TOEFL: An Overview
TOEFL: An Overview of the test
The TOEFL Test allows you to demonstrate that you have the English language skills necessary for effective communication in an academic setting.
It has four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. All four sections are completed in one testing session which takes about four hours.
Reading is the first section and lasts for 60 to 80 minutes. The Reading section has three or four passages of about 700 words each. For each passage, you’ll answer 12 to 14 multiple choice questions and you can return to previous questions to review or change your answers. Note: TOEFL adds an extra passage for future tests but you won’t know which one is being left out so you must do your best in all sections.
Listening is the next section. It takes 60-90 minutes. In this section, you’ll wear a headset and listen to 3 conversations, 3 lectures and 3 discussions but only 2 conversations, 2 lectures and 2 discussions will be graded – this is how TOEFL introduces new tests for the future but, as in Reading, you won’t know which two are being graded so you must do your best in all three! Each of the conversations is about three minutes long and have five multiple choice questions and each of the lectures and discussions are about three to five minutes long and have and has six multiple choice questions. You will only hear the conversations and lectures one time and you must answer the questions in the order that they are presented - you can't go back to previous questions. After the Listening section, there is a required 10-minute break so use the time to have some water or a snack and refresh yourself for the rest of the test.
Remember: your test will either have extra Reading questions or extra Listening questions, but never both. And you won't know which questions are the extra ones so make sure you do your best on all of them!
After the break is the Speaking section. The Speaking section has six tasks and takes about 20 minutes to complete. Some tasks require you to listen to part of a conversation or lecture, so you'll continue to use your headset. Some also require you to read a short passage. For each task, you’ll be asked a question and will be given a short time to prepare your response. Then, you'll speak into the microphone on your headset for 45 to 60 seconds, depending on the question.
Finally, there is the Writing section. In this section you will complete two writing tasks in 50 minutes by typing your responses into the computer. In the first task, you’ll read a passage and listen to a short lecture, then write your response. You’ll have 20 minutes to write your response. In the second task, you’ll be asked your opinion on an issue and have 30 minutes to write your response.