TOEIC Listening & Reading Test: Question Types & Samples

Instructor: Bill Sands
The TOEIC Listening & Reading test consists exclusively of multiple-choice questions. Read on for more information on how these questions are structured and take a look at a few sample questions.

Questions on the TOEIC Listening & Reading Test

The TOEIC Listening & Reading exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions, with 100 questions being allotted for each of the exam's two sections.

Questions are drawn from a variety of contexts, ranging from everyday social interactions to workplace communication. The contexts of these questions are as follows:

  • Corporate development
  • Technical areas
  • Traveling
  • Housing/corporate property
  • Dining out
  • Health
  • Personnel
  • Purchasing
  • Offices
  • Manufacturing
  • Finance & budgeting
  • Entertainment
  • General business

Listening Question Types

Candidates will have 45 minutes to complete the Listening section. Questions are more or less evenly divided among four different types. Each of the Conversation, Question-Response, and Short Talks tasks consists of 30 questions, with the Photographs task making up the remainder of the subtest with 10 questions.

Sample Questions

  • Photographs: Candidates will look at a picture and listen to recordings of four statements. They must select the one statement that best represents what is happening in the photograph. Candidates may see a man sitting in a chair and then hear 'He's checking the time. He's wearing a suit. He's straightening his tie. He's washing his clothes.' Candidates must then decide which statement most accurately describes what is being depicted.
  • Question-Response For this task, candidates will listen to a question. They must then listen to three responses and select the most appropriate one. For example, the question may be along the lines of 'What time is it?' Potential responses may include 'It's almost noon,' 'Nice to meet you, too,' and 'I never win anything.' In this instance, this first response is the correct one.
  • Conversations: This task requires candidates to listen to a conversation and then answer questions about the content of the dialogue. Potential questions to a conversation about a business meeting, for example, might include: 'What is the problem?' 'Why was the woman upset?' and 'What time is the meeting?'
  • Short Talks: Candidates will listen to a short speech about a specific topic and then answer questions about the information in the speech. For example, candidates may listen to a public service announcement and then answer questions like 'What is the point of the announcement?' and 'Where might this announcement be heard?'

Reading Question Types

Candidates will have 75 minutes to complete the Reading section. While this part of the exam includes the same number of questions as the Listening section, they are not as evenly distributed among the different types. The Text Completion task accounts for a mere 12 questions, while the Incomplete Sentences task garners 40 questions. There are 48 questions in the Reading Comprehension task.

Sample Questions

  • Incomplete Sentences: For this task, candidates will read several sentences with key words omitted. Candidates must then select the most appropriate word from a list of four options. Potential sentences include 'I would like to go (blank) I am busy that night' and 'We will succeed (blank) we are lucky.'
  • Text Completion: This task is similar to the Incomplete Sentences task. Rather than read several isolated sentences, however, candidates will see one passage (an e-mail or a letter, for example) with words omitted at various points. Candidates must select the best option to complete the sentence based on the context in which it appears.
  • Reading Comprehension: In this task, candidates will read sample passages, such as a letter or advertisement, and then answer questions about the content of the text. Between seven and ten of these passages will be followed by sets of 2-5 questions each. Candidates will also encounter four pairs of texts, each of which is followed by five questions. Potential questions include 'What is the purpose of this letter?' and 'the word 'reservation' in the first paragraph could be used as a synonym for which word?'

TOEIC Preparation

If you intend to sit for the TOEIC Listening & Reading exam, has a handful of courses that can help you get ready. This TOEIC Listening & Reading: Test Prep & Practice course contains study materials for both sections of the test. The study guide consists of over 20 lessons, each of which focuses on essential skills that can help improve your test scores. There's also this Grammar Resources course, both of which include several practice exams to help you get comfortable with the multiple-choice question format of the exam.