TOEFL Exam Syllabus 2022: Updated Section Wise Syllabus

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  • The TOEFL exam is a standardised test that examines the proficiency of an individual in the English language.
  • The test comprises four sections – Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking.
  • The total time duration for the TOEFL test is three and a half hours. This time is divided into the typical four sections.
  • The TOEFL test pattern is designed to analyse specific skills of the individual in regard to the English language in each section.
  • An English proficiency exam, like the TOEFL exam, is essential for individuals seeking to work or study in an English speaking country. It is often a part of the eligibility criteria.

The TOEFL exam is an English language test for students from non-English speaking countries who want to pursue their higher education abroad. It helps the university understand the ability of a student to read, write, and understand English and gauge if they can keep up with the course. The TOEFL exam syllabus and test pattern requires applicants to understand prior to giving the test.

TOEFL scores are accepted in universities across 150 countries, including the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Apart from university admissions, English proficiency tests such as TOEFL and IELTS are also important for visa applications. If an individual aims to study, work, or live in any English speaking country, TOEFL or any English proficiency test becomes a basic requirement.

The TOEFL exam syllabus is intense and also goes through regular updates to keep up with industry standards. This article will help TOEFL aspirants understand the syllabus of the examination and provide the updates that have been made so far.

Toefl exam syllabus

TOEFL Test: Overview

Test Of English as a Foreign Language exam, commonly known as the TOEFL exam, is one of the standardised tests required by non-native individuals as proof of English language proficiency and fluency. This examination holds esteemed importance as a basic requirement when applying for a visa or any educational course in English speaking countries such as the UK, the USA, Canada, and many more.

The exam is administered by ETS (Educational Testing Service) and scores the individual based on the individual’s proficiency in speaking, understanding, and writing the English language.

The test is also available in three different formats –

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-based test): The test takers must select a centre and take the test online.
  • TOEFL at Home: The test takers can take the test at home itself.
  • TOEFL PBT (Paper-based): The TOEFL exam is on paper. It is an offline test.

The test is also available in three different formats –

  • TOEFL iBT (Internet-based test): The test takers are required to reach the centre and perform the test online.
  • TOEFL at Home: The test takers can take the test at home itself.
  • TOEFL PBT (Paper-based): The TOEFL exam is done through paper, also known as an offline test.

Test-takers have to apply for the test through the ETS official website. They can also choose exam dates and test centres on the ETS portal. The applicants have to fill out a registration form and pay the registration fee. The registration fee is approximately $190, i.e., INR14,765.

TOEFL Test Syllabus: A Brief Overview

As discussed earlier, the TOEFL test contains four sections to cover all the areas of English language proficiency.

Out of the four sections, the Listening and Reading sections consist of multiple choice questions. The total TOEFL score that accounts for both listening and reading ranges from 58-79 marks. The Writing test comprises descriptive questions for which students need to provide long-form and short-form answers. Lastly, the Speaking test requires students to talk about the topics mentioned in the test.

The TOEFL score ranges from 0 to 120, with each section holding a specific score. Any score above 100 is considered a good score.

Please note that the pattern provided is from the TOEFL iBT test.

TOEFL Vs IELTS Difference: Overview

TOEFL Exam Updates 2022

Since the pandemic, there have been certain changes in many standardised tests such as SAT, GRE, GMAT, and many others. Similarly, there have been specific changes in the TOEFL exam as well.

  • From July 2021, ETS has permitted the use of Aadhar cards as ID proof for Indian students. This was introduced as there was a delay in providing passports due to the pandemic. So, Indian students do not compulsorily have to possess a passport while registering for the test.
  • Due to the Pandemic, ETS developed a TOEFL Essentials Test for students unable to pay the registration fees for the TOEFL exam. The exam fee for the TOEFL Essentials Test is comparatively low ($100, i.e., INR7,700) and was created to help students and individuals in the face of the pandemic.

TOEFL Reading Section Syllabus

The TOEFL Reading section comprises approximately 30-40 questions, and the scoring of the reading section ranges from 0 to 30. The main purpose of this section is to understand the comprehending capabilities of an individual.

The Reading section consists of 3-4 passages. The test-taker is required to read the passages and answer questions according to their understanding of the passage. The number of questions asked per passage is 10.

The Reading section contains passages from various fields like Humanities, Science, Technology, and others. Candidates are advised to keep practising reading comprehension to develop an understanding of the type of questions asked in the TOEFL test.

The time limit for the Reading section is 54-72 minutes.

TOEFL Speaking Section Syllabus

Speaking the English language is one of the most important skills for individuals to sustain themselves in an English speaking country.

The Speaking section in the entire test is considered the most difficult and important one. It requires quick thinking, analysing skills and a good understanding of the language.

The Speaking section of the TOEFL exam comprises 4 questions. The first question is an independent task. Here the test-taker is provided with a question and they have to speak on it based on their opinions and experiences.

The rest of the questions are integrated tasks where test takers have to also use their reading and listening skills along with speaking skills.

The total duration of the speaking section is 17 minutes long. The time duration for the first question is 45 seconds, while the other question takes about 60 seconds of speaking.

The syllabus of this section is quite vast. Students are advised to practice TOEFL speaking topics and build a strategy accordingly.

TOEFL Writing Section Syllabus

The TOEFL Writing section tests the ability of the students to express opinions and views by writing in the language.

The TOEFL writing section comprises two tasks. The first is an integrated writing task wherein the test-taker has to write on a given topic based on the passage and video provided to them in the exam.


The next task is an independent writing task wherein the candidate has to write on the given topic drawing on the experiences and based on their opinion.

The time limit for this section is 50 minutes. The first section takes approximately 20 minutes, while the second category takes 30 mins.

Candidates can prepare for the TOEFL Writing section by writing short paragraphs on a variety of topics.

TOEFL Writing Tips 2022

TOEFL Listening Section Syllabus

The Listening section has 28 multiple-choice questions. The candidate has to answer them based on the audio clips they are provided. The duration of the listening section ranges from 41 to 57 minutes.

Test takers to practice the sample listening questions on the ETS site.

It is advised that candidates take notes while listening to the audio clips during the test. This will make it easier to answer the questions.

Toefl exam syllabus


TOEFL is a language test for the English language and holds great importance for individuals who aspire to work or study in an English-speaking country.

Though the TOEFL test is comparatively easier than other standardised tests, it also requires a fair amount of preparation by the test-takers.

The test-takers can prepare themselves by taking the help of the free resources present on the official ETS website. The average score on the TOEFL test is 90-95. However, universities have their specific requirement in terms of the TOEFL test, which needs to be taken into consideration by the aspirants.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How many times can an individual give the TOEFL test?

According to ETS, there is no limit to the number of times an individual can appear for the test. Students can even take the test more than once after three days of taking the TOEFL iBT test.

What is the average TOEFL score for Indian students?

The TOEFL score ranges from 0 to 120. For an Indian test taker, the average score could be anywhere between 90-95. However, many top universities and courses have certain eligibility criteria for the TOEFL score. Many top universities require students to have a TOEFL score above 100.

Is there any fee-refund policy?

Yes. A fee-refund can only be availed if the candidate cancels the exam four days prior to the deadline provided by ETS. However, only half of the application fee is processed as a refund.

For how many years is the TOEFL score applicable?

The TOEFL score is valid for 2 years after taking the test. After two years, the test takers have to retake the exam.

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