TOEFL Exam Pattern and Syllabus

The TOEFL Syllabus is designed to assess the candidate’s Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing skills. Take a look at the TOEFL syllabus 2021 below.


TOEFL Reading Test

The TOEFL Reading section tests the candidate's overall reading comprehension skills. The passages are of the academic standard, and it tests if the test taker can read and understand the texts. The section consists of 3-4 passages with 10 questions based on each passage.

Duration: 54-72 minutes


TOEFL Listening Test

The TOEFL Listening section assesses the test taker's listening comprehension skills. The assessment is done on two levels:

  1. Testing the test taker's basic comprehension skills
  2. Testing the test taker's pragmatic understanding to assess their ability to understand and summarise information.

Part 1:  3-4 lectures

Duration: 3-5 minutes long

No. of Questions: 6 questions per lecture 

Part 2: 2-3 conversations

Duration: 3 minutes

No. of Questions: 5 questions per conversation

Total duration for the entire section: 41-57 minutes.

Note: Candidates are allowed to take notes while listening to the audio.

TOEFL Speaking Section

The TOEFL Speaking section tests the candidate's ability to communicate in English in academic settings effectively. There are 4 tasks in this section based on real-life situations.

Question 1 - Independent Speaking Task: The candidate will have to speak in length about their own experiences and present their thoughts and opinions.

Preparation time: 15-30 seconds

Response time: 45-60 seconds

Questions 2, 3 and 4 - Integrated Speaking Tasks: The test taker must use their listening, reading and speaking skills.

Preparation time: 15-30 seconds

Response time: 45-60 seconds.

Total duration for the entire section: 17 minutes.

TOEFL Writing Section

The TOEFL Writing section is designed to measure if the test taker's writing skills are of the academic standard.

This section consists of two tasks:

  1. Integrated Writing Task
  2. Independent Writing Task

Integrated Writing Task: This task consists of a small passage for reading and an audio file for listening. The test taker will have to write a response based on the audio and the passage.

Duration: 20 minutes

Independent Task: In this task, the test taker will be given a topic. They must write an essay on the given topic and present their views with suitable instances.

Duration: 30 minutes

Total duration for the entire section: 50 minutes.


TOEFL Exam Pattern 

The candidates must have an in-depth understanding of the test pattern to succeed with a high band score. The TOEFL exam pattern can be categorised into 4 sections: Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking. 

  • TOEFL Reading Section

A comprehension task contains 3-4 passages of academic standard. Questions under this section will be based on the passages provided. 

  • TOEFL Listening Section

The audio will be based on lectures, general conversations and discussions. Questions will be based on the audio played.

  • TOEFL Speaking Section

The candidate will be asked to speak in length about a familiar topic. Followed by this, they will have to discuss in detail the audio from the listening section and the passages from the reading section.

  • TOEFL Writing Section

Candidates will have to write essays in response to the listening and reading tasks. They must express their views supported by instances and end it with a convincing conclusion.



No. of Questions

TOEFL Exam Duration

TOEFL Reading Section


54-74 minutes

TOEFL Listening Section


41-57 minutes

TOEFL Speaking Section

4 tasks

17 minutes 

TOEFL Writing Section


50 minutes


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