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How to Predict Your TOEFL Score: Reading

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 raw points in your practice section.

The TOEFL Reading Section has 3 passages with 10 questions each, for a total of 30 questions total. The first 9 questions are worth just one point. However, the 10th question in each of the three sets has more than one correct answer and is worth two points. (You get 1 point if you miss one of the answers, and 0 points if you miss more than one of the correct answers on this question type.) So there are 33 raw points- the points that get converted to your scaled section score– in a TOEFL Reading section.

So for step 1, we have have 33 points, 11 points per passage/question set. On to Step 2!

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Step 2: Count the number of points you earned.

Let’s imagine that you take a practice Reading section and miss four answers. Notice I said “answers,” not “questions.” Because remember, some of the quesitons (the final questions of each 10 question set) have more than one correct answer. In this scenario, we’ll say that you missed the answers to three regular one-point questions. That’s 3 points you haven’t earned. Then we’ll say you also missed one of the correct answers in a multiple answer 2-point question. That’s 1 point you lost, but you did earn the other point.

So you lost 4 raw points total. Subtract those 4 raw points from the TOEFL Reading section’s 33-point total. You have earned 29 points.

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

So you’ve earned 30 out of 33 points, for a raw score of 30 out of 33. That score could be expressed as 30/33, and that equation equals .91, rounded to the nearest tenth place decimal. Expressed as a percentage, that’s a score of 91%.

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 91% of 30 is. You can do this by multiplying 0.91 by 30. 0.91*30 = 27.3. Round this down to 27, 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 27.

Other factors to consider

Bear in mind that just one practice section isn’t enough to accurately measure your skills. Try a few more real, up-to-date practice sections (such as the free ones on the ETS website or the full tests from Magoosh TOEFL), and you’ll get a clearer idea of what your score might 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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