TOEFL Score Range: What Does It Mean For You?

Do you want to discover the meaning of your TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) scores? Or maybe you’re getting ready to take the exam but unsure what a “good” or “poor” TOEFL score is.


You’ve come to the proper site if you have questions concerning TOEFL results, no matter what they are!


The TOEFL is a crucial exam for your academic requirements, and knowing how the score is determined can make it easier for you to make plans. This tutorial will cover all you need to know about the TOEFL score range, how your actual or projected results compare to others, and how to create TOEFL score targets.


What Is the TOEFL Score Range?


Depending on the TOEFL type you take, there are several scoring scales. The paper-based exam (PBT) and the internet-based test are the two TOEFL variants now offered (iBT). Since its accounts for 97% of all TOEFL tests, this is the one you’ll probably take. Only when online testing is not accessible are PBTs administered.


(See our guide to TOEFL exam dates and test centers to determine whether your nation or testing facility offers the iBT or PBT.)


Let’s compare the TOEFL scoring systems as they vary for each exam.


iBT TOEFL Score Range


You’ll be able to see your score report online as a PDF around ten days after taking the iBT TOEFL. A tangible copy of your TOEFL score report will also be sent to you 3 to 6 weeks following the exam date.


The TOEFL score range is 0 to 120 for the whole exam and 0 to 30 for each part. But what does this mean?


On the iBT, a 0 is the lowest possible TOEFL score.


On the iBT, a 120 is the maximum TOEFL score possible.


While some schools will also consider your section scores, universities are most interested in your overall TOEFL score.


Your TOEFL score report will also include your section scores and overall TOEFL score. Each test’s four sections—reading, listening, speaking, and writing—are scored between zero and thirty points.


With a maximum TOEFL score of 30 + 30 + 30 = 120 points, your overall TOEFL score is the average of the results from the four sections.


PBT TOEFL Score Range


A score report for the paper-based exam is delivered three to six weeks after you take it. Your score report will show your overall TOEFL and specific component scores, much like the in.


On the PBT, the TOEFL score ranges from 310 to 677. This indicates that a 310 is the lowest TOEFL score obtained on the PBT. A 677 TOEFL score is the maximum possible on the PBT.


Similar to the iBT, schools prefer to give more weight to your overall TOEFL score. However, some may also consider your results for each component separately.


You will get a separate score for the three multiple-choice sections: listening, written expression, and reading. A written essay is also required, and you might get a minimum score of 0 or a maximum score of 6.


How Does TOEFL Scoring Work?


You will get what the test developers call a “raw” score based on the total number of questions you properly answer on each part of the TOEFL. A computer must transform a raw score into a “scaled” score since a raw score isn’t very meaningful on its own.


For each multiple-choice question you successfully respond to, you will get 1 to 3 raw points; however, you will lose points for any erroneous responses. If you need to know the right answer, feel free to guess, as there is no punishment for incorrect responses.


Due to these differences, the iBT and PBT have distinct raw scores, scaled scores, and score percentiles. So let’s examine each test individually.


Ultimately, your scaled score matters more than the precise number of questions you answered correctly or incorrectly.


TOEFL Score Range Percentiles


Consider your results in percentile rank if you need precise clarification on what your numbers signify. Percentile scores demonstrate how well you did on the exam compared to all other test-takers.


A score in the 40th percentile, for instance, indicates that you performed better than 40% of test-takers overall and worse than 60% of test-takers overall. Additionally, if you achieved a score in the 80th percentile, you outperformed 80% of test-takers.


Conversion Between iBT and PBT Scores


The test’s creators need to provide the PBT percentile rankings since so few individuals take the PBT. But do not worry! You can still determine your PBT percentile rank by using both the percentile data from the iBT percentile chart and the data from the iBT/PBT conversion score chart below. Look no further if you’re taking a PBT and want to know how to convert your iBT scores to PBT scores (or if you’re simply curious)!


