TOEFL Listening: What is a Good TOEFL Listening Score, Marking Scheme, and Best Tips

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TOEFL Listening: TOEFL Listening is one of the most challenging yet scoring sections of the exam.  TOEFL aspirants must improve their listening skills and the ability to retain information in order to score well on the TOEFL Listening Section. In this section, students are needed to listen to the audio samples and construct answers after analysing the presented material in this section. 


You must solve listening practice sets to get familiar with the format of the section and the types of questions that may be asked.  Furthermore, you should be familiar with different English accents to comprehend the Listening passages. The TOEFL iBT Listening Section lasts for 36 minutes. That being said, read the entire article to know more about TOEFL Listening. 

What is a Good TOEFL Listening Score?

Those who take or intend to take the TOEFL exam often have this query: What is a good TOEFL Listening score? Securing admission to esteemed academic institutions necessitates a robust TOEFL score, with the Listening section playing a pivotal role. Acquiring a good score is crucial for candidates to bolster their chances of securing a good overall score. 

A score of 22 to 30 is typically deemed to be a good TOEFL listening score across most of the major institutions globally. Analysing both standardised percentiles and individual programme requirements helps determine what constitutes a satisfactory score for your specific goals. These factors establish the benchmarks for successful performance in the Listening section, ensuring you demonstrate the necessary language proficiency for academic success.

  1. Percentiles provide a contextual understanding of your performance relative to other test-takers. 
  2. Attaining an above-average score corresponds to a percentile above 50. For instance, achieving a score of 21 aligns with moderate performance, while surpassing 26 or 29 places you among the higher achievers.
  3. Customising your score objective to align with your preferred institutions’ expectations is a strategic approach.
  4.  Thoroughly research the TOEFL score prerequisites of the universities you aspire to attend. 
  5. Meeting or exceeding these requirements ensures that your score aligns with the standards of your desired schools.

5+ Tips to Ace TOEFL Listening

Here are some tips to help test takers ace their TOEFL listening. 

  • To enhance your understanding of spoken English and refine your listening skills, consider the following strategy: actively immerse yourself in various forms of spoken English content. This includes actively engaging with podcasts, lectures, and interviews, which will broaden your exposure to diverse accents, tones, and vocabulary used in real-world contexts. This approach offers several benefits, such as increased auditory processing, expansion of vocabulary, familiarity with accent, and understanding the implementation of the language in real-world context. 
  • Mastering efficient note-taking during the audio listening segments is paramount for scoring better in TOEFL listening. Test takers must focus on capturing key points, main ideas, and supporting details. This practice enhances information retention and serves as a valuable reference for subsequent question-answering, ensuring you’re well-equipped to tackle  challenging questions. 
  •  Consistent practice is the cornerstone of success. Engage in mock tests to simulate exam conditions and enhance your familiarity with question types and time constraints.
  • Judicious allocation of time for each audio segment and its corresponding questions is crucial for success. Effectively managing your time ensures you have sufficient opportunity to fully comprehend the content and accurately answer all questions within the designated time frame. Additionally, employing a strategic approach to time management during the listening section will allow you to delve deeply into the information and meticulously address each task.
  • Thoroughly reviewing and analysing your practice tests is crucial. This systematic approach helps you identify recurring patterns of errors, allowing you to address and rectify your weaknesses before the actual exam.
  • Expanding your vocabulary repertoire equips you to grasp a wider range of linguistic nuances. This enriched understanding empowers you to comprehend diverse accents and stylistic variations encountered in the audio clips.
  • Familiarising yourself with the precise format and conditions of the section is highly beneficial. By replicating the actual exam environment during practice sessions, you can minimise potential test-day anxiety and enhance your overall confidence.

TOEFL Listening Marking Scheme

Achieving a strong score hinges on effectively navigating the intricacies of this section. A meticulous approach is paramount, as each correctly answered question directly contributes one point to your raw score. 

