TOEFL

After GMAT in 2018, TOEFL will now be a shorter duration test, starting 1st August 2019.

According to ETS, this will help in improving performance levels by decreasing fatigue, although the scoring pattern remains unchanged. ETS claims that the scores will remain comparable to the older (and still valid) scores. So, what is changing?

To give you a happy start – all sections except Writing – will now be shorter. Need details? Here you go.

Section

Current Format

Revised Format

Composition

Questions Duration Composition Questions

Duration

Reading 3 – 4 passages 12-14 per passage 60 – 80 minutes 3 – 4 passages 10 per passage 54 – 72 minutes
Listening

4 – 6 lectures

2 – 3 conversations

6 per lecture, 5 per conversation 60 – 90 minutes

3 – 4 lectures

2 – 3 conversations

6 per lecture, 5 per conversation 41 – 57 minutes
Speaking 2 independent tasks, 4 integrated tasks 6 20 minutes 1 independent task, 3 integrated tasks 4 17 minutes
Writing 1 integrated task, 1 independent task 2 50 minutes 1 integrated task, 1 independent task 2 50 minutes

So effectively, what is the reduction?

In the Reading Section, instead of 12-14 questions per passage, you see exactly 10 questions per passage. The effective time per passage is down from 20 minutes to 18 minutes. So, in a regular reading section, you get 30 questions over 3 passages in 54 minutes. If you get a dummy in the reading section, you attempt 40 questions over 4 passages in 72 minutes. The question types in Reading remain unchanged.

In the Listening Section, instead of 4 lectures, you will now have 3 lectures. The number of questions per lecture and per conversation remains unchanged. So, in a regular listening section, you will get 3 lectures (with 6 questions each) and 2 conversations (with 5 questions each) to be completed in 41 minutes. If you get a dummy in the Listening section, you will get 4 lectures (with 6 questions each) and 3 conversations (with 5 questions each) to be completed in 57 minutes. The question types in Listening remain unchanged.

In the Speaking Section, instead of 6 tasks, you will now have 4 tasks. The first Independent Task (where you select anything to describe in response to the task) has been removed. So the only independent task now is the one that asks you to choose “Which one would you prefer among the two”? Similarly, in the Integrated Task, the Listening-Speaking Task which involved a conversation, followed by instructions to describe the conversation and how you would resolve the problem, has been removed. All other Integrated Tasks remain unchanged. With the removal of 2 tasks, the total section time is down to 17 minutes. The preparation time and response time for individual tasks have not been changed.

The Writing Section remains unchanged.

The 10-minute optional break before the Speaking Section remains unchanged.

The Scoring pattern (0 – 30 per section, 0 – 120 overall) remains unchanged.

And how will this help, you may ask. Clearly, it aims to make the test more amenable to students, who are intimidated by the near 4-hour duration of the current test. And if you believe you scored less on your TOEFL attempt because you got tired during the test, maybe you should retake the test in this new shorter format.

Any changes in the registration fee?

Unfortunately, no.

Will this not be unfair to candidates who took in the older format?

If you go by the explanation of the creators of the TOEFL, no. The test is designed to remain equally challenging even in the shorter duration.

Anything else I should know? 

Yes, TOEFL has introduced an elating feature called MyBestTM scores.

What is this?

So, as of now, whenever you report test scores to your universities/programs, they get test-specific scores of all of your TOEFL attempts in the last two years. Starting 1st August, TOEFL score reports will show a MyBestTM score report in addition to your test-specific score report. This is an additional table that reports your highest score in each section across all your TOEFL attempts – even if your four highest scores came from four separate attempts. This does not influence your university to similarly consider your highest section-specific scores and then add them up. Or maybe, it will!

Below is the sample on the official TOEFL website:

Sample

So, as these tests compete to make themselves more attractive, we are back to the Consumer is the King market! Good luck with your TOEFL.

For support with your TOEFL preparation, contact your nearest Endeavor center.

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