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Should You Request a TOEFL Rescore?

Have you ever gotten a grade on a test or a mark on a school assignment that you thought was unfair? Well, sometimes that can happen on the TOEFL too. To help students who feel they should have gotten a better rating on their Speaking and Writing responses, ETS has a TOEFL rescoring service.

So what is rescoring, and how does it work?

If you’re not satisfied with your TOEFL score on Speaking or Writing, you can ask ETS to send your Speaking and Writing responses to different scorers. These will be people who weren’t involved in the scoring of your exam the first time around— people who can give you a fresh new score. That score will then become your official score.

There are some limitations. You must request a rescore within 30 days of taking the TOEFL. And if you’ve already had your scores sent out, you can’t request a rescore at all. And of course, there is a fee– $80 dollars for each section. This means that requesting a rescore for both Speaking and Writing on the same test costs about as much as registering for the test itself!

Sometimes, a rescore can be a great opportunity to easily boost your test score. But there are some risks. If you get an even lower grade on the rescore, that will become your official score. It’s also possible that you could be given the same score the second time, wasting time and money on your rescore request. So a rescore is a big decision. If you’re trying to decide on one, there are a few questions you should ask yourself.


Things to Consider Before Requesting a TOEFL Rescore

Do you feel pretty confident that you could boost your score by actually retaking the exam? If you think you could study more and do even better on a retake, you may want to retake the test instead. On a retake, you get a chance to improve your score in all four sections, not just the last two. On the other hand, if you don’t have time to study and take the test again, or if you’re sure that you studied well the first time, a rescore may be a good way to go.

You also want to ask yourself how sure you are that the TOEFL scorers really didn’t follow the rubric correctly. To figure this out, carefully look at the official rubrics for Speaking and Writing. Compare the score you got to the one you’d give yourself, based on the rubric. Consult with a tutor, professor, or classmate if possible— sometimes it’s hard to understand the rubric on your own. If you really do think you got the wrong score based on the rubric, a rescore is definitely something to consider.

Above all, be sure to consult ETS itself. You can read their info on TOEFL rescores here. Scroll down to the heading “How to Request a Score Review.”


43 Responses to Should You Request a TOEFL Rescore?

  1. Marcela August 22, 2015 at 10:58 pm #

    DO IT! If you’re sure you did better than previous times. Initially they gave me S23 and W23 and I asked for rescore it because I knew I did better. I got a huge boost (7 points) . I got 100 on the test (R23 L24 S26 W27)the scores I need it!!!! and they also refunded me the money!

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas Fink August 24, 2015 at 3:39 pm #

      Thank you for sharing, Marcela! That’s extremely interesting—I’ve never seen a student receive such a large boost from a rescore. Just be aware that not everybody would get so lucky. But your experience is definitely worth noting.

    • denis January 14, 2016 at 2:43 am #

      Hi Marcela,

      Did they send you an email when they rescore the test?
      Thank you

    • Phil March 15, 2016 at 11:59 am #

      Hi Marcela, just wanted to know if you took the the test in the US or in Europe, because I have heard that they are more severe in the US .

    • Sindhu November 12, 2016 at 9:34 am #

      Hi Marcella,

      I got my TOEFL score with r29, l28 , s22,w26 and total score is 105.
      Now I want go for rescoring so will it be workfull? If so , then what are the sections of I need to process? Please suggest me

      • David Recine
        David Recine November 13, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

        I’ll weight in too, if it’s OK with Marcella. 🙂 As Marcella said, a rescore is a good idea if you think that you may have been given a low score incorrectly. If you’re not sure the scorers actually made a mistake, a rescore may be less likely to help you. As for which section to submit for a rescore, I’d advise requesting just a Speaking rescore, if you only want to choose one of the two sections. You’ve got a lot more to potentially gain with Speaking, since your TOEFL Speaking score is pretty low. (Remember though, it’s also possible for your score to go down on a rescore!)

  2. armin August 19, 2016 at 11:23 pm #

    I took TOEFl exam for tree times and every time I got 21 for writing section!!! However, I think that I wrote every time better than before. Is it fair??should I request rescoring ??

    • David Recine
      David Recine August 22, 2016 at 10:20 am #

      Sorry to hear this is happening. It’s possible that a rescore could help int his case. If possible, though, you should show your samples of your TOEFL Writing to a tutor and get their thoughts on it. Once you’re sure your writing really is better than 21-point level writing, ask the TOEFL for a rescore, And hopefully that can improve your situation.

  3. Emre August 23, 2016 at 12:24 pm #


    I have 15 for speaking and I need at least 20 for speaking section for my university. Should I request a rescore for speaking??

