TOEFL Syllabus
Admit Kard

TOEFL Syllabus

RARachit Agrawal
Updated OnJul 9, 2020

TOEFL Syllabus

TOEFL is an English proficiency test that is conducted by institutes around the world. Students who apply for foreign institutes need to appear for this English proficiency test. TOEFL is considered one of the toughest exams in the world and students prepare for this exam about a year ago. There are 4 sections which are Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking sections in which from comprehension to speaking tasks to foundation skills, everything is measured and taken into consideration.

TOEFL Exam Syllabus

The exam syllabus for TOEFL comprises the fields of English theory. From Grammatical skills to comprehensive tasks, the syllabus comprises all aspects of English. The fields of English are stretched around Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing skills respectively. The course is as follows:

  • TOEFL Grammar Review
  • Reading-Foundation Skills
  • Reading- Test Taking Skills
  • Listening-Foundation Skills
  • Listening- Test Taking Skills
  • Speaking- Foundation Skills
  • Speaking- Test Taking Skills
  • Writing- Foundation Skills
  • Writing- Test Taking Skills

TOEFL Exam Pattern

In the English Speaking Syllabus, there are 4 tasks that are given to the students who need to be completed in 17 minutes. Students in the Speaking task need to express their views and opinions on the topics given to them. The topics are always familiar to the student as the students should know about the issue and the speaking topic is based on the topics given to the student in the reading and listening tasks.

TOEFL Exam Pattern and Syllabus

  • There are 4 sections which are Reading, Listening, Writing and Speaking sections. 
  • The Reading section consists of 30 to 40 questions that need to be completed in 54 to 72 minutes. 
  • The Listening task consists of 28 to 38 questions which need to be completed in 41 to 57 minutes. 
  • After these two sections, there is a break of 10 minutes 
  • And then the Speaking section takes place in which there are 4 tasks which need to be completed in 17 minutes.
  • Lastly, the Writing section takes place in which 2 tasks are given which is 50 minutes.
  • For each section, there are two skill-based courses available which are Foundation and Test Taking Skills.


1. Where can I find the previous question papers for TOEFL?
You can find the previous year’s question papers from the website:

2. What are the best books for preparing for the TOEFL?
Some of the books recommended are Complete Guide to the TOEFL Test, Vocabulary, and Grammar for the TOEFL Test, Oxford Preparation for the TOEFL iBT Exam, NorthStar Building Skills for the TOEFL iBT.

3. Which universities accept TOEFL paper-based in the USA?
Almost all North American universities accept TOEFL. Many universities like Harvard University, Hofstra University, Howard University, Idaho State University, Samford University, Stanford University clearly accept the TOEFL PDF.

4. Does the test contain MCQs? If yes, what’s their score range?
Yes, most of the reading questions are multiple-choice questions format containing 1 raw point each.

5. Would I get a refund if I cancel the test?
You can get a refund of only 50% if you cancel 4 days before the conduction of the test.

6. What should I carry on the exam day?
You need to carry your identification documents like passport, photo identification card, your confirmation email printout, and a small snack.

7. What things should I not carry in the test center?
Don’t bring any valuables and a lot of money. Also, you don’t need to carry stationery as you’ll be provided with a pen, paper, and pencils at the test center itself.

8. What’s the fee of the test in India?
You've got to pay a fee of $180 to sit for the test in India in reference to the year 2019.

9. Can I get a review if I’m not satisfied with the test score?
Yes. You can send for a review at a fee of $80 for each section.

10. How can I improve my vocabulary for the test?
Using vocabulary flashcards, learning vocabulary words given on university websites, reading articles online, news stories and novels may help improve your vocabulary.  

11. How should I manage my time in the reading section?
You should know the art of scanning important details by just going through the text once and not spend more than 20 minutes on each passage. This can be achieved through rigorous practice.

12. How can I perform well in the listening section?
You should understand what you heard in one go. There’s no way you can re-listen to the audio or pause it in between so you should practice the same way.

13. How are my speaking responses scored?
The recorded answers are sent to ETS where some certified human raters score you from 0 to 4. The average score of the 4 tasks is then calculated on a range of 0 to 30. They see the effectiveness of your communication and your ability to perform the given tasks.

14. Can I take notes during the test?
You are given a blank sheet of paper which is destroyed at the end of the exam during the test center only. You can make notes on it throughout the test.

15. Are headphones provided for the listening test?
A pair of noise-canceling headphones with a microphone is provided for the listening test.

16. How do I start preparing for TOEFL?

 The preparation of TOEFL can take about a year for a very high and successful score. Students can join institutes that help in TOEFL preparation and also organize crash courses before the final dates. TOEFL related videos are also released online from which students can take help during their preparation time and can clear their doubts. There are lots of TOEFL books available from which students can start their preparation.

17. What is a good score on the TOEFL?

A2. 90 to 100 is the perfect range score a student can acquire to gain admission to any top university across the globe. With such a score range students can acquire a position in an RA, TA or in a GA campus as well. The top scores of TOEFL are from the 100-110 range.

18. Is TOEFL easier than IELTS?

A3. Both the exams are English Proficiency related exams and have equal importance and are needed by every foreign university. But as per the observations over the years TOEFL is considered to be tougher than IELTS. With so many sections individually it is very important to score equal good scores in every section so that the final score is good. Thus, TOEFL is considered to be harder than IELTS.

19. Is the TOEFL test hard?

A4. Yes, TOEFL is considered to be harder than the other English Proficiency exams conducted. As in TOEFL, there are sections and students need to score good marks in all the sections which in turn can raise the average and final score. Thus, to score a good TOEFL score range it is very important that in the individual section also students should score well.

20. Who is eligible for TOEFL?

A5. Students or candidates who have passed their high school from an Indian Board which is recognized by the government of India can take part in the exam and are completely eligible for the exam.

Varun Malikll
Varun Malikll
MD ARIF HUSSAINVery good information!!! Plz tell how one, from Hindi medium, can prepare for it. Is it possible?
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About the Author
Rachit Agrawal
Study Abroad Expert & Co-Founder @ AdmitKard
Rachit believes in the power of education and has studied from the top institutes of IIIT Allahabad, IIM Calcutta, and Francois Rabelias in France. He has worked as Software Developer with Microsoft and Adobe. Post his MBA, he worked with the world's # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group across multiple geographies US, South-East Asia and Europe.