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New TOEFL Format in 2019: TOEFL Speaking Changes, TOEFL Writing Changes, and a New Score Report

Ron Ross May 18th, 2019

The TOEFL format is changing...just a little bit...but these changes open more room for error! In this article, you'll learn about a few new TOEFL format changes introduced recently for the speaking and writing sections and the new IBT MyBest™ score reports that may or may not be accepted by your program of choice.

This article's reaserch was discovered by an exceptional TOEFL teacher named Michael Goodine. He has his own YouTube channel where you can find a ton of great information about TOEFL, including a video on the new TOEFL changes in 2018 & 2019 found here: TOEFLresources YouTube

New TOEFL Format for Independent Speaking Questions

Before we get into the new TOEFL speaking changes, be aware that they're small changes, but it's something you need to look out for. The good news is you'll still answer them like we teach in our TOEFL speaking lessons.

TOEFL Speaking Change #1: More words in multiple choice questions

This may not seem like much, but having longer questions means more time reading and less time preparing. It also means more chance of misreading the question.

Let’s have a look at both TOEFL format versions, before and after the most recent TOEFL speaking changes.

Older TOEFL Speaking Multiple Choice Question Format

"Your degree requires that you should choose a history course. Which of the following courses would you prefer?

  • Art history

  • Twentieth-century world history

  • Science history

Include details and examples to support your answer."

New TOEFL Speaking Multiple Choice Question Format

"Which of the following courses would you prefer?

  • A course about Art History, the study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts.

  • A course about Twentieth-century World History, the study critical understanding of major political developments.

  • A course about Science History, the study of the development of science and scientific knowledge.

Include details and examples to support your choice."

Again, answering these questions is the same, so don’t worry too much. What’s important here is to get used to reading a longer question. Understanding them shouldn’t be too difficult, if you want, you can practice a Newly Formatted TOEFL Speaking 1 Practice Question Now or continue reading on to the next TOEFL speaking change.

TOEFL Speaking Change #2: Advantages/Disadvantages questions will TRY TO TRICK YOU!

Before, you would be given a simple scenario like:

"What are the advantages and disadvantages of a standing desk?"

Now let's see how they could deceive you. The question might mention two scenarios, but specifically ask you about only one of them. If not careful, you could end up answering the wrong scenario. Let’s add the TOEFL speaking changes to the previous standing desk question.

"Some people prefer standing desks, while others prefer sitting at their desk. Talk about the advantages and disadvantages of standing desks. Use details and examples in your answer."


Well...maybe not, but you can see there is more room for error with this new format. It's not 100% guaranteed you'll even get the new TOEFL format, but going in unprepared is why many people do not achieve their target TOEFL score. The good news is, preparing for the new format is a simple matter of practicing it, and that's it!

The TOEFL speaking changes are not the only changes that were made. There were also changes to the TOEFL independent writing section.

New TOEFL Format for the Independent Writing Questions

There is only one change to the writing section and it's similar to TOEFL Speaking Change #2; The new independent writing question format is longer and more confusing.

Let's have a look at a writing question with the change applied:

“Often we are asked to collaborate in team projects at events, school, and even work. Sometimes we are required to work with a group of people who share our opinions and ideas. However, sometimes we need to work with groups of people who have entirely different opinions then us.

Which do you prefer? Use reasons and examples to support your answer. Do not use memorized examples.”

The previous format was much simpler.

“Would you prefer to work with people who share similar opinions or people with different opinions?”

This new TOEFL format for the independent writing section adds in a lot of redundancy to force you to read more. 

There isn’t much you can do about that except read it slowly to try and understand it the first time. Practice is the only preparation you need for this change. You simply need to get used to it.

Final Thoughts on the New TOEFL Formats

As is with all our TOEFL prep suggestions, practice is key to preparing yourself for these new TOEFL speaking changes and TOEFL writing changes. You can practice them right here at BestMyTest, some are even FREE!



An interesting new development by ETS iBT TOEFL will be implemented this year. ets TOEFL will now send an IBT MyBest™ score along with your most recent score to your program. It’s essentially sending two score reports

The IBT MyBest™ score works like this: They select the best scores from each TOEFL section from your previous 2 years and combines them to create your best score possible.

For example, let's say you took the TOEFL 4 times in the last 2 years.

Reading Listening Speaking Writing Total
19 20 15 20 74
29 22 18 22 91
27 27 23 20 97
19 25 26 25 95

Now, on the score report, your program would see the following:

Report Reading Listening Speaking Writing Total
Most Recent 19 25 26 25 95
IBT MyBest™ 29 27 26 25 107

Many universities have requested this, but please be aware, it is not guaranteed your program will accept it, so you’ll need to contact them and ask if they do.

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