Enhancements in TOEFL iBT 2023: What students should know about the new testing process

The TOEFL iBT is a standardized English language test that assesses the knowledge and readiness of foreign students for studying in English-speaking universities and programs, primarily in countries such as the United States, Canada, and European countries. This leading English language test is accepted by over 11,500 universities and institutions in more than 160 countries and is an essential tool for education, employment, and immigration purposes.

The structure of the TOEFL iBT exam is constantly being improved to become more convenient and interactive each year. Starting from July 26, 2023, test takers can expect the following innovations:

1. Simplified registration process. Now test-takers will be able to create an account and register for an available TOEFL iBT test date faster and easier than before. Online registration will be available up to 2 days prior to the test start date.

Important: Those who registered for the TOEFL iBT test earlier had the opportunity to reschedule for free until April 30, 2023.

2. Simplified payment. Test-takers will be provided with additional local payment methods, which will be further expanded in the future.

3. Improved navigation, design, and instructions will make the process more intuitive and adaptive. In the old version of the TOEFL test, the navigation was complex and confusing, but now everything will become simpler, clearer, and enable easier planning of actions.

4. Test time reduction. The overall test duration will be reduced to just under 2 hours, instead of the previous 3 hours.

5. Reduction of the “Reading” section. Now, this section will feature only two reading passages with 10 questions each. The content of the passages and the question style will remain unchanged. In the previous version of the test, there were 3-4 passages and 30-40 questions in this section.

6. The number of questions in the “Listening” section will be reduced to 28 (3-4 lectures with 6 questions each, 2-3 conversations with 5 questions each). The content and question style will remain the same.

7. Introduction of a new task in the “Writing” section called “Writing for an Academic Discussion,” which will replace the current “Independent Writing task”. In this new task, test-takers will be required to present and support their opinion on a given topic during an online discussion. The writing section will consist of two questions in total. The first question will be an integrated writing task, and the second question will be an academic question for discussion.

8. Removal of all unscored questions. In the previous version of the test, there were experimental questions without scores that consumed test-takers’ time. In the new version, these questions have been excluded to save time for the students.

9. Quick access to test results. Participants will be able to see the official score release date and their unofficial scores for the “Reading” and “Listening” sections immediately after completing the test. They will also receive real-time notifications of any changes to their score status in their ETS account. Full official scores will be available within 4-8 days after the test (11-13 business days for the paper-based version). In the previous version of the test, test-takers didn’t know when they would receive their scores as they only saw their status.

10. Fair and unbiased assessment. All tests will be evaluated using a combination of artificial intelligence and qualified experts, ensuring a fair and unbiased assessment process.

11. Free practice test. Now you can prepare for the test by taking a full-length practice test available on the official ETS website.

In conclusion, it is worth noting the following:

  • The changes include updates to the “Reading”, “Listening”, and “Writing” sections, but the question types in TOEFL iBT remain the same, except for the “Writing” task. Therefore, all existing preparation materials remain relevant and can be used to prepare for the test.
  • The Speaking section will remain the same as in the previous version.
  • The TOEFL iBT scoring scale will remain unchanged. The maximum total score for the test is 120, with a maximum score of 30 for each section.
  • The enhancements will not be applied to the TOEFL iBT Paper Edition tests.
  • The difficulty level of the test will remain the same. It is important to understand that a shorter test does not necessarily imply its simplification.

It is important to remember that practice is essential to prepare for the new changes in the TOEFL iBT exam. And we can offer you the perfect place for that – the eTalk online school.

Our TOEFL preparation course will provide you with all the necessary tools for effective practice. You will have access to interactive lessons, practical exercises, and tests specifically designed to enhance your reading, listening, writing, and speaking skills. Our experienced instructors will assist you in mastering task strategies and avoiding common mistakes.