What is the TOEFL Exam Pattern?

What is the TOEFL Exam Pattern?

The TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language, is one of the most widely approved exams for college admissions in the United States and Canada. Non-native English speakers usually go for this test. 

The TOEFL exam pattern is created by ETS with the objective of accurately measuring test takers’ fluency and command of the English language. It primarily assesses their abilities in four essential areas of the English language: reading, listening, speaking, and writing.

There are two types of tests:

  • Paper-based tests (PBT) and
  • Internet-based tests (iBT)

It takes 3 hours to finish the TOEFL Internet-based test. A test taker should allow 3 and a half hours for the exam, including 30 minutes for check-in. The TOEFL paper-delivered test, on the other hand, takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes.

The scoring is different in both formats, but the pattern is the same. The TOEFL iBT is preferred by more than 95% of students.

The TOEFL exam is divided into four sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing, with a total score at the end. Candidates should always practise as much as possible, as the more TOEFL Sample Papers they practise, the higher their results will be.

The ETS, the organisation that oversees the TOEFL exam, determines the exam pattern. All of the study materials are created with the TOEFL test format in mind.

The TOEFL results will be available online, six days following the start of the test. The final score is calculated by adding the points from all four skill areas.

Aside from that, candidates have the option of selecting up to four universities to send their score report to, when they register for the TOEFL.

As a result, as soon as the TOEFL results are released, ETS delivers the official score reports to the universities that the student has chosen.

TOEFL Format and Eligibility


The TOEFL exam has no official prerequisites; anyone who has completed high school and has a working knowledge of the English language is eligible to take it.

There are no age restrictions, however one must bring a valid passport with them to the exam for identity verification. Also, one should check the college’s eligibility requirements before applying.


Section Duration Composition
Reading 54-72 minutes 30-40 questions
Listening 41-57 minutes 28-38 questions
Short Break 10 minutes  
Speaking 17 minutes 4 tasks
Writing 50 minutes 2 tasks


If you’re taking the TOEFL exam, be sure you have the necessary abilities and methods in place to get a solid result.

Exam Pattern and Structure

Listening, Speaking, Reading, and Writing are the four sections of TOEFL iBT. It is a four-hour computerised test and is accepted by over 11,000 educational institutes worldwide.

Over 35 million people take the test to demonstrate their English skills. The TOEFL exam syllabus is graded on a scale of 0 to 120 points.

The exam’s section-by-section time margin and composition have been addressed. But what exactly do you need to get ready? What is the exam’s pattern and structure, and where do you need to shine? Let’s talk about the exam’s syllabus and specifics.

Section on Reading

This section consists of three to four large sections that students must read and then respond to 30-40 questions based on it in a time limit of 54-72 minutes.

This is used to assess the student’s comprehension skills and how well they grasp the major topic of the passage.

The texts usually deal with general social issues.

Section of Listening

Students must listen to 4-6 recordings of general conversation or discussion amongst people and answer questions based on the recordings in this portion.

In roughly 41-57 minutes, you must answer 28-38 questions.

This, however, is not the same as the reading part. The passages can always be re-read, but the recordings are only played once, so you must listen deliberately and carefully.


Because the exam is lengthier, there is a 10-minute pause between the Listening and Speaking sections. Use it wisely, ensuring that your body and mind are both rested for at least 10 minutes before moving on to the next section.

Section for Public Speaking

This component of the TOEFL exam is the shortest yet needs the most skills. This portion consists of four tasks that the student must complete in around 17 minutes.

The first job requires you to speak about a specific topic and share your opinions. Reading and listening are also required for the second and third tasks.

You’ll read a passage and listen to a tape connected to it in the second task. Your objective is to summarise and support or describe the overall notion based on your comprehension in your own words.

This paragraph is more akin to a scenario or a change that has an impact on your student life, and the recording is a discourse about the situation.

In the third exercise, you must read a piece and then listen to a lecturer give a few examples that illustrate the theme. It’s your job to summarise the passage.

In the last work, you will listen to a lecture and summarise the main points in your own words. Here, your mental acuity and comprehension are put to the test.

Section on Writing

The final portion, Writing, consists of two exercises that must be completed in 50 minutes. The first task in the Writing portion combines reading, listening, and writing. In this activity, you read a passage and listen to a lecture before writing a summarised essay based on your comprehension.

The second challenge requires you to write about a certain topic or situation. This activity, on the other hand, is self-contained because you must write your viewpoint or explain your point of view.

This section puts your philosophy and knowledge of the issues to the test.

TOEFL Scores – A brief

It is important for candidates to understand how each portion of the TOEFL exam is graded in order to comprehend their TOEFL exam score. Six days after taking the test, candidates receive an email from ETS when their scores are available.

The TOEFL scores can be checked online. After 11 days after the TOEFL test date, candidates will receive their printed score reports through email.

The TOEFL exam scores are broken into four sections as follows:

Section Score Range Mean Scores
Reading 0–30 20
Listening 0–30 19
Speaking 0–30 19
Writing 0–30 20
Total Score 0–120 78



There is no TOEFL passing score kind of thing. Every university has its own TOEFL cut-off, and students are required to earn scores that are equal to or greater than the cut-off.

Candidates should be aware that higher TOEFL scores will immediately boost their chances of gaining admission to the institution and will also put them in the running for any scholarships that the university may provide. 

Read more interesting articles at Blogjunta