TOEIC® Listening and Reading Test to Receive Updates
Updates to reflect changing use of English in the workplace; but with no change to score scale, test difficulty, number of items or test length

        Contact: Christopher Brooks          Phone: 1-609-524-8018            Email:


PRINCETON, N.J. (Jan. 19, 2018) — Educational Testing Service (ETS), the creator of the TOEIC® Program, announced updates to the format of questions used in the TOEIC ® Listening and Reading test. The changes will take effect beginning with the April 2018 public test administrations.


The TOEIC test was first launched in 1979 to measure English-language proficiency in the global workplace. The test was last revised in 2006. The updated question formats will reflect the changing use of English and the ways in which individuals commonly communicate in everyday social and work situations around the world.

“As the use of English evolves and changes, so must the TOEIC tests and test questions,” said Dr. Feng Yu, Executive Director of the TOEIC Program at ETS. “To ensure that the TOEIC test reflects current language use and measures the language skills that individuals need, ETS has updated sections of the TOEIC Listening and Reading test.”

The updated test questions first appeared in TOEIC public test administrations held in Japan and Korea on May 29, 2016. Following the successful launch in Japan and Korea, the updated test questions will appear in TOEIC public test administrations beginning April 2018.

Impact of the Updates

With these updates, the overall quality and difficulty of the TOEIC Listening and Reading test will remain the same and as such the TOEIC test will continue to be a fair, valid and reliable assessment of everyday and workplace English. There will be no change to the difficulty level or total testing time. There will be no changes in the administration of the test. The score report will remain unchanged with the exception of one additional Listening Ability Measured: Understanding a speaker’s purpose or implied meaning in a phrase or sentence. This provides additional information for test takers and score users. The addition of the new Listening Ability Measured does not affect a test taker’s overall score. Scores will continue to be comparable across test administrations.

Benefits to Test Takers and Score Users

By taking the updated version of the TOEIC Listening and Reading test, individuals can demonstrate that they have the relevant English communication skills needed in today’s global workplace. In return, organizations can be confident they are using a test that measures a range of skills relevant and necessary for success in global workplace communications.

For more information on the TOEIC Listening and Reading test, including updated sample questions, visit

Additional details of the updates are outlined below.

Summary of the TOEIC Listening and Reading Test Updates

The TOEIC Program is introducing updates to the Listening and Reading test. In order to present a comparison between the current and updated versions of the test, ETS has provided the following summary of the changes.

Listening Section

  • A reduced number of Photograph and Question Response questions
  • An increased number of Conversation questions
  • Conversations that include shorter turns and more exchanges
  • More than two speakers in some conversations
  • Conversations that include elisions (going to à gonna) and incomplete sentences/fragments (Yes, in a minute; Down the hall; Could you?)
  • New question types testing the connection of what is heard in a conversation or talk and what is seen in a graphic
  • New question types testing a speaker’s implied meaning in the context of a conversation or talk
    Current Version of the TOEIC Listening and Reading Test Updated Version of the TOEIC Listening and Reading Test
Part 1: Stand-Alone Questions Photographs: 10 questions Photographs: 6 questions
Part 2: Stand-Alone Questions Question-Response: 30 questions Question-Response: 25 questions
Part 3: Set-Based Questions Conversations: 30 questions
  • 10 conversations
  • 3 questions per conversation
Conversations: 39 questions
  • 13 conversations
  • 3 questions per conversation
Part 4: Set-Based Questions Talks: 30 questions
  • 10 talks
  • 3 questions per talk
Talks: 30 questions
  • 10 talks
  • 3 questions per talk
    Listening Comprehension: 100 questions Listening Comprehension: 100 questions


Reading Section

  • A reduced number of Incomplete Sentence questions
  • Two new question-types testing understanding of the overall organization of passages:
  • Text completion questions that ask test takers to choose which new sentence fits best in the context of the overall passage
  • Set-based questions that ask test takers to understand where in the passage a sentence belongs
  • Text messages, instant messages or online chat conversations with multiple writers
  • Questions testing the understanding of three related texts
  • A small increase in the number of single- and multiple-passage questions
  • New questions about understating the writer’s words in context


    Current Version of the TOEIC Listening and Reading Test Updated Version of the TOEIC Listening and Reading Test
Part 5: Stand-Alone Questions Incomplete Sentences: 40 questions Incomplete Sentences: 30 questions
Part 6: Stand-Alone Questions Text Completion: 12 questions Text Completion: 16 questions
Part 7: Set-Based Questions Single Passage: 28 questions
  • 9 single passages
  • 2–5 questions per passage
Single Passage: 29 questions
  • 10 single passages
  • 2–4 questions per passage
Set-Based Questions Double Passages: 20 questions
  • 4 double passages
  • 5 questions per set
Multiple Passages: 25 questions
  • 2 set-based double passages
  • 3 set-based triple passages
  • 5 questions per set
    Reading Comprehension: 100 questions Reading Comprehension: 100 questions



About the TOEIC® Test

For more than 35 years, the TOEICprogram has been the global standard for measuring workplace English-language communication skills. The TOEIC Assessments, including the TOEIC ® Listening and Reading test, the TOEIC ® Speaking and Writing tests and the TOEIC Bridge™ test, are trusted by over 14,000 organizations in more than 160 countries and are widely recognized as the gold standard in English-language assessment for the workplace. For more information on the TOEIC Program, visit


About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC ® tests, the GRE ® tests and The Praxis Series ® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 10,000 locations worldwide.

Tagged: Global English