You're almost finished preparing for your applications to colleges in the US!
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).
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.
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.
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.
Each response is…
scored by 4 certified raters and the automated scoring system
rated on a scale of 0 to 4
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.
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:
Try it out yourself!
Taylor is studying for the TOEFL test. He just finished calculating the raw scores from his practice test. This is what he got:
Based on the table in the previous section, what is the total estimated range of his scaled scores?
Knowing the scoring system of the TOEFL test is the first step toward getting a good score!