The Scale According To Which TOEFL Scores Are Calculated

What is TOEFL Score Scale and How are the Scores Interpreted

A very important part in preparing for any test is to understand its marking scheme or its score scale. The score scale is different for the two formats of the test which are TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT. Before we discuss the score scale for the two formats, we must know that the scores are valid for only up to two years.


The score scale for the iBT format ranges from 0-120 with each of the four sub-sections i.e. Listening, Reading, Writing and Speaking having a score range of 0-30. There is a minimum score that is required by most universities, institutions and agencies. You can find out this minimum score by contacting the university/institution/agency or going on to their web page which would probably have the requisite information.

In the sub-sections, having a score of 0-14 implies a low grasp on that particular language skill. 15-21 means that you have skills equivalent to an intermediate user of English and 22-30 signify high understanding of English. There are six tasks in the Speaking section and all are scored from 0-4. The scores are then converted to a scale of 0-30. A similar process is applied to the Writing section which has two tasks, both scored from 0-5. The scores are again converted to a scale of 0-30.

Since this is an internet-based test, the Speaking and Writing sections are sent to ETS Online Scoring Network, also known as OSN. These sections are scored by both human examiners and automated scoring programs. All these examiners are certified by ETS and undergo rigorous training. Automated scoring programs are used to supplement human judgement by finding out whether the test responses are memorized responses which are just transferred from rote memory. This ensures the highest quality in test scores.

You will receive your test score via email within two weeks of giving the test. The score card will be delivered to you after 7-10 days of your receiving the emailed scores. Your scores will also be emailed to your specified institutions.


The score scale of the PBT format is quite different from that of the iBT format. In this format, the Listening Comprehension and Structure/Written Expression sections are scored on a scale of 31-68 while the Reading Comprehension section is scored on a scale of 31-67. The total score is scaled with scores ranging from 310-677. TWE or Test of Written English is scored separately on a scale of 0-6. Most reputed Universities require a minimum score of 4.5 to 5 in TWE. A score of 4 signifies only a minimum level of competence in written English. Anything above 4.5 is good with 6 signifying exceptional expertise when it comes to writing skills.

In Listening Comprehension, Reading Comprehension and Structure/Written Expression, a score of 31-48/49 signifies a very low grasp of that particular language skill. 50-56 would signify an intermediate level of skill in the English language while 57-67/68 signifies high scores that a good understanding of the language would bring.

You will receive your test results within five weeks of giving the exam. The scores will simultaneously be sent to the institutions you have elected to receive your scores. You can also receive your scores by phone a week earlier for a fee of $10. If you do not receive your results even after seven weeks have passed after you took the exam, you can contact TOEFL Services. Here is the link to find the contact information of the officials of your region -

Follow the link mentioned to find a complete comparison between scores of the two formats - Now that you are armed with an understanding of the scores you are sure to do much better on your test.