Introduction to TOEIC

The TOEIC exam, created in 1979 and last updated in 2018 to reflect the changes in question types. This change is for the Listening and Reading exam. It was tested in Korea and Japan in May 2016 and rolled out globally in April 2018.

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New TOEIC exam: the format remains the same

Like its predecessor, the TOEIC exam consists of two sections: Listening and Reading, which assess your oral and written comprehension, respectively. Likewise, the timing is identical: the candidates have 45 minutes to complete the Listening section, and 75 minutes for the Reading section. The number of questions also remains unchanged.

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Here is an overview of the changes to the Listening section of the exam.

  Current Versionuploaded version
Part1Stand-alone QuestionsPhotographs 10 questionsPhotographs 6 questions
Part2Stand-alone QuestionsQuestion-Response: 30 questionsQuestion-Response: 25 questions
Part3Set-based QuestionsConversation 30 questions.
= 10 conversations, 3 questions per conversation.
Conversation 39 questions.
= 13 conversations, 3 questions per conversation.
Part4Set-based QuestionsTalks: 30 questions
= 10 talks, 3 questions per talk.
Talks: 30 questions
= 10 talks, 3 questions per talk.
Listening comprehension 100 questionsListening comprehension 100 questions

Here is an overview of the changes to the Reading section of the exam.

  Current VersionUpdated version
Part 5Stand-alone QuestionsIncomplete Sentence: 40 questionsIncomplete Sentence: 30 questions
Part 6Stand-alone QuestionsText Completion: 12 questionsText Completion: 16 questions
Stand-alone QuestionsSingle Passage 28 questions
= 9 single passage, 2-5 questions per passage
Single Passage 29 questions
= 10 single passage, 2-4 questions per passage
Part 7Stand-alone QuestionsDouble Passage: 20 questions
= 4 double passages,
5 questions per set
Multiple Passage: 25 questions
=2 set-based double passages,
3 set-based triple passages,
5 questions per set.
Reading Comprehension 100 questionsReading Comprehension 100 questions

New TOEIC exam: changes to the questions

You should be aware that the new TOEIC exam, like its precursor, is a business English test, and therefore contains a large number of questions relating to the business world. New developments in the Listening and Reading parts of the test are presented below:

Listening section

  • A lower number of Photograph and Question Response questions
  • To increased number of Conversation questions
  • Conversations that include shorter turns and more exchanges
  • More speakers in some conversations
  • Conversations that include elisions (going to à gonna) and incomplete sentences/fragments (Yes, in a minute; Down the hall; Could you?)
  • New question types testing the connection of what is heard in a conversation or talk and what is seen in a graphic
  • New question types testing a speaker’s implied meaning in the context of a conversation or talk

Reading section

  • A lower number of Incomplete Sentence questions
  • Two new question-types testing understanding of the overall organization of passages:
  • Text completion questions that ask test takers to choose which new sentence fits best in the context of the overall passage
  • Set-based questions that ask test takers to understand where in the passage a sentence belongs
  • Text messages, instant messages or online chat conversations with multiple writers
  • Questions testing the understanding of three related texts
  • A small increase in the number of single- and multiple-passage questions
  • New questions about understating the writer’s words in context

Source : ETS Website

New TOEIC exam: level of difficulty and score

According to ETS, the level of difficulty of the new TOEIC exam is identical to the old one. Some studies have been conducted to compare scores obtained in two versions of the TOEIC exam: indeed, the studies show that candidates obtained similar scores. Discover how to evaluate your TOEIC level.

Each of the two sections of the TOEIC exam contains 100 questions. The final score is obtained by converting the number of correct answers into points according to a method which is not made public by ETS. Each candidate receives a score between 5 and 495 points for each section. The final score is the sum of these two intermediary scores. Thus, the best possible score you can get in the TOEIC exam is 990 and the worst score is 10 points. The results certificate specifies the score obtained in each of the two sections, Listening and Reading, and the final score.

The new TOEIC exam score is valid for two years; the date of the exam is noted on the confirmation of your results.

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