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Estimating Your TOEFL Score

Practice Tests Don’t Come with An Official Score Report …

The Official Guide has a total of 3 practice tests: the three in the book are the same as the three on the accompanying CD. The tests that are printed in the book come with scoring guides to convert your score to the official 120-point scale, but on the CD-ROM you will only receive a percentage score and, in the case of open-ended questions (like the Writing section), sample answers and raters’ comments on them. If you took the test using the CD, simply use the scoring guides in the book to find your rough scaled TOEFL score (from 0 to 120).

Scoring the Listening and Reading sections is easy: simply look your raw points from each section then convert those numbers to the 30-point scale as follows using the charts in the answer sections of the book.

If you are using a test other than the three in the official guide, such as one from the book of five official practice tests, then you can use these percentages as a rough estimate of scores. Because each test should be scaled a little differently—every test is unique—the below conversion is not perfect, but it can give a rough idea.

Calculating TOEFL Scores Based on Percentage Correct

Percentage Approximate Score
90-100 26-30
80-89 22-25
70-79 17-21
60-69 14-16
50-59 9-13
40-49 7-8
30-39 4-6
20-29 2-4
15-20 1
Below 15 0


This chart is only a guideline for your TOEFL scores, so if your percentage is in the middle of its class, just estimate the scaled score. For example, let’s say that I scored a 72% on Reading and 68% on Listening. My scaled Reading score would be about 18, and my scaled Listening score would be a 15 or 16.

Online TOEFL Preparation

For the Writing section, it gets a little fuzzier. Estimate your scores by comparing your essays to the examples given on the CD and noting what characteristics mentioned by the raters are also found in your essays. You will wind up with two numbers, each of which could be as high as 5.  Add these together. Use the chart below to convert your score to the necessary 30-point scale (note that you will only get a score ending in .5 if you have two graders read your essays):

Raw Score Score out of 30
0 0
.5 4
1 5
1.5 7
2 8
2.5 10
3 11
3.5 12
4 14
4.5 15
5 17
5.5 18
6 20
6.5 21
7 22
7.5 24
8 25
8.5 27
9 28
9.5 29
10 30


Again continuing with my example, let’s say that I gave myself a 4 on the independent task and a 3 on the integrated task. Added together, this is 7, so my writing score would be a 22.

The process for the Speaking section is similar to the Writing section; the only problem is that it’s harder to score yourself on speaking (this shouldn’t stop you from recording and critiquing your responses, though). If you know someone who can rate your speaking responses for you, then tell them that each of the six speaking tasks is worth a total of 4 points and show them the Speaking Scoring Rubric on pages 188-191 of the Official Guide. Once they’ve scored your responses, you can use the chart below to convert that score to the 30-point scale

Raw Score Score out of 30
0 0
1 1
2 3
3 4
4 5
5 6
6 8
7 9
8 10
9 11
10 13
11 14
12 15
13 17
14 18
15 19
16 20
17 22
18 23
19 24
20 26
21 27
22 28
23 29
24 30

If you can’t get your speaking responses rated, then, as in the Listening section, use the sample answers and commentary provided in the section review to estimate your score.

If I continue my sample scores, I get the following results:

My TOEFL Score, Estimated

Reading 72 18
Listening 68 16
Writing 7 22
Speaking 19 24


Don’t forget that although this estimation method is a useful tool, the score it gives you is not official. On the actual test, your final score will depend not only on the percentage of correct answers you give, but also on the relative difficulty of the particular test you took. So calculate your practice test scores and use them to measure your progress and preparedness, but don’t be surprised if your official score is a slightly different number. Hopefully this will point you in the right direction, and ultimately keep you from needing to retake the TOEFL because you didn’t estimate correctly.

The score conversion charts used in this blog come from a longer article on estimating scores to practice tests from The Michigan Guide to Teaching EAP Skills. Although the charts are virtually identical, the way that you will use them to score the practice tests from the Official Guide CD is slightly different from the way they are used in the original article. If you want to know more about their use in the Michigan Guide, click the link above to reach the original publication.


27 Responses to Estimating Your TOEFL Score

  1. shobhit January 14, 2015 at 11:03 pm #

    I have given one listening test from TOEFL official guide and i scored 24/33 points. Can you please tell me what is my score out of 30

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas January 16, 2015 at 4:47 pm #

      There’s a conversion table in the “answers” section of each test in the official guide. 🙂 Just go to that section and it will tell you!

