As reported here a few weeks ago, the TOEFL iBT will change on July 26.  The changes have now been officially announced by ETS.  Here are the main changes:

  • The reading section will be shortened to just two articles, with ten question each.  There will be no change to the content of the articles and the question styles. 
  • The listening section will be shortened to just 28 questions in total.  There will be no change to the content and question styles.
  • The speaking section will be exactly the same.
  • The writing section will have two questions.  The first will be the same integrated writing question as before.  The second will be an academic discussion question.
  • There will be no break. 
  • There will be no unscored questions.
  • The test will take slightly less than two hours to complete.

There are now samples of the new writing test in the official writing sets and the official practice test.  The whole practice test has been updated to match the new format.  Scoring rubrics are also available.

A few details not mentioned on the ETS website were announced by ETS CEO Amit Sevak in China today.  Those include:

  • Official practice sets with AI scoring will be provided free to test-takers.
  • The actual date that scores will be reported will be given to test-takers when they finish the test.
  • Test registration will be faster and easier.
  • ETS will be “more proactive” when it comes to communication with test-takers.

There are many unanswered questions.  Hopefully I can add some answers to these questions in the days ahead.

Questions include…

Will the test be easier or harder?  My guess is that the test will be the same difficulty level.  A shorter test isn’t necessarily an easier test.  ETS always tries to maintain a consistent difficulty across every version of the test.

Will My Best Scores still be included?  Yes!  ETS has confirmed this.

When will preparation materials be provided?  Some are already available.  More to come. 

When will the Official Guide and Official Tests books be updated?  Yes!  ETS has confirmed this.  The publication dates are not known.

Will the price change?  No!  ETS has confirmed this.

Will the new writing question be scored by both AI and a human?  I don’t know.

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