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TOEFL IBT Breakdown



Each section of the TOEFL IBT can garner you some hefty points. And you’ll need them because most academic institutions require that you score in the intermediate to high range for acceptance. So study away!

Below is just the basic section information, but if you need more detailed information about the TOEFL test itself, TOEFL 101 is the place to go.

Reading Skills Section

General info:

  • You’ll read 3-5 passages in this section
  • Passages are approximately 700 words each
  • There are 12-14 questions per passage
  • You’ll have 60-100 minutes to read and answer.

Skills tested:

  • Scanning text for important info
  • Increasing reading fluency
  • Recognizing organization and purpose of a passage
  • Understanding the main idea, major points, important facts and details, vocabulary in context, and pronoun references.

Listening Skills Section

General info:

  • You’ll listen to two types of passages: 4-6 lectures and 2-3 conversations
  • Lectures are 3-5 minutes long with 6 questions following each lecture
  • Conversations are 3 minutes long with 5 questions following each conversation
  • Each listening section takes between 60-90 minutes

Skills tested:

  • Comprehending the main idea, major points, and important details related to the main idea
  • Recognizing a speaker’s attitude or purpose in speaking
  • Making inferences and drawing conclusions
  • Recognizing topic changes like digressions, along with introductions and conclusions of lectures and conversations.

Speaking Skills Section

General info:

  • This section is about 20 minutes long
  • There are 6 different tasks to complete: 2 independent tasks, where students use their own knowledge and experiences to respond and 4 integrated tasks, where the students must use a combination of skills to respond, like reading, then speaking.

Skills tested:

  • Synthesizing information verbally from lectures or conversations
  • Summarizing facts verbally
  • Making conversation both in and out of the classroom
  • Expressing their opinions

Writing Skills Section

General info:

  • This section is 50 minutes long
  • There are 2 different writing tasks to complete: 1 independent task where students write from their own experiences, and 1 integrated task where students must read or listen and then write.

Skills tested:

  • Taking notes on what a student has heard and read,
  • Using notes to organize information before writing
  • Expressing opinions in a written format
  • Relating learned information to experiences
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