Overview of the TOEIC Test

What is the TOEIC ? 

The TOEIC is a test of international English that is taken every year by 4,5 million students and business profesionnals in different countries around the world. The two-hour test includes 200 multiple-choice questions and is divided into two sections : Listening and Reading. There are 100 questions on each section. 

Listening (45 minutes)
– Part 1 Picture identification
– Part 2 Question/Response
– Part 3 Short conversations
– Part 4 Short talk
Reading (1hour 15 minutes)
– Part 5 Incomplete sentences
– Part 6 Text completion
– Part 7 Reading comprehension

You wil find a description of each part of the test below, followed by a box with specific strategies that will help you to maximize your score.

Listening Test

This section of the test has four separate parts and lasts 45 minutes.

Part 1 Picture identification ( 6 questions )

In Part 1 you will see a selection of six black-and-white photographs and you will hear a series of six recordings. For each photo you will hear four descriptive statements. You must identify the one statement that best describes what you can see in the pictures. 

– Always look closely at each photo and ask yourself the following questions : 
Who is in the photo ?
What objects are visible ? 
Where was the photo taken ?
What are the professions of the people ?
What actions are being perfomed ?
What are the positions of the people and the objects ? 
– Make sure that your listen to the complete statement. Some statements may only be partially true.
Watch out for homonyms and similar-souding words that have different meanings. 

Part 2 Question/Response (25 questions)

Part 2 features 25 recordings of questions and responses. Each question is followed by three responses. You must select the appropriate response.

– The questions that you will hear will be of different types. Try to determine what type of question is being asked and what the purpose of the question is. Some questions ask for informmation but others may be invitations, suggestions or comments.
– Listen carefully to the beginning of the question, espacially for question words such as who, what, where, etc.
– Do not expect the answer to a question to contain the same verb and tense as the question. 

Part 3 Short conversations With and wihtout visual image (39 questions)

Part 3 features thirteen four-part conversations between two people. After listening to each conversation, you have to answer three comprehension questions. Each question has four multiple-choice answers, only one of which is correct.

– Always read the questions before you hear the recording. This will help you to focus on what is said and you may even be able to guess the meaning of words that you do not understand.
– While you are listening to the conversation, try to identify who the speakers are, where the conversation takes place and what they are talking about.
– Listen for keywords that will help you to identify the context. 

Part 4 Short talks with and whitout a visual image (30 questions)

Part 4 presents ten recorded short talks that may include annoucements, weather reports, travel advisories, etc. You must answer three comprehension questions about each talk. Each question has four multiple-choice answers, only one of which is correct. 

– Read as many questions as you can before you hear the short talk – but do not read the answers. You will not have time and they will distract you. 
– Focus on the introduction and the first part of the talk to determine the context. 
-memorize key information as you listen and do not try to answer any questions before you have listened to the whole talk. 

Reading Test

This section of the test has three parts and lasts one hour and fifteen minutes. 

Part 5 Incomplete sentences (30 questions)

Part 5 consists of sentences that contain a blank. You are given four possible answers to  complete the sentence. You must choose the correct one.

– Ask yourself whether the question is testing vocabulary or grammar point.
– Analyse the sentence and try to identify the parts of speech – i.e. noun, adjective, etc. This will help you to choose the correct answer especially on vocabulary questions.
– Figure out the meaning and/or the type of word by looking at prefixes and suffixes.
– Look for grammatical relationships in the sentence, i.e. cause/effect, conditionals, verb tense agreement, etc.

Part 6 Text completion (16 questions)

Part 6 presents four texts which each contain four numbered blanks. You are given four possible answers to complete each blank. You must choose the correct one.

– Scan the whole text to see how it constructed.
– Read the directions that are given for each text – this will tell you what types of documents are presented and may help you to select appropiate answers, especially in questions that focus on lexical items. 
– Read all of questions carefully and ask yourself :
    * if they require you to refer to information or arguments presented in different parts of the text in order to answer the questions;
    * if they require you to analyze the grammatical structure of part of the document in order to determine the appropriate tense time or form of agreement, i.e. singular/plural , etc.

Part 7 Reading comprehension (54 questions)

In this section of the test, you must read several documents and answer multiple-choice questions about them. The documents are presented in two different formats : 

Single passages These present individual documents (announcements, news articles, letters, invoices, timetables, etc.) and you must answer between two and four comprehension questions on each document by choosing the beat answer. 

Multiple passages These feature multiple documents which are inter-related. The first document presents information and is followed by second document that contains a response, reaction or enquiry relating to the first one. You must answer five questions on each of the multiple passages.

There are 29 questions for the single passages and 25 for the multiple passages.

– Skim the questions before reading in order to establish a focus for reading.
– Be familiar with the layout of common types of texts such as emails, memos or formal letters in order to facilitate your reading.
-Read the title and the first line of the text to determine what kind of text is and identify the main idea. 
– Remember that an answer may require that you understand information in different parts of the text. 
– For the sections that feature double passages, you should read both documents in order to understand the relationship between all of documents.. Remember that some questions will require you to cross-check information between the multiple documents. You should therefore allow more time for double passages. 
General test-taking strategies 
The following simple strategies can help you to perform better on the test :
– Bring the good quality pencil and eraser.
– Make sure that you are familiar with the instructions for each section of the best before you take it. That will help you to concentrate on the questions and will be able to use your time more effectively.
– Do not panic if you hear or read words that you do not understand. Focusing on the general context will usually help you to answer correctly.
– Remember that you are not penalized for incorrect answers so always give an answer to each question. 
– If you cannot find the right answer to question in the Listening section or you have not understood part of the recording – do not panic ! Choose an answer that you think is possible and move on to focus on the next question.
– Do not let yourself be distracted by a difficult question in the Listening section. You only have limited time between each question so you must answer quickly and be ready to listen to the next one.
– Make sure that you do not run out of time when doing the Readinf section. Remember that your time is limited.
– Even if you do not have enough time to finish all the questions in the Reading section, you should still complete the aswer grid by guessing. 

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