Understanding Your TOEFL Score: Result, How to Check, Validity & More


Table of contents


Picture of Shireen Parhee

Shireen Parhee

Lead, Content Marketing

The TOEFL exam tests your English skills. It is a key step if you want to study at a university abroad. Your TOEFL score shows how well you understand and use English at a university level. 


Every month, thousands of students take the TOEFL exam, hoping that a good TOEFL score will open doors to exciting opportunities.


But what exactly is the TOEFL Test, and how do you understand your score? This guide will help you know everything about TOEFL score validity, TOEFL score tables, and what is a good TOEFL score


Whether you’re aiming for the TOEFL highest score or wondering about the TOEFL minimum score, we’ve got you covered. 


So, without any further ado, let us get right into it.

What is the TOEFL Exam?

TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. It measures your ability to use English in a university setting. Universities around the world accept TOEFL scores as proof of your English skills. This is especially important for Indian students to prove they have the skills to communicate in academic English. 


The TOEFL iBT (internet-based test) is the most common type of TOEFL. It has four sections:


  1. Reading: Understand academic passages.


  1. Listening: Follow lectures and conversations.


  1. Speaking: Express yourself clearly on familiar topics.


  1. Writing: Write essays based on reading and listening material.


Each section of the test has a score range, and the total score is the sum of these.


In total, the TOEFL test takes about three hours to complete. 


You can take it multiple times a year, with no limit on the number of attempts. 


Note: you can take the test as many times as you like, but not more than once in 3 days.  


Moreover, your TOEFL score is valid for two years. In India, the test fee is approximately ₹16,900. This means if you take the test today, your score will be good for applying to schools and jobs until 2 years from now.


A good TOEFL score is often a requirement for admission to universities in English-speaking countries. For example, all US, UK, Canadian, Irish, and Australian universities request an IELTS or TOEFL score for admission.  It demonstrates that you are ready for an academic environment where English is the main language.


Now, let us understand how your TOEFL score is broken down.

TOEFL Exams Scoring in 2024 (Section-wise)


Summary: The highest TOEFL score is 120. There are four sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing, in that order. Each of those sections is marked out of 30. Now, let us get into more detail.


# Section Skills Tested Range Additional Information
1 Reading Understanding written English 0 — 30 Academic texts similar to college materials.
2 Listening Understanding spoken English 0 — 30 Includes lectures and conversations.
3 Speaking Communication effectiveness in English 0 — 30 Mimics real-life interactions.
4 Writing Writing in English in an academic setting 0 — 30 Includes integrated and independent tasks. Integrated = based on the earlier sections of that very exam.


The TOEFL iBT scores each of its four sections on a TOEFL score range from 0 to 30. These scores combine for a total TOEFL score ranging from 0 to 120. Let’s break down what you can expect in each section.

  • Reading

Tasks: Read 3-4 academic passages and answer questions.


In the reading section, you’re tested on how well you understand written English. This includes grasping the main idea and details and making inferences. The TOEFL score table for reading assesses your ability to understand texts. 


They are similar to what you might encounter in an academic environment. More often than not, you will be reading actual academic papers or college lecture transcripts. Scores range from 0 to 30. To help you out, ETS (the ones who make the TOEFL exam) have published a list of sample reading questions.


  • Listening

Tasks: Listen to lectures, classroom discussions, and conversations. Then, answer questions.


This part evaluates your ability to understand spoken English as it’s used in colleges and universities. You’ll listen to lectures or conversations and then answer questions. Like reading, the TOEFL score range here is also 0 to 30. 


Listening skills are crucial, as they reflect real-world academic listening situations. 


Note: the audio that is played for you may not be at an equal volume throughout, to simulate real-life situations. To help you out, ETS has published a list of sample listening questions.


  • Speaking

Tasks: Express an opinion on a topic and respond to spoken and written material.


