toefl guide

New TOEFL Changes 2023 - New TOEFL Format Preparation Guides for the July 2023 Changes

Ron Ross May 12th, 2024

The new TOEFL format & the new TOEFL changes have made TOEFL much easier. In this article, you'll learn about several new TOEFL format changes from the July 2023 update. A couple of them are quite significant in that it's making TOEFL significantly easier to achieve your target TOEFL score!

The first section of this article's research was found directly from ets TOEFL

New TOEFL Format Updates July 2023

We have exciting news for you! The new TOEFL format has made TOEFL easier. Over the last few years, TOEFL has seen a decline in the total number of tests taken per year, and it was concluded that TOEFL was TOO difficult. Now in order to help their students, ets implemented new TOEFL changes, which Shortened the test and gave test-takers more time to complete questions. The following is an excerpt taken directly from ets TOEFL, indicating exactly what changed.

New TOEFL Changes to the Reading, Listening, & Writing Sections

In order to help you achieve your target score, new TOEFL changes will be implemented this year in July 2023. The changes include updates to the reading, listening, and writing sections. For your convenience, Let's look at a comparison table showing the new TOEFL changes made to each section.

Old TOEFL Format vs. New TOEFL Format

The below changes will help reduce fatigue and lower stress, helping you achieve higher scores in most sections.

Test SectionOld TOEFL Format (Long version)New TOEFL Format (Short Version)


3–4 reading passages 10 questions each  54-72 minutes


72/(10*4) = 1.8 min per question



2 reading passages 10 questions each 36 minutes


1.4 min per question




3–4 lectures, 6 questions each 2–3 conversations, 5 questions each

Random unscored questions

41–57 minutes + unscored questions


0.8 min per question - unscored questions

3 lectures, each 3–5 minutes; 6 questions each2 convos, each 3 minutes; 5 questions each 

No more unscored questions :) 

36 minutes


15-18 minutes to complete questions 

0.54-0.64 mins per question




4 speaking tasks, 17 minutes


- Speaking Independent Task 1

- Speaking integrated Task 2

- Speaking integrated Task 3

- Speaking integrated Task 4




2 writing tasks, 50 minutes


- Writing Integrated Task 1, 20 minutes

- Writing Independent Task 2, 30 minutes


2 writing Tasks, 30 minutes


- Integrated Task 1, 20 minutes

- Academic Discussion Task 2, 10 minutes


Is there a 10-minute break in TOEFL?

No. The 10-minute break between the Listening and Speaking section in TOEFL has been removed.

How to Prepare for the New TOEFL Format?

The most asked question so far has been: "What do I need to do to practice for the new TOEFL changes?" The simple answer is NOT MUCH! No, seriously. You don't have to change much to prepare for these new TOEFL changes. Most of the question types are the same. These changes make the TOEFL easier. You can continue practicing for the new TOEFL changes with your old TOEFL preparation material, except for the new writing academic discussion question type. However, the new writing question type is much easier than the previous independent writing question, so let's focus on getting you familiar with that new TOEFL writing change. 

Before we begin, please remember that practicing with the new TOEFL writing format is vital for your TOEFL prep, so if you want to be fully prepared for your exam, you can check out a full writing academic discussion practice sample by clicking the button below!

play_circle_outlineStart TOEFL Writing Academic Discussion Sample Test

If you are new to BestMyTest, it's recommended you create an account in order to save your test results. You'll see a couple of signup free buttons on the test page after clicking the button above.

How to Prepare for the New TOEFL Changes in the Writing Section Coming in July 2023?

We'll update this section with more details as we develop our writing questions for the new 2023 TOEFL format changes. For now, you can see examples of the new writing question type here: ets TOEFL



August 2019 TOEFL Format Changes - Archived

Check out the previous changes made back in August 2019. Many of these changes are still being used.

How to Prepare for the New TOEFL Changes in the Speaking Section?

As you know from the comparison table, speaking task 1 and task 5 are now retired after the launch of the new TOEFL format. However, the great news is speaking task 1 is almost identical to speaking task 2, and speaking task 5 is basically the same as speaking task 3, with very slight differences. Because of this, you don't need to do anything differently, but it is still a good idea to practice with the new TOEFL format to have an idea of what to expect in your exam. TOEFL Speaking Practice Questions & TOEFL Speaking Sample Answers

These changes are great for everyone and will help you score higher, but what if you make a mistake significantly lowering your score in a single section? Well, with the new score report improvements, this situation is no longer as devastating as it once was.

New TOEFL Changes to Score Report Helps You Achieve a Higher Score!

To help you achieve your target score and forget about a single bad section that's costing you your admission into your program of choice,  the new TOEFL format has a new score report which includes an IBT MyBest™ score in the report.

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

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


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

Most Recent1925262595
IBT MyBest™29272625107

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.

The final section of this article 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 changes in the speaking section, 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 Change in Speaking #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 look at both TOEFL format versions before and after the most recent TOEFL 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 of critical understanding of major political developments.

  • A course about Science History and the studies 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 Change in Speaking #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 about only one. 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 desks. 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!

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 changes. You can practice them right here at BestMyTest, some are even FREE!


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