Tutorials for the TOEFL Exam

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Exam Description:

This TOEFL Practice Test is here to help you prepare for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) Test administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). The TOEFL began development in 1962 and was first administered two years later. Its purpose is to prepare international students for studying in an English-speaking country or program. Our Practice TOEFL is here to give you a simulation of the content and is a great primer whether you take the paper-based (PBT) or Internet-based test (iBT). Each testing type is broken up into four sections.

For the iBT, you will answer a number of questions in Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing. For the PBT, you will do Listening, Structure and Written Expression, Reading Comprehension and Writing. The iBT is longer, clocking in at around 200 to 250 minutes (including one 10-minute break). The PBT is much shorter running 140 to 150 minutes in overall length.

The TOEFL Test is now predominately an iBT, though the paper-based may still be available in some areas. For our purposes moving forward, we will draw from the iBT.

TOEFL Test: Reading, 60 to 80 minutes

The TOEFL as it appears on test day will run anywhere from 60 to 80 minutes in length. It will consist of four to six passages that you will need to read, each one being around 700 words long. Don't expect any light reading here. Most topics are from academia, and it will be your job to understand rhetorical functions like argumentation, cause-and-effect and compare-and-contrast.

You will need to identify specific ideas, themes, inferences, essential information, vocabulary, sentence insertion and more. The test may mandate that you fill out tables complete summaries. Fortunately, you do not need to come into the TOEFL with a prior understanding of the topic at hand in order to get the right answer.

TOEFL: Listening, 60 to 90 minutes

The Listening section also features a flexible time range with around six to nine passages per test. Each section is three to five minutes in length. The passages typically include conversations between two students, academic lectures or discussions. Conversations may be between the student and a campus employee -- professorial or service-based.

As with the Reading section, the lectures will focus on something to do with academia, but the test-taker does not need a prior knowledge of the material in order to get the right answer. That said, it can be quite challenging because you only get one crack at hearing and understanding what the participants in both the conversations and the lectures have to say. You can and should take notes while listening because you will have the opportunity to look over those as you answer each question. Questions are designed to measure your understanding of main ideas, implications, relationships between ideas, important details, speaker purpose, organization of information and speaker attitude.


TOEFL: Speaking, 20 minutes

While the Speaking section is the shortest section of the TOEFL Test, it is no less challenging. This is basically where the knowledge you have of the English language needs to be applied. You will have six individual tasks to perform, so room for error is limited.

The six tasks include four integrated and two independent. In the integrated tasks, you must read a short excerpt, listen to an educational lecture or conversation on campus life, and formulate your answer by fusing the appropriate information from both textual and spoken sources. You will also be required to listen to an academic course lecture or campus life conversation and respond to a question about what you heard. You will be evaluated on how well you are able to synthesize and effectively communicate materials from listening and reading portions.

For the independent tasks, you will be given opinion questions on familiar subjects. Here, you will be scored on how well you are able to speak spontaneously and coherently communicate your ideas.


TOEFL: Writing, 50 minutes

The last, and for many the most rigorous, portion of the TOEFL Test is the Writing part. While you will only have two tasks -- the fewest of any section -- you will also only have 50 minutes to accomplish them which can go by quickly when engaging in longer form writing.

The tasks here are broken up into integrated and independent. For the integrated, you will read a passage and listen to a speaker discuss it. Then, you will write a summary that details all of the important points in the listening passage and shows how it connects to the major takeaways from the reading passage. In the independent task, you will simply write an essay on a familiar topic.


TOEFL Practice: Preparing for Both

Our TOEFL Practice Test is not an exact recreation of the TOEFL Test as it will be administered on test day, but it does offer some extensive training with the types of questions and materials you will encounter on the test, be it the PBT or iBT.

We've broken it up into five overall sections consisting of three individual Listening portions (53 questions altogether), one Reading section (28 questions) and one Structure section (30 questions).

This Practice TOEFL will help you feel more confident with the types of questions that you will encounter; but we also want to encourage you to take as many TOEFL Practice Test opportunities as you can and even consider enrolling in a test preparation course if you can afford to do so.

You want to be comfortable on test day, not just with the questions and types of materials, but also the testing environment itself. Additionally, you may want to follow this list of DOs and DON'Ts when it comes to preparing.



  • DO study passages like you would find in an undergraduate textbook.
  • DO take as many Practice TOEFL tests as you can in the time leading up to test day, and try to recreate the exact environment in which you will be taking the exam, at least as much as you can.
  • DO speak in English as much as you possibly can when talking to friends and family members who are fluent themselves.
  • DO try to immerse yourself in as much English culture as you can.
  • DO work on improving your note-taking skills regardless of the specific language you use.
  • DO take 4Tests' TOEFL Practice Test. (It's free!)



  • DON'T get all of your English understanding from movies and television.
  • DON'T take one or two Practice TOEFL tests and assume you are ready for primetime.
  • DON'T overestimate your ability just because you're pretty good at speaking English. The written parts can torch you.
  • DON'T speak English with anyone who is way below your skill level. You get nothing out of it, and you'll probably just end up annoying them.
  • DON'T assume immersion is the only answer. Much of what you will encounter on this test is academic in nature, so study formal English as much as you do the pop culture stuff.
  • DON'T use your native language as a crutch. English requires practice to get right.
  • DON'T stop with our Practice TOEFL. Enroll in a class and get your hands on as many practice exams as you can in the buildup to test day. Repetition will simply make you more comfortable with the test itself.
  • DON'T get frustrated if you're not as good at English on test day as you want to be. You can still pass the TOEFL whether you're an expert or not. The important thing to remember: the TOEFL test is just the beginning. Your language skills will improve once you enroll in an English-speaking course or school. 

Basic Study Tips to Remember

The TOEFL Test may be unlike anything you have ever seen on the testing front, but try to remember that it is just another exam, and as such, is responsive to some of the same rules for effective studying. That said, make sure that in addition to the test-specific actions, you are also locking down these study basics:

  1. Memorize the test date in advance and leave plenty of room to brush up on problem areas.
  2. Purchase study materials and take as many practice exams as you can, especially in the last few weeks before test day.
  3. Do a test run before the big day so you can be familiar with the testing environment as well as the required documentation that ETS makes you bring along for the date.
  4. When studying, do so in a quiet and secluded place. Avoid the temptation to listen to music -- particularly music with lyrics -- since you will need to switch back and forth from reading to listening sections.
  5. If possible, attend study groups with other TOEFL Test takers. There is safety in numbers, and you can learn just as much -- if not more -- from a peer as you can an instructor.

Keep these tips in mind, and the TOEFL Test will be your first step in mastering the English language and improving your marketability. Good luck!