Scores earned in the Listening section undergo a conversion to a scaled score ranging from 0 to 30. This scaled score serves as the cornerstone of your final score, providing a precise gauge of your spoken English comprehension proficiency. Mastering the this section is crucial for securing a desirable overall TOEFL score. 

Each accurate answer translates to one point, ultimately contributing to your scaled score (0-30), which reflects your spoken English comprehension skills. That being said, refer to the following points to get an idea about the TOEFL listening marking scheme. 

  • The TOEFL Listening section score is determined by raw score conversion and percentile ranking. 
  • Test takers earn one point for each correct answer in the listening tasks. 
  • This raw score is then converted to a scaled score ranging from 0 to 30. 
  • Alternatively, percentiles indicate a candidate’s position relative to peers, with higher percentiles reflecting better performance. 
  • Universities may have specific score requirements for admission, encouraging candidates to aim for desired proficiency levels. 
  • Understanding this scoring process empowers test takers to set realistic goals and focus on areas needing improvement, enhancing their chances of success in the TOEFL Listening section and university admissions.

TOEFL Listening Practice: Sample Questions (with answers) 

TOEFL aspirants must improve their listening skills and the ability to retain information in order to score well on the listening section. Students are needed to listen to the audio samples and construct answers after analysing the presented material in this section. You must solve TOEFL listening practice sets to get familiar with the format of the section and the types of questions that may be asked.  Furthermore, you should be familiar with different English accents to comprehend the Listening passages. The TOEFL iBT Listening Section lasts for 36 minutes. 

TOEFL Listening Question Types

Refer to the following table to understand some of the most common types of questions asked in the TOEFL Listening section. 

Type of QuestionNumber of Questions per SectionOverview 
Detail6-10These questions require students to answer on the basis of the given facts or information. 
Gist- Purpose1-2Such questions require students to analyse the gist behind the provided clips and answer accordingly. 
InferenceThese questions require students to answer based on the given facts or information. Students will be required to answer after analysing the context behind the provided information. 
Organisation 2-5These questions require students to analyse the lectures and answer accordingly. 
Attitude-Based 1-4Such questions require students to listen to the speaker, comprehend his or her tone, and respond appropriately.  

Benefits of Solving TOEFL Practice Papers

There are numerous benefits of solving TOEFL Listening Practice Papers. Some of them are: 

  • Solving TOEFL Listening practice papers offers several strategic advantages. Firstly, it familiarises you with the section’s format, including question types and time allotments. This allows you to approach the actual exam with confidence and a clear understanding of expectations.
  • Secondly, consistent practice will refine your overall listening skills. You’ll become adept at discerning spoken English nuances, extracting key information, and effectively navigating diverse accents and speaking styles.
  • Finally, by practising under timed conditions, you will be able to hone your speed and accuracy. This will not only enhance your ability to analyse information efficiently but also equip you with valuable time management skills, crucial for success in the TOEFL Listening section.

To sum it up, TOEFL Listening encompasses a series of audio clips, mirroring academic scenarios such as university lectures and conversations. Test-takers are required to answer questions based on the information presented in these audio segments, thereby gauging their ability to grasp auditory content effectively. The Listening section, one of its core components, evaluates your aptitude for comprehending spoken English – an indispensable skill for academic and real-world contexts. 

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How to Prepare for NEW TOEFL Online: Study Guide 2023TOEFL Exam Pattern 2023: Check Revised Pattern &Types of TOEFL Exam: IBT, ITP & CBT


Q1. What is the average TOEFL score for listening?

Ans: The average TOEFL listening score, according to ETS, is approximately 20.2. This reflects the overall performance of test-takers in the listening section.

Q2. How can you practise for the TOEFL Listening? 

Ans: Making notes while listening, memorising question types, comprehending the structure of the passages, and focussing on the context behind the supplied material are all good ways to prepare for the TOEFL Listening test. 

Q3. What is the overall duration of the TOEFL listening section? 

Ans: Students are provided 36 minutes to complete the TOEFL listening section. 

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