TOEIC Test Complete Guide

Due to the fast-paced and highly globalized industries, English has been considered an essential qualification for an individual to get that job or promotion. Other than that, your English proficiency is also required when applying to some graduate schools and universities. 

Global business organizations, institutions, and government agencies use the TOEIC Test to evaluate and assess the English proficiency levels of their employees or their aspiring candidates. It is one of the most distinguished English Proficiency Tests acknowledged by recruiters. 

In this article, you will learn what the TOEIC Test is, it’s exam-format, scoring, and, finally, some practical exam preparation tips for the TOEIC Exam.

What is the TOEIC Test? 

TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) is a standardized language proficiency exam that assesses one’s ability to communicate, comprehend and use English in a workplace environment. This test is highly used in industries, corporations, businesses, government agencies, and other educational institutions.

It is managed and administered by the ETS (Educational Testing Service), an independent and non-profit organization. It aims to measure the overall language proficiency level of non-native English working professional speakers. It is also the official institution that administers the test. 

The TOIEC Test is derived primarily from the TOEFL Test.

However, the format and focus of the TOEIC Test are entirely different compared to the TOEFL Test. In addition to that, it is specially designed to evaluate the person’s ability to use the English language in the workplace setting and one’s ability to establish effective communication with multicultural colleagues. 

Moreover, it is a very effective tool to determine whether or not the individual has met the qualifications and standards of the organization. The TOEIC Test is highly accepted and used in over 150 countries, primarily in the USA, Japan, Korea, and Canada. 

How Much Does the TOEIC Test Cost?

The TOEIC test costs around USD 140 for each of the TOEIC Programs, such as the TOEIC Listening and Reading test and the TOEIC Speaking and Writing test.

However, the fees for each program significantly differ per location or country. 

Why Take the TOEIC Test?

The TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) is one of the most commonly used placement tests for companies worldwide. Business organizations and private companies use it to evaluate the English proficiency levels of their employees or candidates for the position they are hiring for. 

This test is required for working professionals who wish to work internationally and those who would like to apply for international training. Furthermore, the test will help working professionals qualify for a position or promotion in their respective industries. 

It provides certification of one’s English proficiency that a working professional can add to their credentials. The test also offers well-grounded and accurate test results. Moreover, the test questions in TOEIC are based on real situations in a workplace environment. 

Some Countries That Accept TOEIC Results

  1. Canada.
  2. The United Kingdom.
  3. The United States of America.
  4. Germany.
  5. Ireland.
  6. Japan.
  7. Korea.

Some Universities That Accept TOEIC Results

  1. Boston University – USA.
  2. University of Westminster – United Kingdom.
  3. American University of Paris – France.
  4. Fukuyama City University – Japan.

TOEIC Test Structure and Exam Format

The TOEIC Test has three programs, and these programs have subtests under them.

In addition to that, the TOEIC Speaking and Writing test combined with the TOEIC Listening and Reading Test scores provide an extensive assessment of the test taker’s English Proficiency. 

The TOEIC has three primary programs for their test-takers: 

  • TOEIC Listening and Reading Test.
  • TOEIC Speaking and Writing Test.
  • The TOEIC Bridge Exam.

Here are the following details for each TOEIC Program.

TOEIC Listening and Reading Test

The TOEIC Listening and Reading Test is around 2.5 hours, and this test program is divided into two sections with various subtests. This TOEIC program assesses the abilities of the test-taker on how well they understand written and spoken English.  

The 2 Sections of the TOEIC Listening and Reading Test

1. Listening

This section has 100 questions and has four parts.

The duration of the Listening section is about two and a half hours.

The audio clips in this test use various accents such as American, Canadian, British and Australian. 

  • Part 1: Photo Description Type 

The task for part 1 is where the test taker is needed to listen to four audio descriptions about a photo. Then the test taker should choose the best audio clip that describes the given picture. This part contains 20 photo questions. 

  • Part 2: Question and Response Type

The questions in Part 2 of Listening are about possible responses to a given query. The test taker is given a question and needs to listen to three potential answers. And will choose the most accurate response to the questions given. There are 31 questions in this part. 

  • Part 3: Short Conversation Type 

The test taker in this part has to listen to ten short conversations and answer the 30 related multiple-choice questions. In this part, the test taker is to choose the best possible answer for each follow-up question.

