Understanding the marking scheme of an examination is as important as understanding the requirements of the examination. Just as you need to know what you have to study in order to excel in your examination, you also need to know how you are going to be marked, in order to avoid any misunderstandings. Similarly, you will be able to understand TOEFL scores better, if you know the marking scheme of TOEFL. However, the scoring system differs based on the type of examination that you are appearing for.
The marking scheme for the iBT version is different from that of the PBT version of TOEFL. Hence, based on that the TOEFL scores for the two versions are also different. For the iBT version, the score range for each section of the test is as follows:
Hence, the maximum TOEFL score that you can achieve, in the iBT version, of the examination is 120. But, you need to understand your expertise in reading, writing and understanding English based on the scores you receive, i.e., you need to interpret your TOEFL score.
Based on the TOEFL scores you receive in the various sections, you can decide your expertise in English. For example in the 'reading' and 'listening' sections, if your marks range from 0 to 14, then you belong to the 'low level' and you will need to work extra hard in these sections. If your marks range from 15 to 21 then you belong in the 'intermediate level' and if they range from 22 to 30 then you belong to the 'high level', i.e., you have sufficient expertise in reading and listening in English.
Similarly, the score range in the 'speaking' version of the test is divided into 4 parts, viz, 'weak', 'limited', 'fair' and 'good’. The score range for 'weak' is from 0 to 9, for 'limited' it is 10 to 17, for 'intermediate' it is 18 to 25 and 'good' is 26 to 30.
There are three levels that can be achieved in the 'writing' section of the test based on the score you receive. If your score is within 1 and 16 then you have 'limited' expertise in writing in English. If your score lies within 17 and 23 then you belong to the 'fair' level and if it is between 24 and 30 then you belong to the 'good' level, i.e., you have sufficient expertise in writing in English.
The paper based TOEFL has a different marking scheme compared to the iBT version. For the PBT version the marking scheme is as follows:
Thus, your TOEFL scores for the PBT version can range from 310 to 677. However, if you are appearing in the PBT version of the examination, then you will have to appear for a separate written test (TWE test). Here you will have to write an essay on a given topic within 30 minutes. Your essay will be judged on the basis of content, coherence, grammar as well as style. You will be marked on a scale ranging from 1 to 6. The score will be mentioned in a separate box in your TOEFL scorecard; however, it is not a part of your original TOEFL score.
Thus, receiving TOEFL scores is not enough. You will have to be able to interpret it correctly so that you can identify your strengths and your weaknesses successfully. Only then will you know how to prepare yourself for the examination. Now, when you receive your TOEFL scores you will know exactly what it indicates.