As you prepare for your TOEIC test, it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of the scoring system so that you know the score you need, how you can obtain it, and how it translates into English proficiency. Luckily for you, that’s exactly what we’re discussing in this article. We’re going to cover:
- The possible scores in each section of the test;
- What is a good TOEIC score;
- Failing the TOEIC;
- Receiving the results;
- Tips for getting your ideal TOEIC score.
So, let’s get straight into it.
How Should You Interpret and Understand Your TOEIC Score?
There are no international norms to interpret TOEIC scores. It is essential to ask the school, company or organisation requiring you to take the TOEIC the mark you need to achieve.
In some universities, students require a minimum score of 750 to qualify for an exchange in an English-speaking country. Certain companies require an 800 or 850 on the TOEIC taken less than 2 years before for the candidate to qualify for an international position. In France, some higher education establishments require a TOEIC score of at least 785 to award a diploma. ETS, the organisation managing the TOEIC, offers a correlation between TOEIC scores and the CEFR grades of the Common European Framework, comprised between A1 and C2. If someone wanted a rough guide to scores it might be agreed that a reasonable TOEIC score is above 700 points, whereas a good score could be anything above 800 points. A really great score could be considered to be anything above 900 points.
If you are a professional, companies may require a different score.
TOEIC Score: How Does It Work? General Review and Recap
The TOEIC assesses English-language skills needed in the workplace and has been doing it for over 35 years. With about 7 million tests administered every year, the TOEIC tests are the most widely used around the world. Therefore, there are many reasons for taking the test. The TOEIC listening and reading is the most popular part of the TOEIC test and each candidate receives independent scores for listening and reading comprehension on a scale from 5 to 495 points. The total score adds up to a scale from 10 to 990 points. The TOEIC Speaking and Writing Tests generates scores between 0-200.
First things first, there are a few different versions of the TOEIC:
- TOEIC: Listening and Reading;
- TOEIC: Speaking and Writing;
- TOEIC Bridge (for beginner to intermediate learners).
Let’s start by taking a look at the different TOEIC scores available across the TOEIC Listening and Reading sections. Each of the two sections is scored from 5 to 495, then combined to make a final score from 10 to 990. The table below gives an indication of how your TOEIC score corresponds to a level of English proficiency:
|TOEIC Score||Proficiency Level|
|10-250||Basic English proficiency (survival skills)|
|255-400||Elementary proficiency (very limited communication)|
|405-600||Elementary proficiency plus (limited communication)|
|605-780||Limited working proficiency|
|785-900||Working proficiency plus|
|905-990||International professional proficiency|
The scoring system is a little different for the Writing and Speaking sections of the TOEIC:
|TOEIC Score||Level||Proficiency Level|
|0-30||1||Almost no questions answered|
|60-70||3||Able to state opinions|
|80-100||4||Can respond to questions and requests|
|110-120||5||Limited expression of opinions and responses to requests|
|130-150||6||Fair expression of opinions but with some lack of clarity|
|160-180||7||Able to maintain connected and sustained discourses with minor issues|
|190-200||8||Comfortable maintaining connected and sustained discourses in a work environment with few issues|
NB: For more information on the registration process, you can check our article “How to register for TOEIC?“. We have also written an article on where to take the TOEIC in Canada, Ireland,UK, Germany, US, Japan and South Korea.
What Is a Good TOEIC Score In the Listening and Reading Sections?
Looking at these numbers and proficiency levels, it’s easy to feel a little confused: which score is a good one? Certainly, a top score of 190-200 is not the only good TOEIC score! Good English speakers can vary in their TOEIC results across the top bands of results. The key thing to remember is that a “good” TOEIC score is the one you need to fulfil your objectives.
How does a TOEIC score in Listening and Reading correlate to the CEFR?
If the TOEIC scoring system still feels a little abstract, it might help to put it into the context of the CEFR for a better understanding of how the numbers equate to proficiency in English.
