TOEFL Exam Difficulty Level

TOEFL Exam Difficulty Level: Best Tips to Crack TOEFL


28 October 2023



Are you planning on taking TOEFL soon but stressing about scoring well? If yes, this blog will discuss the best tips for cracking the TOEFL exam. We will also answer your question of how hard is the TOEFL exam while navigating through this topic. Let’s start!


What is the Difficulty Level of TOEFL?

The answer to the difficulty level of TOEFL is quite tricky. TOEFL is relatively easier than other exams like the GMAT, GRE or IELTS. The difficulty level of it varies from one person to another. While many students might find it a piece of cake, others might find it very difficult to solve with having to prepare much. Hence, it is tricky to establish whether to call it hard or easy.


However, experts on the exam believe that students who communicate in English regularly and have an excellent foundational knowledge of the subject do not struggle to score well in exams. In contrast, students who don’t communicate in English much and are at the beginner level may struggle to solve questions in the exam.


But we believe there’s nothing you can’t do with ample amounts of practice. If you study for TOEFL daily and follow a routine, make changes in your speaking to enhance vocabulary, read books and write your thoughts on paper, you have a solid chance of getting good scores.


Best Tips to Crack the TOEFL Exam

TOEFL, being one of the most well-known and widely accepted English language proficiency tests by universities across the globe, is a direct ticket to your dream university.


Now that we have established that it is hard to say whether the test has an easy or difficult pattern let’s look at the best tips to crack the TOEFL exam to help you better your scores. Let’s get into it straight away, then, shall we?


Get yourself familiar with the exam format

The first tip in the list is to familiarise yourself with the TOEFL exam format. It doesn’t matter how great your English is when taking an exam whose format you are unfamiliar with. You can quickly check the format on the official website of the TOEFL exam, ETS.


The TOEFL exam format is given in the table below.

New TOEFL Exam Format

Section Name 

Total Number of Questions 

Estimated Timing 


20 questions 

35 minutes 


2 questions/tasks

29 minutes 


28 questions 

36 minutes 


4 tasks 

16 minutes 

Total Time Allotted to the Exam 

1 Hour 56 Minutes 

Follow a Study Guide

Getting your hands on a study guide is a terrific additional method for TOEFL exam preparation. You can walk through each section of the TOEFL exam with the help of a decent book, which will also provide you with practice questions, technique tips, and example responses.


You can also download TOEFL exam study guides available online and practice with their help. This will subsequently help you better understand the exam questions, follow a strategic plan to approach the questions and answer effectively, and secure good marks.


Read Books and Listen to English As a Habit

More often than not, we don't realise the effect reading and listening to a language has in our lives. People learn Korean and Japanese by reading and listening, so you can improve your English, right? By actively exposing yourself to the English language daily, you’ll enjoy the activities and also passively learn many different and new words, getting introduced to different writing styles and enhancing your proficiency.


We recommend you read novels or comics, listen to English songs and podcasts, and watch English movies or standups. It will be both entertaining and learning.


Practice Writing With a Timer

When asked to write leisurely, our mind is free of stress and works effectively, writing well and using all the creativity. But when asked to write within a timeframe, we get stressed about what to write, how to form a structure and which points to cover.


By practising timed writing, you can tackle the issue of time constraints. Setting a limit can help you practice writing better and within a timeframe, all while also having an idea of the content you will write. This practice will enable you to organise your time more effectively by giving yourself adequate time to outline your writing, compose the piece, and review it.


Speak in English With Yourself

While understanding English might be easy, many students need help speaking the language. It might be the most challenging part for some to convey their thoughts adequately.


So, on our list of tips for the TOEFL exam, we suggest you practice speaking in English with people around you and yourself, too. Initially, you might make mistakes, but soon, you’ll gain confidence and improve with each passing day.


After all, no one will listen to you talk on the TOEFL iBT because you will speak into a microphone.


Practice, Practice and Practice!

This point cannot be emphasised enough. Set aside some time to finish a full practice test daily rather than just practising questions once or twice a week.


