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Types of Questions on the TOEFL Listening Test

Types of Questions on the TOEFL Listening Test

Types of Questions on the TOEFL Listening Test

Accepted in over 110 countries, the purpose of the TOEFL is to make sure that students are prepared to listen to English at the college level. The listening part of this test is 60 to 90 minutes long. The range is because some students will have unscored experimental questions in the reading part of the exam while others will have them in this part of the exam. The test consists of four to six academic lecture experts that are between three and five minutes in length along with two to three conversations that are three minutes each. Students can only listen to each segment once, so it is vital to pay attention. Learning the types of questions that the TOEFL writers expect you to be able to answer after listening to the test can help you prepare better.

Detail Questions

These questions ask you about a detail in the information that you have heard. It can be a minor detail. You are allowed to take notes while you are listening, so make sure to write down details that you think you might forget. Often these questions ask you to identify why an aspect is essential.  


These questions ask you to identify the indirect meaning of something said during a lecture. These questions are easy to identify because they usually start with, “What does the professor imply …” or “What can be inferred …” They can be harder to answer, however, because you will not hear a direct answer to the question in the material. Taking tutoring in Orlando, which is available from Celebration Learning and Academic Services, is a great way to practice this question style.  

Attitude Questions

This question type asks you to identify how someone feels about a subject that they discussed. While the speaker does not directly state how he feels, you have to make an educated guess based on the words the speaker uses.  

Function Questions

English is full of idioms, slang, and other words that can be hard for those learning the language to comprehend. Function questions ask you to identify what some of these words mean based on other things that the speaker said during the lecture or conversation.  

Gist-content Questions

These can be some of the easiest questions on the listening part of the TOEFL because you just have to identify the main idea. These questions often include the phrases, “mainly about” and “mainly discussing.”

Gist-purpose Questions

Like the gist-content questions, these questions ask you to look at the listening material as a whole. You will be asked to identify why the conversation or lecture was taking place.  

Connecting Content Questions

The last type of questions is connecting content questions. They ask you to identify relationships between different parts of the listening material.  

This is only a brief overview of the questions. Taking tutoring in Orlando from Celebration Learning and Academic Services can help you learn to answer each question type and tips for getting a top score on the TOEFL.