The table below shows you how the Listening and Reading TOEIC scores correlate to the CEFR levels in English:
|Minimum TOEIC Score (overall)||Minimum TOEIC Score (Listening)||Minimum TOEIC Score (Reading)||CEFR Level|
What Is a Good TOEIC Score In the Speaking and Writing Sections?
Just like with the Reading and Listening test, there is no one good TOEIC score for the Speaking and Writing test. Begin by finding out what score you need in the test to be a competitive applicant for your dream job, then go from there.
You also need to be realistic. If you begin your TOEIC journey with a level equivalent to A2 and end it with a B2, this is a very good TOEIC score!
How does a TOEIC score in Speaking and Writing correlate to the CEFR?
The table below shows you how the TOEIC scores from the Speaking and Writing sections correspond to CEFR proficiency levels in English:
|Minimum TOEIC Score (overall)||Minimum TOEIC Score (Speaking)||Minimum TOEIC Score (Writing)||CEFR Level|
Is It Possible to Fail the TOEIC Exam?
If all these numbers are looking a little scary, let’s put things simply and ask, is there a pass or fail in the TOEIC? The quick answer is: there is no pass grade or fail grade, it’s a sliding scale and you’ll receive an individual score representing your specific level.
What Happens If I Am Unsatisfied With My Grade?
It is possible to have your TOEIC paper marked a second time. You simply have to contact the exam centre where you took the test within 6 months after the exam. Your paper will then be marked again. Be careful though — If the markers find a significant gap between the first and second grading, ETS will pay for the additional costs. If the results appear to be fine then you will have to pay for them.
How Much Time Exactly Is the TOEIC Score Valid For?
Once you’ve taken the test and received your TOEIC score, you can add your certified score to your professional profile and use it to apply to jobs and study programmes immediately. However, it’s important to note that your TOEIC score will have a limited validity of two years.
Two years after your TOEIC test, your certification will expire and you will have to retake a new test to acquire a new certification if required. This is because the TOEIC test is designed to measure your English proficiency at the time of the test.
When and How Will You Receive Your TOEIC Test Results?
When and how you receive your TOEIC score depends on the type of TOEIC test you take, and the type of delivery option you choose when registering.
Here are the options for the Listening and Reading and TOEIC Bridge tests:
- Standard scoring: postal delivery within 15 working days;
- Express scoring: postal delivery within five working days;
- Super express scoring: postal delivery within three working days.
For the Speaking and Writing TOEIC tests, you will receive your TOEIC score by post within eight working days.
Some Useful Tips for Getting a Good Score On Your TOEIC Exam
Now you know everything there is to know about TOEIC scores, the only question that remains is: how do I get the score I need? The first step to targeting a TOEIC score is knowing what you need to fulfil your objectives, so start by doing some research to find out what your potential employers might consider to be a “good TOEIC score”.
When it comes to studying for the test, here are our top tips for maximising your potential:
- Take the time to understand the format of the TOEIC test and work out how much time you will devote to studying for each section;
- Find out what English level you have and identify your strong and weak points;
- Immerse yourself in English-language books, films and media until it becomes second nature;
- Target key TOEIC vocabulary that focuses on themes such as the workplace, meetings, and business;
- Take your learning online for a more dynamic and fun approach to exam preparation.
Allow GlobalExam to Help You Achieve the TOEIC Score You Need
Yes. GlobalExam is an online platform dedicated to test preparation in real exam conditions. Experts regularly write new content to deliver effective training and practice opportunities to help students improve their chances of doing well in their chosen English exam. The site is very interactive – you will be able to do TOEIC exercises and prepare for the Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing Sections and get immediate feedback. You will also have the chance to do full mock exams under timed conditions, just like in the real TOEIC test. You can review your results in the statistics tab to check your progress. You can then improve any weak areas with the help of English vocabulary word list and grammar study sheets!
Sign up for a free trial version today. Once you’ve seen how good the site is you can sign up for the premium version and get access to all the materials!