TOEFL Exam Pattern and Syllabus | Subjects, Courses, Paper Patterns


TOEFL Exam Pattern

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The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) tests the proficiency of non-native speakers of English to use and understand English when they are planning for international education or migration to a foreign country. It is necessary to score good marks in the TOEFL exam as English is spoken, heard and written in colleges and universities location. This test is accepted by many English-speaking academic and professional institutions all over the world, as it is a standardized exam. TOEFL Exam score is officially accepted for a period of 2 years. Even with a sound knowledge of English, it is important that one studies extensively to gain a high score. 


TOEFL Pattern


Firstly TOEFL exam pattern must be understood properly to prepare in such a manner so as to achieve the desired result. Questions may arise in your mind regarding TOEFL exam pattern like what kinds of questions it’ll ask? how the test is structured? and how you can ultimately use this information to get a high score.

Educational Testing Service(ETS) decides the TOEFL exam pattern. It is the conducting body that has the right to make decisions regarding the TOEFL exam. There is no specific syllabus for the TOEFL exam. Questions can be asked from anywhere, as it is a language test and pays attention to the candidate’s English language skills. However, one should know the TOEFL exam pattern so that it becomes a bit easy to prepare for the TOEFL exam.

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TOEFL exam updates

Time duration and marking scheme are witnessed to be changed significantly and apart from these major changes there will also be many helpful options for the candidates are also introduced. TOEFL test time is reduced by 30 minutes, to just 3 hours. According to the recent press announcement by Educational Testing Service (ETS)’s Executive Director of the TOEFL Program, Srikant Gopal, from the beginning of August, test takers will be able to gain a lot more from the format, score reporting and registration process that has been enhanced. So now the difficulty level of the TOEFL exam is reduced and made a bit liberal for the candidates.

TOEFL Exam Pattern

TOEFL Exam Pattern consists of two types. One is the iBT exam (internet-based test) and the other is the PBT exam(paper-based test). To measure your skill or proficiency to communicate, the test is divided into 4 sections, named as Listening, Reading, Speaking, and Writing. Now let’s look at the TOEFL exam pattern section by section:-


Time Limit in Minutes

Number of Questions





3-4 Passages of academic texts and answering questions related to it




Classroom lectures, conversations, and discussions are to be listened to with great attention and answer the questions based on them.

                                    A 10-minute Break is given



4 tasks

Express an opinion on a familiar topic



2 tasks

Opinions and Arguments Essay, Express your opinions in writing


The test duration of TOEFL will be 3 hours or 180 minutes The total score is the sum of scores of all four sections. The scores are been posted after the 10 days of the exam date. The TOEFL test scores can be viewed online as well. Your official reports will be sent to four institutes of your choice once they are declared, by ETS.

Here is the complete guide for all the four sections of TOEFL

Here are some top tips for dealing with the TOEFL exam :

  1. Understand the TOEFL exam pattern correctly then start preparations for the exam.
  2. Read regularly textbooks of universities or other materials that include a wide variety of subject areas.
  3. Concentrate on the content and flow of spoken material at the time of listening.
  4. Read the short articles regularly so has to improve your reading skills
  5. Learn grammatical structures and use them naturally when speaking.
  6. Make a record of topics that are relatable and practice speaking about them.
  7. Learn to Manage Your Time accordingly with the TOEFL exam pattern. Here is a guide for you: Time management of 3 hours in the TOEFL
  8. During exams try to stick to a one-minute pace per question.
  9. While answering questions in the exam skip difficult questions and return to them later.
  10. Don’t just choose the first answer choice that sounds right, take your time to understand what each answer option means, and then choose the one that you feel is accurate to that particular question.

Read also

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Common mistakes made by TOEFL test takers

TOEFL Exam Day Tips