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What is TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication)?

Updated on September 23, 2012
A world-accepted English test used by thousands of companies, TOEIC measures the skills of non-native English speakers to speak, read, write and listen in business English .
A world-accepted English test used by thousands of companies, TOEIC measures the skills of non-native English speakers to speak, read, write and listen in business English . | Source

TOEIC is the acronym for Test of English for International Communication.

As one of the leading English tests in the world today, TOEIC measures the ability of TOEIC test-takers to use business English.

Specifically, TOEIC measures the ability of TOEIC test-takers to speak, read, write and listen to English at the workplace.

Because TOEIC is a measure of business English, many companies and organizations around the world use TOEIC scores as one of the bases for job promotions or overseas job assignments among non-native English speakers.

According to ETS, the organization administering TOEIC exams for many years now, TOEIC is used in roughly 10,000 companies, government agencies, and English language learning programs in 120 countries around the world.

Types of TOEIC

To date, there are two types of TOEIC exams:

1. TOEIC Listening and Reading

2. TOEIC Speaking and Writing

TOEIC Listening and Reading is important to employees and their organizations because of the following reasons:

  • English listening skills are used in face-to-face communications, telephone conversations, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, business meetings, training, conferences, and even podcasts.
  • English reading skills, on the other hand, are useful for reading e-mails, analyzing reports, understanding several forms of business correspondence, following written instructions, or comprehending company newsletters.

TOEIC Speaking and Writing is equally important because of the following reasons:

  • English speaking skills are needed for effective client presentations, well-organized corporate meetings, face-to-face communications, telephone conversations, teleconferencing, videoconferencing, training, and conferences.
  • English writing skills are indispensable to composing persuasive customer letters, clear and concise business reports, direct-to-the point e-mails, as well as complete and easily understood project presentations.

TOEIC Format

TOEIC Listening and Reading as well as TOEIC Speaking and Writing tests have different formats.

To do well in these tests, TOEIC exam test-takers must familiarize themselves with the formats.

Familiarization will give them an idea about what to expect during the TOEIC exam day.

It will also help them prepare properly for the test.

TOEIC Listening and Reading

Listening Portion

  • includes 100 questions
  • has a time limit of 45 minutes
  • divided into 4 sections: photographs, question-response, short conversations, and short talks
  • photographs section has 10 questions
  • question-response section has 30 questions
  • short conversations section has 30 questions
  • short talks section has 30 questions

Reading Portion

  • includes 100 questions
  • has a time limit of 75 minutes
  • divided into 3 sections: incomplete sentences, text completion, and reading comprehension
  • incomplete sentences has 40 questions
  • text completion has 12 questions
  • reading comprehension has 48 questions
  • reading comprehension is further divided into single passages and double passages

TOEIC Speaking and Writing

Speaking Section:

  • includes 11 questions
  • has a time limit of 20 minutes
  • divided into sections involving photo description, statement of opinion, responding, or offering solutions

Writing Section

  • includes 8 questions
  • has a time limit of 1 hour
  • divided into sections of response writing and opinion essay
  • there are 7 written responses
  • there is 1 opinion essay

Topics in TOEIC

Thousands of companies, organizations, and language programs identify employees who can successfully read, write, speak and write in English through TOEIC.

These employees are believed to be able to communicate effectively across countries and cultures in business English.

Because of this, TOEIC topics cover several fields that include:

  • banking
  • insurance
  • travel
  • offices
  • jobs
  • health
  • medicine
  • travel
  • transportation
  • restaurants
  • hotels
  • meetings
  • telephone conversations
  • e-mails

Language, Spelling, and Accents in TOEIC

TOEIC is developed in the United States. Thus, its developers use American English and spelling.

The sentences in TOEIC questions follow the American language.

The audio clips in TOEIC listening section, however, play various English accents.

These accents include American, British, Australian, Canadian, and other European English accents.

These accents are varied in order to assess whether TOEIC test-takers can listen to spoken English of various nationalities.