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 24, 2016 at 10:36 am #

      Hi Emre,

      Good question! It is not likely to see a 5 point increase like you want, so you are better off devoting your time and money to preparing for a retake, in my opinion. I have never seen a rescore add more than 2-3 points maximum (though others may have). Ultimately, the decision is yours, still! Good luck. 🙂

  4. shahab August 25, 2016 at 9:50 pm #

    My score is 78 but I need 80 for my university
    These are my scores.I just need 2 more points.
    Should I ask for rescore?do I have any chance for 2 points increase?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 27, 2016 at 8:51 am #

      Hi Shahab,

      There is a chance you could gain 2 points, but there is also a chance you could lost points and get a lower score. And you have to pay no matter what, remember. You would be better off flexing your TOEFL muscles a bit more and studying for a retake. Ultimately, however, you can choose whatever makes the most sense for you, your budget, and your time constraints! Good luck, Shahab. 🙂

  5. Andreia September 7, 2016 at 4:23 pm #

    I got my TOEFL score online yesterday. My score was 95.
    I need 26 on speaking part. I requested the speaking review yesterday. I know I could get a better score. Do you know how long it takes to come up the review? The website says 3 weeks. Did anyone get earlier than that?

    • Akash September 15, 2016 at 7:09 am #

      Hello Andreia,
      Did you submit re-scoring request via online or by filling a hard copy form ?

    • Andreia October 3, 2016 at 9:56 am #

      I submitted by filling a hard copy form. It took exactly 3 weeks. The score remained the same.

      • Stella October 27, 2016 at 12:07 pm #

        After you submit the form by fax, how long did it take for you to receive the confirmation email or something others to inform you your request is in process?

  6. Raquel September 14, 2016 at 10:01 am #


    I got an overall score of 105. Reading 26, Listening 30, Speaking 23 and Writing 25.

    However, I need at least 24 in my speaking section. Do you guys think it is worth it to take the chance for a rescore? What are the chances of increasing to 24, or even to 26 on my speaking score?

    Thank you very much. Best regards.

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 15, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

      That’s a tough call. Before you make a decision, I suggest contacting your school and asking them if they might be willing to accept you. You have a good overall score and you are just one point to low on Speaking. Some universities are willing to be flexible in situations like this. If your school isn’t flexible about this and simply can’t accept you with a 23 in TOEFL Speaking, then a TOELF rescore might be a good idea. All you have to lose is time and money. If your rescore raises you by even one point, you can get into school. If yous core stays the same or goes down, you’ll need to retake the test. But if your school won’t be flexible, you’ll need to retake the exam anyway.

      When a TOEFL rescore does result in a higher score,t he score usually changes just a little, increasing or decreasing by a point or two, maybe by three points at most. So it’s certainly possible that you could go form a 23 to 24 after a rescore request. I can’t tell you exactly how likely it is that you’d get a 24, because the TOEFL doesn’t publish statistics on rescore results. But again, I can tell you that a 24 on rescore is definitely possible for you.

  7. sarbarz September 20, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

    I got an overall score of 99. Reading 24, Listening 27, Speaking 19 (fair-fair-limited) and Writing 29.

    However, I need at least 21 in my speaking section. Do you think it is worth it to take the chance for a rescore?
    I think that was because of speaking too fast and my accent.

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 23, 2016 at 10:56 am #

      If you’re pretty sure you earned that 10 because of overly fast speech and an overly-strong accent, your chances of getting two extra points on the rescore are probably low. At the same time, if you absolutely need a 21 and the only other alternative is to retake the exam, a rescore wouldn’t hurt your chances of being accepted. It takes about three weeks to get your rescore results. If you go for a rescore, it’s also a good idea to start studying for a retake during your three-week wait. That way if your rescore doesn’t get you the 21 you need, you’ll already be well on your way to a higher TOEFL score via retake. And if a TOEFL score review does boost your TOEFL Speaking score to 21, you can take a deep breath and stop studying.

  8. Beatrice September 29, 2016 at 3:55 am #

    Hi! I received my last TOEFL results last week. I had R27, L23, S24, W23, with a total of 97.
    I found myself a bit upset about the writing result, as in my lasts exams I obtained higher scores.

    I need to apply to an MFA and I need a 100.
    In June I received a 95 (R26,L21,S23,W25).

    I’m considering to ask for a re-score, do you think it’s worth it? May I have any chance to gain the 3 points I need to achieve 100?
    How are American Universities about the Toefl scores? Is there any chance to get accepted even without a 100?

    THANK YOU!!!

    • David Recine
      David Recine October 1, 2016 at 8:29 am #

      Hi Beatrice,

      That does sound frustrating, and it’s understandable that you’d feel upset and want a rescore. It’s definitely possible that you could gain 3 points to your overall TOEFL with a rescore of your Speaking and Writing. But it’s also possible that you could lose a few points, or have your score remain exactly the same.

