Attention TOEFL test takers!!! Starting August 1, 2019, the TOEFL test is changing! Here you will find everything you need to know about these changes.This is all new information from Educational Testing Service (ETS), the company that administers the TOEFL. In fact, you won’t find this information in any TOEFL books because it is so new!

According to ETS, the test will now be shorter. However, even though it is shorter, it is not necessarily easier. ETS says the new version of the test will still have the same level of difficulty. The new TOEFL is just a more condensed version. Let’s take a closer look at the changes:

Time Changes Breakdown:

Reading Section60 minutes54 minutes
Listening Section60 minutes41 minutes
Break10 minutes10 minutes
Speaking Section20 minutes17 minutes
Writing Section50 minutes50 minutes
TOTAL TIME3 hours 20 minutes2 hours 52 minutes

Not only are there changes to the time limits for each section, there are also changes to the questions/tasks. Here is a breakdown of the changes for each section:

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Reading Section

According to ETS, the passages and question types in the reading section are the same. This section is shorter overall because there are just less questions for each passage. Now there are only 10 questions instead of 12 to 14 questions for each passage.

What this means for test takers is that in total there are only 30 questions instead of 50 in the Reading Section. You will have 54 minutes in total instead of 60 minutes. This means that now students have an extra 15 seconds for each question. Instead of spending 90 seconds on each question, they have 105 seconds for each question. Soon test takers will enjoy a bit more time when answering questions in the Reading Section.

Listening Section

ETS has also stated that the content of academic lectures and campus conversations and the question types are the same in the Listening Section. This section is shorter overall because there is one fewer lecture, so there are 6 fewer questions.

What this means for test takers is that in total there are 18 questions based on academic lectures (out of a total of 28 questions) instead of 24 lecture questions (out of a total of 34 questions). However, now students will only have 41 minutes for this section rather than 60. So instead of having 105 seconds per question, now they will only have 87 seconds per question. Test takers will need to work on their time management skills for the new Listening Section.

Speaking Section

The biggest change to the new TOEFL test is in the Speaking Section. Now this section is shorter overall because there are 2 fewer tasks, 4 instead of 6. This means that 2 tasks will be eliminated. There are two types of tasks in the speaking section: the independent tasks and the integrated tasks. Independent tasks are opinion-based questions. Integrated tasks are questions based on a reading passage and/or audio clip. The integrated tasks are always based on campus life: either a conversation or an academic lecture. Here are the speaking tasks for the old and new TOEFL tests:

Task 5

Integrated – listen conversation

Task 1Independent – open opinionEliminated
Task 2Independent – choice opinionIndependent – choice opinion
Task 3Integrated – read/listenconversationIntegrated – read/listen conversation
Task 4Integrated – read/listen lectureIntegrated – read/listen lecture
Task 6Integrated – listen lectureIntegrated – listen lecture

In the new TOEFL, Task 1 (the open-ended independent question) and Task 5(the integrated conversation question based on a listening passage)have been eliminated from the test. Therefore, the speaking section is now 3 minutes shorter without these two tasks.

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Writing Section

According to ETS, there are no changes to the writing section. This section will stillconsist of two tasks, an independent task and an integrated task, and 50 minutes in total. However, the independent task question wording has been changed. In short, this question will appear much longer now. The actual question will still be the same, but test takers will now be given more information in a few additional sentences before the question. This information is only to provide more context and the type of question for this task has not changed.

Question/Task Changes Breakdown:

Reading Section3 passages

12-14 questions each

3 passages

10 questions each

Listening Section4 lectures – 6 questions each

2 conversations – 5 questions each

3 lectures – 6 questions each

2 conversations – 5 questions each

Speaking Section2 independent tasks

4 integrated tasks

1 independent task

3 integrated tasks

Writing Section1 independent task

1 integrated task

1 independent task

1 integrated task

Score Reports

Another feature of the new TOEFL is the score reports. After August 1, 2019, test takers may receive more than 1 score. Please note that the TOEFL is still scored exactly the same way. This change only relates to students who have taken the TOEFL more than once. Now they will get two scores on their score report: 1) the scores for the most recent test they have taken and 2) a “MyBest” score. The “MyBest” score is new and it shows the sum of the highest scores per section based on previous tests taken. This is helpful for university admissions because some universities will accept a “MyBest” TOEFL score.

Study Strategies

When preparing for the new version of the TOEFL, students do NOT need to change their study strategies. Even though there are no sample versions of the new test, not even released by ETS, the test has not changed that much. There are no new materials for the exam, so students can keep using old materials.

If students are looking to make changes to their study strategies, one minor change is with regard to time management. They can practice answering reading and listening questions under the new time restrictions (105 seconds per question for the Reading Section and 87 seconds per question for the Listening Section). Also, test takers taking the new TOEFL don’t need to worry about practicing Task 1 and Task 5 in the Speaking Section anymore. Other than that, students should keep on studying for the TOEFL the same way as before!

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