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How to Predict Your TOEFL Score: Reading

Announcement! As of August 1, 2019, the TOEFL Reading, Listening and Speaking sections will be shortened. The TOEFL will also make changes to its prep materials and scoring system. Because of this, some of the info in our blog posts may not yet reflect the new exam format. We cover all the changes here.

Predicting your TOEFL score takes math. Today, we’ll go through the math for predicting your TOEFL Reading score.

predict TOEFL reading score

How to Predict your TOEFL Reading Score

Step 1: Count the total number of points in your practice section.

Typically, the TOEFL Reading Section has 3 passages 42 multiple choice questions. Most of these questions have just one answer and are worth one point. However, several of the multiple choice questions in a TOEFL Reading section have more than one correct answer. These questions are worth two points. If you get all of the answers right, you get the full two points. If you miss one answer, you get one point. If you miss more than one answer, you get no points.

Let’s do a point count with the full TOEFL Reading section that you can put together by combining the first two volumes of TOEFL Quick Prep. The first reading passage and question set are on pages 3-8 of Volume 1, and the second and third passages are in Volume 2, pages 4-14.

Volume 1 has 14 TOEFL Reading questions, and Volume 1 has 28 TOEFL Reading questions. So right there, we’ve got the standard 3 passages and 42 questions. In Quick Prep Volume 1, questions 13 and 14 have more than one answer and are worth 2 points each. In Volume 2, questions 13, 14, 27, and 28 are worth two points. So 6 of the 42 questions are worth two points each. The remaining 36 questions are worth one point each. 6*2 = 12. 12 + 36 = 48. That’s 48 points total. Now we can move on to the next step.

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Step 2: Count the number of points you earned.

For TOEFL Reading questions 1-12 in Quick Prep Volume 1, you earn 1 point for each answer you get right. The same is true for questions 1-12 and 15-26 in Quick Prep volume 2. Now, let’s say that you missed questions 4, 5, and 10 in Quick Prep Volume 1. And let’s imagine you also missed questions 3 and 20 in the second Quick Prep PDF. This means you’ve lost 5 points.

Next, we’ll imagine you answered questions 13 and 14 from Quick Prep Volume 1 perfectly. But you gave two wrong answers for question 14 in Quick Prep Volume 2. And you gave one wrong answer for question 27 in QP V2. All of these questions are worth two points. So you’ve lost two points on QP V2 Reading question 14, and one point for question 28. This is a total of 3 points lost from the multiple-point reading questions.

All in all, you’ve lost 8 points out of 48. Or to look at it another way, you’ve earned 40 points.

Step 3: Divide points earned by total possible points, get a percentage.

You earned 40 points out of a possible 48 points. Now divide 40 by 48, and you’ll get a percentage score for this full TOEFL Reading section. 40/48 = 0.83, rounded to the nearest decimal. Convert this to a percentage, and you have an 83% for the section.

Step 4: Convert your percentage to the 0-30 score range for TOEFL Reading

TOEFL Reading is scored on a 0-30 scale. To predict what your Reading score would be, based on the performance described above, you need to figure out what 83% of 30 is. You can do this by multiplying 0.83 by 30. 0.83*30 = 24.9. Round this up to 25, and that’s your TOEFL score for this Reading section. Assuming you’ll perform similarly on test day, you can predict that your TOEFL Reading score will be around 25.

Other factors to consider

Bear in mind that just one practice section isn’t enough to accurately measure your skills. Try several real practice sessions from ETS (either through Quick Prep or their other official materials) before you try to predict your score. The more practice scores you have, the more reliable your predictions will be.

Also remember that ETS makes small adjustments to your score based on the relative difficulties of different questions. So there’s no way to predict your TOEFL Reading score with 100% accuracy. But with a good amount of practice and the right math, you can make a pretty close prediction, and be confident in your performance on test day.

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2 Responses to How to Predict Your TOEFL Score: Reading

  1. Lingning Li July 29, 2019 at 8:04 pm #

    Is there a curve for the TOEFL?

    • David Recine
      David Recine August 9, 2019 at 10:57 am #

      There is a curve in a sense, but it’s not the same kind of grade curve you’d see in a high school or university class. Instead of curving whole test scores, the TOEFL curves individual questions. If the majority of test takers miss a certain question, for example, that question will be worth slightly more points on the final score, because it’s harder to get it correct. It’s also possible than an easier question might earn you fewer points. This kind of individual question “curve” has a fairly minor impact on final scores, though.

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