      Some American grad programs are flexible about TOEFL scores, while others aren’t. MFA programs have a reputation for being flexible if you have a really strong portfolio or if the rest of your application is strong. But flexibility really varies from program to program. Contact your program and ask them if they’ll consider accepting you with a TOEFL score of 97. If they say there’s no chance, and you absolutely have your heart set on this particular program, then there’s no real risk in asking for a rescore. You may want to also try retaking the test too though, in case your rescore doesn’t boost you up to 100.

  9. Mehdi October 4, 2016 at 3:30 pm #

    My ibt scores are somehow wierd. in the reading listening and writing sections my score is higher than 25 but my speaking score is 17!! should i consider rescoring?

    • David Recine
      David Recine October 5, 2016 at 8:30 am #

      Actually, it’s pretty common for test-takers to score lower in one section compared to the others, since each section involves a different type of language skill. While a rescore may move your score a little, it’s likely that your TOEFL Speaking skills are simply at a different level than your other TOEFL skills.So a retake– after some additional TOEFL Speaking prep– is what I would recommend rather than a rescore.

  10. Harry October 15, 2016 at 7:35 am #

    Hi I gave my test in August 2016. I got 20 point in writing bt I need 21 . Others modules I got good , high, fair.can you suggest me should I apply for Re scoring?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 18, 2016 at 3:00 am #

      Hi Harry,

      It’s possible that a rescore could help int his case, but you should keep in mind that a rescore request does not always lead to a better score. If possible, though, as David has recommended to another student, you should show your samples of your TOEFL Writing to a tutor and get their thoughts on it first. Once you’re sure your writing really is better than 20-point level writing, ask the TOEFL for a rescore, and hopefully that can improve your situation. But keep in mind that it is not a guarantee and if you need a higher score still, you will have to retake the exam. Good luck! 🙂

  11. Raquel October 18, 2016 at 9:54 am #


    Hello David! Im here again, at the end of the day I decided to retake the toefl exam.

    I took the toefl exam for second time last october 08.

    As you know, in my first exam I got an overall score of 105 with R27/L30/S23/W25.

    In my second exam I got an overall score of 104 with R27/L28/S24/W25.

    I am really frustrated since I need an overall score of 100 but with at least 25 on each section of the toefl exam. Im struggling with the speaking section…

    What would you recommend me to do? Ask for a rescore of my speaking section of my second exam, in order to take the chance to go from 24 to 26? Or to present for third time the toefl exam?

    thank you very much!!

    • David Recine
      David Recine October 18, 2016 at 12:34 pm #

      Hello again Raquel,

      I’d say that at this point, it couldn’t hurt to go for a rescore, but it also might not help. Rescores, as I’ve mentioned before, aren’t guaranteed to improve your score.

      If you do apply for a rescore, you should also start studying to improve your Speaking, just in case the rescore doesn’t get you to a 25. You want to be ready for another retake if need be.

      As you continue to work on your TOEFL Speaking, you should get as much TOEFL Speaking feedback as you can. More than any other language skill, Speaking involves direct, live interactions with other people. Our blog has an article on several ways to get TOEFL Speaking feedback. You may even want to hire a tutor for at least a few sessions. If you go that route, TOEFL Speaking Teacher is one especially good source of online tutoring in this area.

    • Pate December 30, 2016 at 7:10 am #

      Did u rescore and get 26?

  12. Sahar October 26, 2016 at 5:12 am #

    Hi, My score was 28, 27, 18, 25 (98)

    Actually for the speaking section, and for the first two tasks it was said that my response was limited and for the other parts it was fair. but I am pretty sure that i did well on task 2. On task 1, however, i talked but i could not support my answer with good reasons. ( the question was: what would you do if you have a problem with your friend? and i said i would ask him/her that we talk about our opinions and see what is the result of what we think and for example if we disagree about which restaurant to go we can test where i think it is good and …) I thought the response was somehow irrelevant in the last part but does it really mean that i should get limited for both task 1 and 2? and do you think that i have a chance of getting a better grade by re-scoring ?

    • David Recine
      David Recine October 27, 2016 at 7:14 pm #

      OK, given your situations, here are the things you should consider in your decision to rescore or not rescore:

      If you’re right that you really did do well on Task 2, then a rescore might indeed boost your marks in Task 2. But an improved score on just one of the 6 tasks won’t make a very big difference on your score for the whole section. Your overall Speaking score might just raise by one point or perhaps two. There’s even a chance your score could stay the same, because on a rescore, you might get higher points in Task 2, but then get lower points in Task 1 or in a different task.

