This is my second post on the math behind how to predict your TOEFL score. Today, we’ll look at how to calculate your TOEFL Listening score. (Last time, we looked at how to predict your TOEFL Reading score.)
By carefully measuring your TOEFL Listening performance on practice questions, you can predict the score you might get in Listening on test day. Here is a step-by-step guide to the math of TOEFL Listening score prediction.
How to Predict your TOEFL score in Listening: A Step-by-Step Guide
Step 1: Count the total number of points in your practice section.
A full TOEFL Listening section has two conversations about school life and three class lectures. The lectures can either be monologues where only the professor speaks, or discussions, where students occasionally interrupt the lecture to ask questions. Typically, there will be at least one monolgue and one discussion on the TOEFL Listneing seciton. All of the questions that follow a TOEFL Listening track are multiple choice. The majority of these multiple choice questions have just one correct answer and are worth just 1 point.
However, TOEFL Listening always have a few questions where you choose more than one answer. If a question has just two correct answers, it will still be worth one point. If a question has more than two correct answers, it’s worth two points; here, you’ll get 1 point if you miss one of the answers, and 0 points if you miss more than one answer. That said, these 2 point questions were never all that common, and have been rare and almost non-existent on the TOEFL since the 2019 format changes to the test.
So to calculate the total points in a practice section of TOEFL Listening, you need to look at both the number of questions and the type of questions. In a typical TOEFL Listening section, the 28 scored questions are one point apiece, although it’s possible, if rare, to see a 29 or 30 point section, with a mutliple-point question or two.
Step 2: Count the number of raw points you earned.
For the sake of this exercise, we’re going to assume you’lve taken a TOEFL Listening practice section with no multiple answer questions, since that really is the most likely scenario on test day. Let’s say that you miss three of the tenty-eight questions. Subtract those 3 raw points from your total of 28. (Raw points are the point values of the questions, which are converted to your scaked score of 30.) You have earned 25 points!
Step 3: Divide points earned by total possible points, get a percentage.
So your score is 25/28. This ratio can be turned into a fraction. 25/28 = .89, rounded to the nearest 10th. That’s a score of 89%
Step 4: Convert your percentage to the 0-30 score range for TOEFL Listening.
The score range for TOEFL Listening is 0-30. You can estimate your scaled TOEFL score by converting your percentage score to the 30 point scale. In this case, we calculate 89% of 30. You can do this by multiplying 30 by 0.89. 0.89*30 = 26.7. This rounds up to a TOEFL Listening score of 27. Based on this performance in a TOEFL Listening practice section, you could predict that if you took the test tomorrow, you’d get a score of 27 in Listening.
Other factors to consider
Remember that you’ll need to go through several practice TOEFL Listening sections to get an accurate prediction of your TOEFL score (as Kate mentions in her earlier post on predicting your TOEFL score). Also bear in mind that ETS adjusts scores slightly on Writing Tasks that are harder-than-average. So there’s a chance your score could be a few points different than your calculated prediction.