  • Part 4: Short Talks Type 

The fourth part of the Listening section is consists of 30 questions. This test part is about listening to ten short talks with three related questions for each. The test taker is given the task to choose the best answer for it.  

2. Reading

In the Reading section, the given passages are taken from real-life communications used in a workplace setting. This section has 100 questions and has four parts as follows:

  • Part 5: Incomplete Sentences 

In this part, the test has around 40 questions, and it is all about incomplete sentences. The test taker is tasked to find a word or phrase that will ideally complete the given sentence. 

  • Part 6: Error Recognition

The task for this part is to identify the wrong text or word used in the given sentence. And in some questions, there are multiple underlined words in the paragraph, and the test taker needs to identify the one wrong word among these. There are 20 multiple choices questions for this part. 

  • Part 7: Reading Comprehension 

In this Reading Comprehension part, the test taker is given ten paragraphs or passages to read with around two to five follow-up questions. The test taker is needed to choose the best answer for each question. A total of 40 multiple choice questions are available in this Reading Comprehension test. 

  • Part 8: Reading Double Passages

The part for the Reading Double Passages is where the test-taker is needed to read a couple of passages, and sometimes these passages are about email threads or conversations within the workplace. The test-taker is then tasked to answer the follow-up couple of questions afterward. 

TOEIC Speaking and Writing Test

The TOEIC Speaking and Writing Test can be individually taken and can also be taken with the TOEIC Listening and Reading Test. It measures one’s ability to use the English language in the workplace and everyday communication. In addition, it assesses one’s knowledge and how well-versed in using the speaking and writing skills.

Moreover, the test questions are about using familiar English vocabulary, phrases, and other communication in the workplace setting. The TOEIC Speaking Test has 11 questions, and it lasts around 20 minutes. 

TOEIC Speaking Test Format 

  • Question 1 and 2 – Reading Aloud 

In this test, the skills evaluated are pronunciation, intonation, and the proper use of stress. 

  • Question 3 and 4 – Giving Description of an Image

As for this set of questions, the skills evaluated are still the same; however, the grammar, vocabulary, and cohesion are now considered here. 

  • Question 5 to 7 – Responding to Questions

For this set of questions, the skills evaluated are the same as the previous questions, but the relevance of content and sentence or paragraph completion is also assessed.

  • Questions 8 to 10 – Responding to Questions Using Informations Given

For questions 8 to 10, all the mentioned skills in the previous questions 1 to 7 are evaluated. 

  • Question 11 – Expressing Opinion 

Lastly, all the English skills evaluated in the earlier questions are assessed in this part of the TOEIC Speaking test. 

The TOEIC Writing Test

This test contains eight questions, and the test lasts around 60 minutes. Below is the test format. TOEIC Writing Test Format

  • Question 1 to 5 – Writing a Sentence About A Given Image

For questions 1 to 5, the grammar and the relevance of the written content to the given image are evaluated. 

  • Question 6 to 7 – Responding to a Written Demand 

In this part, the English skills assessed are the vocabulary organization and the quality and variety of the sentences written by the test taker.

  • Question 8 – Writing an Opinion Essay 

This part of the test evaluates all the writing skills of the test taker and whether or not the opinion and examples cited correspond to the given topic. 

TOEIC Bridge Exam

The ETS (Educational Testing Service) created the TOEIC Bridge Exam. And compared to the TOEIC Test, it is much easier. Furthermore, this TOEIC Bridge Exam is intended for beginners and those with lower-intermediate learnings for the English language. 

This test is mainly for students who are still beginning to learn the English language and those with lower-intermediate English Proficiency. It also helps you verify one’s English language proficiency and lets you know which areas or skills you need to improve. 

Furthermore, the TOIEC Bridge Exam helps you prepare for the next level of English-language earning and know what appropriate program fits your level. The TOEIC Bridge Exam is also designed for those people who only need to know their English language proficiency for employment reasons, travel, and other essential purposes. 

There is no failing or passing grade for this test. In addition to that, the test measures one’s proficiency in reading and listening skills. The duration of the TOEIC Bridge Exam is around one and a half hours.

TOEIC Scoring

The TOEIC Speaking and Writing tests are scored out of 200.

Below is a detailed scoring for the speaking and writing tests. 

Speaking Test Scaling 

The overall rating for the speaking test is converted to a scaled score of 0 to 200

  • Questions 1 to 10, the score rating is around 0 to 3. 
  • Question 11, the score rating is approximately 0 to 5. 

