TOEFL New Pattern: Section Wise Details, Score, Time Length

    Rachita Mitra Rachita Mitra
    Content Curator

    ETS is the conducting authority of Test of English as a Foreign Language or TOEFL and in August, ETS announced a few changes in the exam pattern of TOEFL, and in 2020 this pattern will be followed. Let’s check the new TOEFL format here and understand whether it is now easier or more difficult compared to the old format of TOEFL IBT

    Latest Changes In TOEFL IBT

    ETS had changed a few portions of TOEFL reading, listening, and speaking sections which are discussed below. In general, a major change was made in the duration of TOEFL which is 3 hours (previously it was 3½ hours). The registration process also changed – test-takers can register just two days before the exam, previously it was 1 week. 

    Section-wise New TOEFL Pattern

    Check the following sections to understand the major sectional changes in TOEFL as per the updates of August 2019 by ETS. 

    TOEFL New Pattern

    Check   TOEFL Exam Pattern

    Reading Section Changes

    In the reading section of TOEFL, candidates will now get 

    • Three or four reading passages 
    • Each reading passage now will come with 9 or 10 questions 
    • For 3 passages, you will get 54 minutes and for 4 passages, you will get 74 minutes to answer the questions
    • The test-takers will get 18 minutes to complete each passage. 
    • To answer each question, the candidates will get 105 seconds or 1.8 minutes per question; previously it was 1.4 minutes per question. 

    The number of passages is exactly the same as the previous format; however, 4th passage can be an upgraded one. Previously, each reading passage used to have 12 to 14 questions which are lessened in the new format. The candidates will get 15 seconds more than the old test to answer each question. 

    There are no changes in the difficulty level of the reading passages or in the question types. TOEFL new pattern reading practice can help the candidates here. 

    Listening Section Changes

    In the listening section of TOEFL, candidates will 

    • Listen to 3–4 lectures and each lecture will be followed by 6 questions
    • 2–3 conversations and 5 questions each to be answered
    • Duration of this test will be 41–57 minutes to answer 57 (maximum) question 
    • 1.5 minutes can be spent on each question

     Previously it was 4–6 lectures with 6 questions each. Followed by 2–3 conversations with 5 questions each and everything is to be done by 60–90 minutes. Time per question was 1.8 minutes. 

    The length of the lectures and conversations and difficulty levels are unchanged. The question types will also be the same. 

    It really seemed that this particular section after the updates have become slightly difficult as the candidates will have to speed up compared to the old exam pattern; however, the number of lectures is also reduced which can help the candidates.

    Speaking Sec​tion Changes

    TOEFL speaking will have

    • 4 speaking tasks to be completed within 17 minutes
    • 1 independent speaking task with 3 integrated speaking tasks

    Previously there were 6 speaking tasks to complete by 17 minutes. To be more specific, speaking independent task 1 and speaking integrated task 5 are removed in the new TOEFL exam pattern. 

    There are no changes made for the writing section as per the latest updates. 

    Scoring Changes in TOEFL Format

    Apart from the changes in these sections and the overall duration of the exam, there are changes in scoring as well. Following are the changes: 

    • MyBest Scores will be used to obtain the TOEFL score in case of retaking the exam
    • Scores will be less specific – the score levels are removed from it
    • Test-takers can get their TOEFL score within 6 days, previously it took 10 days
    • The score review will take 3 days

    Purpose Of The Changes

    TOEFL is nonetheless a way difficult exam and the main reason behind this is candidates need to answer a lot of questions in a short time. Also, TOEFL used to take more than 3 hours. 

    The purpose of the latest changes was to shorten the duration by minimizing the number of questions. It will not be wrong to claim that the test-takers will get more time to solve each question because the duration of the exam and number of questions both decreased as per the new pattern of TOEFL announced by ETS. 

    Preparation Of New TOEFL Format

    The test –takers of TOEFL must be worried about their practice due to the changes in the exam format but ETS is well-aware of this. As per the suggestion of ETS, there will be a new version of TOEFL practice papers in the official guide of TOEFL and it will be available on the official site in June 2020. Candidates will be able to understand the pattern from that easily and practice with that. 

    Right now, ETS provides a free sample test and candidates can easily avail it. It is the modified version of old TOEFL practice sets.

    These practice papers are available in PDFs too, to make the candidates familiar with the question format on the internet.

    So, yes, after the changes, TOEFL has fewer questions and less duration. From this perspective, it may sound that TOEFL will be easier after the changes. However, there is no mention in the change of difficulty level which makes it difficult to confirm whether it will be easy or not. 

    Test takers need to prepare really well and practice with TOEFL practice papers. Along with this, excellent time management skills will be required to answer all the questions in the stipulated time. For this, candidates may need TOEFL preparation tips and tricks to take a smart strategy during the exam. Best of luck!

    *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


    October 23, 2020TOEFL 2020

    Study Abroad Exams for Pursui ..

    Candidates who are willing to study abroad are oft ...

    September 17, 2020TOEFL 2020

    Madison Digital to Offer Digi ..

    Madison Digital, a unit of Madison recently announ ...

    August 13, 2020TOEFL 2020

    GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL, and GRE c ..

    The centers of entrance exams like GMAT and GRE as ...

    August 06, 2020TOEFL 2020

    TOEFL Special Home Edition

    Amidst the outbreak of Covid-19, ETS has decided t ...




    No Comments To Show