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Exciting TOEFL test changes are coming!

Significant changes are coming to the TOEFL iBT English language test from 26 July 2023. These changes will benefit those taking the test from 26 July onwards. You may have some questions if you’re preparing to sit the TOEFL iBT test this year. You might wonder what changes to expect and feel anxious about the upcoming changes. 

We’re here to put your mind at ease. So, if you’ve asked yourself, ‘What are the new changes in the TOEFL exam?’, read on to find out everything you need to know. 

How is the TOEFL test changing? 

Those needing to sit the TOEFL iBT English language test will be pleased to hear that the new test format means the test will take two hours instead of three. The new test changes take effect on 26 July 2023. That means anyone taking the test on 25 July 2023 will sit the existing test. 

At E2, we’re dedicated to de-mystifying the test process and providing high-quality test preparation materials. That’s why we’ve prepared this short explainer with everything you need to know about the new TOEFL iBT test format.  

Key TOEFL test changes

SectionBefore 26 July 2023After 26 July 2023 
WritingIndependent Writing TaskReplaced with ‘Writing for an Academic Discussion’ task, for which 10 minutes is allocated. No change to the integrated writing task.
Reading 30–40 questions based on 3 reading passages. Time allocation: 54–72 minutes20 questions based on 2 reading passages. Time allocation: 35 minutes
Listening28–39 questions based on 3-4 lecturers and 2-3 conversations. Time allocation: 41–57 minutes28 questions based on 3 lectures and 2 conversations. Time allocation: 36 minutes 
SpeakingNo changeNo change

In addition to the changes listed above, the instructions provided throughout the test will be more concise and streamlined. This means you’ll spend less time reading about what you need to do and more time showing off your English language skills. 

Unscored test questions have been removed from the new test format.

These changes do not apply to TOEFL iBT paper edition tests but will be included in all computer-based tests from 26 July 2023 onwards. TOEFL iBT has also made changes to the way you receive your score. You’ll know when to expect your score on the test day. The registration process has also been upgraded to provide a smoother user experience. 

What are the changes in the TOEFL exam 2023?

Writing

The writing task is the main change to the TOEFL iBT test in 2023. Currently, students must prepare an independent writing task as one of the two tasks in the writing section. From 26 July 2023 onwards, test takers will complete a task called ‘Writing for an Academic Discussion’. This new writing task is more modern than the previous independent writing task. 

Only the independent writing task has changed. The existing ‘Integrated Writing Task’ will still be included and has not changed. 

In the new writing task, you’ll get to practice the language and writing you’ll likely need in your academic career.  

Test takers will participate in a simulated online class discussion for this task. You will read a discussion post by a lecturer or professor and other students’ responses to a specific topic. You will then produce your own response expressing your opinion and defending it. 

The new writing task format should take less time than the current independent writing task – you’ll have ten minutes to compose your post of at least 100 words. This new task format is an excellent opportunity to show your ability to converse in an academic setting. 

Reading 

Test takers will have to answer fewer questions related to the reading passages provided. Currently, test takers must answer questions based on three reading passages. The new test format includes only two reading passages. This will mean test takers will be able to complete the reading task in about 35 minutes. The current reading task takes up to an hour and ten minutes to complete. 

Listening

The number of questions test takers will answer in the listening section will be reduced from between 30 and 40 to under 30. Currently, test takers listen to three to four lectures and two to three conversations and answer questions. From 26 July onwards, they will answer questions based on three lectures and two conversations. This means test takers can complete the listening task in approximately 35 minutes. 

Speaking

No changes have been made to the speaking section. You’ll still have about 16 minutes to show how well you’ve mastered speaking English. 

What are the benefits of a shorter test? 

The main benefit of a shorter test time is obvious – you don’t have to concentrate for as long. While everyone’s attention span and ability to concentrate are different, it’s clear that the less time you spend focused on a task, the more likely you are to focus efficiently on that task. 

The time allocated for both the reading and speaking tasks has shortened significantly. While some test takers may worry this won’t allow them the opportunity to prove their English language skills, it also makes it easier to focus intently on the task at hand. 

It’s a good idea to practice some strategies for making the most of your allocated time for the reading and listening sections well before your test date. 

How to prepare for the TOEFL test changes 

The good news for those preparing for the TOEFL iBT test is that E2 is still providing high-quality, expert-developed test preparation materials for TOEFL iBT. In fact, the writing task is the only task in the TOEFL iBT test with significant changes. All other test sections are just shortened from their previous length. 

With a paid TOEFL iBT preparation package, you’ll be ready to sit your TOEFL iBT test in no time. You’ll benefit from the following: 

  • One-on-one tutorials with English language experts
  • Submitting writing and speaking tasks and receiving a realistic grade in advance of your test 
  • Access to hundreds of practice questions
  • Access to hundreds of online grammar lessons 
  • Mini mock tests – timed and graded like the real thing 
  • Skill building classes

To be prepared for the TOEFL test changes, you can sign up for a free trial to look around the E2 TOEFL iBT test preparation package before paying for the full experience. Once you’ve done that, you can use our new E2 rewards program and receive a discount when you sign up with a friend. 

Prepare your vocabulary

To prepare for the new writing task, consider brushing up on the vocabulary you’ll need to express opinions and preferences. In an academic setting, you’ll want to be forceful but respectful in your language, so keep that in mind when preparing for the new writing task. 

While a paid test preparation package contains everything you need to prepare for the test, you can also use E2’s free resources to prepare. Look at resources like the E2 Everyday English podcast and the E2 YouTube channel.

Whether you’re preparing to take the new format TOEFL iBT test in six months or a year, E2 has fantastic resources to boost your confidence and prepare you for test day. 

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