TOEFL Exam Syllabus
A Complete Guide


TOEFL Exam Syllabus
A Complete Guide

In the vast arena of English proficiency exams, the TOEFL Exam is a crucial resource for individuals aiming to pursue education in English-speaking countries. Established by ETS, the TOEFL—an acronym for Test of English as a Foreign Language—is renowned as a highly favoured exam among international students. The TOEFL exam is meticulously structured into four key sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing, each with its distinct importance, specifically tailored to evaluate skills required in a university setting. This extensive evaluation measures a person's capability and plays an essential role in numerous university applications abroad. As we delve deeper into this, you'll garner insights into the nuances of the TOEFL pattern, ensuring a clearer understanding of what to anticipate

TOEFL Exam Structure

The structure of the TOEFL Exam serves as a standard for evaluating the English language skills of international students. This exam comprehensively assesses a candidate's proficiency in different areas: reading, writing, speaking, and listening in English. Its significance is highlighted by the fact that top educational institutions across the world, from the USA to New Zealand, consider it as conclusive evidence of mastery in English.

The structured TOEFL Exam Pattern encompasses four primary divisions:

TOEFL Section


Time Frame


30-40 questions derived from 3-4 reading passages.

54-72 minutes


28-39 questions based on 3-4 auditory segments like lectures or discussions.

41-57 minutes


A two-part section: Task 1 involves responding to a passage or lecture; Task 2 requires writing an essay.

50 minutes total


Engages the examinee in a dialogue on familiar themes or academic-centric matters.

17 minutes

This comprehensive approach ensures that Indonesian students are well-versed and prepared in all facets of the English language, a pivotal requisite for academic success in global institutions.

TOEFL Exam Syllabus - Reading Section

Exploring the TOEFL Test's curriculum, it's clear that the TOEFL Reading Section is a crucial element designed to gauge a student's skill in understanding and analyzing academic materials. This mirrors the type of reading they would experience in a college environment. We will examine the subtleties of the TOEFL Reading Section more closely.
Reading Section Details:

  • Length of Each Passage: Approximately 700 words
  • Nature of Passages: Extracts predominantly from university-tier textbooks
  • Number of Passages: 2
  • Questions Per Passage: 10, leading to a cumulative count of 20 questions for the entire section.
  • Total Duration: A compact 35 minutes to manoeuvre through the section.

The structure of the TOEFL Exam ensures an all-encompassing assessment, with the Reading Section being key in evaluating students' abilities to handle academic material. This section is crafted to mimic the demanding reading tasks in academia, preparing candidates for their future academic pursuits. Other parts of the test, such as the TOEFL Listening Section, TOEFL Speaking Section, and TOEFL Writing Section, also play significant roles in this comprehensive evaluation.

TOEFL Exam Syllabus - Listening Section

Delving deeper into the TOEFL Exam Syllabus, we encounter the crucial TOEFL Listening Section. This part plays a key role in assessing a student's ability to understand spoken English in various contexts. A core element of the TOEFL Exam Pattern, it focuses on both basic understanding and a deeper, more subtle grasp of the language. This includes interpreting the speaker's tone and their level of certainty.

Diving deeper into the TOEFL Listening Section, candidates can anticipate:

  • Type of Listening Items: The section predominantly features campus-oriented language, bifurcated into lectures and conversations.
  • Lectures: Three in total, with each spanning 3–5 minutes. Every lecture is paired with 6 pertinent questions.
  • Conversations: Two distinct dialogues featuring a duo of speakers. Each conversation extends for roughly 3 minutes, accompanied by 5 questions.

A notable feature of the TOEFL Listening Section is the allowance for note-taking during audio portions. This aids participants in crafting well-thought-out answers. The section is allocated 36 minutes, balancing the need for comprehension with efficient time use.


TOEFL Exam Syllabus - Speaking Section

Navigating deeper into the TOEFL Exam Syllabus, we encounter the TOEFL Speaking Section. This crucial part is carefully crafted to test a student's ability to express thoughts in English in an academic environment. The structure of the TOEFL Exam is such that this segment presents scenarios relevant both in academic and non-academic settings.

The Speaking section begins with:

  • Question 1: Known as the "independent speaking task," it encourages examinees to create responses based on their own ideas, opinions, and experiences.
  •  Questions 2–4: Grouped as the "integrated speaking tasks," they highlight the integration of different English language skills in the TOEFL Exam Syllabus. Participants are prompted to combine listening and speaking skills, or even integrate listening, reading, and speaking skills, reflecting real-life interactions common in academic and other environments.

Each question allows a preparation period of 15–30 seconds, allowing students to formulate answers lasting either 45 or 60 seconds. The total duration of the TOEFL Speaking section is a compact 16 minutes, emphasizing both depth of understanding and the importance of conciseness.

TOEFL Exam Syllabus - Writing Section

TOEFL Writing Section as a key component, specifically designed to assess a candidate's ability to write effectively in English, particularly in an academic setting. The TOEFL Exam's format requires candidates to demonstrate their skill in clearly and coherently organizing their ideas.

Here's a closer look:

  • Integrated Writing Task (20 minutes): Candidates are given a short reading passage and a brief lecture. Their task is to combine and record the information from both the written and spoken sources.
  • Independent Writing Task (30 minutes): In this part, candidates are encouraged to draw from their own experiences or viewpoints. Given a topic, they must compose an essay in response.
An interesting aspect is that candidates will not be using pens for this; instead, they'll type their responses on a computer. These typed essays are then sent digitally to ETS.
To ensure accuracy and fairness, a combination of AI and expert human evaluators thoroughly reviews each essay. The entire TOEFL Writing Section is completed in a brief 29 minutes, balancing depth with succinctness.
The TOEFL Exam Pattern is carefully designed to evaluate a candidate's proficiency in English. The scoring system categorizes levels of competence, offering a detailed understanding of a candidate's English language abilities. This assists educational institutions in making well-informed admission decisions. The structure of the TOEFL test serves as an essential guide for candidates, indicating their current standing and highlighting areas for improvement to enhance their English skills and test scores.
To know more about the TOEFL Pattern and Syllabus, get in touch with our academic experts at AECC right away!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main sections of the TOEFL exam?
The main sections of the TOEFL exam are Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.

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