English proficiency Exam

TOEFL Exam Pattern and Syllabus for Indian Students

8 min read
Blog Summary Discover the TOEFL Exam Pattern: Your journey to success abroad begins with understanding the TOEFL exam structure. The test comprises Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing sections, each assessing vital language skills. Time is precious, with limits on each section. Embrace the challenge, progress confidently, and maximize your TOEFL performance. Remember, preparation and practice pave the path to excellence. Keep reading to know more.

TOEFL stands for the Test of English as a Foreign Language, conducted by ETS (Educational Testing Service). ETS is responsible for administering the TOEFL exams, and aspirants looking forward to studying abroad can opt for this exam. There are three TOEFL exam formats: TOEFL iBT, TOEFL at Home and TOEFL paper-based test. The TOEFL exam pattern comprises 4 sections: ReadingListeningSpeaking and Writing.

TOEFL exams are conducted to find the English competency of an individual for various purposes such as studies, work and immigration. This exam is a crucial part of the university application process for international students looking to study abroad in an English-speaking country. Students can practice the TOEFL test from the ETS website and prepare themselves. Read on to get more insights on the TOEFL exam pattern and syllabus.

TOEFL Exam Pattern Overview

TOEFL Sections

TOEFL Time Duration

No. of Questions



54-72 minutes

36-56 questions

You need to read 3-4 passages and respond to questions


41-57 minutes

34-51 questions

Audio clips having 4-6 short lectures and 2-3 lengthy conversations


10 minutes




17 minutes

6 tasks

It is essential to talk about a familiar topic or academic-related issue


50 minutes

2 tasks

State your opinion, argument and logic after you compare a reading passage to a classroom lecture

TOEFL Exam Pattern (Guidelines)

  • You will have a compulsory 10-minute break between the listening and speaking sections.
  • There isn’t any specific limit on the number of times you can take the test, but you can’t take it more than once in a three-day period.
  • There will be additional questions for the test you take in the reading and listening section, which do not count towards your score.
  • You can reschedule or cancel your test 4 days before the test date. Your fee will only be refunded if they receive your request four days in advance.
  • It is recommended that you register early for your preferred date and location, as the test dates can fill up quickly. Usually, the registration opens 6th months before the test date.
  • Every section of the test has a time limit. You can proceed to the next section if you complete a section early, but you can’t go back to a section you have already completed.
  • You must work carefully in the listening and speaking sections, as some questions are more complex than others. Try to answer all the questions to the best of your ability. If you are doubtful about any question, try to give your best guess.
  • You can consider purchasing a TOEFL value pack or any other test preparation product for a discounted price while registering for the test. Value pack comprises additional score reports, test preparation materials, and discounts on future test registrations. 

Read More:



TOEFL Preparation

TOEFL Scores and Results

TOEFL Accepting Countries

TOEFL Exam Pattern (Section Wise)

For students, the TOEFL exam syllabus contains 4 sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. The TOEFL syllabus accurately evaluates how well a student can read, listen, speak and write in a college or university abroad. The test helps the university confirm that you are ready to communicate your ideas regarding what you read and listen to in your academic courses.

Click Here for Practising TOEFL Test 

TOEFL Reading Section

The primary purpose of the TOEFL reading section is to evaluate the candidate’s competency to understand and respond to the English language. Understanding academic and non-academic texts taken from university-level textbooks will test your reading ability.

  • The reading section has 3-4 passages of 700 words each and ten questions for each passage. 
  • TOEFL reading passages cover a wide array of topics.
  • All information will be included in the passage to answer the questions.
  • This test will evaluate how well you can read and understand the content used in academic settings.
  • Scores will be calculated in raw points before converting into a total scale of 30.

