL examination via two methods:

  1. via computer mode under the title TOEFL iBT (Internet-based test) 
  2. via paper-based examination

Primarily, most students opt for TOEFL iBT (internet-based test) as it is more accessible for regions with limited or no paper-based examination centers. You might be amazed to know that TOEFL has more than 4500 test centers all over the world. As a matter of fact, approximately more than 18 lakh students take the TOEFL exam in India alone every year. There is no surprise that more than 150 countries covering, over 1100 known institutes, accept TOEFL scores.

Test Sections of the TOEFL iBT

The TOEFL assessment evaluates an individual on four factors:

  • Speaking
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Listening

The sections are quite similar to the other most attempted test which is IELTS. However, the pattern is comparatively different. The first step for TOEFL preparation is understanding the TOEFL exam layout and its basic structure.

The TOEFL iBT exam takes place about 50-60 times a year. An individual can, hence, technically take it every three days. Concerning the eligibility, there are no pre-requisite or defined criteria. Any person seeking education abroad, a work visa, or even immigration can sit for the test to establish their proficiency in the language.

Coming to the exam pattern, it is classified into four sections and spread over 3 hours. Following are the categories and sections of the exam:

Reading section in TOEFL

1. Reading Section:

This section in TOEFL iBT lasts for about 54 mins. to 75 mins. and includes a passage of about 700 to 800 lines. The person needs to read the passage and comprehend it to answer about 30 to 40 questions that are based on it. The purpose of this section is to check the comprehensibility of the individual and their level of reasoning and argumentation along with personal opinions and attitude as the passage is from the university-level coursebook.

Writing section in TOEFL

2. Writing Section:

Spread over 50 mins, this section of the TOEFL iBT, seeks to test the ideation, presentation, opinions, vocabulary, and grammar of the person. It is further divided into two different tasks that incorporate writing of two passages or summary’s as follows:

a.   To write about any past incident or experience and express their opinions about the same

b.  To write the summary of the lecture or passage that the person had listened to during the task.

Listening Section in TOEFL

3. Listening Section:

Having about 30-40 questions, the section lasts between 41 to 57 minutes. This section of the TOEFL iBT exam aims to check the comprehension ability of an individual. It analyzes whether the person will be able to understand the language spoken in the classroom or the workspace environment. The first task comprises about four audio clips. The candidate is required to hear these and answer the questions based on these audios. In task 2, there are about 3 conversations with 12-15 questions related to those.

Speaking section in TOEFL

4. Speaking Section:

This section has a total of four tasks spread over a total of 17mins. The first task being independent as the person speaks about himself. Following that come three integrated tasks which check the real-life abilities of the person as to how he communicates in daily life scenarios. The section evaluates the fluency, vocabulary, pronunciation, grammar, and confidence of the person.

Summarizing the TOEFL iBT Test

You must have got a gist of the entire exam structure of the TOEFL exam by now. For an even better understanding of the exam format, you can take practice tests here and see for yourself. Also, to state, the exam fee is around $190 that is approximately ₹14,197/-. In general, the fee might fluctuate slightly as per international standards. Its scorecard is valid for up to two years. The TOEFL exam takes place over 60 times per year and does not have any limit on the number of attempts that one can take. Hence, without delay, you can start preparing now without the worry of whether you will crack it in one go or not as you can have multiple chances at it. Check out our link to know more about TOEFL and get in touch for an expert and personalized guidance.