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Format of the TOEFL


The format of the test is broken into parts. There are four sections. So I'm going to talk about those four sections and what it looks like. So the first one is the reading section, and that is 54 or 72 minutes. So if you have three texts, it's 54 minutes. And if you have four texts, it's 72 minutes.

The listening section is 41 or 57 minutes. And if you have a short reading section, that means you'll have a long listening section. Or if you have a long reading section, then you'll get a short listening section. After those are finished, which takes just under two hours, then you get a ten-minute break.

When you come back, you start the speaking section. Now, this can be longer or shorter, but it's going to be around 17 minutes. The writing section takes about 60 minutes altogether. And in sum, in total, this is around three hours. If you add on the paperwork and identification from before the test begins, when you need to get ready for it, then it takes more like three and a half hours, even if the actual test was only three.

Now, the reading section. This is the first part of the test, and it's three or four passages. Each of those texts, each passage is about 700 words. That's a full page, depending on the size of your book, but it's a good length. It's a lot, and you get 18 minutes for each passage, including the questions. Now, this is not separated.

So if you have three passages at 18 minutes per passage, that means that the timer will start at 54 minutes and then count down to zero. You do not get a timer for passage one and then a separate timer for passage two at 18 minutes each. So that's not the case, because you get one timer that is for all of the passages, you need to be careful about your timing.

So if you spend 30 minutes on the first passage, then you're going to have trouble on the next two passages. Because if you spend 30 minutes there, then you're only going to have 24 minutes if you have three texts for the next two, right? So timing is very important in the reading section. You need to watch the clock to make sure you have enough time for each of the readings.

Now, there are ten questions per passage, so that's included in the 18 minutes. So you read and then answer questions for about 18 minutes on each text. And the reading is very similar to university textbooks, okay? It's going to be about science or history. Now, you don't need outside information, you don't need to know anything before the TOEFL.

It's all in the text, it's all in the passage. And you won't see anything about, for example, math. It's gonna be topics you can learn about just by the text, not from symbols, like math, okay? The listening section is similar, in a way, but you get five or seven recordings. So that means you get three or four lectures, depending on whether it's five or seven total.

Those lectures take about five minutes, and then each have six questions. You get the questions after you listen, so you need to listen very well. And then at the end, remember the information to answer the questions. It's very similar to the reading section. These lectures are similar to the reading section in topics, so it's about humanity, science, history, social studies.

But the conversations are a little different. Again, you'll have two or three conversations in the listening section. Now, those conversations are shorter. They're about three minutes each and they have fewer questions, only five. But they're also about very different kinds of topics, with different kinds of English than the lectures, okay?

So these are more conversational, they're about life, they're about problems. Like maybe a problem with your car or a problem at the dining facility at the school, okay? So it's always from students who live at the school, usually students who live there and they're talking with professors or with other people who work at the school about some issues, okay?

So after the listening section, you get a break, and it's exactly ten minutes, not more or less. You cannot finish your break early, you need to go and wait, which is good. Because you should take that ten minutes, stretch, have a snack, drink some water, go to the bathroom, come back refreshed for the speaking section, okay? And in the speaking section, you're going to have four tasks, and they're always in the same order.

The first is the independent task, it's about yourself. So it's about your opinions, and you'll only have to speak. But after that, you have to read and listen, and then talk about what you've read and listened to. You'll hear a lecture and then you'll hear a conversation. Actually, this one's a conversation and this one's a lecture.

And you're going to read, first, about the same information, the same topics, and then summarize what you heard. The final question is very similar, but there's no reading. You only listen and then summarize, say what you heard in the lecture. Okay, now, in the writing section, you have also integrated tasks, okay? Well, you have one integrated task.

The first essay is a read, listen, and then write task. So you will write an essay that summarizes what you read and heard. It's a short amount of reading and a short lecture, at only three minutes each, okay? But then you'll write for 20 minutes. And again, you're going to summarize what you read and listened to. And specifically, you are going to compare and contrast them.

You're going to write about what's different, usually. The independent essay, on the other hand, is about your opinions. So you write about yourself for 30 minutes, and just talk about why you have some opinion. And there's a specific question, of course. You don't just choose what the topic is, but it's more open, okay?

You don't just summarize like in the first task, you talk about your experiences and your ideas, so It's more free. Okay, so to summarize, again, you get the reading section for 54 to 72 minutes, listening for 41 to 57 minutes, and then a break. And then the speaking and writing sections with the independent tasks about your ideas, and the integrated tasks, which are more like summaries.

So we have a lot of academic English in these academic texts from textbooks about the humanities and all of that kind of thing. We have a lot of lectures too, and we'll talk more about these lectures and these texts in other lessons. And we have a lot of conversations, conversations in both the listening section and the speaking section later.

And also more of those textbooks at the end, in the speaking and writing sections. So it's lot of academic English in various ways, reading, listening, speaking, and writing.

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