It's just like what they say: practice makes a man perfect, which is precisely the case with the TOEFL exam. Through regular practice, you'll grow accustomed to the experience of attempting the exams. By the time your test arrives, you won't find any aspect unpleasant or challenging but something you can quickly solve.


Make Yourself Familiar With the Keyboard

While we are familiar with writing on paper, it's best to get yourself familiar with the keyboard in case of TOEFL iBT as your choice. Many of us grew up with computers, and many didn’t, which might make typing a lot more difficult in the limited timeframe.


If you are familiar with using the QWERTY keyboard, you’re in the clear, but if not, then you must practice as the test uses that only. But practise as much as possible because you'll be using one of these keyboards for the TOEFL iBT. You don't want to be late for an essay due to sluggish typing!


Work on Your Weak Points

While preparing for the TOEFL exam, it can't be that you’re good at all the sections. There must be something you struggle with or fail to answer correctly. It could be that section of the listening where you fail to understand the thick accent or the writing section where you fail to write down your thoughts on the topic concisely. Whatever it is, we recommend you work on your weak points and practice enough to improve them to avoid getting low scores.


Create a Routine

In a perfect world, well before your test. You'll be able to do far more and save time if you create and follow a timetable. Put your head down and study for one or two hours rather than five hours of procrastination. If you have a few months until your test, we suggest beginning with just an hour per day, and as the test date approaches, you might increase this to two or three hours. You can ease up on the plan once more the week before your exam, only dedicating an hour or so to polish your abilities.


You should be well-prepared for the exam because of your regimen, so you won't need to "cram." Follow this routine diligently and uncover the difference it will make in your TOEFL exam.


Develop Good Vocabulary

This tip is very underrated but works like a charm if taken seriously. Expanding your vocabulary is one of the best strategies for passing the TOEFL exam. To do this, you should read a lot. Particularly with regard to the social, business, natural and applied sciences. Considering that the TOEFL exam's primary topics are covered in these.


To help yourself and improve, you should underline new words you encounter while reading.


Additionally, practise speaking and writing with the new terms as well. Further, to expand your vocabulary, you can also create flashcards for yourself to memorise new words and practise with.


Things You Can Expect in TOEFL Exams Now

Let’s look at the changes in the exam format, helping us determine if it has eased the exam!

  1. A more simplified and clear exam navigation and solving instructions. 

  2. Reduced number of questions in the reading section with only two reading passages containing 10 questions each, making the exam more efficient. 

  3. Removal of all the unscored test questions. 

  4. More concise and modern writing tasks, replacing the independent writing task. 

Note: These changes are not meant for the TOEFL iBT test. Check all the changes on the TOEFL exams’ official conducting body, ETS, before booking the test.



In conclusion, the TOEFL exam difficulty level is not much if you prepare for it diligently.


You should start preparing for it well before time, which will help you crack the exam. We have compiled some tips to score better in the exam, which you can look at and consider while preparing for it. We know you’ll do great. Meridean wishes you luck!


We hope you enjoyed learning about the TOEFL exam difficulty levels and the best tips to crack it and gained some useful insights. Still, if you would like to get a deeper understanding or have any questions about how to study abroad or take the TOEFL exam, we encourage you to speak with our team of TOEFL experts at any branch of the Meridean Overseas Education Consultants (MOEC).


Visit our website for free online counselling, or contact us at or 1800-1230-00011 for personalised support.



Q1. Is TOEFL hard to crack?

A. The TOEFL exam is not difficult to crack if you prepare well before actually attempting the exam. Refer to the best tips to crack TOEFL mentioned in the blog above.


Q2. Is it hard to score 120 marks in the TOEFL exam?

A. Getting a TOEFL score of 120 is quite challenging. In truth, many native speakers who take the TOEFL don't score a 120. This is due to the fact that the TOEFL is a lengthy and challenging test, and it is normal to make a few errors even if your English is excellent.


Q3. How can one score good scores in the TOEFL exam?

A. By practising the model test papers regularly, you can easily score good marks in the TOEFL exam. To enhance your scores, you can follow the best tips to crack TOEFL mentioned in the blog above and score in the exam like a pro.


Q4. Which is the easiest section in TOEFL

A. The listening section is considered the easiest section in the TOEFL exam.

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