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Home » A Comprehensive Guide on TOEFL Exam Pattern & Syllabus to Help You Ace Exam

A Comprehensive Guide on TOEFL Exam Pattern & Syllabus to Help You Ace Exam

toefl exam pattern and syllabus

Are you preparing to take the TOEFL exam? If so, you’re probably wondering what to expect on test day. From the types of questions you encounter to the skills and knowledge that will be tested, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the TOEFL exam pattern and syllabus. Well, you’re in luck! In this blog post, we’re going to break down everything you need to know about the TOEFL exam pattern and syllabus. By the end, you’ll have a clear understanding of the structure and content of the test, and you’ll be well on your way to success.

Do you know?

The TOEFL exam is accepted by more than 10,000 universities, schools, and organizations in over 150 countries.

The competition is huge! And thus, having a detailed understanding of the exam pattern and syllabus is a must. You should understand the TOEFL exam pattern and syllabus before you start preparing for the exam. The TOEFL consists of four different sections, namely Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking, each with unique requirements. Additionally, to calculate TOEFL results and scores, each section is scored on a scale of 0 to 30 and added. ETS uses a standardized scoring system to ensure consistency across all versions of the test.

But before you explore this post further– Pause. Reflect. Understand.

What all is covered in this post?

To make it easier for you, we have created a quick guide to everything you need to know about the TOEFL Exam Pattern & Syllabus.

What all is covered in this post of toefl exam pattern  syllabus

Latest Updates on the TOEFL exam

Since the pandemic, there have been some changes to many standardized tests such as the SAT, GRE, GMAT, and many others. Similarly, there have been some changes in the TOEFL exam.

  • From July 2021, ETS has allowed Indian students to use Aadhar cards as their ID. This was introduced due to the delay in issuing passports due to the pandemic. Therefore, Indian students are not required to have a passport when registering for the test.
  • Due to the pandemic, ETS has developed the TOEFL Essentials test for students who are unable to pay the TOEFL exam registration fee. The fee is comparatively low ($100 i.e. INR 7700).

Note: If you want to know an overview of the exam, refer to our TOEFL exam blog post.

TOEFL exam format

ETS offers three types of TOEFL tests: the ETS TOEFL iBT (Internet Test), the ETS TOEFL iBT Home Edition, and the ETS TOEFL Test on Paper. The TOEFL iBT test is the most popular option and is administered at a testing center. The TOEFL iBT Home Edition is the same test, but it is taken from the privacy of your own home and monitored online by a human supervisor. The ETS TOEFL Test on Paper is also similar to the TOEFL iBT test, but it is divided into two sessions. The reading, listening, and writing sections are taken at a test center, while the speaking section is taken at home on your computer and monitored by a human supervisor. The TOEFL PBT (paper-based) test is no longer offered as of April 11, 2021, but scores from the test will remain valid for two years after the test date.

TOEFL exam pattern

The TOEFL exam consists of four sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing, and a total score. It is always recommended that candidates practice more and more because the more they practice TOEFL Sample Papers, the better their scores will be. The TOEFL exam pattern is determined by ETS, the body that administers the TOEFL exam. All preparation material is prepared with an emphasis on the TOEFL test pattern. It is one of the important exams to study abroad.

TOEFL results will be announced online six days after the start of the test. The total TOEFL exam score can be found by summing the scores of all four skill areas. Additionally, during TOEFL registration, candidates are given the opportunity to select up to four institutions to which they can send their score reports. Therefore, after the announcement of the TOEFL results, ETS sends official reports directly to the institutions that the student has chosen.

Highlight of TOEFL Exam Pattern

Candidates can check the updated TOEFL exam form below.

SectionQuestions DurationTasks
ReadingQuestions: 30–40 questions Duration: 54–72 minutesReading 3 or 4 passages from the academic texts and answering questions based on them.
ListeningQuestions: 28-38 Duration: 41-57 minutesListening to lectures, conversations, and classroom discussions, and, then answering questions based on them.
Break: 10 minutes
SpeakingQuestions: 4 tasks Duration: 17 minutesCandidates must express their opinion on a topic they are familiar with and give a speech based on the reading and listening tasks.
WritingQuestions: 2 tasks Duration: 50 minutesCandidates must write essay answers based on the reading and listening tasks, as well as justify their opinion in writing.

TOEFL exam syllabus

As mentioned earlier, the TOEFL test contains four sections that cover all areas of English proficiency.

Of the four sections, the Listening and Reading sections consist of multiple-choice questions. The total TOEFL score, which takes into account both listening and reading, is 58-79. The written test consists of descriptive questions to which students must provide detailed and short answers. Finally, the speaking test requires students to speak on the topics mentioned in the test.

The TOEFL score ranges from 0 to 120, with each section assigned a specific score. Any score above 100 is considered a good score.

Here is the detailed TOEFL Exam Syllabus for each section.


In this section, you will read 3-4 passages and answer 10 questions on each passage. The section is scored based on the number of correct reading comprehension answers.

  • Question type: 3–4 passages of 10 questions each
  • Total questions: about 30-40
  • Total time: 54-72 minutes


In the listening section of the test, you will listen to lectures and conversations in the language of the campus. This section aims to understand the test taker’s ability to understand conversations and lectures in English. It includes basic listening comprehension and understanding, connecting, and synthesizing information.

