TOEIC® Listening & Reading Test

Frequently Asked Questions

Test Content

Tests like this that use multiple-choice formats can indeed be guessed by, for example, just choosing all the As, all the Bs, or randomly choosing answers, without even looking at the question, and may give you a certain number of correct answers. In the TOEIC L&R, that chance is only about one in four, giving about fifty correct answers over the two hundred questions. In testing jargon, this is called a “chance score.”

However, the TOEIC L&R score is not calculated simply by assigning, for example, five points for each correct answer. Instead, a special conversion table is used to deal with these chance scores as well.

This means that, for example, even if you got a quarter of the questions right, the TOEIC L&R score will not be 25% (250 points), but an extremely low score, such as about 17%. Before developing the TOEIC Program, ETS created the TOEFL Test for international students. This experience provided ETS with unique expertise.

In addition to linguistic specialists, experts in psychology and statistics are involved in developing the TOEIC L&R to provide solutions to potential issues. This makes for a test that is extremely sophisticated in its design.

The TOEIC L&R is designed to give low scores for answers based on probability.

The TOEIC L&R has been developed as a yardstick for measuring English ability. This means it can be used by people across an extremely wide ability range, from as low as 10 points (no English at all) to as high as 990 points (nearly native speaker level). The test is designed to give beginning learners a low score commensurate with their ability, so there is no problem for beginners to take the test to accurately measure their English ability.

One reason people say that the TOEIC L&R is not suited for beginners might be because there are many questions they cannot answer, so they find it too hard or run out of time.

However, the TOEIC L&R is designed to measure ability across all levels with a single yardstick. So it is perfectly normal for a beginner to take the test, and in fact it is one of the strengths of the TOEIC L&R. If, like other tests, there was a different test for each ability level, then it would be harder to tell what your ability level really was.

To repeat, the TOEIC L&R is simply a test to objectively measure your own ability. This means that there is no need to be discouraged about a low score, nor is there any need for all takers to aim for a score of 990.

By knowing your own current ability, and comparing it with your target ability, you can get an idea of how much you need to learn. And of course, if you have already reached your target, that’s fine too.

In addition to the tests in Secure Program held every January, March, April, May, June, July, September, October, November, and December, the TOEIC L&R is also available to corporations or groups in the form of the tests in Institutional Program (IP).

New TOEIC L&R questions are prepared for each test in Secure Program, but their difficulty level is adjusted through a process called “equating” to ensure that there are no discrepancies in assessment standards between tests. This was only made possible by the expertise of ETS, the world’s largest private nonprofit educational testing and assessment organization, and their statistical experts.

However, the questions used in the TOEIC L&R Test in Institutional Program (IP) are those that have been used in Secure Program

This means that the assessment standard was already completed when the test was administered, so the same assessment standard is used here.

Generally, the three reasons why people can get scores higher than what their actual ability warrants are guessing, practice, or coaching.

We have countermeasures in place to deal with guessing, as explained above in Question 1, “If the TOEIC L&R uses an optically scanned answer sheet, would that mean that just filling in A for every choice would get you the right answer 25% of the time?”

Practice refers to getting a better score by familiarizing yourself with the test format. Some study aids include information on test trends and strategies. However, the TOEIC L&R format is the same each time, and the test information includes clear examples of format, such as sample questions. ETS would prefer all test takers to be familiar with the question format before they take the exam. This is to ensure that each person can do his or her best without having to worry about dealing with unfamiliar formats. In particular, the English tests Japanese people are familiar with from school are quite different from the TOEIC test in terms of both the number of questions and the speed. This means people taking the TOEIC test for the first time can be confused, and end up not doing as well as they actually could. So we suggest that you become familiar with the format before the test so that you can accurately measure your own ability.

Coaching refers to improved scores through being able to predict the questions.However, while this may be possible in tests where the scope of the questions is determined, there are no limits to the scope of questions in the TOEIC L&R. This means that the questions can be about anything. So it is not possible to predict that the same questions will arise. While it is possible to get a few of the same words, phrases, or even sentences, there will only be a minor effect on your overall score. In other words, we are also prepared for the effects of coaching.

