One huge benefit of taking a TOEFL practice test is getting to see how close you are to meeting your score goals. But what happens when your practice test doesn’t give you the scaled, 0-30 score for each section? That’s where we come in! Here’s what you need to know about estimating your TOEFL score.
TOEFL Practice Tests Don’t Come with An Official Score Report
There are a few different good sources of TOEFL practice tests. You can get a total of 10 practice tests from ETS’s very own Official TOEFL iBT Tests Vol. 1 and Official TOEFL iBT Tests Vol. 2. These collections of mock TOEFL tests both have software that gives you a percentage score. The books also have printed answer keys so that you can calculate your raw points. Unfortunately, this two volume set doesn’t have any charts for estimating your actual scaled TOEFL scores.
Now, here’s some good news: the 2020 Official Guide for the TOEFL (6th Edition) does have score conversion charts. Not only that, but their score conversion tables have been updated for the current version of the TOEFL (post-2019!).
More good news: If you’ve already taken the practice tests in the Official Guide, try Magoosh’s free TOEFL Sample Test. Our premium TOEFL prep also offers practice tests and customized practice for you to take. (Try our one-week free trial to get a sense of how Magoosh TOEFL prep works.)
Estimating Your TOEFL Score for the Tests in The Official Guide to the TOEFL
The Official Guide to the TOEFL Test has a total of 4 practice tests. Each test in the book comes with a scoring guide to convert your score to the official 120-point scale.
Note that each test in the Official Guide to the TOEFL Test had its own score conversion charts. This is because the number of raw points varies slightly from test-to-test.
Estimating Your Scaled TOEFL Score on Other TOEFL Practice Tests
If you are using a test other than the four in the Official Guide, there are two ways to estimate your scaled TOEFL score.
One way to estimate your TOEFL score for non-OG practice tests is to use simple math. The percentage of answers you get correct in Reading and Listening can be converted into a percentage of 30. This works, of course, because each section of the TOEFL has a maximum of 30 scaled points.
If you can get your TOEFL Speaking and Writing practice tests scored, you can also convert those scores to percentages of 30. (See our post on the math of estimating TOEFL scores.)
This “math only” approach can be useful. But there is a disadvantage.This method doesn’t help you estimate the way that ETS may adjust your score. ETS always makes slight adjustments when they calculate your official score; it’s never as simple as a percentage-to-scaled-score conversion.
Calculating Adjusted TOEFL Scores Based on Percentage Correct
ETS is pretty secretive about how they adjust your scores. Still, the score conversion tables in the TOEFL OG do give some hints as to how scores are adjusted.
Here at Magoosh, we’ve looked carefully at the score conversion tables in the Official TOEFL Guide. Based on those tables, we’ve made a chart for converting your percentage score to your adjusted scaled score.
Now remember, each individual practice test should be scaled a little differently. Because of this, the conversion chart below isn’t perfect. But this chart should give you a rough idea of your scaled, adjusted TOEFL score score.
TOEFL Reading and TOEFL Listening Score Estimation Table
|Percentage of correct answers in TOEFL Reading or Listening||Approximate scaled score|
Like I said, this chart is only a general guideline for your TOEFL scores. 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 24, in the top half of the 66-75% range. My scaled Listening score would be a 22 or 23, closer to the bottom of its range on the chart.
Estimating Your TOEFL Writing Scores
For the Writing section, it gets a little fuzzier. Estimate your scores by comparing your essays to the examples given in the Official Guide, or to other scored examples from ETS. (Such as the ones in this practice set from the official TOEFL website.) Also carefully check the quality of your essays by consulting the official TOEFL Writing rubrics.
Note which characteristics mentioned by the raters are also found in your essays and give yourself a score. You will wind up with two numbers, one for each essay. Each number could be as high as 5. Add these together.
Once you have that number, you could just do the math. For example, if you think you have a 4 on the first Writing task and a 3 on TOEFL Writing Task 2, you could add them to get 7/10. This is 70%, and 70% of 30 is 21. So that could be your estimated score.
Again though, ETS gives some clues about additional adjustments to your score. Or rather, ETS gave some clues in the past, in the form of an official ETS document entitled “TOEFL iBT Scores.” This document is no longer publicly available, unfortunately. The good news is that my colleagues and I were able to get a copy of the document back when it was still up on the ETS website.
By carefully analyzing the “TOEFL iBT Scores” document, Magoosh has created and additional chart for estimating your scaled, adjusted score for TOEFL Writing. (Note also that Magoosh TOEFL susbscribers can receive actual scores on their practice TOEFL essays.)
Use the table 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):
TOEFL Writing Score Estimation Table
|Raw TOEFL Writing Score||Scaled TOEFL Writing Score|
Let’s look again at the TOEFL Writing score of 7 I referenced before. Once again, let’s say you give yourself a 4 on the independent task and a 3 on the integrated task. This total of 7 is a 21 if you just apply the percentage to the 30 point total. But your 7 may actually convert to an adjusted score of 22, based on ETS’s data and the table above.
Estimating Your TOEFL Speaking Scores
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 four Speaking tasks is worth a total of 4 points and show them the Speaking Scoring Rubric in the Official Guide. (If you don’t have the guide, the official TOEFL Speaking rubric is also available online.)
Once they’ve scored your responses, you can again simply apply percentages to the TOEFL Speaking section’s 30 point range. Or you can use Magoosh’s table below for estimating your TOEFL score, based on ETS’s Speaking conversion chart. (ETS’s original chart for Speaking scores was in the no-longer-available “TOEFL iBT Scores Document” I mentioned earlier, the one that was the basis for the Listening Score Estimation table above.)
Use the chart below to convert your TOEFL Speaking score to an adjusted scaled score:
TOEFL Speaking Score Estimation Table
|Raw TOEFL Speaking Score||Scaled TOEFL Speaking Score|
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:
|TOEFL Section||Raw Score||Adjusted Score|
|Writing||7 raw points||22|
|Speaking||13 raw points||24|
Don’t forget that although these estimation charts are useful tools, the scores they give you are not official. On the actual test, your final score will depend not only on percentages and conversion charts, but also on the relative difficulty of the particular test you took. There may be also be other reasons that ETS could adjust your score. (Like I said, ETS is a bit secretive about their process.)
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.
Another way to evaluate how ready you are to take the TOEFL is to sign up for Magoosh and take advantage of our customized practice sessions. The more practice that you do, and the more that you understand why you miss certain questions, the better you will perform on the TOEFL!