What is the average TOEFL® score by country?

When you are competing for coveted university places or a job, you may be a little bit in the dark about how you compare to other test takers from your country. Hopefully, this post can help you out a bit, as it has the latest data on test scores from ETS® available! We will also explore a few strategies on how to get your TOEFL score up.

What is the TOEFL?

Here is a brief overview for those of you who don’t know too much about this test.

The TOEFL, which stands for “Test of English as a Foreign Language”, is the most widely-known and used test to measure test-takers’ communication abilities in the English language. Like many other tests, it includes the four main areas of communication: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. 

Over 11,000 universities in 150+ countries use the TOEFL, and it is the preferred test by US universities’ admissions officers. As the most widely-used test, it is also the one that is most accessible to test-takers. ETS offers 4000 test centers across 150 countries worldwide.

There are other tests as well, such as:

the IELTS, the British test made by Cambridge;

the PTE (Pearson Test of English), which is starting to gain traction globally;

and the OTE (the Occupational Test of English), used in the healthcare sector.

TOEFL scores by country for 2020

Below you will find data collected by ETS (the makers of TOEFL) from the 2020 year, which represents the most up-to-date information available on TOEFL scores. You may find that the total scores in the far-right column are not the sum of the four sections. This is due to rounding.

Obviously, if a country scores higher than another country, that does not mean that it is somehow “better.” The range of scores can be due to several factors:

  • The root of your language and its common origins, if any, with that of the English language
  • Similarity in structure between the English language and the language of a specific country
  • How early a given country introduces English into the curriculum, if at all
  • Etc.
South Korea2222212186
South Africa2325262498
United States2324232393

If your first language is the first language in other countries as well (such as Spanish, French or Italian), I am including a table that shows average TOEFL scores by language also, as this may be more helpful to you. This is not an exhaustive list but addresses the most common languages spoken in multiple countries.


What is the average TOEFL score overall?

While the above tables refer to average TOEFL scores by language and by country, you may be wondering what the average TOEFL score is taking into account all TOEFL tests taken in 2020.

For undergraduate-level test-takers, the average TOEFL score for 2020 was an 86, with a 22 in reading and listening, and a 21 in writing and speaking. You will notice that the scores from the four sections do not add up to the average overall score. This is due to rounding.

For graduate-level test-takers, the average scores are higher. The overall average score comes in at 90, with 23 on the reading and listening, and 22 in the speaking and writing sections.

What is the highest score you can get on the TOEFL?

The TOEFL is scored on a scale from 0-120, which means that the highest score you can get on the TOEFL is a 120. Obviously, that would be quite a feat – even for someone whose native language is English!

Is 92 in TOEFL a good score?

A score of 92 on the TOEFL is above-average for both undergraduate and graduate-level test-takers. If you got this score, congratulations – you should be very proud of yourself!

Which country is best for TOEFL?

The country with the highest average score on the TOEFL is Austria with 102 overall. Tied for second place are Switzerland and Germany, coming in with an overall average of 100.

And what about the highest average score by language? German and Slovenian come in tied for 1st place with an average of 100 points! Konkani, Kashmiri, Assamese, Danish and Dutch all come in next for an average of 99.

TOEFL Score Improvement Strategy

So now that you know how your score compares to those of the same country and/or language as you, it is time to come up with a strategy to help you beat your competition!

1. Take a full practice test

If you haven’t done so already, taking a full practice test is a great way to see your starting point, and it will help you set a goal based on the amount of time you have. ETS offers a free full practice test with questions from past exams here. After taking the practice test (ideally, you will take it test-like conditions), look at your scores and see how they measure up to the average in each section. You may need a minimum score, depending on what you need the test for, so keep that in mind as well.

2. See where you can make the most improvement

It is easier to improve the same amount of points with a lower score than with a higher score. For example, it will be easier to improve by 4 points in a section that you scored 17 in than to improve by 4 points in a section you scored 24 in. So look for low-hanging fruit, and work on the section you scored the lowest in first.

ETS has some great practice sets, which can be found here.

If you feel like you need some extra practice, you can buy some resources to help you prepare. Alternatively, you can use an exam prep service like Magoosh, which specializes in assisting test-takers preparing for standardized tests. I used them to prepare for my GMAT to apply for business school, and I was very impressed!

3. Look for common mistakes according to your language

Since we tend to translate into English from our own language, we often assume that the grammatical structure is the same in both languages! That can be the case, but there are times when it is not!

For example, in Spanish and Italian, you don’t always need an explicit subject when communicating, but in English, you do.

Let’s illustrate this point with an example:

Italian: (Lei) è molto felice.

Spanish: (Ella) es muy feliz.

English: She is very happy.

In Italian and Spanish, you can leave out the subject in parentheses (as long as the antecedent is clear), but you cannot in English. Many Spanish and Italian speakers will make the mistake of saying: “is very happy.” 

Thus, native speakers of Italian and Spanish should make sure they understand this rule very well, and it will help them with their score when it comes time to apply it:

In English, you always need a subject in your sentences.

If you are a native Spanish or Italian speaker, I have more tips like these for you! Let me know if you would like more tips like these by expressing your interest here

4. Take another practice test

Once you have started applying these tips for a little while (make sure you put in a reasonable amount of study), take another practice test to see how your score is improving. This will entice you along in your TOEFL journey and will keep you motivated before taking the test. 

Magoosh offers a free practice test, and you can access it on their website. Keep in mind, you will need to give them your email address in exchange. There are many TOEFL practice tests out there for free but sometimes it is not clear whether or not they are based on actual TOEFL exam questions. If you can find one, that’s great! If not, I would suggest the Official TOEFL iBT Tests Volume 1, Fourth Edition.

5. Never lose heart

Studying for a standardized test like the TOEFL can be grueling, and you may be tempted to give up studying. Don’t lose heart. Your hard work will pay off in the end!

Happy learning!


Hey English Learners! I'm Ryan and I have over 4000 hours of English teaching experience. Even though I am now a management consultant in Ireland by day, I have created this blog because I am a teacher at heart and am passionate about the English language! Look forward to help you get your English Exam Passport. Cheers!

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