TOEFL Syllabus & Format and How to Prepare for TOEFL in 2023

What is TOEFL?

TOEFL or Test of English as a Foreign Language is an English proficiency test that was developed at the Centre for Applied Linguistics by Dr. Charles A. Ferguson. It was first organized by the Modern Language Association (MLA) in 1964 by Ford and Danforth Foundation in the US. It is currently being administered by Education Testing Service (ETS). The test is being accepted at all international colleges and institutions around the world. Read on to know about the Syllabus, Format, and other important pieces of information.

Why choose TOEFL?

ConvenienceThe organization that runs TOEFL right now sends your test results directly to the university, school, or college you would like to apply for or have already applied to.
OpportunitiesIf you would like to study in foreign countries, want to apply for any job abroad, or want to start a business there, you need to give this test.
AuthorityThe test of English as a foreign language is accepted at more than 12,000 institutes and 155 countries all across the world.
OptionsThe TOEFL Exam is currently divided into three formats – TOEFL IBT, TOEFL at Home, and TOEFL Paper- Delivered.
Reasons for taking the TOEFL Examination

TOEFL Syllabus 2023

The TOEFL Test is broadly divided into 4 main parts of 30 marks each:


The TOEFL reading section mainly assesses your ability to understand and analyze university-level passages which might cover factual information (positive and negative), inference, rhetorical purpose, reading vocabulary, sentence simplification, insert test, prose summary, etc.


The TOEFL writing section assesses your ability to organize and present information and your ideas in the English language in the form of essays. This section also contains 2 main sets of tasks:

  • Independent Writing Test – In the independent writing task, you need to write an essay that’s based on your personal views and beliefs on a given topic or prompt.
  • Integrated Writing Test – In the integrated writing task, you need to read a short passage and listen to a short lecture. Then, you have to summarize the lecture and explain how it relates to the passage within a span of 20 minutes.

You’ll mainly be graded on the structure, development, and delivery of your essay.


The TOEFL listening section mainly assesses your ability to understand lectures and conversations in English. Generally, you have to listen to 2-3 conversations and 3-4 lectures and then answer questions. The different types of questions in this section might cover gist-content and gist-purpose, detail, function, attitude, organization, connecting content, and inference.


The TOEFL speaking section assesses your efficiency in spoken English in academic settings. You will be given tasks that will reflect on real-life scenarios that can be around any academic, social or professional environment. The four main speaking tasks are divided into 2 main segments that are:

  • Independent Speaking Test – In the independent speaking task, you have to express your personal opinion about a familiar topic or given prompt.
  • Integrated Speaking Test – In the integrated speaking task, you will be tested on a combination of skills like reading, listening, and speaking altogether.

TOEFL Format & Pattern 2023

The TOEFL can be segmented into 2 parts where you give the reading and listening test one after the other then you get a 10-minute break for cooling off, before giving the writing and speaking test which also happens together. The total test is out of 120 marks and every section is scored 30 points.

The TOEFL Examination is broken down into 2 segments divided by a break.


During the TOEFL exam, you will have around 54-72 minutes during the Reading Exam to answer 30-40 questions in the session. You need to read 3-4 passages and answer questions.


You will have approximately 41-57 minutes during the listening exam where you need to answer 28-39 questions. You will be given recordings that can be lectures, classroom discussions, or conversations, and answer questions based on your understanding of those audio clips so be sure to take down notes as it is going to come in handy later. Usually, every question has 1 point. If there are more points allotted to that question, it must have a special request or special instruction on how to answer that specific question.


You get mandatory 10 minutes of crucial minutes after two test sections to spare yourself so try to pack a light snack such as a gummy bar or a snicker to give you that extra boost of energy of positivity to rejuvenate yourself.


In the Speaking section, you will have approximately 17 minutes to complete 4 tasks where you might have to:

  • Express your opinion on a familiar topic or a random topic that’s given to you
  • Talk about a random prompt that’s given to you
  • You’ll be given a conversation and you need to reply and talk about that conversation
  • You need to listen and understand a lecture and then talk about what you learned and understood from that lecture

You will have approx. 15-30 seconds for preparation of each question and then 45-60 seconds to answer.


For writing, you have 50 minutes where you have two tasks. You need to write two essays on two prompts that are going to be a kind of feedback response to all that you did in your earlier tests. You will be graded on the structure and development of the essay you write within 30 minutes time limit. The second task has a time limit of 20 minutes.

How to Register for TOEFL?

