01. Introduction
02. About the TOEIC Exam
03. Listening Section
04. Reading Section
05. Speaking TOEIC
06. Writing TOEIC
07. Test-taking Strategies
08. Practice Exams
09. Conclusion

2.03 Differences between the Listening and Reading sections

Differences Between the Listening and Reading Sections of the TOEIC Exam

Subtitle: A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Tackling the Two Components of the TOEIC Listening & Reading Test


The Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC) Listening & Reading Test is designed to assess non-native English speakers’ abilities to understand spoken and written English in professional contexts. The test consists of two distinct sections—listening and reading—which require different skills and strategies for success. This course offers an in-depth look at the differences between these two sections, providing valuable insights to help you effectively prepare for and excel in the TOEIC Listening & Reading Test.

Section 1: Overview of the Listening Section

1.1 Purpose of the Listening Section

The listening section of the TOEIC exam measures candidates’ abilities to understand spoken English in various settings, such as business meetings, telephone conversations, and public announcements. This section assesses listening comprehension, including the ability to identify main ideas, details, and inferences.

1.2 Structure of the Listening Section

The listening section consists of four parts, with a total of 100 questions:

  • Part 1: Photographs (6 questions)
  • Part 2: Question-Response (25 questions)
  • Part 3: Conversations (39 questions)
  • Part 4: Short Talks (30 questions)

Candidates have approximately 45 minutes to complete this section.

Section 2: Overview of the Reading Section

2.1 Purpose of the Reading Section

The reading section of the TOEIC exam evaluates candidates’ abilities to read and comprehend written English in a variety of formats, such as emails, reports, and articles. This section assesses reading comprehension skills, including understanding vocabulary, grammar, main ideas, and details.

2.2 Structure of the Reading Section

The reading section consists of three parts, with a total of 100 questions:

  • Part 5: Incomplete Sentences (30 questions)
  • Part 6: Text Completion (16 questions)
  • Part 7: Reading Comprehension (54 questions)

Candidates have 75 minutes to complete this section.

Section 3: Key Differences Between the Listening and Reading Sections

3.1 Skills Assessed

While both sections assess language comprehension, the listening section focuses on understanding spoken English, whereas the reading section evaluates the ability to comprehend written English.

3.2 Question Types

The listening section includes questions based on audio recordings, such as identifying information in conversations and short talks. The reading section, on the other hand, consists of questions that require candidates to complete sentences, fill in blanks within a text, and answer questions based on written passages.

3.3 Time Management

The listening section requires candidates to listen carefully to audio recordings and answer questions in real-time, making time management critical for success. In the reading section, candidates have more control over their pacing and can allocate time to each question as needed.

3.4 Strategies for Success

The listening section demands active listening skills, such as paying attention to context clues, tone of voice, and repetition. The reading section requires effective reading strategies, including skimming, scanning, and identifying keywords.

Section 4: Preparing for Both Sections

4.1 Developing Complementary Skills

To succeed in both the listening and reading sections, candidates should work on developing complementary language skills. Engage with a variety of English-language materials, such as podcasts, videos, articles, and books, to enhance listening and reading comprehension.

4.2 Practice Tests and Exercises

Regular practice with TOEIC-specific exercises and practice tests will help candidates become familiar with the question types and formats unique to each section. This practice will also help improve time management and test-taking strategies.

4.3 Review Vocabulary and Grammar

A strong foundation in English vocabulary and grammar is essential for success in both the listening and reading sections. Review common vocabulary, idiomatic expressions, and grammatical structures to improve your comprehension and ability to answer questions accurately.

4.4 Build Confidence

Confidence is crucial for success in both sections of the TOEIC exam. By practicing regularly and reviewing your progress, you can build confidence in your listening and reading skills, helping you perform better on test day.


Understanding the key differences between the listening and reading sections of the TOEIC Listening & Reading Test is vital for effective preparation and success on the exam. By familiarizing yourself with the unique challenges and requirements of each section, you can develop targeted strategies for improving your listening and reading comprehension skills. With diligent practice, a solid foundation in vocabulary and grammar, and a strong focus on time management and test-taking strategies, you will be well-prepared to excel in both the listening and reading sections of the TOEIC exam.