Let’s go through an example of utilizing this chart to get your percentile rank if you had a PBT score of 570. A PBT score of 550 to 589 equals a 79 to 95 on the iBT, as shown by looking at where 570 falls on the iBT/PBT conversion table. Since 570 is at the lower end of the range, it would likely be between 83 and 85 on the iBT. An iBT with the 50th percentile of 84 falls squarely in the center of our range. Therefore, a PBT score of 570 represents around the 50th percentile.


What’s a Good TOEFL Score?


What constitutes a good TOEFL result is totally up to you and the reasons why you took the exam. The importance of your score depends on what you need it to do for you; TOEFL scoring and score rankings are largely arbitrary.


The 50th percentile of TOEFL scores, or 84 overall on the iBT and between 550 and 589 on the PBT, represents the typical score. The average/50th percentile score indicates that precisely half (50%) of all test-takers scored lower than an iBT score of 84, and half scored higher than an iBT score of 84.


A higher-than-average score often indicates that you did well on the test. Therefore, a decent TOEFL score may be above an iBT score of 84 or a PBT score of 570.


You may need more than a slightly above-average TOEFL score to get into the institution you desire since various colleges have varying requirements.


Most universities have a cutoff score you must achieve to be admitted to the program. This implies that a decent TOEFL score will depend on what you need; for example, if your school needs candidates to get an iBT TOEFL score of at least 80, then an iBT TOEFL score of 80 or 81 would be considered excellent. However, a decent TOEFL result for you would be over the 90th percentile if your chosen school needs candidates to achieve a total score of 110 on the iBT.


Many colleges need TOEFL scores of 580 or 600 on the PBT or 90 or 100 overall on the iBT for applicants. So an iBT score of at least 90 or a PBT score of at least 580 is typically regarded as a reasonably respectable score. However, once again, your “good” or “poor” score will rely on what you need your scores to do for you. A good score is the one that will get you into the particular school or schools of your choosing.


Be careful to pay attention to your reading, listening, speaking, and writing section scores as well as your overall TOEFL score since some institutions have minimal requirements for each area. Even if your overall TOEFL score is excellent, you should always verify your school’s criteria to ensure you satisfy minimal levels.


How to Set a TOEFL Score Goal


Although many schools do, not all have a minimum TOEFL score requirement. Always start by visiting the admissions website of the school(s) of your choosing. You may find information regarding their TOEFL test requirements under the “language requirement” and “foreign candidates” sections, including whether or not they need the TOEFL if they require a minimum TOEFL score, and what that minimal score is.


Entering “[school name] + admissions + TOEFL” can help you expedite the application process. (Note: You may need to specify “undergraduate” or “graduate” admissions in your search terms if this directs you to the incorrect admissions page.) This will take you straight to the section of their website where they talk about the TOEFL and provide all the relevant information on scoring.

Your TOEFL score objective should be whatever the minimum TOEFL score requirements are for your chosen school(s).


Don’t stress about achieving higher than the required TOEFL score for your institution. The TOEFL is only a method to show the admissions committee that you speak English well enough to enroll in an institution that offers English-language instruction. You don’t have to brag about your TOEFL results. A 90th+ percentile SAT/ACT score will have a far greater beneficial effect on your application than a 90th+ percentile TOEFL score.


Set your score objective to the highest minimum score on your school list if you’re applying to many colleges and they all have different minimum TOEFL requirements or if some of your schools don’t. By doing this, you will attempt to meet or beat each school’s minimum TOEFL score criteria.


TOEFL Score Range: What You Need to Know


You will be better prepared for the exam the more you are aware of the TOEFL. You will have a better understanding of where you are and be better able to direct your study efforts if you are aware of your prospective minimum and maximum TOEFL scores as well as what is generally regarded as a “good” or “poor” TOEFL score (or even potential test re-takes).


Always check the sorts of TOEFL total scores and minimum section scores needed for admission to the colleges of your choosing. With this information, you may set a score objective and organize your TOEFL preparation and college application processes. Happy learning!