TOEFL Score Report

Marco attached his TOEFL score report plus a writing sample in an e-mail he sent to me yesterday.

TOEFL Score Report
TOEFL Score Report

TOEFL Score Report: Marco’s E-Mail

Here is what he said in his e-mail:

Dear Michael Buckhoff,

Thank you for your advice in this period, I really appreciate it.  As you might know this, I took a TOEFL exam in May as follow:  

TOEFL iBt =79 ( Reading: 21 / Listening: 19 / Speaking: 22 / Writing: 17)

And after 3 month studying hard, then I took exam again on September 29th, 2018. I received these scores:

TOEFL iBt=85 ( Reading: 25 / Listening: 18 / Speaking: 23 / Writing: 19)

Actually, I am really tired because of my listening and writing. In fact, I have worked hard. I have a good English ability because I was good in IELTS last year and after one year from IELTS, I am more able in English now.  For example, I have listened to CNN every day for 45 min and each time I enhanced the video speed to 1.25 or 1.5. Now I am able to listen to very fast speech. In addition to this, I was very good in TPO exams (more than 23). But I do not know why I received 18 in TOEFL? (In TOEFL, answers were very similar to each other and I could not choose one of them).

About my writing, I can say I did my best according to your advice and I illustrated to teachers in my city, they told you can get 25. My first task in writing is Good (4.0-5.0), however they gave me limited (1.0-2.0) in the second task. I am really confused. Also, I think I am not off-topic in task 2.  I have attached my last writing practice before TOEFL exam.

Please help me. Probably, I ignore something in my writing task 2. I am really confused and tired because I got 6 in IELTS writing last year, while I cannot get more than 20 in TOEFL.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.



Analysis of Marco’s TOEFL score report revealed specific listening, speaking, and writing problems.

TOEFL Score Report Analysis: Listening

Overall, Marco performed well on the listening passages. However, he had trouble understanding passages containing contradictory information. For example, some of the listening passages during his TOEFL exam presented opposite information.  According to his TOEFL score report, he had trouble understanding the connections in these cases.

TOEFL Score Report Analysis: Speaking

Marco’s TOEFL report indicates that he did well on the TOEFL integrated tasks 3 and 5, both of which involved campus-related information. However, Marco’s performed lower on the independent speaking tasks:

  • He had limitations with grammar and vocabulary. These shortcomings prevented him from fully expressing his ideas.
  • He had some problems speaking clearly and showing how his ideas were connected.
  • He needed to more fully develop his ideas.

Likewise, Marco had problems with integrated speaking tasks 4 and 6, both of which involved academic reading and listening passages:

  • He had problems with intonation that sometimes made it difficult for the listener to understand.
  • In some cases, Marco’s response was missing some important ideas from either a reading passage or a lecture. Or, he misrepresented some ideas from the reading passage or the lecture.

TOEFL Score Report Analysis: Writing

According to the score report, Marcos performed well on the integrated writing task. However, he scored 1.0-2.0 on the independent writing task because of one or more of these reasons:

  • He did not provide enough supporting details for his generalizations.
  • He did not organize his ideas coherently.  In other words, he needed a more sharply-focused thesis, topic sentences, and a better, more unifying connection of ideas within each body paragraph. Some of these organizational problems might have occurred because of grammatical problems, unclear words or phrases, or sentence structure issues.
  • He did not fully address the requirements of the writing task. Or, his response was limited in relation to the task’s writing requirements.

TOEFL Score Report: Writing Analysis

Marco sent me a sample of an independent writing practice test that he completed. He finished this writing task just before be re-took the TOEFL exam. I correlated some weaknesses with his writing sample with what his TOEFL score report wrote:

He was off-task in several parts of his writing task. In other words, he needed to create thesis statements and topic sentences that closely align with the writing  task.

He had multiple problems with word choice and grammar that were making his ideas difficult to understand.

TOEFL Score Report: Video response

Here is a video I put together to help Marco improve his TOEFL score:

Email me at if you want me to analyze your score report like I did on this web page.  As part of my analysis, I will recommend a specific TOEFL course for a specific amount of time.

Michael Buckhoff,