TOEIC Test Roadmap Towards Acing Your Exam

toeic test roadmap

So… What’s a TOEIC Test?

TOEIC is the abbreviated name for the Test of English for International Communication, it is a standard test that helps to determine someone’s proficiency of the English language. It is used by many companies, universities, or other organisations to see if your understanding of the English language is sufficient to be accepted. It covers listening, reading, speaking, and writing. It is likely you came here because you are required to take a TOEIC exam by an organisation. If so, you’re in the right place! This article will cover the full roadmap to learn for and ace your TOEIC exam!


How to Prepare TOEIC Test

Before you get started, it is recommended to reflect on why you are taking the TOEIC exam. This will determine the level of preparation needed to pass the TOEIC at the required level. Often, organisations will provide a required minimum score in order to be accepted. Keep this score in mind before starting to study and use it as a target when you start studying.

It is also important that you know when you should start to study. Starting too late is often a cause of failure with the TOEIC or similar exams (such as TOEFL or IELTS). If you already know that you are going to need a TOEIC exam, it is best to start preparing right away. But, you’re reading this article, so you’re clearly on the right track! How much time you need to study depends on the level of English proficiency you currently have, but generally studying for two hours per day for more than one month is a good starting point. Here’s a TOEIC Top Tip: always keep learning! Even outside of your study time, read English texts, listen to English news/tv, practice English speaking whenever possible!

It is most important to reflect which areas of English exams you struggle with the most. Determine which topic you will need to put most of your focus on; listening, reading, speaking, or writing. You should spend most of your time on the most difficult areas. Don’t neglect the other areas, though, make sure your skill on all areas improves.

The last step to take before you start studying, is figuring out what method you will use to study. You can take in-person or online courses, or study by yourself using study materials such as books or online guides. This comes down to personal preference, and what you think your best method of learning is. If it is difficult to do self-study and you need supervision, it is recommended to take a course to study for the TOEIC. If your available time is less flexible, it might be best to learn through self-study. Either way, try to make a weekly planning on how much and when you will spend time studying for the TOEIC.


In short:

  • Figure out your target score
  • Start studying on time (two hours per day for more than one month)
  • Know the most important areas
  • Make a (weekly) study plan


Studying for your TOEIC Exam

Once you have chosen your preferred method of study, be sure to divide the work equally and stick to your planning as much as possible. It is wise to focus yourself on one topic per day, such as spending Day 1 on listening, Day 2 on reading, etc. This will allow you to fully understand each topic more deeply, and not just on a surface level. Make sure you spend enough time studying each section of the test until you fully understand it. If you have a section you are very good at, spend less time on that section.

Although it is not a specific section on the test, training your vocabulary is very important! Your vocabulary contains all the words of which you know the meaning. Try to learn new words every day, and look up words you don’t fully understand. Keep track of the new words you have learned by putting them in a list in a separate notebook.

It is also important to re-evaluate the areas with which you struggle the most. Before studying, we recommended that you reflect on which areas you think are the most difficult sections of the exam. If during your study you find there is a section that was more difficult than you expected, start spending more time on that section.

Finally, it is wise to rehearse regularly. Take the time, perhaps at the end of every week, to practice each section of the exam with a practice exam. Practice exams can be found online on the official TOEIC website or may be included in your study material.


In short:

  • Understand each section deeply, not just on a surface level
  • Continually improve your vocabulary, and keep track of new words
  • Divide your work equally based on difficulty. Re-evaluate if necessary
  • Rehearse regularly using practice exams


Taking the TOEIC Exam

Knowing how to take the TOEIC exam is equally as important as having a good understanding of the study material. It is a crucial step to make sure you prepare for the exam itself sufficiently. It is important to know how each section of the exam works and to be able to follow the directions on the exam. The Listening and Reading sections typically take 45 minutes and 75 minutes to complete respectively. Each section contains 100 questions. For the Speaking and Writing sections, you will need approximately 20 minutes and 60 minutes respectively. For more information about the TOEIC test format, refer to the official website for TOEIC exams.

In order to take the exam, you will need to bring a few items with you. If you do not bring these items, you may not be able to take the exam. To be allowed to take the TOEIC exam, you will need to be able to show a valid identification document, such as a passport, driving license, or ID card. The card must contain your personal information and a picture, and must be officially recognised by the government and not expired (credit cards or student cards are not sufficient). Also make sure you bring a standard pencil to the exam. Pens are not recommended and sometimes not allowed. Also make sure to bring an eraser, so you can change your answers if you need to. Bringing an extra pencil with you is also recommended. Be aware that test centres may not be able to provide you with pencils or erasers at the exam!

Equally as important as knowing what you should take with you to the TOEIC exam, is knowing what you should not bring with you in the exam centre. Personal items such as bags or purses need to be left outside the exam room. Electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers, and also smartwatches or calculator watches are not allowed to be used during the exam. Also bringing a regular calculator might get you in trouble (you won’t need it anyway). Devices capable of recording, such as (photo or video) cameras or microphones are also not allowed in the testing centre. Note: books and dictionaries are also forbidden. An important new rule as of June 2019 for the TOEIC Speaking and Writing tests is that taking notes is allowed during these sections, using materials provided by the exam centre.

After you have completed the exam, you will typically receive your results within 3 to 4 weeks. Make sure that you schedule your TOEIC exam with enough time until you need to be able to present your exam results. In case it takes longer than 35 days for you to receive your results, be sure to contact the exam centre no later than 65 days after you have completed the test. The TOEIC exam results are rated at a total point score, not a pass or fail. Your TOEIC certificate will indicate this score.


In short:

  • Understand the exam format
  • Bring the right items to the exam
  • Make sure not to take forbidden items to the exam
  • Make sure you receive your results on time, take action in case you don’t


Remember, the TOEIC exam is not about pass or fail. It only shows a point score that reflects your English language proficiency. You can always take a new TOEIC exam if you need to. Good luck!

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