TOEFL Reading Section Score


Type of Questions

It will be multiple choice questions



Word Count

700 words each

Time Limit

54-72 Minutes


60 seconds


90 seconds

Negative Detail

120 seconds


120 seconds

Sentence Insertion

120 seconds


90 seconds

Author’s Purpose

90 seconds

Pronoun Reference

60 seconds


120 seconds


120 seconds

Read More:

TOEFL Reading

TOEFL Listening

TOEFL Speaking

TOEFL Writing

TOEFL Listening Section 

An essential skill needed for studying abroad is not only the ability to understand the English language but also the ability to understand various accents. TOEFL listening section focuses on determining the candidate’s ability to understand English and the different accents used worldwide.

  • Candidates doing solid preparation can easily score 25 on a scale of 30.. 
  • In this test, there will be 3-4 lectures of 500-800 words which would be 3-5 minutes long. There will be a total of 30 questions.
  • Moreover, there will be 2-3 conversations with five questions each with a time limit of 3 minutes.
  • The listening section evaluates your ability to understand lectures and conversations in English. It includes listening for connecting information, basic comprehension, and knowing the speaker’s attitude and degree of certainty. 

TOEFL Listening Section Score


Listening Section Time Limit

41-57 Minutes

Type of Questions

It will be multiple choice questions

Total Set of Questions

2-3 sets

Lecture Questions

6 questions per lecture

Length of Conversation

3 minutes long

Number of Conversations

2-3 conversations

Conversation Questions

5 questions per conversation

Avg. Time Per Question

About 1 minute

When Does The Question Display

After the listening material is played

TOEFL Speaking Section 

Speaking becomes essential when attending a lecture, presenting a PPT, and enquiring about a topic. TOEFL speaking test evaluates the appropriate skills to ensure fluency in English. The primary purpose of the TOEFL speaking section is to find the candidate’s comfort level of speaking in English in educational settings. 

  • This section comprises 4 tasks, with 1 independent speaking task for you to provide input based on your opinion, ideas and experiences while responding.
  • Apart from the independent task, there will be 3 integrated tasks based on what was read and heard. 
  • You must combine your English language skills, such as listening and speaking or reading and speaking. 
  • To learn more about the question format, it is recommended to get TOEFL speaking topics from previous years.
  • To get the highest scores in the speaking section, you need to respond in a manner that will fulfil the demand of the task, given with minor mistakes.

Speaking Section Score


Speaking Section Time Limit

17 Minutes

Type of Questions

You will speak into the microphone,

and the recorded answers will be assessed.

Length of Task

Each task is 1-4 minutes long

Number of Task



1 Question per task

Avg. Time per Question

45-60 seconds for the speaking part of every question

When Does The Question Display

After completing the reading and listening material

Read More:

TOEFL Exam Fee and TOEFL Exam Date (India)

TOEFL Exam Fee and TOEFL Exam Date (Nepal)

TOEFL Exam Fee and TOEFL Exam Date (Philippines)

TOEFL Writing Section 

The TOEFL Writing section evaluates your ability to write in English in an educational setting and present your ideas in a precise and well-organised manner. There are two essays which you need to address effectively. Your answer should display progression, unity and coherence. 

  • There are two writing tasks in this section: integrated writing tasks and independent writing tasks.
  • In the integrated writing task, you must read a short passage and listen to a lecture. After that, you need to write a response based on what you read and listened to.
  • With the independent writing task, you need to write an essay based on an opinion in response to a writing topic or personal experience.
  • Writing tasks are evaluated by a combination of AI scoring and certified human raters. Raw scores are converted to a scaled section score of 0-30. 
  • If you need to achieve a high score, you must demonstrate seamless writing and appropriate word choice with fewer grammatical errors.

TOEFL Writing Section Score


Writing Section Time Limit

50 Minutes

Type of Questions

You need to type the answers, which will be sent

to the ETS (Education Training Service)



No. of Tasks


Length of Each Task

Integrated Task - 20 minutes

Independent Task - 30 minutes

When Does The Question Display

The questions are displayed on the same screen above the reading part or on the left part of the screen without the reading part.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the TOEFL exam and how is it divided?

The TOEFL iBT exam for Indian students typically lasts around 3 hours and is divided into four sections, each focusing on one language skill.