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The New TOEFL iBT : Changes in Duration, Writing Section and Registration Process

Gmat focus edition Baibhav Ojha The New TOEFL iBT : Changes in Duration, Writing Section and Registration Process

The TOEFL iBT (Internet-Based Test) is a widely recognized examination for evaluating English language proficiency. The test is accepted by over 11,500 universities in 160+ countries. According to the TOEFL iBT Information Bulletin 2022-23, over 35 million people have taken the test since its inception in 1964. TOEFL iBT assesses an individual’s proficiency in utilizing and comprehending academic English. It evaluates candidates’ listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills for study, work, and immigration.

In order to enhance the test experience, Educational Testing Service (ETS), the creators of TOEFL, recently announced a series of modifications. These changes will be implemented starting from July 26, 2023. It is important to note that the exam taken at a Test Centre and at home (TOEFL iBT Home Edition) will have the changes, however, the Paper Edition will not include these enhancements. 

In this article, we will explore the forthcoming modifications in detail.

The July 26, 2023 Enhancements: The New TOEFL iBT will become SHORTER

Starting from July 26, 2023, the duration of the new TOEFL iBT test will be reduced to less than two hours, making it over an hour shorter than the current TOEFL iBT. This change makes the test as the shortest among the three most popular English-language tests available. This modification holds significant importance for candidates preparing for the TOEFL examination, as it will reduce exhaustion on test day. In this context, it is important to remember that the new TOEFL iBT format is becoming shorter by reducing the number of questions and removing the unscored test questions. Only one question type in the Writing section will change, which we shall discuss later in the blog. Since all other questions will exactly remain the same, most of the test prep materials can be used by candidates planning to take the test after July 26. 

The changes in TOEFL iBT duration and number of questions are as follows:

Test SectionCurrent TOEFL iBT FormatUpcoming TOEFL iBT Format
Reading30-40 Questions/54-72 Minutes20 Questions, 35 Minutes
Listening28-39 Questions/41-57 Minutes28 Questions, 36 Minutes
Speaking4 Tasks/17 Minutes4 Tasks, 16 Minutes
Writing2 Tasks/50 Minutes2 Tasks, 29 Minutes
Total3 hours1 hour 56 Minutes

The Writing for an Academic Discussion Task:

The Writing section of the TOEFL iBT test measures a candidate’s ability to write in English within an academic setting and present ideas in a clear and well-organized manner. In the July 2023 enhancements, the only change in question type is in the Writing section. The ‘Independent Writing Task’ will be replaced by the ‘Writing for an Academic Discussion Task.’ The existing ‘Integrated Writing Task,’ however, will remain unchanged. For the Academic Discussion task, candidates will participate in a simulated online class discussion. They will read a post by a lecturer or professor on a specific topic, along with responses from other students. This task aims to evaluate a candidate’s ability to engage in academic discussions through writing.

toefl Baibhav Ojha The New TOEFL iBT : Changes in Duration, Writing Section and Registration Process

Enhancements in Registration Process and Test-taking Experience:

In addition to the new TOEFL test becoming shorter, ETS has made efforts to streamline the registration process and enhance the test-taking experience. Notably, upon completion of the test, students will receive immediate information regarding their official score release date. These changes aim to provide greater convenience and efficiency for test-takers. According to a report published in the Times of India on 11.04.2023, “For the first time, test prices will be presented in their cart in INR” and that “a dedicated customer service center” will be exclusively available for Indian test takers “12 hours a day, 7 days a week.”

The forthcoming modifications to the new TOEFL iBT , set to be implemented from July 26, 2023, will make the test more manageable for candidates. By reducing the number of questions and eliminating the unscored questions, ETS aims to improve the test experience without compromising its ability to assess English language proficiency. These changes, along with improvements in the registration process, are designed to enhance the overall new TOEFL iBT experience.

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