How to Register for and Take TOEIC Exams

Before registering for a TOEIC exam, TOEIC exam test-takers must make sure that they have enough time to prepare for the test.

Test preparation may take days, weeks, and even months, depending on the English proficiency of TOEIC exam test-takers.

For instance, beginner English learners may take months to prepare for TOEIC Listening and Reading test or even a year for TOEIC Speaking and Writing.

Advanced English learners, on the other hand, may take only a few days to prepare for both tests.

Moreover, TOEIC exam test-takers must consider the fact that TOEIC results may take several days to be released.

Thus, they have to schedule their exams early if they need to get the TOEIC exam results for work promotions or university admissions.

To prepare for the test, TOEIC exam test-takers must review thoroughly for TOEIC exam’s speaking, reading, writing, and listening sections.

Reviews can be done alone, in a class, or with a teacher.

To register for a TOEIC exam, TOEIC exam test-takers must visit the ETS website and follow the instructions.

Questions to Ask the TOEIC Test Center Administrator

TOEIC exam test-takers must ask the right questions to the administrators of their desired TOEIC test centers.

Asking the right questions will give them all the necessary information before the actual TOEIC exam day.

Some of the questions that TOEIC exam test-takers must ask administrators include the following:

  • Are they still operating as a TOEIC test center?
  • How to register for a TOEIC exam?
  • How to pay for the TOEIC exam fee?
  • What documents to bring during TOEIC exam day?
  • Where the exam would be held?
  • How to get to the center by car or public transportation?
  • What is the approximate distance between the TOEIC test center and the TOEIC exam test-taker’s city?
  • What is the estimated travel time?
  • What time would the exam start?
  • When will the result be released?
  • What else should the TOEIC exam test-taker be reminded about before taking the exam?

Before and After TOEIC Exam

Taking a TOEIC exam may last for several hours.

Before taking the TOEIC exam, test-takers must:

  • be well –prepared for the test
  • take complete rest the night before TOEIC exam
  • eat a proper meal before TOEIC exam
  • wear comfortable clothes and bring jackets in case the temperature in the TOEIC exam room is high
  • bring accepted identification cards, usually government-issued identification cards like passport, driver’s license, social service card, or even professional license
  • bring photos, usually passport-sized photos

Double check all requirements for taking the exam before the actual examination day.

There are certain rules to follow on the actual TOEIC exam day.

Some of these rules include:

  • No bringing of any personal items into the TOEIC exam room.
  • Mobile phones, dictionaries, recorders, even pens, pencils, erasers and correction fluids are not allowed to be brought into the examination room.
  • Empty pockets before entering the room.
  • No talking and cheating while taking the test.
  • Smoking, eating, and drinking must be done outside the room.
  • If there are any questions, raise hands and wait for the TOEIC exam administrator to approach.
  • Questions about exam contents are not entertained.

Copyright © 2011 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved



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    • kerlynb profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @Hui Glad you found this hub useful :)

    • Hui (蕙) profile image

      Hui (蕙) 

      8 years ago

      Useful information. I used to take GRE and TOFLE. I know TOEIC, but I do not really know it is for business. Thanks.

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 

      8 years ago from home


      I have been told I'm a card and need to be dealt with..."

      Also scientists for years have been trying to classify exactly WHAT i am...

      I loved the hub - big fan --


    • kerlynb profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Philippines, Southeast Asia, Earth ^_^

      @tom hellert You cracked me up :-)) Thanks for dropping by. Yes, I think TOEIC isn't really big in your part of the world but it is in Asia, especially in the east side of the continent.

      BTW, read your profile. Very interesting. You said "i have seen ghosts, dead people , a couple UFOs..." Boy, you're something :)

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 

      8 years ago from home


      Wow I thought Toetic was an ancient Native indian group in South America... no wait those are Toltecs.....

      just kidding i actually read the hub to see what it seem to be an expert you must be a good teacher....good luck have fun on hubpages



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