TOEIC Test Guide

The TOEIC Test Summary
What: The Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC).
Who: The TOEIC is developed by Educational Testing Services (ETS).
Where: US institutions that require the candidate to take the TOEIC will administer it themselves. Candidates outside of the US must take the TOEIC at regional ETS preferred testing offices.
When: Individual institutions and regional ETS preferred testing offices determine testing dates for the TOEIC.
How: The TOEIC is taken with a # 2 pencil in a test booklet. Listening questions will be administered via an audio device in the testing room.
Type: 200 multiple-choice questions.
Why: The TOEIC measures a candidate’s ability to speak and comprehend English in a work environment. Many institutions rely on it to evaluate a candidate for employment or admission.
Time: Approximately 2.5 hours.
Language: English
Preparation: English-language classes, tutorials, and the ETS website.
Cost: Within the US, institutions that administer the TOEIC to potential candidates generally pay for it themselves. Outside of the US, fees vary.

By Sony Rane, Tests.com

A strong grasp of the English language is an absolute necessity to work in the international economy. Numerous academic, business, and language programs worldwide use language tests to identify candidates with advanced English-speaking and comprehension skills.

The Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) evaluates a candidate's ability to use English in a typical workplace environment. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) developed the TOEIC in 1979 and many employers in the US use the test to evaluate the skills of non-native English speaking job seekers. Nearly 5 million people around the world take the TOEIC every year and thousands of corporations use it during their hiring process. The TOEIC focuses on communication skills needed for everyday work situations and does not test advanced vocabulary skills.

The TOEIC is a 2-hour multiple-choice test consisting of 100 questions testing listening skills and another 100 questions testing reading comprehension. Test questions on the TOEIC are based on several real-world aspects of business like corporate development, purchasing, dining, manufacturing, and general commerce. The listening comprehension part of the exam will include photographs, question-response, short talks, and conversation-style questions. The reading comprehension will include incomplete sentences, text completion, and passage-style questions.

The listening section of the TOEIC includes questions asked by North American, British, New Zealand, and Australian English speakers. Although this measure is meant to ensure that there is no accent bias on the test, all the speakers have lived in the US for an extended period of time and thus their accents have somewhat faded.

The TOEIC is not a pass-fail exam but a measurement of a candidate's English proficiency. Candidates are given separate scores for each section on a grading scale from 5 to 495 points, which are then combined into one total score. Candidates will receive their TOEIC certificate in a color that corresponds with their total test results. Candidates who receive a score of 10-215 will receive an orange certificate whereas a score between 220-465 will elicit a brown certificate. Scores of 470-725 will obtain a green certificate, 730-855 a blue one, and 860-990 points will earn the highest gold certificate. Many institutions have their own certificate color requirements for admissions and/or employment. There is also a 30-minute biographical question session at the end of the TOEIC.

Within the US, institutions that require the TOEIC for admission or employment will administer the exam themselves. Their personal staff will supervise the testing and the scores will be determined by the regional ETS preferred testing office. Outside of the US, locations and fees for TOEIC testing vary and can be researched through local ETS offices.

Candidates may take the TOEIC repeatedly but must wait 28 days between test administrations. There is no maximum limit for how many times a candidate can take the exam and many people take it frequently to monitor their English-speaking progress.

ETS has released past questions from the TOEIC, which can be found on their website. For additional study materials, please visit our TOEIC directory.