The TOEFL exam is available for registration 24×7 on their website. Visit their website and book a testing slot. You can schedule the test any day as long as you haven’t attempted to take the test within the last 12 days. The total fee for the TOEFL examination is $180 which you have to pay to register for the exam.

TOEFL Examination Dates

The ETS (Educational Testing Services) administers the TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language, all year round at various locations across the nation. At the time of registration, candidates can select from the available TOEFL Exam dates. ETS offers more than 60 days so that students can select a TOEFL test date that works best for them and feel confident while taking the test on a date that they think is appropriate for the exam. Millions of students take the exam each year in order to gain admission to the best colleges overseas. The ETS official website announces the TOEFL exam dates for 2023, and by making an account there, one can view the available days. After you have given the TOEFL examinations, the test results take up to a week or so to come back to you. Schedule your TOEFL examination here.

How to Prepare for TOEFL?

Best Time

The best time to take the TOEFL examination is within the same year when you apply for your Target University or college. You can also consider taking the examination within 2 weeks of taking your GRE examination.

Target Score

The TOEFL examination has not set passing or failing marks. You need to prepare and aim for a score that is required to get into the university or institution you have applied for.


Stoodnt recommends you go through the book KAPLAN iBT Prep Plus. It is a really nice book with great reviews and has helped a lot of students clear IELTS with 90% marks. You can check out other materials for TOEFL courses on their official website.

Prepare Accordingly

The examiners score you based on your knowledge of the English language, not your personal views or concepts so there is no “Wrong Answer” to any of the questions asked in the exam. You can express all kinds of thoughts and ideas even though the examiner might not be on the same page.


This is a feat you have to master if you want to ace your examination. Intonation represents various characteristics of your voice such as sound, variation, frequency, pitch, etc. If you use intonation at the right places at the right time, you’ll be making a much more prominent display of your communication skills.


You need to show the examiner and prove to them that you have a firm understanding and experience of the English language. You need to demonstrate authority and you can do so by using variations in your sentences. There are plenty of ways to enhance your vocabulary and doing so will not only help you ace the exam but also improve your speaking skills greatly so you should get started as early as possible.


Know the TOEFL Test Format

The TOEFL examination pattern and format got changed last in 2019. As the examination providers are trying their best to make the test fair and updated, so you should stay updated on all the changes that are being made to the syllabus as well as the format.

Stay Calm

The first and foremost thing to do in probably any situation is to keep your calm. Most of the things you’ll be tested on are things you are already familiar with. Speaking Reading, Writing and Listening are some of the involuntary actions we do every day and learn before even getting to school. In the end, it all mainly comes down to how confident you are. Any kind of stress, anxiety, or panic is meant to deviate you from the best answer you could ever give so try to stay calm and collected.


Practice, practice, practice! Practise is all that you need to do to ace any test and nothing changes the fact in this examination. Even though the university you applied for would accept anything between 90-100 but the main idea is to score the best you can and practicing will ensure you get those scores faster.

Avoid Unsuitable Topics

It is common to take down notes while listening to a clip or watching a video, while doing so, you might miss hearing out on something that might just be the topic of your speech later. In these cases, try to avoid that topic because it’s always better to stay quiet rather than to speak about something you aren’t sure of.

Be Early

I cannot emphasize enough this point, always be early to the test location. Even if you are giving the test from home, stay logged in and ensure all the connection parameters are up and running to avoid missing out on useful time during the test. Being early helps you understand the scenario and also helps you t collect your thoughts so you don’t miss out on any crucial points that you want to discuss in the examination.

TOEFL Mock Tests

You need to schedule a certain number of practice sessions and give a couple of mock tests before giving the actual examination to see where you stand. This helps you to find any weaknesses and address them within time.

Frequently Answered Questions on TOEFL

  • What is the eligibility for TOEFL?

Anyone who is a 10th pass out is eligible to take the TOEFL Examination. There are no age restrictions in TOEFL. You need to have a passport that acts as your ID.

  • What is a good TOEFL Score?

110 out of 120 can get you in for 95% of the colleges you apply for and is considered a decent score.

  • How many times can you give TOEFL every year?

You can give the test up to 50 times in one year. Just that, you need to leave at least 12 days of leave in between your attempts.

  • What is the cost of giving TOEFL?

The cost of giving the TOEFL examination is $180 or ₹13,000 in India.

  • How long is the TOEFL score valid?

A TOEFL Score is valid for up to 2 years.


I hope you got a clear understanding of what the TOEFL examinations are all about. We at Stoodnt, provide premium admission counseling services to help you or your child make the next big step in their career. Visit our website to book a session with one of our professional counselors here.

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