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 2023 below.

TOEFL iBT Test Content

The TOEFL iBT test has four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing.

Test time

The total test takes just under 2 hours to complete, but you should plan for 2.5 hours, allowing 30 minutes for check in.

Test sections overview

Use the table below to view the breakdown of each TOEFL iBT test section.

Section Estimated Timing Questions/Tasks Description
Reading 35 minutes 20 questions Read passages and respond to questions.
Listening 36 minutes 28 questions Answer questions about brief lectures or classroom discussions.
Speaking 16 minutes 4 tasks Talk about a familiar topic and discuss material you read and heard.
Writing 29 minutes 2 tasks Read online opinion and, type your response.
State and support an opinion in an online classroom discussion.

TOEFL iBT Reading Section

The TOEFL iBT Reading section assesses how well you can read and understand materials used in an academic environment. 

It includes two reading passages, each approximately 700 words long, with 10 questions per passage. It should take about 35 minutes to complete the Reading section. 

Reading passages are excerpts from university-level textbooks that would be used in introductions to a topic. The passages cover a variety of subjects. Don't worry if you're not familiar with the topic of a passage. All the information you need to answer the questions will be included in the passage. There is a glossary feature available to define words not commonly used, if you need it. 

TOEFL iBT Listening Section

  • 3 lectures, some with classroom discussion, each 3–5 minutes; 6 questions per lecture 
  • 2 conversations, each 3 minutes; 5 questions per conversation 

TOEFL iBT Speaking Section

Question 1: Independent Speaking Task — requires you to draw entirely on your own ideas, opinions and experiences when you respond. 

Questions 2–4: Integrated Speaking Tasks — require you to combine your English-language skills — listening and speaking, or listening, reading and speaking — just as you would in or out of a classroom. 

Prep time: You'll get 15–30 seconds of preparation time before each response, and your response will be 45 or 60 seconds long. 

Speaking response: To respond, you'll speak into the microphone and your responses will be recorded. 

Test time: It should take about 16 minutes to complete the Speaking section. 

Scoring: Speaking tasks are scored based on the Speaking Scoring Guides (Rubrics) (PDF) by a combination of AI scoring and certified human raters. Raw scores are converted to a scaled section score of 0–30. 

 TOEFL iBT Test Writing Section

There are two writing tasks. 

  • Integrated writing task (20 minutes) — read a short passage and listen to a short lecture, then write in response to what you read and listened to. 
  • Writing for an Academic Discussion task (10 minutes) — state and support an opinion in an online classroom discussion. 

You'll type your responses on a computer keyboard. 

Test time: It should take about 29 minutes to complete the Writing section. 

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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