Writing Test Scaling 

The overall rating for the writing test is converted to a scaled score of 0 to 200

  • Questions 1 to 5, the score rating is around 0 to 3.
  • Questions 6 to 7, the score rating is around 0 to 4. 
  • Question 8, the score rating is around 0 to 5. 

The TOEIC Reading and Listening gives a score between 10 and 990.

The table below shows the TOEIC test scores corresponding to the English level of proficiency. 

Level of
English Proficiency
905 to 990International Language Professional Proficiency 
785 to 900Working Proficiency Plus
605 to 780 Limited Working Proficiency
405 to 600Elementary Proficiency Plus (One has limited skills when it comes to communication)
255 to 400Elementary Proficiency (One has insufficient skills in the communication)
185 to 250 Memorized Proficiency ( One has fundamental knowledge in English)
10 to 180No Useful Proficiency 

The TOEIC Writing and Speaking scores are between 0 and 200, different from the TOEIC Reading and Listening scoring.

The table below shows the TOEIC test scores with their level of English proficiency. 

English Proficiency
190 to 2008Excellent in making connections and sustaining discussions in the workplace with fewer problems. 
160 to 1807Can make connections and continue discussions with colleagues in a workplace setting with fewer mistakes. 
130 to 150 6Can express fair opinions regarding a topic but lacking coherency.
110 to 120 5Has a limited viewpoint and feedback when it comes to discussions in the workplace. 
80 to 1004Is able to respond to simple questions and requests.
60 to 703Can state one’s opinions simply. 
40 to 502Very few to no questions are answered.
0 to 301No questions are answered.

How Long Are the TOEIC Test Scores Valid?

All TOEIC test scores are valid for two years after taking the test. 

TOEIC Exam Dates and Locations

It is required to pay the total exam fees before the scheduled testing date. One can pay by cheque if a card is unavailable. Rescheduling the test date or change of location is applicable if it is done at least (14) fourteen working days before the given scheduled date.  

A rescheduling fee of $40 is charged for the processing. However, there is no refund for cases such as:

  • Cancellation is made less than ten working days preceding the scheduled test date. 
  • One failed to show up at the testing center on the day of the scheduled test. 
  • One failed to give the needed identification documents at the testing center.
  • One is dismissed due to violations during the test.

The TOEIC test results delivery differ depending on the type of TOEIC Test you have taken. For example, those who took the TOEIC Speaking and Writing Test will receive the test results within eight working days. 

However, there are three options for those who took the TOIEC Listening and Reading Test and the TOEIC Bridge test.

Here are the details for the type of test results delivery. 

  • Standard Scoring: This postal delivery will take around 15 working days to receive your test results.
  • Express Scoring:  This postal delivery will take around five working days to receive your test results.
  • Super Express Scoring: This postal delivery will only take around three working days to receive your test results.

There is two test session for the TOIEC Listening and Reading Test. Below are the details on how to register for these. 

Public Test Sessions

The Public Test Sessions of TOIEC are available in numerous testing locations worldwide. You may also check the official website of TOEIC to look over accessible test schedules and available testing centers in your area. 

If you are located in the US

The USA Public Test Sessions are held 12 times a year. And to complete the registration process, you may visit their official online registration page, or you may also register by mail. 

As for the online registration, you may visit the TOEIC website. There are steps given on registering, following it, and proceeding to the payment option. You may pay via MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and JCB. Just take note that the card you are using for the payment is registered under your name.  

If you prefer registering by mail, you can do so. You also need to go to the online registration page, follow and complete the steps. And lastly, print out the registration form you have filled out and mail it to the provided mailing address. 

2025 M Street
Suite 600
Washington, DC 20036-405
Email[email protected]
Phone+1-866-383-9234 or +1-202-664-1854

If you are located in the Canada

In Canada, the TOEIC Public Test Sessions are scheduled 12 times a year. The registration process for this test is online as well as by mail. 

You may visit their website to process the registration for the TOEIC test. The payment is via Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and JCB cards. Make sure the card you are using for the payment is registered in your name. 

One can also register for the test via mail. However, you still need to go to the website to process the registration form and print it out. A mailing address is also provided.

If you are located outside the USA and Canada

As for those other countries or other areas outside the USA and Canada, it is advised to contact your local ETS (Educational Testing Center) Preferred Network (EPN) Office for the TOEIC Listening and Reading test schedules available in your country or location. 

