Exams Know-how

The TOEFL Break-Down

Yocket Editorial Team

The test of English as foreign Language (TOEFL) helps in testing your English abilities. It’s pretty natural that university would want to know the level of English you have and if the standard of your English language is equal to or better than those of the university.

In my view this is crucial as many universities have high English standards and hence expect high scores in TOEFL. By high English standards, what I mean is that in every question from P-set (Problem Set) or from a Quiz in the subject course, would be framed in a complex manner. If you do not understand what the question, you are bound to make a mistake EVEN if you know what the right answer is. Hence it is really important for one to give the TOEFL exam or its equivalent the IELTS, to the best of your abilities.


The TOEFL is a very long examination (almost as long as 4.5-5 hours) and tests your English abilities in various fields. They are the reading, speaking, listening and writing sections. The writing and the speaking sections come at the second half of the TOEFL exam after the break. Let’s tackle it section-by-section:


This section is very normal and it as equivalent to reading a comprehension paragraph from a CBSE text book with a dash of complicated words, yet not unfamiliar. Usually the questions have keywords which are present in the paragraph. Once you identify where the keywords are located in the text you get the answers to the questions. On an average you get 39 questions in this section.


I think this is where the difference in scores kind of comes out. The listening section involves lectures, student conversations, discussion all in the American or in the British accent. People who are used to this like the ones who watch a lot of SITCOMS have an advantage as they can easily grasp what is being told. Secondly you’ll be given a pencil and paper to take down the points. Use it. Note down the key sentences from the conversation and any “phrasal” words or “sayings” used. There is a question bound to be there on that. This section is honestly very long and you get around 8 audio tapes to listen if I’m not wrong.

#Another reason to watch those amazing English SITCOMS !!


This is the toughest section to score as one has to record the answers for 45 seconds to 1 minute for every question. You get 6 questions in total. Remember, there is preparation time given. That’s when you use the correct ideas or the content from the audio source. Once the timer for recording starts, so do you start speaking and you will go till around 55 seconds if it’s 1 minute duration or 43 seconds if it’s 45 second duration. This duration will help you to cover all the points.

Remember: It’s okay to stutter when you speak as one may not have the fluency in the language BUT DO NOT READ THE SENTENCE BY WRITING THE ANSWER IN A PIECE OF PAPER. This is considered cheating. You will be recorded in the overhead webcam and the evaluators who listen to your answer can easily identify that you are reading and not speaking.


You have two questions to answer in this section:

  1. Integrated writing: You are to combine both the textual material with the lecture tape and bring out the common points covered in the same. Then read the question and answer accordingly.
  2. Essay writing: I think none of you need training on this. It’s writing 3 paragraphs related to the topic catering to the question.

*The TOEFL is lengthy but is very easy and people lose their stamina midway. You must ensure that you don’t. Taking practice TOEFL tests will help you in this.

My TOEFL split up : Reading : 25 , Speaking : 29 , Listening : 26 , Writing : 25 Total :105/120

All the very best !!!

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