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How Do We Score Our TOEFL iBT Practice Tests


Our scorers have more than 10 years of experience in TOEFL teaching and scoring. For the assessment of the TOEFL Speaking and TOEFL Writing Sections they fully comply with the ETS Test-scoring rubrics. The feedback that our scorers provide is very detailed; it not only describes the problems in both the speaking and writing, but also provides recommendations and correction of errors. For the TOEFL Reading and TOEFL Listening section there is an explanation of each answer choice. Below, you will find an outline of the criteria we use for scoring TOEFL Speaking and TOEFL Writing and sample score reports for both sections along with sample answer choice explanations for TOEFL Reading and TOEFL Listening components.

In summary, what is most important to us when we score your TOEFL iBT sections is to deliver creative feedback and explanations with the aim to helping you improve your skills and ultimately score the best marks in the real TOEFL exam.

Criteria in Assessing TOEFL Speaking and TOEFL Writing

TOEFL iBT Speaking Criteria
General overview of the responseOverall response overview;
DeliveryHow clear the speech is;
LanguageAppropriate use of various grammatical structures and vocabulary richness;
Topic developmentWhether the response complies with the topic and how the topic is developed;
RecommendationHow to overcome featured weaknesses and how to improve relevant skills.

TOEFL iBT Writing Criteria
ContentHow relevant the writing response is to the topic;
OrganizationOrganization of the essay and coherence between ideas presented in the writing. All paragraphs are separately reviewed too;
Language usedAppropriate use of various grammatical structures, vocabulary richness, links between ideas;
RecommendationRecommendation how to improve relevant skills for achieving better TOEFL score.

Below, there are samples of answer choice explanations for TOEFL Reading and TOEFL Listening and samples of TOEFL Speaking and TOEFL Writing feedback!

TOEFL Reading Sample Answer Choice Explanation

Answer choice explanation: ...The Northern portion of that area, originally inhabited by Native Americans, attracted many lumbermen and others became gold miners when a minor gold rush brought them to the region - which means that they were the first to live in those places, but we don't know whether they continued living there when the gold rush started, so this would be the most logical answer.

TOEFL Listening Sample Answer Choice Explanation

Answer choice explanation: The student has to work two places every day, because she needs the money, but she also needs to do well at Biochemistry, so the solution to her problem is to apply for the tutoring position which pays very well: "why don't you visit the student job center, they have some part-time jobs that you can do during the weekend...last time I checked they had tutoring positions which pay very well...you happen to be very good in Biochemistry, so I think you will both enjoy that and be paid well".

TOEFL Speaking Sample Score Report and Feedback

Question 1: Raw score 3,5 out of 4

The response is a very good one. It is well-related to the topic and it is well structured and organized. The vocabulary is extensive. The pronunciation is quite clear and understandable.

Delivery: There is no major hesitation in the response and no words are mispronounced. Sentences have proper intonation and intentional pauses add to the fluency of the response. There are a few occasions in the response where the intonation is awkward, i.e. the voice raises in the end of the sentence, which is not typical for the English language.

Language: There are no major grammar mistakes that are noticeable. The speaker uses an extensive amount of vocabulary correctly.

Topic development: The speaker introduces the topic well and also develops the response gradually. Additionally, there are personal examples provided and as a whole, the response completes the task requirements. Despite that, the speaker repeats some of the information twice, which is unnecessary, especially after the middle of the response before the conclusion.

Recommendation: While planning your response, organize your time better and focus on not repeating the same information in different manners. Also, work a bit on the conclusion so that it can summarize properly the entire response, rather than its ending. Otherwise your response is close to perfect. Good job!

TOEFL Writing Sample Score Report and Feedback

Integrated writing question: Raw score 3 out of 5

Content: The essay contains some relevant information from the reading, but there is significant inaccuracy and omission of important ideas from the lecture and in the connections between the lecture and the reading. You have not presented the main contrast between the reading and the lecture and that is which the first computer is and why the ENIAC was thought to be first, even though the ABC was introduced to the world 5 years earlier, etc. The information presented is too general, for example, you write, '...ENIAC was discovered first and so it was considered to be the first general purpose register. ABC was discovered later. In 1973 it was evaluated and ABC was the first general purpose register.', you need to mention some specifics, like when both computers were invented, or at least the time difference between the two inventions. Also, you mention that in 73 the ABC was the first computer, but you do not write how that happened. Who was responsible for that? There is no detail to support the contrast between the reading and lecture.

Organization: The essay describes falsely the overall connection between the lecture and the reading. You have separate paragraphs but the introduction and the content of the paragraphs should be improved. Here is how you can organize this essay:

Paragraph 1: Introduce the topic; say what the lecture and the reading are about - which is the first computer.

Paragraph 2: Explain the contradiction - why was the ENIAC thought to be the first computer?

Paragraph 3:  Give details on what happened to the ABC, how it was acknowledged to be the first computer and all the other details from the lecture.

Also, you have not completed your essay before the time was up, thus the last idea was not finished.

The response is a bit short too - it should be at least 150 words.

Language use:  The response has some minor language errors, but this usage and grammar structures do not lead to anything more than occasional lack of clarity or in connection to ideas. Here are the most noticeable errors:

  • 'The advancement from mechanical to electrical engineering.' - it is not a sentence as there is no verb.
  • '...first general purpose register...' - what do you mean by 'register'?
  • 'In 1973 it was evaluated and ABC...' - what does 'it' refer to here?

Recommendation: In this essay you need to accent on the information in the lecture, not the information in the reading. You should try to present more examples and details from the lecture in the essay. To be able to provide more details, you could work on your note-taking skills. If that skill is improved, you can note down more information and present it afterwards in the writing.