TOEFL Preparation

TOEFL 2019 Format Changes: Length, Timing, Scoring, and Preparation

TOEFL 2019 Format Changes

So ETS recently announced some big TOEFL 2019 format changes. This is obviously very important news for anyone who will take the test from 1st August 2019 or later. LTS has been keeping a close eye on the situation, and we have a full update for you below. Read on to find out what will change, what will not change, and what resources are available

Can you study for the new TOEFL with old TOEFL materials?

Yes, you can. The current TOEFL Books can be used to study for the August-and-after TOEFL exam. These materials have the same kinds of questions, tasks, passages and audio tracks as the new TOEFL. You should use prep based on the old TOEFL a little differently if you’re taking the new version of the test, though. You’ll need to slightly adjust your pacing in Reading (slow down a little) and Listening (speed up just a bit). And you’ll want to skip two of the Speaking Tasks. For more details on the changes to Reading, Listening, and Speaking, read the section immediately below.

TOEFL 2019 Format Changes to Timing, Pacing, and Content

The TOEFL iBT test time will be shortened by 30 minutes, to just 3 hours with no changes to the overall test format or question types. Below is a side-by-side comparison of the old test and the new test, after August 1, 2019. Changes have been noted in bold.
TEST SECTION  Before August 1,2019 After August 1,2019
Reading     3-4 reading passages 3-4 reading passages
12-14 questions per passage 10 questions per passage
60-80 minutes 54-72 minutes
Average of 1 min. 40 sec. per question Average of 1 min. 48 sec. per question
 Listening    4-6 lectures, 6 questions each 3-4 lectures, 6 questions each
2-3 conversations, 5 questions each 2-3 conversations, 5 questions each
60-90 minutes 41-57 minutes
Average of 1 min. 46 sec per question Average of 1 min. 28 sec. per question
 Speaking    6 tasks 4 tasks
2 TOEFL Independent Speaking tasks 1 TOEFL Independent Speaking task
4 TOEFL Integrated Speaking tasks 3 TOEFL Integrated Speaking tasks 
20 minutes 17 minutes
 Writing     2 tasks  2 tasks
 50 minutes of response time  50 minutes of response time
Whole test 3.5 hours 3 hours

Speaking Tasks on the New TOEFL: Removed Tasks and Renumbered Tasks

In addition to the changes above, the 4 TOEFL Speaking tasks from the old TOEFL that are still in the new TOEFL will be renumbered. The table below provides a detailed look at the way tasks have been removed and renumbered:





TOEFL Speaking Task 1 (Independent)


Task 2 (Independent)

Task 1 (Independent)

Task 3 (Integrated)

Task 2 (Integrated)

Task 4 (Integrated)

Task 3 (Integrated)

Task 5 (Integrated)


Task 6 (Integrated)

Task 4 (Integrated)

Changes to TOEFL Prep Materials

To accommodate the TOEFL 2019 format changes, ETS will be changing and updating some of its TOEFL prep materials. Here is what we know so far:
  • TOEFL Quick Prep, as of right now, only features the Volume 1 and Volume 2 PDFs, which have no audio. In the meantime, volumes 1-4 of TOEFL Quick Prep, complete with audio, are accessible through this Web Archive link.
  • The official TOEFL online class from Edx will soon change so that the video lessons and practice activities reflect that of the new TOEFL.

Changes to TOEFL Scoring

Test-takers who have taken the TOEFL more than once will now get a “bestscore” of their TOEFL tests – MyBest™ Scores. By this, I mean that their score report will show the best individual section scores across multiple tests, if they have taken the TOEFL multiple times. This will be done automatically at no extra charge to the test-taker. TOEFL score reports for tests taken after August 1 will always show the top section scores from across all exam sessions a test-taker has had.

What Will NOT Change in the New TOEFL Exam

OK, we’ve already covered some of what won’t change in the sections above. But it’s good to get an overview of what’s remaining the same for the TOEFL. Here is a roundup of all the things that are the same in the old TOEFL and the new!
  • TOEFL Reading will continue to have a standard format of 3 passages, with the possibility of a fourth experimental passage.
  • TOEFL Listening will continue to have 6 questions per lecture or classroom discussion, and 5 questions per conversation.
  • TOEFL Reading and TOEFL Listening will keep all of the same question types. (In other words, there are fewer questions in these sections, but not fewer question types)
  • Reading times, preparation times, and response times will not change for the TOEFL Speaking tasks that are being kept in the exam.
  • On the four TOEFL Speaking tasks that will remain on the exam, the time limits for preparation and speech have not changed.
  • The TOEFL Writing section will remain exactly as is: the same two tasks, the same task and section time limits.
  • The scaled score system (0-30 per section, 0-120 for the whole test) will stay the same.
  • For people who’ve only taken the test once, however, score calculation and score reporting remains the same.

What We Don’t Know (Yet) about the TOEFL 2019 Format Changes

  • Whether or not the onscreen timer itself will look or work any differently.
  • What TOEFL Quick Prep is going to look like in the long-run…….or in the near future.
  • When the updated versions of other official TOEFL prep materials will be released.

Where to Go for More Information from ETS

The best place to go for current, official information about the TOEFL 2019 format changes is ETS’s “Introducing a Better TOEFL iBT Test Experience” page. This page includes a link to an FAQ PDF for the changes, and information on both the page and the PDF are updated as needed.

What LTS is Doing to Help Students Prepare for These Changes

Right now, we’re in the process of updating our practice questions, and other test prep materials as needed. After August 1, we will change our website TOEFL information to reflect the most current version of the TOEFL. In the meantime, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, you can use the current material to study for the new version of the exam. Still, these are some big changes! So feel free to post comments and questions here on the blog. We will also update this article as needed. Watch this space!

LTS Blog Comment Policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! Due to the high volume of comments, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other student’s comments if you can!

  1. Lawrence Lentilalu
    Lawrence Lentilalu
    August 17, 2019 at 5:11 pm

    Is the test free or I have to pay? If paid, I kindly request not to do it.
    I am will and interested in doing this test but I have a great deal of financial challenges.

    • ltsadmin
      ltsadmin • Post Author •
      August 20, 2019 at 8:58 am

      Hello Lawrence,
      Thank you for your question. You are required to pay for your TOEFL test. If you would like to study, live or work abroad, some schools or institutions will require you to take this test. It’s best to find out from the institution that you are applying to whether you need to take this test or not. Once you are sure about this, let us know and we will help you with the registration and test preparation.

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