Test of English as a Foreign Language
Test of English as a Foreign Language

TOEFL Pattern 2023: Detailed Test Format for TOEFL IBT, Essentials & Latest Updates

TOEFL Exam pattern should be understood by applicants planning to appear for the exam. Students will fail to tackle questions if they do not know the test content and structure of the test. Check the TOEFL pattern for both IBT and Essentials exams.
TOEFL Pattern 2023

TOEFL Pattern 2023

TOEFL Exam Pattern 2023: The Test of English as a Foreign Language, commonly known as TOEFL, is a language assessment test designed to evaluate the English fluency skills of applicants. Educational Testing Service (ETS)- the test conducting body has drafted the TOEFL pattern to help students understand the test format. There are two major tests that students can register for: TOEFL IBT and TOEFL Essentials. The latter is a new edition that includes both academic and general topics.

Also Check: TOEFL Syllabus

ETS has announced that it will launch a modified version of the TOEFL exam on July 26th, 2023. The new version will have various alterations, one of them being a shortened exam of just 2 hours. Currently, the ongoing exam format is 3 hours long but the new pattern will be significantly shorter. The TOEFL reading section is going to be shorter and crisp to make the exam-giving process easier for test-takers. Moreover, there is going to be increased score transparency and the registration process is also anticipated to be easier for candidates. Applicants can expect the new format to be costlier with more localized benefits available. Further, all the unscored test questions are going to be removed and a more modernized “Writing for an Academic Discussion” task will replace the current writing task.

Till July, the current versions of Essentials and IBT will serve a similar purpose which is to examine the English language reading, speaking, listening, and writing skills of candidates. The IBT test is 3 hours long (additional 30 minutes given for check-in), whereas the Essentials test is only 1.5 hours long. The IBT exam is 100% Academic English while the Essentials test is 50% General English and 50% Academic English. It is extremely important to understand the TOEFL exam pattern and syllabus for both tests as it helps candidates to know which option will be more suitable for them. Moreover, knowing the types of questions, the total number of questions, and the structure of the test will aid applicants to perform better in the TOEFL exam and get the desired score. Read on to understand the differences between the Essentials and IBT exams. 

Read: TOEFL Preparation

TOEFL Exam Pattern 2023

As mentioned above, applicants can register for two test types as both of them are accepted by renowned universities and organizations. Although, TOEFL IBT is more commonly used and acknowledged as the Essentials test is new. Before registering for any of the tests, make sure to check the admission requirements of the targetted universities and also comprehend the pattern for the same. To know more about these exams, check out the table below. 



TOEFL Essentials


Original language assessment test

New edition


3 hours and 30 minutes

1.5 hours


INR 15,507

INR 9,794


100% Academic English

50% General English and 50% Academic English


TOEFL IBT Computer-Delivered at Center

TOEFL IBT Home Edition

TOEFL IBT Paper Edition

TOEFL Essentials only At Home


4 sections: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening

4 sections: Reading, Writing, Speaking, Listening

5-minute personal video statement (not scored)


Longer interconnected tasks

Shorter and fast-paced tasks

Who takes it

Students seeking an exam that combines reliability and ease of use with an appealing format

Students looking to stand out

TOEFL Exam Pattern: IBT Test

More than 11,500 universities and other organizations in more than 160 countries recognize TOEFL iBT scores on a global scale. The test has four primary sections: Reading, Speaking, Writing, and Listening. The exam duration is 3 hours and additional 30 minutes is provided for check-in. 

The reading section comprises three academic reading passages with ten questions each. The listening section includes five major components which are further divided into three academic lectures (6 questions each) and two campus conversations (5 questions each). There will be additional unscored questions for these sections. There will be a 10-minute break after the reading and listening sections. Coming to the speaking section which will l contain a total of four tasks. And lastly, the writing section of the TOEFL IBT exam will include two essays

View the breakdown of each TOEFL iBT test section by using the table below-



Time Provided



30–40 questions

54–72 minutes

Answers based on the given passages


28–39 questions

41–57 minutes

Answers based on the given recordings

10 Minute Break


4 tasks

17 minutes

Speak on given topics 


2 tasks/essays

50 minutes

Draft a response to a given passage/recording

Students can appear for the IBT exam in three different modes offered by ETS including-

  • TOEFL IBT test: Exam on a computer at a test centre
  • TOEFL IBT Home Edition: Test on a computer at the candidate’s home
  • TOEFL IBT Paper Edition: Exam in two sessions- Reading, Listening, and Writing on paper at a test centre, and Speaking on a computer at home.

TOEFL Exam Pattern: Essentials Test

Just like the IBT test, TOEFL Essentials tests candidates on their ability to read, write, listen, and speak in the English language. The test also includes an additional and unscored section, known as the Personal Video Statement. 

Candidates will be asked to record an unscored Personal Video Statement in which they react to two English-language questions. This will be presented after finishing the scored sections of the TOEFL Essentials exam. Students can provide more information about themselves and demonstrate their distinct personalities to universities through this unscored component. The exam takes roughly 1.5 hours, however, students should leave 20 minutes for check-in.

Refer to the table below to understand the TOEFL Essentials test content in detail. 



Time Provided



30–45 questions

21–34  minutes

Answers based on the given passages


30-45 questions

22-33  minutes

Answers based on the given recordings



3 tasks

13 minutes

Spoken input on given topics 


2 tasks and 14 to 18 questions

24-30  minutes

Draft a response to a given passage/recording

Personal Video Statement

2 questions

5 minutes

Answer questions related to yourself

TOEFL Exam Fee

Apart from the TOEFL registration fee, students may have to pay additional fees for different purposes. ETS provides many features and some of them include rescheduling or cancelling the exam slot or giving a re-test by booking a slot again. Applicants can also ask to review their additional score reports by paying an amount. Check the table below to know the features of the test wherein students will be charged.



Registration fee IBT

INR 15,535

Registration fee Essentials

INR 9813

Late registration

INR 3271

Speaking or Writing Section score review

INR 6542

Speaking and Writing Section score review

INR 13,084

Returned payment

INR 2453

Additional score reports

INR 1635

Additional score reports (per institution or agency)

INR 1635


INR 4908

Note: These are likely to change based on the exchange rates, hence, applicants are advised to double-check the current and updated prices.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is TOEFL Essentials accepted by all universities?

Yes, just like the IBT test, the Essentials exam is widely accepted by various universities. A survey conducted by ETS states that more than 90% of schools in America, Canada, and the UK are likely to accept the Essentials test score.

What is the TOEFL exam fee for rescheduling?

The fee for rescheduling the TOEFL exam is $60, which is INR 4908. Students can visit the official website to reschedule the exam slot by paying this fee.

How many questions are there in the TOEFL IBT Reading section?

In the reading section of the IBT exam, students will be presented with 3 academic passages and will be asked a total of 30–40 questions in each passage.

Are there any breaks in the TOEFL exam?

In TOEFL IBT, a break of 10 minutes is provided to candidates after they complete two sections of the exam. There is no registered break for the Essentials test.

What is the TOEFL exam mode?

The TOEFL exam can be given in both online and pen-paper-based modes.

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