  1. Question type:
    • 3–4 lectures (3–5 minutes, about 500–800 words), 6 questions each
    • 2–3 conversations (about 3 minutes, about 12–25 exchanges), 5 questions each
  2. Total time: 41–57 minutes


For you to earn the highest marks in the speaking section, your answers must meet the requirements of the task with few errors or omissions. Test participants are looking for a very clear and long conversation. Three main factors make up the score for a section, namely presentation, use of language, and topic development.

  1. Question type:
    • 1 independent task (preparation time: 15 seconds; response time: 45 seconds)
    • 3 integrated tasks – Read/Listen/Speak
  1. Total number of questions: 4
  2. Total time: 17 minutes


Each of the two essays should effectively address one topic. In addition, it should also demonstrate unity, progressivity, and coherence. If you want to achieve a high writing score, make sure you demonstrate the syntactic variety and correct word choice with few grammatical errors.

  1. Question Type:
    • 1 integrated task – Read/Listen/Write (20 minutes) (reading time: 3 minutes; listening time: 2 minutes; recording: 15 minutes)
    • 1 independent task (30 minutes)
  1. Total number of questions: 2
  2. Total time: 50 minutes

toefl exam pattern

How to prepare for the TOEFL exam?

Whether you’re planning to study abroad or simply looking to improve your English language skills, the TOEFL exam is an important benchmark to aim for. But with so much material to cover and so much at stake, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the steps you may follow to score well!

Step 1: Understand the Format and Content of the TOEFL Exam

The first step in preparing for the TOEFL exam is to familiarize yourself with the format and content of the test. To get a better understanding of the test, you can visit the ETS website (the organization that administers the TOEFL exam) and download practice materials and sample questions. You can also find study guides and other resources online that provide an overview of the exam.

Step 2: Set Realistic Goals

Before you start studying, it’s important to set realistic goals for yourself. Consider your current English language skills and your reasons for taking the TOEFL exam. How much time do you have to study? What score do you need to achieve your goals? By setting clear and achievable goals, you’ll be able to focus your efforts and stay motivated throughout the study process.

Step 3: Create a Study Plan

Now that you have a better understanding of the test and your goals, it’s time to create a study plan. Consider your schedule, your learning style, and your strengths and weaknesses. Do you learn better in a structured environment or do you prefer to study on your own? Do you need to spend more time practicing your speaking skills or your reading comprehension? By creating a study plan that works for you, you’ll be more likely to stick with it and make progress.

Step 4: Practice, Practice, Practice

The key to success on the TOEFL exam is practice. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become with the format and content of the test. You can find practice materials and sample questions online, or you can purchase a study guide or review course. You can also practice speaking and writing by interacting with native English speakers or joining an English language conversation group.

Step 5: Take a TOEFL Practice Test

One of the best ways to prepare for the TOEFL exam is to take a practice test. Practice tests are designed to mimic the format and content of the real exam, so you’ll be able to get a sense of what to expect on test day. You can find practice tests online or through a review course.

Step 6: Review and Reflect

After you’ve completed a practice test, it’s important to review and reflect on your performance. Look at your mistakes and try to understand why you made them. Were you tripped up by a particular grammar rule or vocabulary word? Did you have trouble understanding the audio recordings or texts? By identifying your weaknesses, you’ll be able to focus on your studying and improve your score.

Final words!

The TOEFL exam can be a daunting prospect, but with the right preparation and strategy, you can succeed. Test takers can prepare by using the free resources available on the ETS official website. The average score on the TOEFL test is 90-95. However, universities have their own specific requirements for the TOEFL exam, which applicants should consider.

Good luck with your studies and preparation for the exam! We are glad we could help. If you have any other questions about the TOEFL exam pattern & syllabus or anything else, don’t hesitate to ask. Our study abroad experts are there to help you! iDreamCareer is on a mission to reach every state and every child in order to ensure that talent is appropriately delivered to the industry.

We’ve helped a few brilliant but confused minds to choose the most suitable career for them. Hear the success story of Tapan, who received an offer from a top 4 university and is now attending DePauw University after receiving career guidance from our study abroad experts!


What is the format of the TOEFL exam?

The TOEFL exam is a computer-based test (CBT) that consists of four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Each section is designed to measure a different aspect of your English language ability. The total test time is about four hours.

How many questions are on the TOEFL exam?

The TOEFL exam consists of a total of about 300 questions. The Reading section has 36-56 questions, the Listening section has 34-51 questions, the Speaking section has 6 tasks, and the Writing section has 2 tasks.

What is the scoring system for the TOEFL exam?

The TOEFL exam is scored on a scale of 0-120 points, with 0 being the lowest and 120 being the highest. Each section (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing) is scored separately on a scale of 0-30 points, and the scores are then combined to give you a total score.

Is the TOEFL exam computer-based or paper-based?

The TOEFL exam is a computer-based test (CBT). It is administered on a computer and consists of multiple-choice questions, as well as tasks that require you to speak into a microphone and type your responses.

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