How to convert TOEFL Scores to CEFR Levels

TOEFL

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Rahul
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Feb 2, 2022 12:35 IST
TOEFL Scores to CEFR Levels

What is the TOEFL test?

TOEFL Exam: Conducted by ETS, the TOEFL iBT (Internet Based Test) exam is one of the most popular English proficiency exams accepted at American and Canadian universities and education institutions abroad. The full form of TOEFL is the Test of English as a Foreign Language and the TOEFL iBT exam tests international students’ usage and understanding of English as it is spoken, written, and heard in college and university surroundings.

The conducting body of the TOEFL exam, ETS (Educational Testing Services) is responsible for setting the TOEFL questions, conducting the test, and sending each examinee their scorecard. Given the pandemic, ETS has introduced the TOEFL at Home test and the TOEFL Essentials Test for candidates to have a seamless testing experience during the pandemic.

TOEFL Score Scale (Section-wise)

Candidates remotely familiar with the TOEFL exam would be aware of the fact that the TOEFL results are based on the TOEFL section-wise scores as pre-determined by the ETS. The same is mentioned below. To make your test experience more personal and for you to understand your TOEFL score better ETS has provided 4 to 5 proficiency levels for each skill set. So where your TOEFL score falls within that range tells you about your proficiency for that particular skill. Test takers can look at the table below to understand their TOEFL iBT Scores range better. 

TOEFL iBT Score Range

Skill/ Score Range

Level*

TOEFL Reading Section

Score Range 0–30

Advanced (24–30)
High-Intermediate (18–23)
Low-Intermediate (4–17)
Below Low-Intermediate (0–3)

TOEFL Listening Section

Score Range 0–30

Advanced (22–30)
High-Intermediate (17–21)
Low-Intermediate (9–16)
Below Low-Intermediate (0–8)

TOEFL Speaking Section

Score Range 0–30

Advanced (25–30)
High-Intermediate (20–24)
Low-Intermediate (16–19)
Basic (10–15)
Below Basic (0–9

TOEFL Writing Section

Score Range 0–30

Advanced (24–30)
High-Intermediate (17–23)
Low-Intermediate (13–16)
Basic (7–12)
Below Basic (0–6)

TOEFL Total Score

 These are added together for a total score of 0–120.

 TOEFL iBT Total Score Range

The total score of the TOEFL iBT exam derived from adding all the section scores has been provided below. 

Total TOEFL iBT Score Range

Score Description

118-120

Expert User

115-117

Very Good User

110-114

102-109

 

Good User

94-101

79-93

Competent User

60-78

46-59

Modest User

35-45

32-34

Limited User

0-31

Extremely limited User

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What is CEFR?

The full form of CEFR is the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages and was set up by the Council of Europe in 1996. The CEFR is an international standard outline for describing learning, teaching and assessment abilities on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for those who have mastered a language.

Developed to create a standard scale to measure the proficiency in various languages spoken in the European continent, CEFR is now widely used by universities abroad to set language proficiency markers for both teachers and learners, to comprehend the level of different qualifications. The system was designed as a validation of language ability for non-native speakers of the language which also means that employers and educational institutions can easily compare qualifications to other exams in their country.

Levels of CEFR

CEFR Levels: The CEFR is an international standard outline for describing learning, teaching and assessment abilities on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for those who have mastered a language.

Level Group

Level

Description

A - Basic User

A1 - Beginner

The level refers to a very basic understanding of the language wherein the person can understand the commonly used phrases, can introduce him/herself and describe where they live, etc. The person with A1 level is often not able to speak well nor able to understand the language well until and unless spoken to very slowly and deliberately and with assistance.

A2 - Elementary

A little improvement over A1, the A2 level refers to the ability to communicate about the everyday requirements in the language. The person can understand the day to day expressions and describe the immediate environment and answer routine and direct questions.

B - Independent User

B1 - Intermediate

This level is more than the previous in terms of the ability of the person to communicate with relevant ease in the language. Can relatively travel with ease, communicate his/her requirements in a manner understandable and can communicate in relatively well-formed sentences in areas of interest...but not all areas.  The person is also able to communicate his/her opinion in a better manner.