The TOEIC Program has been designed with great care to ensure that there are no variations in the assessment standards beyond those of pure ability. Please understand that these simple test strategies will not work with the TOEIC Program.

However, it is certainly not a waste of time to practice with the many examples of the TOEIC L&R found in learning materials from English language schools or published textbooks. By practicing listening to English at the same speed as the TOEIC L&R and practicing reading quickly, your overall comprehension speed will increase. If, as a result, your TOEIC L&R score improves, then that will truly show you how much more English you have mastered.

There have been changes to some of the question formats as of the 210th test.
There is no change, however, in the difficulty level between the two formats.


Yes. However, how we issue the receipt varies by the way your payment made.

If you used a credit card or Rakuten Pay:
If it is less than six months since the test date, you can issue yourself a receipt from the TOEIC application site. Please check the details for issuing a receipt from Receipts section in the How to Apply/ Test Fees page.

If you paid from a convenience store:
Please use the receipt you were issued at the convenience store.

For group application:
The IIBC Test Operation Center does not issue receipts for group application. Please ask to the body you paid the fee to.

This refers to the repeat testing discount. If you apply online to sit the TOEIC L&R Test in Secure Program, and take the test using the same ID in the same month of the following year, you will automatically be given a discount.

The repeat testing discount does not apply if you are using a voucher for registration (including for group application).

If you have not logged in within 2 years, you will not be able to use your old ID. Please sign up and become a member again.

No. Please register before the registration period ends.

The payment information screen can be accessed from the Application History (details) screen or from the e-mail,“Convenience Store Payment Method(コンビニ支払方法)” you were sent.

How the TOEIC Program is administered differs by country. The Institute for International Business Communication (IIBC) administers tests only in Japan. For taking tests overseas or getting overseas test scores reissued, please contact the body that holds tests in that country.
You can check which body to contact by “Find your local TOEIC representative” from the ETS TOEIC Program top page.

Test Sites/Test Centers

No. The test centers are determined for each test site after applications close, based on your post code. Please note that the venues differ each time the test is held.
Test centers are selected to try and ensure each person’s travel time is about the same. For example, even if Test Taker A has a test center named Test Center 2, right by his house, Test Taker B, who lives further away, may be instructed to use Test Center 2 while Test Taker A is instructed to use Test Center 1, which is further away. So it is possible that your assigned test center may not be the one closest to you.

Test Centers① / Test Centers② A,B

As the test centers are determined for each test site after applications close, based on your post code, it is very likely that you will all get the same center. However, there are men-only and women-only testing centers as well, so you may not necessarily be together.

Yes. However, this must be done before the period for accepting changes ends.
◆Before Applications Close
<nline Applications>
You can change this yourself from the TOEIC Application Site. After logging onto the TOEIC Application Site, go to “TOEIC Listening & Reading Test” > “Application History” to change it.

<Multimedia kiosk Applications>
Please telephone the IIBC Test Operation Center as soon as possible.

◆After Applications close
After registrations close, If you would like to change the test site, please contact the IIBC Test Operation Center from the Wednesday eighteen days to the Wednesday four days before the test date. If seats are available at the test site you would like to change to, you may be able to change the test site. Note that you cannot change the test centers within the same test site or designate a specific test center. Additionally, if the Wednesday eighteen days before the test date or the Wednesday four days before the test date is a holiday, the deadlines for completing these procedures will change. Contact the IIBC Test Operation Center for specific information.
(Example: You can change test site from Tokyo to Osaka. You cannot change test center from Tokyo A to Tokyo B.)

Please see Changing Test Site for details.

Admission Ticket

Your admission ticket will be posted to you about two weeks before the test date. If your admission ticket does not arrive, please phone the IIBC Test Operation Center during the period of inquiry for undelivered admission tickets. We do not accept any changes of test date or refund any test fees on the grounds of un-delivered admission tickets.

Yes. However, this must be done before the period for accepting changes ends.
◆Before Applications close
<Online Applications>
You can change this yourself from the TOEIC Application Site. After logging into the TOEIC Application Site, confirm your application details from “TOEIC Listening & Reading Test” > “Application history(申込履歴)” and change the information.

*The changes made in “Test Application information” will not be shown in the information “Application information” in TOEIC Application Site, so if you need to change “Application information,” please do so from the Application Information menu. Please note that changes made to “Application information” will not show in your “Test Application information.”

