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Is TOEFL Exam Hard: Know the Difficulty Level of TOEFL in 2023

The Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, is a standardized exam used to evaluate applicants for jobs and students' English language proficiency. The test, administered by ETS, must be passed in order to be admitted to undergraduate and graduate programs and to be hired by institutions in the UK, USA, Canada, and other nations. Everyone taking the TOEFL for the first time worries about one thing: "Is TOEFL hard?"

It is not unexpected to see test-takers seeking information on other related questions as well, like, to mention few, "is TOEFL Hard for Indian students" and "what is the difficulty level of TOEFL." If you have any concerns, our knowledge base will help you adequately prepare for one of the most challenging language examinations available.

Is TOEFL Easy or Hard?

The test is administered by the Educational Testing Service, or ETS, to evaluate an applicant's proficiency in using and comprehending the English language at the university level. Speaking, listening, reading, and listening make up the four portions of the test. The entire TOEFL score range is 0-120, and each test segment has a score range of 0 to 30.

Contrary to IELTS, the TOEFL only offers an academic version in paper-based (PBT) and internet-based (iBT) formats. Some nations administer the TOEFL in the PBT format because of the epidemic, although most exam takers like the TOEFL iBT format.

The question "Is the TOEFL exam hard or difficult" does not have a clear answer. The TOEFL is a language test, and from a scientific standpoint, it is challenging to determine the degree of difficulty of a language test. According to experts, English-Speaking students do not have a difficult time understanding the material. On the other side, pupils who are still learning English and cannot speak well in it may find it difficult to pass.

Let's examine the difficulty of passing each TOEFL section.


The TOEFL reading section evaluates students' knowledge and abilities in reading comprehension. The TOEFL exam is challenging for students from India as well as Americans. This is due to the fact that academic vocabulary and the exam's topic matter differ from what Americans typically encounter.

The TOEFL exam emphasizes academic content and Latin-rooted academic terminology used at the university level. Therefore, children whose mother tongues are derived from Latin will have an advantage over students whose mother tongues are not (for example, Italian, French, or Spanish). The good news is that students who have already passed the GRE can easily achieve high scores on the TOEFL's reading component because the GRE's passage difficulty levels are comparable to those of the TOEFL.

Any student, regardless of background or origin, will find the exam challenging due to time constraints.

Pro tip: To increase their vocabulary, students should read their journals frequently. To obtain a good notion of how long it takes you to finish a TOEFL practice paper, do one once a week. Make a list of new words and their definitions, then update it.


Answering questions related to class discussions and brief lectures is required for the listening component. Due to the following factors, this is among the TOEFL exam's more challenging sections:

  • Natural speech is faster than recordings. Additionally, the listener must distinguish critical details or crucial points from phrases like "like," "you know," and "umm" in order to comprehend the speaker's attitude and mannerisms.

  • The recordings need to be attentively listened to by the students. Regardless of length, recordings are only played once. They must actively listen and take notes on the audio in the short amount of time available, which is a difficult challenge.

At least two to three months prior to the exam, you can begin watching movies and listening to podcasts in English. Use active listening techniques. Make it a habit to memorize information while you listen because it is impossible to remember every significant detail.


The speaking test is intended to gauge the student's proficiency in academic English speaking. Both standalone and collaborative speaking exercises are present in this area. Presenting thoughts and experiences linked to the assigned topic is the autonomous task.

The ability to listen, talk, and read coherently is measured by an integrated speaking task, which is the overall test of English language proficiency. The students are granted access to the microphone. Certified checkers receive access to the recorded responses.

A pro suggestion for getting high scores in the speaking segment is to practice. To improve communication, prepare an introduction or any topic and speak about it for at least 20 minutes. When speaking, stick to short words and concentrate on using the proper grammar and pronunciation.


Students must write in English on any academic subject for the writing section. The ability of students to organize their thoughts and opinions is assessed in this area. The two assignments—independent and integrated—must be finished by the students within the allotted time.

The autonomous writing assignment entails writing an opinion piece or sharing a personal story regarding a predetermined subject. On the other hand, for the integrated writing job, students must hear a brief lecture or a text. They must provide answers to specific questions based on their comprehension.

How difficult is the TOEFL writing section? cannot be answered with certainty. It's because there are neither correct nor incorrect responses to inquiries. The organization, construction, and representation of material by students determine how accurate each question in the speaking and writing parts will be. Furthermore, when there isn't a single right solution, the difficulty level rises.

Pro-tip: By using good English syntax and organizing your thoughts clearly and quickly, you can ace the writing test. To perform well in the writing section, get ready for these essay themes.

Best Tips to Crack TOEFL

Is the TOEFL exam challenging? Yes, if students do not adequately prepare in advance, it is. Is TOEFL simple? Yes, if students have solid English abilities and have successfully passed standardized exams like the SAT and IELTS.

To succeed on the test, pay attention to these TOEFL preparation tips:

  • It can be challenging to finish the TOEFL exam on time due to the short time allotted and the long paper. So, to increase your speed, practice frequently and take multiple TOEFL practice exams.

  • A strong academic vocabulary is necessary to pass each TOEFL section.

  • To get ready for the writing component of the test, write journals, emails, and letters.

  • One of the best study resources is the TOEFL prep book, so start using it to prepare. You are welcome to download additional study resources to aid in your preparation.

  • Don't try to get a high score in just one section. Be mindful of achieving high marks across the board.

The TOEFL exam format, the kind of questions in each portion, and the number of time students should spend on each section can all prove to be quite helpful when taking the test.

Is the TOEFL test difficult? This question doesn't have a simple solution. While some people think the TOEFL's reading component is simpler than the GMAT's, non-native English speakers find all four sections to be very challenging. Reading and other TOEFL portions can be readily faced by students who have already aced the GRE.

However, it is true that the TOEFL exam is not a walk in the park due to issues like challenging vocabulary, interruptions during the speaking portion, and time constraints. By studying hard for the examination and taking numerous TOEFL practice test papers, students might lessen their test anxiety.

Contact AspireGlobalEducation for further information on how to prepare for any particular section.

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