If EPN Office is not available in your country, contact them using the information’s given below. 

Educational Testing Service
Rosedale Road
Princeton, NJ 08541 USA
Email[email protected]

Institutional Test Sessions

Private employers or a language school usually offer the Institutional Test Sessions to the test-takers. The organization, institution or language school does the registration process for this test. 

Therefore, it is best to coordinate and contact the administration for complete details regarding the registration for this Institutional Test Sessions. 

How to Prepare for the TOEIC Test?

Many are struggling with how to prepare for the TOEIC test. Do not worry. We got your back. 

Here, in this section will find a list of things you can do to prepare for the TOEIC exam. 

1. Create an Objective

So you want to take the TOEIC Test. Before jumping right into the registration process of the test. Pause. And think through why you are taking the test in the first place. Evaluate your reasons. Do you plan to work abroad? Or do you want to know your English proficiency level? And for whatever reasons you have, make sure you have an achievable objective. 

If you plan to work for an international company, then do some research to find out the level of English proficiency they require for their applicants or for a particular position you want to apply for. In this way, you know what level you need to score for the TOEIC test. 

However, do not lay all your cards in one company. It will not harm to look for another employer, right? If you failed during the interview process of the first one, then you have another option. Your TOEIC test results will not go to waste—create an objective that will benefit you the most. 

2. Devise a Strategic Study Plan

Make a study plan that best fits your schedule and your goal. Like any other test, the TOEIC test also needs extensive preparation. Creating a study plan is an excellent way to start. If you decide to take online courses or do a self-review, it’s up to you. 

Start plotting your study time daily or weekly in a chart. Then, you can spare an hour or more for your review per day. But, of course, it all depends on your availability. After, integrate the topics you want to study daily or weekly. Also, do not forget to spare a day wherein you do a summative test to assess what you have learned so far from your review. 

However, if you want to ace the TOEIC Test, following your review schedule and study plan religiously is highly advisable. Focus on your study sessions and make sure you are getting the most of them.

3. Study the Test Format

It is also best to know the TOEIC Test format. In this way, you already know what to expect when taking the test. In addition, it helps you be more confident that you are on the right track while reviewing for the exam that particular test is using. And you can prepare for it if it consists of essays, multiple choices, short-response type of questions, and more. You will also know if the test format is a weakness for you or not. Then, you can devise a strategy on how to answer these kinds of questions quickly.

4. Search for Online Language Courses

The TOEIC offers review classes for their test, and also they have official TOEIC Textbooks, which you can purchase for additional review materials. You may also try other online practice tests that can help you achieve your goal. 

Utilize those free online courses offered, the more materials and resources you have to help you with your review, the better. Explore different websites and free courses, do not be afraid to take a risk. 

5. Take Practice Test

Taking various test practices will help you answer different questions easily and prepare you for the TOEIC test. Furthermore, you will also be exposed to other test formats, do not be afraid to fail these practice tests. Learn from your mistakes, review what went wrong, and focus on these to do better in the next one.

These practice tests will hone your skills and improve your knowledge. You will know whether or not your study plan and the courses you are taking are effective. Just take more practice tests as much as possible. 

6. Improve Your English Skills

Improving your English skills is an essential part of preparing for the TOEIC test. Know your skills deeply, like pinpoint the ones that need more improvement and which skills you excel in the most. 

Focus on those skills that you feel you are not good with. For example, if you struggle with speaking, you may watch video clips on improving your speech and converse more in English if you are a non-native speaker. Read books or articles out loud. Do some research on how to improve your intonation, diction, and the likes. 

Remember to stay on track and to your objective, getting a high score on the TOEIC test. Be confident and believe in yourself that you can do this. Positivity leads to success.

7. Don’t Stress Yourself Too Much

Most importantly, do not stress yourself with the preparation. Reviewing a test can become quite stressful and hard to keep up with if you are juggling other life commitments. But, aside from that, the pressure is real when it comes to reaching your objective, and we cannot deny that.

However, take time to destress and relax your mind and body. Make sure to get enough rest, enjoy a little break from studying. You may try a breathing exercise from time to time in between your review schedule. Relaxation is also essential in preparing for the test. A well-rested body and mind will give you the energy you need for the next day. 

So give yourself some breather, remember too much of anything is not good. Do not pressure yourself to do this and that. A little break will not jeopardize your test preparation. Let’s do this one step at a time.