About the TOEIC Listening Comprehension Section

Instructor: Bill Sands
The Listening Comprehension section of the TOEIC assessment features a block of multiple-choice questions. Read on for more information on the structure, scoring system, and format of this test.

TOEIC Listening Comprehension Structure

The first section on the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) exam focuses on listening comprehension. Candidates will listen to a group of English recordings and then answer 100 multiple-choice questions concerning the content of the recordings. This portion of the test is divided into four sections. The photographs' component has 10 questions, and the question-response section has 30 questions. Candidates will hear 10 conversations during the conversations' part and 10 talks during the short talks' task. For these sections, test-takers will have to answer 3 questions for each conversation/short talk.

Questions are meant to test a number of skill areas, and as such, they contain a variety of contexts. Possible examples include corporate development, manufacturing, finance and budgeting, health, entertainment, technical areas, purchasing, travel, and general business.

Passing Standards

Unlike most standardized tests, the TOEIC does not have a passing or failing grade since the test is only used to identify your English proficiency level. Test examiners are only responsible for providing a final score; the validity of that score is subject to the requirements of individual employers and industries. If you are taking the test for a specific employer, you should consult with them to determine their definition of a passing score.

Final scores are calculated using a scaling system. Each version of the test contains minor differences, rendering raw scores less effective (Educational Testing Service does not even release raw scores for this reason). The scaling system accounts for any changes and provides candidates and employers with a score that is easy to compare with others.

Since English proficiency skills can quickly improve or decline, TOEIC score reports are only valid for two years. Score reports will not be issued after this date, and candidates will need to sit for the exam a second time.


The total length of the TOEIC Listening & Reading assessment is about two and a half hours, but the Listening Comprehension section accounts for only 45 minutes of the testing period. Candidates will be expected to complete the entire section (reading and responding) during this time.

Studying for the TOEIC Listening & Reading Exam

If you intend to sit for the TOEIC Listening & Reading test, you should consult the many courses available on

This TOEIC Listening & Reading: Test Prep & Practice course offers a comprehensive walk-through of both sections of the test and contains over 20 lessons devoted to essential content. This Interpersonal Communication course stresses fundamental communication skills that might help improve your listening skills. This Grammar Resources course strengthens important grammar skills that play an important role on the exam. These courses contain a number of practice quizzes and exams that you can use to test your skills and confirm your preparedness for the exam.

Educational Testing Service (ETS) also releases an exam handbook that contains several examples of sample test questions. In addition to helping you improve your knowledge, these questions are also useful in familiarizing yourself with the structure and tone of questions on the TOEIC assessment.