TOEFL Speaking Score: Score Descriptors, Score Range, and Finding the Target Score

    Indrita Ganguly Indrita Ganguly
    Content Curator

    Speaking is the most fundamental English knowledge tested for studying abroad, and TOEFL speaking exam is considered one of the most trusted proficiency tests by international students and foreign universities. TOEFL speaking score speaks a lot about a candidate’s expertise in English and universities have a set TOEFL speaking score for seeking admission.

    TOEFL Speaking: Overview

    The TOEFL speaking section tests the candidate’s speaking ability and fluency - both of which are necessities for staying and studying abroad.

    • TOEFL speaking is divided into 4 tasks: 1 is an independent speaking task and 2 - 4 is the integrated speaking tasks;
    • TOEFL speaking topics are based on either the reading section or listening section or some related topics;
    • It has a duration of 17 minutes

    How is TOEFL Speaking Scored?

    TOEFL speaking has a score range of 0 - 30. The TOEFL speaking and writing sections are measured by TOEFL certified test scorers along with the computer. The TOEFL speaking score descriptors are:

    TOEFL Score Descriptors

    TOEFL Speaking: Score Range

    The TOEFL speaking scoring process is based on a specific speaking score system. The raters generally provide a TOEFL score range comprising raw scores of 0 to 4 which is then converted into the TOEFL scaled score out of 30. It must be remembered that each of the 4 TOEFL speaking tasks consists of 4 marks each.

    The following TOEFL speaking score sheet has been created taking the average raw scores which will explain the conversion method:

    Average Raw TOEFL speaking scoresTOEFL Scaled Speaking Scores

    Note: The TOEFL speaking section will not measure on the basis of raw scores but raw score ranges.

    TOEFL Speaking Score: Rubrics

    ETS, the conducting body of TOEFL has prepared a TOEFL speaking score rubric which clearly demonstrates the score ranges along with the performance levels. TOEFL test-takers already know that the first speaking task or the TOEFL independent speaking task requires the candidate to opinionate based on their own thoughts and ideas. Whereas the second task or the integrated task requires the candidate to utilize and blend their listening, reading, and writing skills to speak.

    The following TOEFL speaking score sheet will explain the proficiency needed for each score range:

    TOEFL iBT Integrated Speaking Rubics

    This is the independent speaking rubric TOEFL where the raw scores are explained.

    TOEFL iBT Independent Speaking Rubics

    Independent speaking rubric TOEFL where the raw scores are explained

    What is a good TOEFL score?

    There are two main ways to find ‘what is a good TOEFL score?’

    METHOD 1: Percentile

    The TOEFL percentile states how any test-takers scored lesser than the candidate. The higher the percentile of the candidate, the better they have scored compared to other test-takers, resulting in high TOEFL scores.

    The TOEFL score percentiles are obtained based on the scaled score range for every section of the exam:

    PercentileTOEFL Speaking score

    Points to be noted from the above TOEFL speaking score chart:

    • 50th percentile is the median score that states the candidate has scored better than 50% of the other candidates who sat for the exam and lesser than the same number of people who gave the exam.
    • Any score above the median is a good TOEFL speaking score - 22 is the TOEFL score here;
    • A TOEFL score of 24 will place you in the top 25% of the scorers or higher than the majority of the scorers and accordingly the higher you score the better;
    • A score below the median is generally placed under minimum TOEFL scores.

    METHOD 2: Finding Out by School TOEFL Requirements

    Most universities have their pre-determined set of sectional TOEFL scores which the candidate has to abide by for securing admission. Check out how finding the TOEFL requirements will guide you towards finding ‘what is a good TOEFL score?’

    Step 1: Draw out a chart

    Jot down the selected university names, two boxes for minimum TOEFL speaking score required and minimum TOEFL overall score required, and a place for notes to curate necessary information.

    Step 2: Figuring Out the Details About Scores

    Figure out the details of TOEFL scores required in those selected universities from their ‘international students’ or ‘admission’ page. The TOEFL score chart would look like:

    Name of institutesMinimum TOEFL speaking scoreMinimum TOEFL overall scoreNotes
    John Hopkins University25 (recommended)99 (recommended)Reading: 26
    Listening: 26
    Writing: 22
    Carnegie Mellon University25 (recommended)102Recommended 25 or higher on every section
    Northwestern University26 (estimated)94 (estimated)No minimum score required
    Cornell University25 (estimated)100 (recommended)-

    Step 3: Estimation of the highest score

    This step requires the candidate to figure out the highest TOEFL score required among all the selected universities.

    Here, the highest TOEFL speaking score is 26 and the overall is 102, therefore, if the candidate prepares and secures these two scores then they will be securing admission for sure.

    Therefore, with all the details of the TOEFL speaking score being catered to, candidates will find help in understanding the same.

    *The article might have information for the previous academic years, which will be updated soon subject to the notification issued by the University/College


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