TOEFL 2021 Exam Pattern Explained! – Filo Blog
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TOEFL 2021 Exam Pattern Explained!

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TOEFL or Test of English as a Foreign Language is one of the most popular exams accepted by American and Canadian universities for college admissions. It is taken by non-native English speakers.

It is conducted in two formats, Paper Based Test or PBT and Internet-Based Test or iBT.

Scoring in both formats is different, however, the pattern is the same.

More than 95% of students prefer to take the TOEFL iBT.

TOEFL Format and Eligibility

Eligibility

There is no official prerequisite for the TOEFL exam, anyone who’s a high school graduate and has proficiency in the English language can apply for the exam. Neither is there any age bar but you should carry a valid passport for identity verification at the time of the exam.

However, you should check the eligibility criteria of the college you are applying for.

Format

SectionDurationComposition
Reading54-72 minutes30-40 questions
Listening41-57 minutes28-38 questions
Short Break10 minutes
Speaking17 minutes4 tasks
Writing50 minutes2 tasks

If you are taking the TOEFL exam, make sure you have the required skills and follow up on relevant strategies to acquire a good score.

Exam Pattern and Structure

We have discussed the section-wise time margin and composition of the exam. But what do you actually need to prepare? What is the pattern and structure of the exam and what areas do you need to excel in? Let us discuss the syllabus and details about the exam.

Reading Section

This section comprises 3-4 long passages for students to read and then answer 30-40 questions based on the same. The time limit for this section is 54-72 minutes.

This is to check the student’s understanding ability and how well they get the central idea of the given passage. 

The passages are usually about general social topics.

Listening Section

In this section, the students listen to 4-6 recordings of general conversation or discussion between people and have to answer the questions based on the recordings.

There are 28-38 questions to be answered in about 41-57 minutes.

This is however different from the reading section. You can always re-read the passages but the recordings are only played once, so you have to listen patiently and carefully.

Break

There is a short break of 10 minutes between the Listening and Speaking sections since the exam is a bit longer. Use it well, make sure your body, as well as your mind, is relaxed for a good 10 minutes so that you can start fresh in the next section.

Speaking Section

This is the shortest section of the TOEFL exam and yet requires the most skills.

This section comprises 4 tasks to be completed by the student in around 17 minutes.

In the 1st task, you are supposed to speak on a given topic and express your views. The 2nd and 3rd task involves reading and listening too.

In the 2nd task, you’ll read a passage and listen to a recording related to the same. Your task is to summarise and support or express in your words, the general idea based on your understanding. This passage is more like a situation or a change that affects your student life and the recording is a conversation discussing the situation.

In the 3rd task, you have to read a passage and then listen to a few examples that support the topic from a lecturer. Your task is to summarise the passage.

In the final task, you’ll hear a lecture and again, summarise the central idea in your own words.

Your presence of mind and ability to understand is tested here.

Writing Section

The last section i.e; the Writing section consists of 2 tasks to be completed in 50 minutes.

Task 1 of the Writing section is a combination of reading, listening and writing. You read a passage and listen to a lecture in this task and then write a summarised essay on the basis of your understanding

And as for task 2, you are required to write about a given topic or a situation. This task is however independent as you write your opinion or express your point of view.

This section tests your ideology and understanding of the topics provided.

How do I Prepare for the TOEFL Exam?

To ace the exam, it is important that you start preparing at least 4-6 weeks before the exam. Your study techniques play a crucial role in your preparation and you should align your methods with your time management strategies.

Here are some tips that might help you with all the sections in the TOEFL exam.

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Time Management

 The first step should be to follow up a timetable. Dividing your time in such a way that you give an equal or relevant amount of time to each section is important.

Section Wise Preparation

Some skills are required in all the sections in general but some skills are section specific. For instance, strong vocabulary and strong language usage are required in all the sections. However, you need fluency in the English language for the Speaking section. Hence, it is important that you prepare section wise.

Efficient Study Techniques

Your strategies and methods highly affect your performance. It is with the right techniques followed that you achieve your goal. If your strategies aren’t sufficient and effective, even an excessive amount of time can not help. It’s better that you spend less time and learn a little than to spend a large amount of time and learn nothing.

Align your techniques with time so that the end result shows progress.

Sharpen Your Skills

Develop a strong vocabulary, improve your language usage skills and language proficiency.

Read books, write essays and listen to audiobooks or news channels on a regular.Try communicating with others in english or prepare speeches to sharpen your speaking skills.

Performance Check

Check your progress and if you do not notice any improvements, reconsider your strategies.

Your methods should always be productive.

We hope you find the article and tips helpful and achieve a good TOEFL score.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an average TOEFL score?

85-95 is considered to be an average score for TOEFL. 100 or higher is definitely a good score.

What is the difference between TOEFL PBT and TOEFL iBT?

The syllabus for both TOEFL Paper Based Test and TOEFL Internet Based Test is similar, however, scoring in both formats is different. More than 95% of students prefer to take the TOEFL iBT.

Test TypePaper-Based TestInternet-Based Test
Duration3 hours4 hours
Score Scale310-6800-120

How long do I have to prepare for TOEFL?

It is recommended that you study 6-8 hours every day and start preparing at least 4-6 weeks before the exam.

Thats it for this article folks! I hope you now have a good understanding of the 2021 TOEFL Pattern

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