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9 key information to remember

The Test Of English for International Communication (TOEIC) is a standardized English exam recognized by more than 14,000 organizations in more than 160 countries around the world. These organizations include international companies but also universities, higher education institutions, public bodies and immigration services. The TOEIC assesses written and oral language skills mainly, in an English-speaking professional environment. Almost 7 million candidates pass the test each year. It is the most famous certificate around the globe.

The TOEIC exam is administered by the ETS (Educational Testing Service), an American institution established in 1947 which is also responsible for administering the TOEIC Bridge, TOEFL and GRE tests, to mention a few.

TOEIC is made up of two separate tests : TOEIC Listening & Reading and the TOEIC Speaking & Writing test. The purpose of these two tests together is to assess the candidate's overall English level, whether it is their "passive" skills (listening and reading) or their "active" skills (oral and written expression). It is obviously more rewarding on a CV to have passed the two sections of the test. This gives a much more precise idea on how you master the language of Shakespeare.

However, in most cases, only the TOEIC Listening & Reading is requested.

TOEIC Listening & Reading

The purpose of this test is to assess the candidate's listening and reading skills in an English-speaking professional environment. Listening skills in English are important for communication during face-to-face appointments and meeting, but also for telephone conversations, understanding recordings and audios. Reading skills are a must for understanding reports, emails, newsletters and other professional documents..

TOEIC Speaking & Writing

This test assesses the candidate's oral and written skills, in a situation where one uses the English language in a professional environment. Speaking skills are necessary for expressing oneself properly during interviews, presentations, meetings, and any type of face to face meetings, such as on the phone.

Written skills are necessary for writing professional documents such as emails or reports.

GlobalExam currently only offers training and training solutions for TOEIC Listening & Reading, which is why the following information concerns this test only, which we shall call TOEIC. Candidates wishing to prepare for the TOEIC Speaking & Writing can go to the ETS website for more information.

The TOEIC exam lasts 2.5 hours. It has two sections: Oral comprehension section (or Listening) and Written comprehension (Reading). For each of these, the candidate needs to answer 100 multiple choice questions.

During the first 30 minutes of the test, the candidate must answer administrative questions. Followed by oral comprehension and then written.

The Listening section

The oral comprehension of the TOEIC test lasts 45 minutes. The candidate listens to audio recordings in English (only once) concerning conversations and questions which are asked. The candidate must then answer questions about what he heard. This test is divided into four parts:

  • Part 1 : Photos

    The candidate is shown several photographs (6 in number). For each photograph, four choices for describing the image are stated orally. The candidate must then choose the one option which best corresponds to the presented photo.


    Photo 1 : The candidate has a photo of 2 men, one holding a camera and showing it to the second.

    The candidate hears

    “A. The photographer is talking to the model.
    B. The man is using his hand to stabilize the camera.
    C. The director is giving orders.
    D. The tourists are buying a painting.”

    Photo 2 : the photo shows 3 people seated around a table, seen from above.

    The candidate hears:

    “A. The people are having a business meeting.
    B. The people are looking at each other.
    C. The woman is enjoying her coffee.
    D. The people are sitting outside.”

  • Part 2 : Questions/Réponses

    The candidate listens to short conversations in English and must answer questions from three choices. This part has 25 questions in total.


    Question 1:

    The candidate hears: “Should we have delivery for dinner?”

    Answer options

    • I found these strawberries in a field
    • Please clean up after yourself after every meal
    • Twice a week on Thursdays and Saturdays

    Question 2:

    The candidate hears: “What day is the garbage picked up?”

  • Part 3 : Dialogues

    Audio recordings of dialogues are played and the candidate must answer three questions for each dialog. This section includes 13 dialogues, each one made up of 2 to 5 exchanges.

    The candidate hears the following exchange:

    “M - Why Jenny, whatever’s the matter?

    W - Nothing, it’s really nothing.

    M - It’s Mr. Savage, again, isn't it?

    W - Yeah. He keeps nagging me to go to that conference in Brighton with him.

    M - Ah.

    W - Can you imagine? Two days at a conference with that man!

    M - It’s bad enough when he won’t stop talking during a meeting. So you’re not going to Brighton?

    W - No way. Even if he gives me the sack.”

    Followed by 3 orally given questions

    “1. Who is Mr. Savage?
    2. What does Mr. Savage want Jenny to do?
    3. What does Jenny think of Mr. Savage?”


    Who is Mr. Savage?

    • Brian's colleague
    • Jenny's colleague
    • Brian's boss
    • Jenny's boss

    Right Answer: D

    What does Mr. Savage want Jenny to do?

    • Accompany him to a conference
    • Stay with him in a hotel
    • Meet him at the photocopier
    • Speak at a conference in Brighton

    Right Answer: A

    What does Jenny think of Mr. Savage?

    • He is a bad boss
    • He is a nuisance
    • He is not attractive
    • He will give her the sack

    Right Answer: B

  • Part 4 : Monologues

    Similarly, the candidate listens to monologues and must answer three questions per monologue. This part requires special attention because it is considered to be the hardest part of Listening, along with Part 3. The exercise includes 10 monologues overall, and each question is accompanied by 4 suggested answers.


    The candidate hears: “Anyone planning on visiting the United States should first know that it’s a very big country. It’s so big that there are various trip packages that cater to personal interests and taste. If you're interested in big cities, for example, you can visit New York, Chicago, or San Francisco. Each one of these urban hubs is the epitome of the American hustle and bustle way of life. If you're interested in nature, you can visit states like California, Nevada, or Arizona, home of the Grand Canyon. For those who are interested in sports, you can go sailing in Florida. Finally, for those history fans, although the United States is a young country, you'll find that places like Washington D.C., Boston, and Philadelphia are full of interesting bits of historical trivia. Wherever you decide to go, a visit to the United States will be an unforgettable experience for all travelers.”

