There are two important parts to preparing for any test: writing practice or mock tests to assess performance and checking or calculating the test scores.
While both are important, generally, most candidates prioritise the first point and not the second one. In the TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language, exam candidates must pay attention to both while preparing.
Each section, namely Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, has separate marking schemes. The scores obtained in each are considered for the final score.
While good scores are essential in all four sections, in this blog, we’ll explain how to calculate TOEFL reading scores and how you can score well in this section.
TOEFL Reading Test
Reading is one of the four components of the TOEFL test. Candidates are supposed to answer 30 to 40 questions within 54 to 72 minutes. The questions are generally taken from the passages, which the candidate is supposed to read, understand, and interpret before giving the answers.
Every section in TOEFL has a different measure for scoring the answers, and every measure has a different scale. Students attempting the TOEFL test must note that preparing for each section is essential.
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The score range for the reading section is 0-30, where 30 is the highest score. The same applies to every other section. All scores are added together at the end.
Calculating the Scores of the Reading Section
The scores for the reading and listening sections are calculated and finalised by computer programs. As these systems are based on fixed algorithms, there is less room for objectivity.
In other words, the answers to questions in the reading section are fixed, and the applicants for the TOEFL reading exam are supposed to match the answers integrated into the computer database.
Because there is a machine involved here, the manual score calculation is a bit tricky. There are three ranges of TOEFL reading scores:
Low (0 to 14)
Intermediate (15 to 21)
High (22 to 30)
Candidates must aim to land a High score to improve their chances of passing the TOEFL English proficiency test with flying colours.
There are two scores on the TOEFL test: The raw score and the Scaled score. The Raw score is converted into the Scaled score, and this conversion table is fixed.
More about Raw & Scaled Scores
The raw score represents the points earned by the candidate in the exam for all the correct answers. As we have mentioned before, the Reading section has up to 40 questions, and the maximum mark an individual can get is 30.
The raw score represents the total correct answers marking them out of the total number of questions. This raw score is then converted to the scaled score, which has a maximum limit of 30 and is considered the final TOEFL reading score.
There is a fixed table authenticated and provided by ETS, which can be used to convert the raw score to a scaled score. Technically, this conversion table or system is referred to as Rubrics, which represent a scoring guide mentioning the specific components associated with an exam and is required to determine the official score.
Among the two types of questions in the Reading section, the multiple choice question responses carry one point. The “Reading to Learn” questions carry two to three points each.
For calculating the scores obtained in a practice test, give one point to each correct response for multiple choice questions and between two to three points for other questions. Then calculate the total raw score and use the table below to convert the raw score to scaled TOEFL reading scores.
Follow the score conversion chart below. On the left side, there is the potential total raw score and on the right is the scaled TOEFL score range.
|32 to 33 = 30
|22 = 19 to 24
|12 = 5 to 13
|31 = 29 to 30
|21 = 18 to 23
|11 = 4 to 12
|30 = 28 to 30
|20 = 17 to 22
|10 = 2 to 10
|29 = 27 to 28
|19 = 15 to 21
|9 = 1 to 9
|28 = 26 to 29
|18 = 14 to 20
|8 = 1 to 7
|27 = 25 to 28
|17 = 13 to 19
|7 = 0 to 5
|26 = 24 to 27
|16 = 11 to 18
|6 = 0 to 4
|25 = 23 to 26
|15 = 10 to 17
|5 = 0 to 2
|24 = 21 to 25
|14 = 8 to 16
|4 = 0 to 1
|23 = 20 to 25
|13 = 7 to 15
|3 or below 3 = 0
Note that the scaled scores (or the final TOEFL reading scores) have a range. A raw total of 26 means the scaled score can be 24, 25, 26, or 27. The range is kept because of the small amount of subjectivity involved with the Reading to Learn responses.
With the TOEFL reading score report and calculation complete, let’s move on to knowing how to get good marks on the reading test.
Scoring Well in TOEFL Reading Section
The TOEFL reading section has passages and questions relevant to university-level students. So the first thing any candidate must do is start reading material that matches the university level English. Besides getting an idea about the context, reading can also help improve speaking skills and obtain a good total TOEFL score.
The reading passages added to the test are taken from university-level textbooks, and they carry a wide gamut of subjects. But mostly, these are academic topics, which means the candidate needs to prepare well and have an in-depth understanding of the English basics, along with some other key skills. These are critical thinking, understanding, vocabulary, identifying the details, etc.
Here are some tips and tricks that will help in getting a good TOEFL score:
Understand the Type of Questions
While giving practice tests, make sure to identify and understand the type of questions that might be there on the final test day. The types are:
Negative factual information
Go through the questions that might come in each of these types and prepare well to give befitting answers.
Read in English: The reading test is not just about how well you can read, but it has some other purposes as well. However, to ace the associated aspects, it is essential to know how to read well. Hence, make sure to read academic and non-academic materials every day. While reading about subjects you like is important, also read about topics that don’t interest you.
Upgrade vocabulary: There will be some words in the comprehension paragraphs that are unknown. Since searching for their meaning is not possible during the exam, work on comprehension strategies to understand the new words. In other words, use context clues by understanding the meaning of the whole sentence or paragraph.
Read with a timer: The candidates only have 54 minutes to read and give befitting answers in this section. This means it is essential to manage time, and this comes with practice. The applicants are required to read and understand approximately 2100 words and answer up to 30 reading questions in less than an hour.
This is a challenge, especially for the ones who have not practised the skill of fast reading and understanding the context with one reading before. While practising, always keep a timer nearby and note the time taken to complete each passage and the entire test.
Work on grammar: A core part of understanding a sentence or a paragraph is understanding the grammar in the same and using it to establish connections. This will help you identify and understand the relationship between independent and dependent clauses. Moreover, look at the pronouns used in the sentence and try to find the nouns they are referring to.
This can only be done if you have a good hold over grammar. So, understanding the basics and working to improve them is essential to getting good TOEFL reading scores.
Be your own teacher: While preparing for any exam, be it IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, or academic exams, use the PARA framework for self-assessment. PARA expands as Plan, Act, Reflect, and Adjust.
This framework is essential for self-learners, especially the Reflect part. And it applies to every section of the TOEFL exam. During reflection, you will learn about your own mistakes and build adjustment strategies to improve upon them.
The TOEFL reading test is a scoring segment, provided the candidate has strong basics, a good hold over grammar, great vocabulary, and understands how to decode and decrypt a passage. While all these aspects are necessary, they won’t be accomplished overnight. It takes time and practice, which means that give as many TOEFL practice tests as you can and start building the right skills.
Preparing and testing are two main parts of writing an exam, and they must be done with the right planning. Adopt a learning attitude while preparing for the exam and giving the tests. Giving the TOEFL reading tests and calculating their score is essential for effective preparation. While there are a lot of tests available online, knowing how to mark the answers and finding the final TOEFL reading scores is also required.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is fast reading essential to get high TOEFL reading scores?
Yes, the reading section in the TOEFL exam is only 54 minutes. In this time, you will read university-level passages of 600 to 700 words and answer questions. Reading fast will certainly help in managing the time better, which is key for achieving high scores.
How much time should be given for preparing for TOEFL exam?
On average, a test taker must prepare two to three months before the test date. Individuals who are working alongside preparing can take more time. Ideally, set a target of studying for three to four hours every day.
Is it important to give TOEFL practice tests?
Yes, practice tests are beneficial for any student preparing for TOEFL exam. Giving practice tests provides a good idea about the type of questions, format, and difficulty and helps with time management.