TOEIC® Listening & Reading Test

Test Content

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?

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.

Is the TOEIC L&R suited for beginners, such as those with scores under 400?

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.

For the TOEIC L&R Test, are there any differences in the score assessment standards each time? What about TOEIC L&R Tests taken in companies?

In addition to the tests in Secure Program, 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.

When taking the TOEIC L&R, would taking it multiple times or preparing ahead of time help significantly? I often see ads in English language schools or books for ways to beat the TOEIC L&R. Are these any use?

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.

Has the question format changed as of the 210th test (held on May 29, 2016)? Has it become harder?

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.


Can you provide a receipt for the test fee?

Yes. 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 2 years since the test date, you can issue yourself receipts from the TOEIC application site.

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.

What is the repeater discount?

This refers to the repeat testing discount. If you apply for the TOEIC L&R Test in Secure Program, the discounted test fee will be automatically given to one of the tests to be held within seven months from the test  after 6 months. You need to use the account to get the discount.

*If you applied for the TOEIC L&R Test from 2023/7/23 to 2024/2/25 and have a valid repeater discount at the time of transition to the new discount service, you will be eligible for a discount for seven months instead of three months.

This discount service does not apply to group application and makeup test vouchers.

I want to use my old account to apply, but cannot log into the TOEIC Application Site.

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

Can I apply for a test after the application period has ended?

No. Please apply before the application period ends.

My legal name has changed, so can I change the name I applied on the TOEIC Application Site?

Please print out the request form in the section "About Change Procedures," complete the form, and mail it with a copy of your personal identification document to the IIBC Test Operation Center.

I elected to pay my test fee at a convenience store on the TOEIC application site. Where can I check the information I need to make payment at the store?

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.

What should I do if I want to take the TOEIC L&R overseas?
Can scores from TOEIC L&R Test that I took overseas be reissued?

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”icon_window-1 from the ETS TOEIC Program top page.

Test Sites/Test Centers

When I took the test before, I was assigned to a distant test center.
Can I specify which test center I want to take the test at when I apply?

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.



Will a family members living together under the same address be assigned to the same test center?

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.

Can I change my test site?

Yes. However, this must be done before applications close.
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.

Admission Ticket

What should I do if my admission ticket has not arrived (or has been lost)?

Your admission ticket will be sent out by mail by about a week before the test date. All the information you need for taking the test can be found under the heading of "Test Information" at the TOEIC Application Site. (Please see "Reviewing Your Admission Ticket Information" for further details.) If you do not receive your admission ticket and are unable to check the information through the website, the test taker himself or herself should be sure to contact the IIBC Test Operation Center during the period of inquiry for undelivered admission tickets designated for every TOEIC Listening & Reading in Secure Program, as stated in the schedule. We do not accept any changes of test date or refund any test fees on the grounds of un-delivered admission tickets.

Can I change where the admission ticket is sent to?

You can change this yourself from the TOEIC Application Site. Log into the TOEIC Application Site and change your registered address by Friday of the week after the application deadline. Once you have made this change in your registered information, it will be reflected in your application information.

*If you are unable to complete the procedures by the deadline, please contact us during the period of inquiry for undelivered admission tickets.

Test Day

If I am unable to take the test on the assigned date, can I get a refund of the test fee or change the test date? Can I transfer my eligibility to take the test to a friend?

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.

My legal name is going to change (through marriage, etc.) before the test date. Are any particular procedures required?

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

I applied the wrong birth date when I applied. Can I correct this?

You can change this yourself from the TOEIC Application Site. Log into the TOEIC Application Site and change the registered date of birth.
A mistakenly registered birth date will appear on your certificate unless you undertake procedures to change it by the 11th day after the test (including the test date). Please check "About Change Procedures" for details.

Can I take the test even if my identification document address is different to the one on my admission ticket?

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

Can I still take the test if transportation delays or cancellations were the reasons of my late arrival?

You will not be admitted and you cannot take the test if you do not check in by the closing time of the check-in. 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 15:30 on the test day.

Can I use wearable devices such as watches with transmission or recording functions?

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.

Can I use ballpoint pens or erasable ballpoint pens?

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

Can I look at the questions for the Reading Section during the listening test?

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.

Can I leave the room during the test if I have answered all the questions?

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

Why can I not take the test book back with me?

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.

Why am I not allowed to write anywhere outside the specified entry fields on the answer sheet?

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.

Will the test still be held even if there is an earthquake or typhoon?

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.


Can you reissue the Official Score Certificate? Do the scores have an expiry date?

The certificate can be reissued for up to 2 years following the test date. Please follow the procedures for reissuance online. 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.

I cannot check my test results on the TOEIC Application Site.

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

(1)It is before test results are shown.
(2)You have logged in with an account that has no test result history.
(3)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.

Can I change the address where my Official Score Certificate will be sent?

You can change this yourself from the TOEIC Application Site. Log into the TOEIC Application Site and change your registered address within 11 days of the test (including the test date). Please note that changing your registered address can affect where we send you admission ticket and Official Score Certificate, as well as your test center. Your Official Score Certificate will be posted to the address registered unless you undertake procedures to change it by the 11th day after the test (including the test date). Please check "About Change Procedures" for details.

Can I get my Official Score Certificate sent overseas?

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

As a person with a disability, can I receive the support I require during the test?

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)

Can I use my scores from the TOEIC L&R IP Test for academic or career advancement?

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

Official TOEIC® Learning Materials

Do the official learning materials cover the new question format introduced in May 2016 for the TOEIC Listening & Reading Test?

Teaching materials covering the new question format are on sale. Please see Learning Materials Covering the New Question Format for details.

Can I buy the official teaching materials directly from the official TOEIC website?

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

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