The speaking section is where many test-takers feel the pressure. But don’t worry. You’re scored on how effectively you can communicate in English. There are tasks that mimic real-life interactions and academic classroom discussions. Your responses are scored by certified raters, contributing to a TOEFL total score for speaking, again out of 30. 


Remember, you are not being tested on your ability to captivate the audience. You are being tested on being able to convey your thoughts properly. This distinction is one that many test takers fail to make. 


In their quest to use fancy words and impress the examiner, they fail to make their point clearly enough. Remember, when in doubt, simple language is better. To help you out, ETS has published a list of sample speaking questions.


  • Writing

Tasks: Write essays based on reading and listening material, and support your opinion in writing.


Writing measures your ability to write in English in an academic setting. You’ll perform two tasks. The first would be integrating reading and listening tasks into a written response. 


The second would be writing an essay expressing your opinion on a topic. Each task is judged based on quality and clarity, with a total possible TOEFL score range of 0 to 30. To help you out, ETS has published a list of sample writing questions.


Now, what does your total TOEFL score mean? Each section score is combined to give a total TOEFL score out of 120.


For example, if your section scores are:


  1. Reading: 22


  1. Listening: 25


  1. Speaking: 23


  1. Writing: 24


Your total TOEFL score would be 22+25+23+24 = 94.


The scoring is updated yearly based on test analysis. But you can expect a similar TOEFL score range in 2024.


The TOEFL score chart is designed to give a comprehensive view of your English proficiency. Every section is scored separately, and these section scores are then added to give a total TOEFL score. The highest score you can achieve is 120, the sum of the scores from all four sections.


Your TOEFL score report will show your individual section scores as well as your total score. This report helps you understand your strengths and areas for improvement.


Validity of the TOEFL score

Your TOEFL score is important, but it doesn’t last forever. TOEFL score validity lasts for two years after your test date. This means universities will usually only accept scores within this period.


Plan your test date carefully. Make sure your scores will still be valid when you apply to universities. You can check your TOEFL score range on the ETS website to ensure you’re on track. 


Knowing how long your score lasts helps you decide when to take the test. For example, say you’re applying to a university with a deadline in November 2024. In this case, your test score should be from November 2022 or later to be considered valid. Make sure to also keep in mind how long a TOEFL score takes to reach you, as this can affect your application timelines.


If your TOEFL score expires, you need to retake the exam. This is why factoring in TOEFL score validity is important when creating your study abroad timeline.


How to check your TOEFL scores?

You don’t have to wait too long to find your TOEFL score. Scores are typically available in your ETS account 6 days after your test. You’ll get an email letting you know when they’re ready. ETS also offers MyBest® scores. 


This feature combines your highest section scores from all your test attempts within the last 2 years, showcasing your best overall performance. It’s a great way to meet the score requirements of institutions with fewer tests.


To check your scores, you’ll get an email from ETS 6 days post-test. Then, you can log into your ETS account, either online or through the official TOEFL app, to see your scores. Your PDF TOEFL score card is available for download within 8 days after your test. Remember, your scores are valid for 2 years, giving you ample time to use them for your applications. 


This is what your TOEFL exam score card looks like on your computer dashboard.



Your individual section wise max TOEFL score can be seen in the middle part of the report, as shown below.



If you login to the TOEFL mobile app, you will see your TOEFL score table as shown under.



And that’s really all there is to viewing your TOEFL score chart and TOEFL total score.


Now that we have learned how to access your TOEFL score card, let us understand what a good TOEFL score is.

What is a good TOEFL score?


Deciding a good TOEFL score out of 120 depends on your goals. There’s no single answer to the question, “What is a good TOEFL score?” 


A good score depends on the requirements of the universities you want to apply to.


Here’s the thing, most universities have a minimum TOEFL score for admission. You can often find this information on their websites. Aim for a score that meets or exceeds this requirement.


Generally, these are considered competitive TOEFL scores, as under.