  13. sarah November 1, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    i got reading 23 listening 21 speaking 28 & writing 23 – i need 24 in my writing for pharmacy school will re scoring help me?

    • David Recine
      David Recine November 8, 2016 at 9:10 am #

      If your pharmacy school is really strict and absolutely needs a 24 in writing, then taking a rescore can’t hurt you. An increase of 1 point is guaranteed upon rescore, but it’s not uncommon to gain a point if you have your Writing score reviewed.

  14. segun November 4, 2016 at 1:30 am #

    Please advise, i wrote TOEFL exam two weeks ago and result came out yesterday.

    Reading 30
    Listening 29
    Speaking 29
    Writing 27
    Total 115 out of 120

    i need 30 in writing. I want to know if i can proceed with rescoring. i dont know if the 3marks will be added to the writing. however, am scared the mark dont drop below 27. Pls advise.

    • David Recine
      David Recine November 8, 2016 at 9:09 am #

      Hi Segun,

      I can tell you that a full three point increase in a TOEFL rescore is said to be VERY rare. You would indeed have a slightly better chance of seeing your TOEFL Writing score not change at all, or drop down to a 26. Requesting a rescore is probably pretty risky in your situation.

  15. Aramando November 12, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    Hi David,

    Hope you are well. Last November 4 I took my TOEFL exam for the third time in this year.

    My score was R28/L29/S27/W22 = 106.

    On previous occasions I was having trouble with my speaking score, luckily I was able to overcome it on my last exam. However, I am really shocked for my low grade in the writing section, on my two previous exams I got a score of 25 in this section.

    I really think there was a mistake with my score. So I am thinking about filling a review request with TOEFL…

    Do you think it is possible to raise my grade to 24 o even 25?

    Thank you!!!

    • David Recine
      David Recine November 13, 2016 at 5:01 pm #

      Sorry to hear you got such a surprisingly low TOEFL Writing score. That is pretty surprising and disappointing, after your earlier higher scores.

      I agree that you should consider a rescore. In my opinion, the very best time to request a rescore is when you got a surprisingly low score and think a scoring mistake might have been made. From everything I’ve heard, if a rescore does raise your score, it usually only boosts you by a point or two. So a 23 or 24 is possible, but not guaranteed. Going form a 22 to a 25 is less likely, but certainly not impossible, especially if there really was a mistake on your TOEFL Writing markup.

  16. Tanya November 12, 2016 at 7:42 pm #

    Hi can any one suggest me…

    I got my tofel score with. S22, l28, w26, r29 and total is 105 .
    I am trying for Australia PR . But this time I need s23 and above . So can I go for rescore process? Will it help for my score ??
    And how much they charge for single section?
    How many days to get my score?
    Please explain me clearly because this is for PR not for study..

    Thank you

    • David Recine
      David Recine November 13, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

      ETS is pretty secretive about its rescore ranges. But based on what I’ve heard from a lot of TOEFL test-takers, when a rescore does lead to a score change, the score usually changes by just a point or two. So if your rescore does result in a different score, you definitely could gain a point and go to S23. That’s not guaranteed, of course. You could also lose a point or two, or have your score stay the same.

      The actual cost of a single-section rescore is $80USD. Rescores take approximately three weeks. You can see all of the details on how to request a rescore on the official TOEFL scoring services page.

  17. Nelson Velazco December 12, 2016 at 2:29 am #

    I took toefl on May and got w19, I’ve just needed 21. I decided to retake the test. I took the test again last week and got w20 but I think that I did much better. I am considering to request the rescore. What do you think?

    • David Recine
      David Recine December 13, 2016 at 9:18 am #

      I think I would recommend a rescore in this case, if you’ve got the money and time. If you’re pretty sure you did better than 20 and all you need is one extra point to reach your requirements, a rescore might help. It sounds like it definitely couldn’t hurt.

  18. Darya December 29, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    Hi there
    I’m so down in the dump. Just got my TOEFL score and I think the writing part is unfair.
    I got :
    R 27
    L 26
    S 28 and
    R 21!!
    A teacher of mine insists on complaining to ETS and ask for re scoring. but I’m not sure.
    Please let me know what you think.
    Is there any tiny possibility if they even decrease my score? I don’t really want this!!!

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 29, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

      Hi Darya,

      I’m sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately, there is a possibility that your score can stay the same or decrease. Given that it’s a rescore, it will be new scorers who will review your Speaking and Writing sections, so the new score will be based upon their review. So, if you really believe that the present scorers did not properly follow the rubrics, then a rescore may be a good opportunity to easily increase your score. I would first check the rubrics in this blog post. However, if it’s likely that the scorers did follow the rubric, it may be better to retake the exam if you’re not satisfied with your results. Best of luck! 🙂

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