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iBT TOEFL Section review


Test Summary
Registration
Section review
Score
Test preparation

There are four sections in the iBT TOEFL. As their names suggest, each section measures particular language skills. Each section contributes to one fourth of your score.

Reading Comprehension

Time: 60-100 minutes
Format: 3-5 passages, 12-14 questions per passage
Topics tested: Reading comprehension, vocabulary, language usage
Problem types: Reading passages followed by a series of questions

The Reading Comprehension section tests your ability to understand and analyze information presented in a written form. Questions in this section are divided among several passages. The passages vary in length and are usually 650 and 750 words. Following each passage are 12-14 multiple-choice questions. The subject matter most commonly found in Reading Comprehension passages most commonly fit into these categories: science, humanities, and social sciences.

Listening Comprehension

Time: 60-90 minutes
Format: 2-3 conversations followed by 5 questions each, 4-6 short lectures followed by 6 questions each
Topics tested: Comprehension of spoken English
Problem types: audio dialogues, talks and mini-lectures accompanied by illustrations and followed by questions

This section of the test is designed to give "an opportunity to demonstrate your ability to understand spoken English." The type of spoken English tested in this section is quite particular. You will hear material typical of what you would encounter if you were a student at a North American college or university. The Listening Section of internet-based TOEFL is further divided into two or three parts: each part contains two lectures and one dialogue. Test takers may receive either two or three of these parts, which will be scored accordingly.

Speaking

Time: 20 minutes
Format: 6 tasks
Topics tested: Standard spoken English (grammar, structure, and vocabulary)
Problem types: response to 2 questions based on familiar experiences, 4 integrated tasks (read a short passage, listen to an audio, then respond orally)

The Speaking section tests your spoken American English skills. There are two types of tasks (questions) in this section:

Independent Tasks
These tasks ask you to draw on your own experience and speak on familiar topics, using evidence and details to support your statements.

Integrated Tasks
For Integrated Tasks, you will both listen to a short audio piece, then read a short passage. Then you will be prompted to summarize what you have heard and read, using the information from both sources to answer a question.

You will be required to record your responses onto the computer using a microphone attached to your headset. Both your answer preparation and response are timed.

Writing

Time: 50 minutes
Format: 2 written responses (approximately 300 words each)
Topics tested: General writing, argument development and presentation
Problem type: one essay based on familiar experience (no specific subject area knowledge required to write the essay), and one based one an integrated task (read a short passage, listen to an audio, then respond in writing)

The first part of this section measures your ability to generate and support ideas in a written form. You have to write an essay in response to a given question.

The other part of this section is composed of reading a short passage (250-300 words), listening to a lecture, then responding to a question using evidence and details from both information sources to support your answer.
Note: you will be required to type these responses on an American (QWERTY) keyboard.

For more information visit the official TOEFL website at http://www.toefl.org or refer to the TOEFL Information Bulletin.
 

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