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TOEFL Listening Section: Question Types and Tips

Updated on 05 July, 2023

Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

toefl listening test

Studying at international universities requires aspirants to meet certain eligibility criteria, including scorecards for certain standardized exams such as TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, PTE, and others. The evaluation of these scores leads to the successive steps towards winning an admission. One of the most important requirements in native English-speaking countries is submission of English language proficiency scores. It is in this regard that TOEFL scores play a major part. The examination is primarily taken to showcase your language command by attempting TOEFL speaking, writing, reading, and listening sections.

Parts of TOEFL

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, the TOELF test embodies four sections, namely:

S. No.SectionsTime AllottedTask


Reading54 to 72 minutes30 to 40 questions are there


Writing50 minutesRead a passage, and a recording, and then record the answer


Speaking17 minutesThe student is required to speak on a familiar topic fluently


Listening41 to 57 minutesThe TOEFL listening section requires students to listen to a discussion or classroom lectures and answer questions


Between the test, there is a 10-minute break, making the test 3 hours in total. It is ideal to have 30 minutes extra to check-in for the exam.

TOEFL Listening Section: Details 

The TOEFL listening section comprises two conversations and three lectures. To attempt the questions, you will have 41 to 57 minutes. With a total of 28 questions, this is your chance to show your ability that you are fluent in English. Your 41 minutes are divided as follows: 

  • Time to listen to the audio ( Lecture and Conversation): 21 minutes
  • Answering time for 28 questions: 16.5 minutes, precisely 3 to 4 seconds to answer one question. 
  • Time to listen to the instructions: 3.5 minutes

You can take notes of the audio that you listen to. This is one of the best TOEFL listening tips.  It is good to take notes as you cannot go back and listen to the audio again, and neither can you go back to the question to check your answer. Proactive listening is the key to attaining a good score.

Recommended Reads:

Documents Required for TOEFLHow to Prepare for TOEFLTOEFL Exam Preparation Tips

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TOEFL Listening Section: Guide

TOEFL listening section is crucial in helping you realize your study abroad dream. It is important to listen to English conversations through movies or documentaries. Students must also spend ample time listening to fast-paced material, enabling them to comprehend the language quickly. All this will come with thorough practice. 

Listening to two or three audios a day, taking notes simultaneously just as you would do if you were attempting the TOEFL listening section, can help you ace the section.

Read More:

TOEFL Eligibility CriteriaTOEFL SyllabusTOEFL Exam Dates
TOEFL Exam PatternTOEFL Exam FeeHow to Register for TOEFL


Frequently Asked Questions

How to improve your listening skills for TOEFL?

TOEFL listening is for 30 marks, and active practice can help you get a full score. The listening material is usually scientific, and hence, the industry jargon becomes an impediment. Moreover, the audio is full of information, making it difficult to remember. To remember, you can write the crux of the central idea. This will enable you to remember the matter well.  Additionally, you can begin to take notes from an English documentary or a podcast as a practice.

How many listening questions are there in TOEFL?

TOEFL listening questions come in the form of lectures, discussions, and conversations. There is a total of 39 questions that the aspirant needs to answer.

How to improve your TOEFL listening score?

TOEFL validates your entryway to an English-speaking country, facilitating high-quality education and a global career. So a good listening score is pivotal and listening to podcasts, travel guides in a scientific setting, and watching science documentaries are some of the TOEFL listening tips and tricks that you can follow.

How much time is given to attempt TOEFL listening?

The time allotted for the TOEFL listening section is 41 to 57 minutes. It has two parts, lectures and discussions/conversations.

How TOEFL listening is scored?

For each question answered correctly, you get a mark. All the parts of the listening section are marked along with the TOEFL listening comprehension test. This is further changed to a scale of thirty.

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Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert


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The above tips are the Author's experiences. upGrad does not guarantee scores or admissions.