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TOEFL Tip #104: Rescoring Could Make A Big Difference

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on June 10, 2011

If your Speaking and Writing scores on the TOEFL are lower than you expected, consider having the sections rescored. Recently, three Strictly English students have benefitted significantly from their rescore requests. Two students each gained four points on the Speaking section – one went from 23 to 27, and the other went from 24 to 28 – and the third student gained four points on the Writing section, going from 24 to 28. These higher scores are life-changing, because they resulted in the scores necessary for each student to pursue professional licenses. With so much at stake, rescoring could be a smart strategy.

The ETS site outlines the process for requesting a rescore, but we wanted to highlight a few points here.

Each TOEFL exam you take can be rescored only one time, but you have up to three months after you take the test to request the rescore. If you want both the Speaking and Writing sections rescored, they must be done at the same time. Each section is $60 ($120 for both sections), which must be paid whether your scores changes or not. Revised scores are ready online three weeks after your request is received.

Only the Speaking and Writing sections can be rescored, because these sections call on the judgment and experience of each person scoring your exam. Of course, ETS has standards and guidelines to help all of its graders assess tests in very similar ways. Strictly English has discussed scoring discrepancies with ETS, who assures us that these are anomolies – unusual exceptions to their typical results. ETS says, “Data collected by ETS indicates that TOEFL iBT score changes based on rescores has always been less than one tenth of one percent and that the rate has actually decreased every year.” Yet, for us to have three students each gain four points suggests that ETS’s scoring on the Speaking and Writing sections might not be consistent all of the time.

Before you request a rescore, be honest with yourself about your performance on the test. Is your actual score on the Speaking and Writing sections lower than the score you need by four or fewer points? Have your practice test scores been higher than your actual test score? Were you well prepared to take the test – well-rested, not hungry, etc? Did you feel that you easily understood the material in the Speaking and Writing sections? Did you feel confident that your answers addressed the questions in a direct, focused way?

If you can answer “yes” to these questions, consider having your Reading or Writing sections rescored. Rescoring could make the difference in your final test score between needing to take the TOEFL again, or not. If you request a rescore and receive a higher score, please be sure to let us know!

Categories: Industry Issues,Speaking,Writing

10 comments so far. Leave a comment.

  1. StrictlyEnglish | Blog ? Rescoring Could Make a Big Difference | udidedoky

    wrote on June 12, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    [...] Source: [...]

  2. scott zagoria

    wrote on June 19, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Certainly these comments are true! Some of the topics can be challenging, while others are overly simplistic. Sometimes very mature and competent English writers may have difficulties providing suitable examples in the latter case! There are also inconsistencies due to the current machine scoring system. So, if you don’t do as well as you expected — definitely consider trying again! sz

  3. StrictlyEnglish | Blog » Request For Speaking Re-score Brings A Higher Result . . . Again

    wrote on November 4, 2011 at 8:05 am

    [...] Earlier this year, we discussed examples of Strictly English students whose TOEFL test scores were significantly lower than their practice scores had been prior to the exam. Each of the three students requested a rescore, and each had his or her score raised by 4 points. As we noted, this is a substantial difference which can determine if students can continue their professional studies, or not. [...]

  4. Jeff M

    wrote on November 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    I agree. Some worry about the fee of recoring and just take the whole test over. Asking for a rescore also shows that you’re aware and sure of your own abilities – also a good trait for American undergrads.

  5. StrictlyEnglish | Blog » The Year In Review

    wrote on December 30, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    [...] in the TOEFL testing calendar. We shared the results of several students who requested rescores (here and here). We also reported that test results from the December 17 TOEFL exam have been lower than [...]

  6. Alberto

    wrote on May 21, 2014 at 6:24 am

    Do you know if you request the rescore of the writing section you can get a lower grade than the original?

  7. Strictly English TOEFL Tutors

    wrote on May 21, 2014 at 6:58 am

    Hi Alberto:
    According to ETS’s page on rescoring, they say, “If the rescore results in a change in your score (lower or higher), the revised scores will become your official scores.”

    Read more here

  8. manar

    wrote on April 6, 2015 at 5:19 am

    My friend applied for rescore, and her speaking score went from 22 to 28. I know it is strange, but it happens. Hence, for all TOEFL takers, if you feel that you are deserve a higher score, go to the rescoring. In my view, it is worth it to try.

  9. Alexander Bauer

    wrote on January 4, 2016 at 11:01 am

    I have applied for 3 different universities abroad. According to the to my TOEFL score (writing = 20), I’m eligible to get into one of these universities (writing = 19). However, the university that I’m more interested, requests one more point in the writing section (= 21). Therefore, if I request the revaluation of my scores, could my grades get lower, and risk the possibility to start the classes in the university that I’m already eligible?

  10. Strictly English TOEFL Tutors

    wrote on January 5, 2016 at 10:18 am

    Yes, they can lower your score.

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