The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a standardized test that measures English language understanding at the university level. TOEFL scores demonstrate English abilities of non-native speakers. These scores give an edge to foreign college applicants wishing to study abroad in an English-speaking country. As of 2011, there are two TOEFL formats: paper-based format (TOEFL PBT), and the Internet-based format (TOEFL iBT). The scoring systems and sections are different, and the overall scores do not lend to easy comparison or conversion. Educational Testing Services (ETS) recommends that institutions evaluate individual skill section scores, rather than compare the overall score.


Refer to your TOEFL iBT score report. Locate the section labeled TOEFL Scaled Scores on the first page of your report. This box is located in the upper right side section, next to your biographical data. Each subset skill score (Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing) is based on a range from 0 to 30. The Total Score is the sum of all of your skill scores, and is based on a range from 0 to 120.

Compare your skill subset scores to the Score Legend located on the last page of your score report.

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Find your level of mastery in Reading Skills, Listening Skills, Speaking Skills, and Writing Skills, by placing your score within the ranges provided by ETS. Reading and Listening Skills scores fall into three ranks: High, Intermediate, and Low. However, Speaking and Writing Skills scores fall into four ranks: Good, Fair, Limited, and Weak.

Read through your entire score report. ETS provides notes on the general strengths and weaknesses of the average person scoring in your rank.

Evaluate your scores against the TOEFL cutoff score requirement of the school you wish to attend.


Refer to your TOEFL PBT score report. Locate the section on your score report that lists your scores for Listening Comprehension, Structure and Written Expression, Reading Comprehension and Test of Written English (TWE).

Locate your skill scores and convert your PBT scores into the iBT ranking by using ETS's score comparison tables. Use your iBT equivalent score to find out your approximate level of mastery in each of the Listening Comprehension, Structure and Written Expression, and Reading Comprehension skills.

Locate your score for the TOEFL TWE, and refer to the Writing Scoring Guide for more information on your demonstrated level of mastery. This score is not comparable to the iBT's writing score scale.

Evaluate your scores against your desired school's TOEFL cutoff score requirement .

About the Author

Korin Dayton started writing professionally in 2011. She has written on health, nutrition, fitness, fashion, traveling and emergency first-aid procedures for various websites. Dayton possesses a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from the University of Southern California and a Master of Arts in international relations with an emphasis on counseling skills from Oklahoma University.