Everything you need to know about TOEFL exam syllabus 2023

Updated on: May 17, 2023

The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a standard English language test that determines the level of English proficiency in international students. The TOEFL exam syllabus assesses a person’s skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening in English.

The assessment is accepted as proof of English fluency by several educational institutions in countries like the USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and others.

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The TOEFL exam syllabus 2023 comprises four sections based on fundamental English language skills. Let’s have a look at these sections, the question types and more.

TOEFL exam syllabus 2023 

There are four sections in the TOEFL exam syllabus: reading, listening, speaking and writing.

Different sections in TOEFL exam syllabus 2023

SectionTotal questionsDuration  (in minutes)Details
Reading30-4054-723-4 reading passages with questions
Listening28-3941-573-4 audio recordings of lectures, discussions, and conversations

Task 1 - Read or listen to a passage or a lecture to write answers

Task 2 -  Write an essay on a given topic

Speaking417Face-to-face conversation on familiar topics or any academic-related issues

TOEFL exam syllabus: Reading

  • Duration: 54-72 minutes
  • No. of questions: 30-40

The reading section in the TOEFL exam syllabus includes 3-4 passages to read and answer the given questions accordingly. Here are some of the question types you can expect under this section.

TOEFL Reading section question types

  • Factual and negative factual information: The factual information questions require you to identify the correct information, such as major ideas, facts, and definitions. 

You must identify the incorrect fact or information from the four options in the negative factual information questions.

  • Inference and rhetorical: The interference questions require you to find the ambiguous statement from the passage.

Rhetorical questions require the purpose of the statement. Make sure you read the question and give the most appropriate response.

  • Vocabulary: You should provide the meanings of particular words in the passage.
  • Insert text: These questions test the logical placement of ideas in a particular passage. There is at least one insert-text question in each reading section.
  • Sentence explanation: You are required to choose the sentence that explains the statement in question in a simpler form.
  • Prose summary: You must identify the passage's main points and summarise the idea.

TOEFL exam syllabus: Listening

  • Duration: 41-57 minutes
  • No. of questions: 28-39

The listening section includes different types of audio clips you must listen to and answer the questions.

TOEFL Listening section question types

  • Gist content/purpose: The gist content questions are about delivering the main idea or purpose of the audio.
  • Detail questions: You should provide the factual details derived from the audio under these questions.
  • Function: The function questions require you to determine the actual meaning of the context.
  • Attitude: In attitude questions, you must determine the attitude or expression of specific words.
  • Inference: The inference questions require you to determine or infer the underlying meaning of the lecture.
  • Connections: In the connection questions, you must find connections between the ideas in the lecture.
  • Organisation: The organisation questions require you to determine how the lecture is structured.

TOEFL exam syllabus: Writing

  • Duration: 50 minutes
  • No. of questions: 2

The Writing section includes two tasks where you are required to express your ideas and opinions through an essay.

TOEFL Writing section question types

There are two types of tasks in the TOEFL Writing section.

  • Integrated writing task: In the integrated writing task, you have to read a passage, listen to a lecture on a particular topic, and then summarise the main points from the sources.

You will get 3 minutes to read a passage of around 300 words, followed by listening to an audio clip of 2 minutes. After reading and listening, you should explain how the passage and audio clip support each other.

  • Independent writing task: In the independent writing task, you have to present your views, opinions, and experiences through writing. There will not be any reading passage or audio clip. You are required to write 300 words about a particular topic within 30 minutes.

TOEFL exam syllabus: Speaking

  • Duration: 17 minutes
  • No. of questions: 4

The Speaking section under the TOEFL exam syllabus evaluates your skills in English language fluency. The section contains one independent and three integrated tasks.

TOEFL Speaking section question types

There are two types of questions in the TOEFL speaking section.

  • Independent task: There is one independent task where you have to present your thoughts, views, and experiences.
  • Integrated task: There are three cross-functional integrated tasks where your speaking, listening, writing, and reading skills are integrated.

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Best tips to prepare for TOEFL exam syllabus 2023

The TOEFL exam syllabus might look challenging, but with enough studying and practice, you can get good scores on the exam. Here are some useful tips to help prepare for the TOEFL exam:

  • Familiarise yourself with the exam format. This will help you analyse and understand the various sections present in the TOEFL exam syllabus.
  • Follow a study routine and track your progress.
  • Pick up good TOEFL study material. Different TOEFL exam syllabus pdf and study guides help you understand the question types and prepare you for the exam.
  • Read different source materials like a newspaper every day. It will help you improve your vocabulary and reading skills.
  • Practice speaking, note-taking, and timed writing.
  • Take mock tests.
  • Build your vocabulary.

Frequently asked questions

What is the TOEFL exam syllabus 2023?

The TOEFL exam syllabus consists of four sections evaluating fundamental English language skills: reading, listening, writing and speaking.

How many hours is the TOEFL test?

The TOEFL exam is conducted for three hours. In addition to the duration of the exam, you have to allot 30 minutes for check-in procedures.

How do I prepare for TOEFL exam?

While many say the TOEFL exam is difficult, you can easily prepare yourself with enough studying and practice. Here are some useful tips to prepare for the exam:

  • Get to know the format
  • Pick up a study guide
  • Create a study routine
  • Read and listen to English outside of TOEFL
  • Practice speaking (even to yourself)
  • Familiarise yourself with timed writing and note-taking
  • Attend as many practice tests as you can

How many days does it take for TOEFL results?

You can get your TOEFL results six days after your test date.

What is the TOEFL syllabus for the speaking section?

The TOEFL exam syllabus for the speaking section consists of two question types: independent task and integrated task. These questions analyse your ability to communicate in English and evaluate your fluency, pronunciation, and how you express your idea or opinion.

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