The TOEIC is a communication-based test of English language skills. ETS, the Educational Testing Service, provide the Test of English for International Communication. The test is valid in almost two-hundred countries around the world and more than 14,000 companies and institutions trust the test. This is why the TOEIC is a great way to demonstrate your proficiency in the English language to employers all over the world. The TOEIC test is not a certificate as such, it is a score which you can use to show current or potential employers your language abilities.
General information about the TOEIC test
The language evaluated is general English for communication in the workplace. There are four components to the test and they are organised into two separate papers.
- Listening and reading test
- Speaking and writing test
You can take either only one or both papers of the test, however, you have to pay for each one individually.
The exercises in the test are related to English in the workplace, hence you can expect topics based on real-life situations such as meetings, telephone conversations, emails and travel.
TOEIC Listening and reading test
You will have 45 minutes to complete the listening section of the test while you will need 75 minutes for the reading. There are 200 multiple choice questions in total, 100 for the listening section and similarly, 100 for the reading section. Candidates get individual scores for each section of this exam; the minimum score is 5, whereas the maximum is 495. The total score, therefore, ranges from 10 to 990 points.
The scores can be presented in a certificate, however, the certificates are unofficial meaning they are for display purposes only. The certificates come in different colours which correspond to the five score bands:
- orange (10–219)
- brown (220–469)
- green (470–729)
- blue (730–859)
- gold (860–990)
TOEIC speaking and writing tests
You can complete one or both of the components. The test is computerised however you must take it in a special test centre. The TOEIC speaking test takes around 20 minutes and consists of tasks to evaluate the following:
- intonation and stress,
- relevance of content
- completeness of content.
The maximum score for each paper is 200.
The TOEIC writing test, on the other hand, takes 60 minutes to complete. The exercises assess
- relevance of sentences to the pictures,
- quality and variety of sentences,
- whether the opinion is supported with reason and/or examples.
TOEIC Speaking & Writing Test Content and Format
You must speak and write in English as you answer questions about everyday life and work activities.
|Section and Length||Task||Skills evaluated|
Read a text aloud
|Pronunciation Intonation and stress|
Describe a picture
|All of the above, plus
Grammar Vocabulary Cohesion
Respond to questions
|All of the above, plus
Relevance of content Completeness of content
Respond to questions using information provided
|All of the above|
Propose a solution
|All of the above|
Express an opinion
|All of the above|
Write a sentence based on a picture
|Grammar Relevance of the sentences to the pictures|
Respond to a written request
|Quality and variety of your sentences Vocabulary Organisation|
Write an opinion essay
|Whether your opinion is supported with reasons and/or examples Grammar Vocabulary Organisation|
TOEIC Listening and Reading Test Content and Format
There are three sections to this part of the exam, the first part is a questionnaire, while the second part is listening comprehension and finally, there is reading comprehension.
|Length||Section I: Questionnaire|
|30 minutes||Answer Biographical questions|
|Length||Section II: Listening Comprehension|
|45 minutes||The Listening section tests how well test-takers understand spoken English. It consists of four parts and contains 100 questions
Test takers listen to short passages in English and answer a variety of questions. Audio features 4 accents: American, Canadian, British and Australian 100 questions
|There are four parts:
Part 1: Photographs Part 2: Question-Response Part 3: Conversations Part 4: Short Talks
|Length||Section III: Reading Comprehension|
|75 minutes||The Reading section tests how well test-takers understand written English.
Test takers read materials and answer questions at their own pace. Passages represent real-world workplace communications 100 questions
|There are three parts:
Part 5: Incomplete Sentences Part 6: Text Completion Part 7: Reading Comprehension
Value of the TOEIC test
The test is based on common general English and business English expressions. The grading of the test is standardised and therefore your score provides a fair representation of your language skills.
Businesses can use the test scores to identify qualified employees who can interact and communicate effectively on an international level. Whereas universities can certify the preparation of students and their readiness to go out into the international job market.
The test saves time in the recruitment process due to the fact that HR can see immediately that you have the necessary language skills for the international workplace
As an individual with a decent TOEIC score, your value in the workplace is enhanced and the probability of succeeding in the job market is increased. Similarly, employees and job seekers with a TOEIC test score have a clear competitive advantage over those who do not.
Last but not least, some government immigration departments use the TOEIC tests as a way of making decisions about visa and residency applications.
TOEIC Bridge and Institutional TOEIC tests
The TOEIC tests are generally open to the public, additionally, companies and educational institutions can contract the service for evaluation of their students or employees. This is called the institutional TOEIC test.
TOEIC Bridge is a simpler version of the test suitable for beginner learners. The TOEIC Bridge test is motivating because it allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses. The utility of the Bridge test is noteworthy in that it is compatible with learning approaches – such as our method at Break into English. Furthermore, the TOEIC Bridge is an excellent stepping stone if you would like to go on to prepare for the TOEIC® Listening and Reading test.
You can also find preparation materials here for the TOEIC Bridge exam.