  2. Anuj Joshi March 7, 2015 at 10:56 pm #

    I just gave my TOEFL exam yesterday. What my problem is my speaking section didn’t gone well. At 1st section of question it went worst due to some disturbance and second as well but from the 3rd question it slightly pickup the pace and I thought I spoke and response good than before. So, how does speaking marking goes? Out of 6 my 2 Question response went bad. I am feeling really worried about this. Although, my reading, listening, and writing section went well but speaking is doubtful.

  3. Said Omer May 11, 2015 at 12:23 am #

    I took the exam two days ago and made a big mistake in the writing section. I read the instructions and it said to write an essay with this many words, but I foolishly wrote a paragraph for the essay sections, both of them. The paragraphs were good though. Now I am worried that I did not write a five paragraph essay. What could my essay writing score be? I am really worried about this. I did fine on the rest of the sections though.

  4. David Recine
    David Recine May 15, 2015 at 5:45 pm #

    That’s a very good question, Said.

    If your paragraphs were as long and complete as the average 3-4 paragraph TOEFL essay, you may only lose a few points for organization. If the paragraphs are shorter— more like normal-length paragraphs in an academic essay, it’s likely you’ll also lose points for not having a fully developed argument. If you haven’t done this already, I would look at the official TOEFL Writing rubrics:

    Think about what you wrote, and how it might measure up to the ETS scoring guides. But try not to stress out too much. The truth is that you won’t know your score for sure until you actually get it.

  5. jaque July 29, 2015 at 11:50 pm #

    I’ve some doubts about pointing scale. Because, according to the scale, if I have % 50 achievement rate from Reading Section, I get 9 points. I think it is really unlogically pointing system. So are you sure that your tables are correct? I hope if I do %50, I get 15 out of 30.

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas Fink August 3, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

      You’re right that TOEFL grading isn’t very intuitive. But the short answer is no, 50% correct doesn’t give you 15 out of 30. There are a couple reasons for that. First, if you choose randomly, you will on average get the correct answer 25% of the time. But random guessing should not give you points. So 25% correct should be much lower, near zero.

      Secondly, the TOEFL is a standardized test. That means many different version of the TOEFL have to get the same scoring. So the truth is, every test converts to the 1-30 scale differently. No single table of percentage correct and score will be accurate for every version of the TOEFL, because there are some small differences in difficulty between different tests.

      So no, the table is not perfect, but it is much closer to the truth than simply converting 50% to 15/30. I hope that makes some sense!

  6. MM91 January 29, 2016 at 7:42 pm #

    Dear Lucas,

    i am really desperate because the school i applied to requires minimum 100 toefl score.
    I took the first test and got R:25, L:26, S:23, W:24, total: 97. I took the second test a moth after and got R:25, L:24, S:20, W:27. Do you have any idea how the admission evaluate my score? Would it be possible for the admission to consider my highest score each section? R:25 L:26 S:23 W:27, so my total score will be 101? I sent both of my toefl scores though..

    • David Recine
      David Recine February 2, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

      That does sound like a tricky (and frustrating!) situation. In unusual cases like this, some university admissions departments/programs are willing to bend the rules, and others aren’t. The best you can do is check with your prospective university and see what they say. It certainly doesn’t hurt to ask.

  7. Luniva Karanjit February 13, 2016 at 1:46 am #

    My score is low in toefl ibt. I got only 56 out of total. The universities I applied required minimum score of 61. Can I apply for any other universities with this score?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 1, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

      There definitely are some universities who will accept you with that TOEFL score. Generally, though, acceptance of students with lower scores will be conditional acceptance. This means you’ll likely be asked to take additional English classes before you begin your regular degree courses.

  8. Winn May 8, 2016 at 5:25 pm #

    I took my Toefl yesterday,I made a terrible mistake by spending more times on some questions on the reading section,so I had to rush because the timer was going quickly and I lost my focus and just pick the answers without analyzing them.And also on the listening section I couldn’t concentrate myself to listen the lectures so I had to guess some answers.But I did very well on the speaking and the writing section.I need a score of 76.Do you think I can score it that way?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 9, 2016 at 11:08 am #

      Congratulations on doing so well on Speaking and Writing— but sorry to hear that the Reading and Listening sections of your exam didn’t go so well. My answer to your question, Winn, would be “maybe.” I have certainly seen test takers get in the high 70s or low 80s with poor Reading/Listening scores, based on the strength of their Writing and Speaking sections. It all depends on exactly what your scores were in TOEFL Reading and Listening. Good luck!