    Then 3 oral questions are asked:

    “1. What is the purpose of this talk?
    2. Which destination is NOT intended for nature fans?
    3. Who should go to Philadelphia?”

    Answer choices:

    What is the purpose of this talk?

    • Making travel plans to New York
    • Advice on travelling to California
    • Recommending a destination in the United States
    • How to get to the United States

    Right answer: C

    Which destination is NOT intended for nature fans?

    • Colorado
    • Nevada
    • California
    • Arizona

    Right answer: A

    Who should go to Philadelphia?

    • People who enjoy the outdoors
    • People interested in business
    • People interested in sports
    • History aficionados

    Right answer: D

Reading section

The written comprehension of TOEIC lasts 1h15 and is made up of 100 questions. The candidate is asked to read several documents and then answer questions about the content that has been read. This section is divided into 3 parts

  • Part 1 : Fill in the blanks sentences

    The candidate must complete 30 fill in the gap sentences with one word or group of words which are suggested. Choosing the right word assesses their idiomatic knowledge in vocabulary and grammar


    The boss congratulated James on a job -------.

    • under done
    • well done
    • good done
    • best done

    The staff would like to remind all customers that they ------- their personal belongings.

    • must take care of
    • should take care with
    • must keep care of
    • have to keep with
  • Part 2 : Fill in the blanks texts

    In the same way, the candidate is presented texts with gaps, which he must complete by choosing the right options from those which are suggested to him. This part includes 4 texts which need to be completed.

  • Part 3 : Reading texts

    The candidate must read texts such as newspaper articles, advertisements or others and must answer questions which concern the texts. This part is subdivided into 2 exercises: a first text with 29 questions, then a group of 2 to 3 texts accompanied by 25 questions.

The test and TOEIC score are divided into two parts: the Listening, which is the oral comprehension test, and the Reading, which is the written comprehension. These two tests are scored on 495 points with 100 questions each, for a total scored on 990 points. The TOEIC score is calculated based on the number of correct answers on the 200 questions.

To do so, you must use a scorecard. This allows you to see the equivalence between the number of correct answers and the TOEIC score out of 990.

Here are the equivalences between TOEIC score and CECRL linguistic levels:

  • From 0 to 120 points: level A1
  • 121 to 225 points: level A2
  • 226 to 550 points: level B1
  • From 785 points: level B2
  • 945 points and more: level C1

There are no good or bad TOEIC scores. It is an exam to assess one’s command on the language at an instant T. The obtained score simply attests the linguistic level of the candidate. Then just compare your score to the 6 language levels of the CEFR (A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2). For a candidate to succeed at the TOEIC test, it depends on the goal he set for himself, in terms of the level and the stake in question.

To portray a very good command of English, which is required while applying to some jobs, a score above 945 is preferable. On the other hand, to join a university, a score equal to or higher than 785 is demanded most of the time. For several students, TOEIC is the certificate which attests their level in English after school.

To register for the TOEIC, you must go through the Internet. Like many language exams (IELTS, TOEFL, etc.), TOEIC requires online registration. You must therefore register on the ETS (Educational Testing Service) website, creator and administrator of the test. It’s the only way to register for TOEIC (unless your establishment does it for you). GlobalExam does not have the ability or the power to request ETS to register for you. However, due to our expertise in the area, we can guide you with your procedures, facilitate your registration for the test. You can take the TOEIC in various countries: in France, Canada, UK, USA, etc.

TOEIC is a business English test for professionals and students.It reflects the level of English of candidates at a given time. That’s why it’s only valid for two years. Thus, if you do not practice the language, your level can drop in a short time and in a major way. Learning a language must be done sincerely, to absorb the structure of the language and catch on to the reflexes.

Regardless of your level of English or the target TOEIC score, it is recommended to use a TOEIC preparation before taking the exam in order to get used to the structure of the test. Why not start your training with a free TOEIC test on GlobalExam? This free training gives you access to a standard exercise in keeping with each TOEIC section.

GlobalExam is the first online platform which is 100% dedicated to language exams. It gives you access to:

  • a Training mode made up of standard exercises to learn and master the TOEIC instructions
  • an Exam mode made up of timed mock exams to train in real exam conditions

The exercises performed on our GlobalExam platform are corrected and allow you to get an assessment of your skills but also on the weaknesses you need to work on. To avoid unpleasant surprises on the day of the exam, it is very important to train in real conditions by doing mock TOEIC subjects. Once you have pinpointed those skills you lack, you can fine tune your training with grammar and vocabulary revision sheets, written by our team of expert teachers and available on our blog.

Note: TOEIC was updated in June 2018, GlobalExam training has also been modified to be in keeping with the test reform.

Online training under GlobalExam conditions is the best solution to prepare for the TOEIC online. Before subscribing, you can take a free TOEIC test including a corrected standard exercise for each section. This free training allows you to pinpoint your weaknesses and assess your level, as well as the difference between the latter and the score you wish to achieve. To go further in your TOEIC preparation on the Internet, the premium subscription of GlobalExam gives you access to a complete TOEIC training with more than 200 TOEIC exercises including personalized corrections, written by our certified English teachers with GlobalExam

Let us also note that online training gives more flexibility than revision through books, even if these two training resources go hand in hand.