  • 100+ (out of 120): A very strong score that opens doors to most universities


  • 80-100: A good score for many programs.


A higher TOEFL score makes you a more competitive applicant. For reference, Trinity College Dublin asks for a minimum TOEFL score of 64, and Baruch College New York asks for a minimum TOEFL score of 80


As you can see, a score of 64 is enough to get into one of the best universities in the world, but wouldn’t be accepted at Baruch College. The odd thing here is that Baruch is objectively ranked lower than Trinity (QS world Ranking 201 vs 180). This just goes to show that you should always double-check the minimum TOEFL score at the university you are applying to. 

Do not worry if you haven’t been able to narrow down on a university before taking your TOEFL exam. It can be quite overwhelming, with the number of options out there. 


This is where SelectRight comes into play, offering a helping hand for free. 


SelectRight uses advanced AI algorithms to match you with universities that fit your profile and preferences. With SelectRight, you won’t waste time and effort applying to universities that are out of reach, or miss out on amazing programs that could be a perfect fit. Ready to explore your options? Join 60,000+ students who found their dream university with SelectRight. See how.

Clutter, or SelectRight? You choose

How to Prepare for the TOEFL Exam?

You can find TOEFL practice tests online. These tests help you know what to expect and let you time yourself.


Next, read academic texts and listen to lectures or talks in English. This improves your comprehension and note-taking skills. For speaking, record yourself answering questions. Then, listen to see how you can improve. For writing, practice essays on different topics. Feedback from teachers or friends can be very helpful.


Remember, regular practice over time is better than cramming at the last minute. Set a study schedule and stick to it. 


Getting a good TOEFL score takes effort and hard work. Here are some key tips to help you prepare:


  • Know the test format. Understand the types of questions and tasks on each TOEFL section.


  • Use practice materials. ETS, the creators of TOEFL, offer official practice tests and resources.


  • Focus on your weaknesses. Work on areas where you need the most improvement.


  • Find a study plan that works for you. Create a schedule and stick to it.


  • Take timed practice tests. This will get you ready for test-day pressure.


Moreover, don’t underestimate the power of reading and listening to English outside of your TOEFL prep. Watch movies, listen to podcasts, and read articles to build your skills naturally.


We have also published a full-length guide on “How To Prepare For TOEFL in 2024 (Complete Strategy)”. Learn more.


And with that, we come to the end of this article on understanding your TOEFL score. We hope you found it useful, and we’ll see you in the next one.



  • Can I retake individual sections of the TOEFL instead of the entire exam?


No, if you wish to improve your score in a specific section, you must retake the entire exam. Each test sitting provides a new opportunity to achieve a higher total score.


  • Are TOEFL scores treated the same as IELTS scores? 


While both TOEFL and IELTS test English proficiency, the scoring scales are different. Most universities provide guidelines on their acceptable score ranges for each exam. TOEFL vs. IELTS scores are a common question, so it is best to ask your target university directly.


  • Can I send my TOEFL scores to multiple universities? 


Yes, you can send your TOEFL scores to as many institutions as you like, but there may be additional fees for sending scores to more universities after the initial four free score reports.


  • Can I use a dictionary or take notes during the TOEFL exam?


No. Dictionaries are not allowed. You have limited note-taking capabilities available during the test.


  • Can I cancel my TOEFL scores if I’m unsatisfied with my performance?


You can choose to cancel your TOEFL scores on the test day, but this option is available only once per test administration.

Picture of Shireen Parhee

Shireen Parhee

A creative producer turned content marketeer, Shireen has a flair for weaving words into compelling stories and bringing them to life through captivating videos. A vivacious leader, she naturally inspires her team, driving them to surpass expectations with her positive energy and insightful feedback. Boasting over a decade of experience across different forms of media, she is on a mission to create memorable content that will leave a lasting impact for years to come.

Get discovered by Top Universities

Find The Best University and Programs Based on Your Profile

Explore SelectRight
Related Blogs