<Multimedia Kiosk Applications>
You cannot change this yourself. Please telephone the IIBC Test Operation Center.

◆After Applications close
We may not be able to accept changes of postal address after applications close, as we will be preparing to send out the admission tickets. Please telephone the IIBC Test Operation Center for details.

Test Day

Test fees that that have been paid cannot be refunded. Test dates cannot be changed. Test eligibility cannot be transferred to another person. There are no particular procedures required if you are going to be absent.

If your name when you applied and your name when you take the test are different, please contact the IIBC Test Operation Center.

If you mark the entry section for birth date on the answer sheet correctly on the test day, your birth date will be corrected. If you applied online, you should change your birth date in TOEIC Application Site before your next application.

Yes. There will be no issues if your addresses are different. We will confirm your identification document photograph and name on the test day.

You will not be admitted and you cannot take the test if you do not check in by 12:30. Note that your test fee will not be refunded if this happens. Your test fee will not be refunded either. If you are affected by major transportation delays or cancellations, please telephone the IIBC Test Operation Center by 17:00 on the test day.

No. In the test classroom, set all your devices so that they will not sound alarms or ring, turn them off, and keep them in your bag.

No. You must use an HB pencil (or mechanical pencil). Other writing implements may cause errors in reading your answer sheet.

You are prohibited from looking at the Reading Section questions during the listening test, and from looking at the Listening Section questions during the reading test.(See Points to Note for details.) The TOEIC L&R is designed to correctly assess your abilities through answering the 100 questions in the Listening Section over approximately 45 minutes and the 100 questions in the Reading Section over 75 minutes.

You may not leave the room midway through the test as this will disrupt other test takers.

The test questions are not made public, so therefore you may not take the test book with you. The test books will be collected as part of the statistical processing to equate the scores in the TOEIC L&R.

This is a basic policy of ETS as a way to prevent cheating or the test questions being leaked. (See Points to Note for details.) This includes taking notes, drawing lines, or adding any marks such as circles, crosses, or ticks. The proctor will caution you if you are seen writing outside the specified entry fields on the answer sheet during the test.

We may cancel the test if events outside of our control (e.g. earthquake, tsunami, other natural disasters, strike, outbreak of infectious disease) cause difficulty in securing the test centers, blackouts or other circumstances, such as disorder related to transportation, communication, or distribution. If we cancel the test, notifications will be posted on our official website.


The certificate can be reissued for up to 2 years following the test date. Please follow the procedures for reissuance either online or via postal mail. Score validity does not expire.
Your score will be posted to you within 4 business days after your request form arrives at the IIBC Test Operation Center, or following payment of the handling fee. If submitting scores, please carry out the procedures early enough to be able to submit them before the submission deadline.

The following reasons could be why you cannot check your results. Please check your Login ID and test information.

(1)It is before test results are shown
(2)You have logged in with an ID that has no test result history.
(3)You selected “Show test results online: No” when you applied online, or changed it to “No” at a later date.
(4)You applied from a convenience store multimedia kiosk.
(5)More than 2 years have passed since you took the test.
(6)You are trying to get a score that is not from the TOEIC L&R test, the TOEIC S&W tests, or the TOEIC Speaking test.

Yes. However, this must be done before the period for accepting changes ends.
【Before the test】
When you check in for the test on the day, explain that you want the address changed, and submit the specified form.

【After the test】
Please telephone the IIBC Test Operation Center within 5 days of the test date. We will make the change.

*If you applied online, you can log into TOEIC Application Site and change the address applied there yourself.

Yes. The procedures and handling fee for sending your Official Score certificate overseas are not the same as for sending it within Japan. Please check Official Score Certificate Overseas Sending Service for details.

Priority Support Service

We will provide an environment that allows persons with disabilities, who are injured, or who are ill, to take the test with as little stress as possible.
Please contact the IIBC Test Operation Center.

Institutional Program (IP Tests)

First check with the place you wish to submit the scores to, as they may have their own regulations.

Official TOEIC® Learning Materials

The teaching materials are not available on the official TOEIC website. Please buy them at a bookshop or online.

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