    • Marina May 17, 2016 at 11:25 am #

      Hi Winn! I have alson took the test on may 7th. Have you already received your score?

  9. Andrés June 20, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

    I scored 26 in writing. How is that possible? according to the chart you can’t get a 26. Has that rubric table conversion changed?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 21, 2016 at 4:10 am #

      Hi Andrés,

      Firstly, awesome job! That’s a great score for the writing section 🙂 To answer your question, it is possible to score 26 on the writing section. The charts on this blog are here to help you estimate your score and help you understand how the raw and scaled score. However, this can vary slightly from the actual scaling system used by ETS. Sorry for any confusion this caused!

      • Andrés June 21, 2016 at 8:57 am #

        Thanks for your help. Unfortunately I need 27…

  10. elvis June 25, 2016 at 10:01 am #

    hey I took my test today and the reading section was the problem I manage to answer the first two passages to my own understanding but the last passage I missed the last four questions but I did the listening writing and the speaking section I need a score of 80 pls do comment on this

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 29, 2016 at 8:43 pm #

      Ouch! The last four questions include the two “Reading to Learn” questions at the end, which have more than one correct answer and are worth more points. Still, to get a 20 in TOEFL Reading (1/4 of the 80 you need for this 4-section exam), you only need to get around 67% of the answers right for the Reading section as a whole. So if you did reasonably well on the other Reading questions, you might still get that 20.

      Even if your reading score is a little below a 20, I’d say you still have a chance at getting an 80 if you got higher than 20 in the other sections of the exam. You’ll have to wait until you get your score reports before you can be certain, though.

  11. Deepika July 7, 2016 at 2:18 am #


    I am going to give mt TOEFL on July 9th. I have been practicing the 5 official toefl tests and i reckon that the key provided by them is incorrect at few places.

    Can you tell whether the answers given are correct which will help me identify my mistakes?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 7, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

      I’ve used both of the five-test books extensively (Official TOEFL iBT Tests Volumes 1 and 2), and I can definitely tell you that the answer keys are correct. In fact, you can always trust any answer keys that come form official, ETS-sponsored TOEFL sources. So if the answers seem to be wrong, really double check the answers in the key, and analyze why the TOEFL identifies them as correct. This can help you understand the test more deeply and refine your test strategies.

  12. Aseem July 10, 2016 at 8:46 pm #


    I am preparing for Toefl iBT and have around 3 more weeks to prepare. I need high marks (equivalent to band 8 of IELTS). I am finding reading and listening a bit tough (need 29 and 28 points respectively). Can you please suggest how can I improve reading and listening in next three weeks.


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 12, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

      How you improve Reading and Listening depends a lot on your current ability in those sections. But I can give you some general rules. For one thing, it’s always a good idea to study multiple choice test strategy— these kinds of strategies can really boost your score. And test strategy can be learned quickly, which is great since you have just three weeks left.

      For both of these sections, you’ll also want to study vocabulary (especially for Reading!) and learn how to understand vocabulary in context, so that you can make good guesses at the meanings of unfamiliar words in the passage and on the audio. Be sure also to understand how English intonation works, so that you can recognize important “content words” when you hear them.

  13. Estefi July 23, 2016 at 11:42 am #

    I took the TOEFL IBT yesterday and the reading was too long, I don’t remember how many questions but they were 56 more or less…. I didn’t have time to complete the last 3 questions, and in some of them I needed to guess….

    The problem is…. how can I calculate my reading score, if for example I got 45 ot of 56? I understand that the maximum score is 30 in each section…..

    Thank you

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 24, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

      Ah, math! Basically, you solve this by calculating the percent of questions you got right, and then applying that percentage to 30. In your case, 46/56 = 0.82, or 82%. 82% of 30 is 24.6, which would round up to a 25. There is also an additional complication to calculating your score in your situation, unfortunately. If you got 56 questions, that almost certainly means you got an extra-long experimental section of Reading, with four passages and four question sets, instead of the standard 3. This means one of the reading passages/question sets is experimental, and will not count toward your score. Which one? There’s no way of knowing, sadly.

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