You're almost finished preparing for your applications to colleges in the US!

A man pointing and emphasizing the word,

You still have to take the TOEFL exam and meet the score requirements of your dream school.

Understand how the TOEFL exam is scored to assess your performance, study accordingly, and reach your goal score!

What is TOEFL?

TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is an English-language proficiency test developed by ETS (Educational Testing Service).

An increasing stack of books

It's often taken by non-native speakers as a requirement to apply to universities in English-speaking countries

TOEFL tests are scored on a scale of 0 to 120 points and are divided into four sections worth 30 points each: 

  • Reading (30-40 questions)

  • Listening (28-39 questions)

  • Speaking (4 tasks)

  • Writing (2 tasks)

Reading and Listening

The reading and listening sections both consist of questions that have an objective, correct answer.

A woman enthusiastically pointing toward something and saying

Flaticon Icon

Reading Section

The questions in the reading section usually fall under either of these formats:

  • Multiple-choice questions with 4 choices and 1 answer (1 point)

  • “Reading to learn” questions where you are tasked to sort the choices into a category table or summary (2-3 points)

For "reading to learn" questions, the number of points a question is worth will be written right after the question. Partial points are also offered.

Flaticon Icon

Listening Section

The questions in the listening section usually fall under one of these formats:

  • Multiple-choice questions with four choices and one answer (1 point)

  • Multiple-choice questions with more than one answer (1 point)

  • Questions where you are asked to order events or steps (1 point)

  • Questions where you are asked to categorize choices in a chart (1 point)

Unlike the reading section, all questions in the listening section are only worth one point.

Speaking and Writing

Test responses in the speaking and writing sections don't have a single, correct answer. They're scored by a combination of human raters and AI technology.

A printed essay by Wendy Testaburger, titled:

Flaticon Icon

Speaking Section

Each response is…

  • scored by 4 certified raters and the automated scoring system

  • rated on a scale of 0 to 4

Flaticon Icon Writing Section

Each response is…

  • scored by 2 certified raters and the automated scoring system

  • rated on a scale of 0 to 5

What your raw score means

At this point, you might have realized that the total points you can receive in each section (aka raw scores) don't perfectly add up to 30.

This is because raw scores must be converted to scaled scores between 1 and 30.

Celebrity Chef, Gordon Ramsay, screaming

Although the actual raw-to-scaled score conversion has not been disclosed by ETS, rough estimates can be made for the reading and listening section.

The score conversion table is based on the Official Guide to the TOEFL iBT Test, Sixth Edition:

Table that shows the raw score to scaled score conversions of the Reading section.

Table that shows the raw score to scaled score conversions of the Listening section.

These tables can also be accessed through this Google Doc.

Try it out yourself!

Flaticon Icon

Taylor is studying for the TOEFL test. He just finished calculating the raw scores from his practice test. This is what he got:

  • Reading: 25

  • Listening: 27

Quiz

Based on the table in the previous section, what is the total estimated range of his scaled scores?

Take Action

Knowing the scoring system of the TOEFL test is the first step toward getting a good score!

Two middle-aged men high-fiving each other while saying When you practice for the TOEFL test:

License:

Your feedback matters to us.

This Byte helped me better understand the topic.

I feel confident that I can apply what I learned.

I would recommend this Byte.

Connect with Rumie learners

Browse more content and join a supportive community!


- Discord Member

This Byte has been authored by

EI

Eunso Im

High School Student