B2 - Upper-Intermediate

In terms of improvement over the B2 level, the basic understanding of the language remains the same but there is a relatively marked improvement in spontaneity and fluency of responses. The candidate can produce and use clear detailed sentences and communicate with the native speaker with ease. Also, the level signifies an improvement in the manner of expressing his/her opinions.

C - Proficient User

C1 - Advanced

The C Level refers to the advanced levels of proficiency in the language and relates to a level that signifies the person can speak, write and converse in the foreign language with ease. The fluency is also highly improved and the vocabulary is also distinctively well developed. This level refers to the ability of a person to use the language in academic or professional settings with efficiency and ease.

C2 - Proficient

This is the highest level of proficiency, referring to the candidates’ ability to communicate in the foreign language without any restrictions/ concerns. The fluency and vocabulary are further embellished with the person's ability to argue and present his/ her point of view and also discern the finer nuances of the language. In other words, this is as close as a person gets to speaking the language like a native.

Now let us understand the TOEFL Score conversions to CEFR Levels for candidates looking to apply to schools in Europe. 

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TOEFL Scores conversion to CEFR Levels

CEFR Levels to TOEFL Score Conversion: The table below denotes the CEFR score levels equivalent to your TOEFL Scores. Do note that CEFR  is an international standard outline for describing learning, teaching and assessment abilities on a six-point scale, from A1 for beginners, up to C2 for those who have mastered a language. CEFR is NOT a test. 

The system was designed as a validation of language ability for non-native speakers of the language which also means that employers and educational institutions can easily compare qualifications to other exams in their country. This is most prevalent across countries in Europe such as studying in Germany

TOEFL iBT Total Score range (0–120) CEFR Level
114–120 C2
95–113 C1
72–94 B2
42–71 B1
n/a A2
n/a A1
n/a Below A1

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Section-wise TOEFL Scores to CEFR Levels conversion 

CEFR Levels to TOEFL Score Conversion (section wise): Now that we have been able to show you the CEFR score conversion to TOEFL score conversion above. Let us look at how the TOEFL section scores would look as compared to the CEFR Levels, below. 

TOEFL Listening Section Scores to CEFR Levels 

Given below is the TOEFL Listening Section score equivalent to the CEFR Levels. 

TOEFL iBT (0–30) CEFR Level
28–30 C2
22–27 C1
17–21 B2
9–16 B1
n/a A2
n/a A1
n/a Below A1

TOEFL Reading Section Scores to CEFR Levels 

Given below is the TOEFL Reading Section score equivalent to the CEFR Levels. 

TOEFL iBT (0–30) CEFR Level
29–30 C2
24–28 C1
18–23 B2
4–17 B1
n/a A2
n/a A1
n/a Below A1

TOEFL Writing Section Scores to CEFR Levels 

Given below is the TOEFL Writing Section score equivalent to the CEFR Levels. 

TOEFL iBT (0–30) CEFR Level
29–30 C2
24–28 C1
17–23 B2
13–16 B1
7–12 A2
n/a A1
n/a Below A1

TOEFL Speaking Section Scores to CEFR Levels 

Given below is the TOEFL Speaking Section score equivalent to the CEFR Levels. 

TOEFL iBT (0–30) CEFR Level
28–30 C2
25–27 C1
20–24 B2
16–19 B1
10–15 A2
n/a A1
n/a Below A1

source: the tables above have been sourced from https://www.ets.org/toefl 

Do note that the TOEFL Score conversion to CEFR Levels is true for European universities/ countries where the CEFR or the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is recognised. The tables above would simply make the admission process for students looking to study in Europe in countries such as Germany more manageable as they would have the TOEFL Score conversion to CEFR Levels handy. 

Also, Read

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Study in Germany - Colleges, Eligibility & Scholarships

Study in the Netherlands - Colleges, Eligibility & Scholarships

Study in Sweden - Colleges, Eligibility & Scholarships

We would love to hear from you. Do write to us in the comments below. 

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About the Author
Rahul Singha
Study Abroad Expert

With over 8 years of experience in overseas education, Rahul Singha has been previously associated with prominent education houses. He is also responsible for keeping a sharp eye on education policies of major study... Read Full Bio

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