English proficiency Exam

TOEFL Listening Test (A Comprehensive Guide)

8 min read
Blog Summary This blog provides a comprehensive overview of the TOEFL listening section. Learn about its significance in assessing your listening abilities and comprehension of English conversations and lectures. Understand the TOEFL listening test structure, including the number of lectures and conversations, question types, and time limits. Discover effective strategies to excel in TOEFL listening, such as proactive listening, note-taking, and practicing with audio clips. Get insights into how TOEFL listening is scored based on proficiency levels. Utilize the provided TOEFL listening practice resources to enhance your listening skills and achieve your desired scores on the exam.


TOEFL listening is the second section which appears in the TOEFL exam. The primary purpose of this section is to determine the candidate’s listening ability. Students are also evaluated based on their understanding of conversations or lectures in English. If you can observe information precisely, you can score well in the TOEFL listening section. Read ahead to get a comprehensive overview of the TOEFL listening test.

TOEFL Listening Overview

In the TOEFL listening section, the questions will be provided through an audio recording. Apart from the audio, you will notice a picture on the screen explaining the question's context. You will be listening to the audio clip and responding to the questions. As you are allowed to listen to the audio clip only once, you must remember all the information. A good idea to focus entirely on the audio clip is to take quick notes and have an uncluttered mind.

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TOEFL Preparation

TOEFL Scores and Results

TOEFL Accepting Countries

How many listening questions are in TOEFL?

There are three to four lectures with some classroom discussions and six questions per lecture with a time limit of 3-5 minutes each. After the lecture section, you will have two to three conversations, with five questions per conversation of 3 minutes each.

How to practice TOEFL listening?

You can practice TOEFL listening from the ETS website, where you would find many practice tests. Moreover, you can set up a comprehensive study plan to practice TOEFL listening according to its pattern. To further practice TOEFL listening, you can hear long audio, English movies, documentaries and other listening materials to prepare well for the exam.

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TOEFL Reading

TOEFL Speaking

TOEFL Writing

How is TOEFL Listening Scored? (TOEFL Listening Section Scoring)

With a comprehensive study schedule and TOEFL listening practice, you will be able to get outstanding scores on the TOEFL listening test. The proficiency level in the TOEFL listening section ranges from below low intermediate to advanced level. The total score range for the TOEFL listening section is 30. The table below shows how TOEFL listening is scored.


TOEFL Section

TOEFL Listening Score Chart

Proficiency Level

TOEFL Listening

TOEFL Listening Score Range is  0–30

Advanced Level (22–30)

High-Intermediate Level (17–21)

Low-Intermediate Level (9–16)

Below Low-Intermediate Level (0–8)


TOEFL Listening Section Structure



Number of lectures: 3-4

Number of conversations: 2-3

Lecture duration: 3-5 minutes

Conversation duration: 3 minutes

Number of questions: 6 per lecture

Number of questions: 5 per conversation

Number of speakers: 1 speaker

Number of speakers: 2 speakers


The TOEFL listening section contains two types of listening excerpts: lecture and conversation. There are 3-4 lectures which range from 3-5 minutes, and six questions per lecture. In comparison, the conversation section has 2-3 conversations of 3 minutes each and five questions per conversation. Both the lecture and conversation section has their own set of questions. You have 41-57 minutes to complete this section. Therefore, you will be able to take notes for any audio clip throughout the test, which will help you respond to questions.

TOEFL Listening Question Types

TOEFL Listening Question Types


Gist-Content and Gist-Purpose

The Gist-content questions test your ability to comprehend the primary idea of what you listened to from the audio clip.


In the Detail part, the questions test your attention to detail and ability to understand the key facts discussed in the audio clip.


The Function questions ask you to find the original meaning of a statement in the given context.


As the name says, attitude questions ask about the speaker's attitude and intention. You have to identify the speaker’s feelings by understanding the excerpt that the speaker does not express directly. 


The organisation question types are about comprehending the primary theme and the purpose of the conversation or lecture. You must tell about the relationship between two or more parts of the content. 

Connecting Content

In this question type, you need to put the information together in different sections or sentences of the conversation or lecture. You will identify steps in a process and segregate them into categories or cause/effect relationships.


The inference question type is about identifying the meaning of a specific sentence or phrase which is not directly expressed in the conversation or lecture.


TOEFL Listening Test

TOEFL listening test will be a crucial part of your study abroad dream. Listening to conversations in movies or documentaries can enhance your listening ability. Candidates should spend ample time listening to fast-paced listening materials to help them comprehend the language seamlessly. You can get excellent scores on the exam with thorough TOEFL listening practice. 

To help yourself ace the TOEFL listening test, you can simultaneously practice taking quick notes and listening to 2-3 audio per day. Prepare a comprehensive study plan to answer different question types successfully. Therefore, it is recommended to plan your time effectively. You can use a timer while working on each section to complete it before time runs out.

TOEFL Listening Practice Test

The TOEFL listening practice test elevates your ability to listen to the excerpts diligently when the audio clip is played. You must pay attention to the audio clips when it is played first. If you have missed hearing a word or two, do not worry; just note what you remember and stay focused.

It would be challenging to listen to the audio and take notes simultaneously, but it would seem easier if you spent more time with the TOEFL listening practice test. Proactive listening is the trick to clear this TOEFL listening test with good scores. You can practice the TOEFL listening test from the link mentioned below.

TOEFL Practice Test

TOEFL Listening Tips

  1. If you notice any shifts in the topic, take a quick note of that.
  2. Develop your listening abilities by hearing long audio clips.
  3. Get familiar with the university-related vocabulary, as the questions are taken from academic textbooks.
  4. Try to find the purpose of the discussion or statement, like whether it is a complaint, apology, or suggestion.
  5. Comprehend the genre of the conversation, as sometimes questions will be asked on the subject of the dialogue.
  6. Determine whether the language is official or informal and the speaker’s tone of voice, like if it is calm or agitated.
  7. Solve as many TOEFL practice papers as possible to understand how to solve each question and know the question types.
  8. Plan your time effectively while appearing for the TOEFL test, and set a timer for each section to complete them on time.
  9. Focus only on the details relevant to the question. Understanding the vital points can help you answer the questions successfully.
  10. Listen to a wide range of podcasts, ebooks, English movies, and other listening materials in the native speaker's accents to understand diverse accents.

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TOEFL Exam Pattern and Syllabus

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 Listening Preparation

  • Plan your TOEFL listening preparation well in advance to get desired scores in this section.
  • Prepare a comprehensive study plan for each part of the listening section.
  • While preparing for the TOEFL listening section, set a specific goal for each part of the TOEFL listening section.

TOEFL Listening Practice PDF

Use the link below to practice many questions that would be asked in the TOEFL listening test. The practice questions are taken from academic textbooks. Refer to this PDF to get a complete picture of the question types asked in the TOEFL exam.

TOEFL Listening Practice PDF

Frequently Asked Questions

How to take notes in listening TOEFL?

You can take notes by writing down important phrases. Use colours to highlight primary sections, vital points and diagrams. Thereby distinguish your notes by using symbols and colours.

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