Is 550 TOEIC score good? Understanding the scoring system


"What is the level of TOEIC 550 points?" "What kind of study is required to get 550 points?" Those who take the TOEIC for the first time may not know the level and may not know how much score to aim for. It is important to set a target score for efficient study, isn't it?

Therefore, in this article, I will explain about TOEIC L & R, such as the level feeling, evaluation, and study method of 550 points. We will also introduce recommended reference books, so please refer to them.

TOEIC beginners should aim for 550 points!

If you are taking the TOEIC test for the first time, we recommend that you aim for 550 points as a temporary goal. Here, we will introduce the level of TOEIC 550 points, as well as the study time and evaluation required to get 550 points.

TOEIC 550 points level

First, let's see what level the TOEIC 550 points are. The following is a correlation table of scores and communication ability levels officially announced by the Institute for International Business Communication (IIBC), which is the implementing organization of TOEIC. There is no description of 550 points here, so use 470 points as a guide.

level TOEIC score evaluation
A 860 Sufficient communication as a non-native
B 730 Equipped with a foundation for proper communication in any situation
C 470 Satisfy the needs of daily life and be able to communicate in business within a limited range
D 220 220 Minimal communication is possible in normal conversation
E – – I haven't reached the point where I can communicate


A score of 470 points is level C, and it is evaluated as having an English ability of "satisfying the needs of daily life and being able to communicate in business within a limited range". Beginner-intermediate level of English, a level where you can speak and read and write at a daily level.

Generally, when using English for business, it is said that a minimum of 600 TOEIC points is required for English, and a minimum of 700 points is required for foreign-affiliated companies. Therefore, I have the impression that 550 points are a little insufficient for business use. Compared to the familiar Eiken, TOEIC 550 points are equivalent to Eiken Level 2.

Study time required to get TOEIC 550 points

The amount of study time required to earn a TOEIC score of 550 depends on your current level of English proficiency. According to OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, which is also a publisher of Oxford University Press in the United Kingdom, the following is a guideline for study time.

Current score Target score Required study time
250 550 About 700 hours
350 About 450 hours
450 About 225 hours

Source: A Teacher's Guide to TOEIC® Listening and Reading Test Preparing Your Students for Success | Oxford University Press

According to this table, a person with a TOEIC score of 250 now needs about 700 hours to reach 550. Even if you spend 3 hours every day studying TOEIC, it will take more than 230 days. Of course, there are individual differences depending on the actual study method and daily study time, but you can see that you have to study hard to get a TOEIC score of 550.

Learning English all at once is not very effective, so it is recommended that you make a plan that allows you to study continuously.

Percentage of people getting TOEIC 550 points

For those who are aiming for TOEIC 550 points, I am wondering how many people are getting 550 points. According to the official announcement of IIBC, the test results of the 271st test (conducted in June 2021) are as follows.

Score classification Number of people (people) %%
545 ~ 4,031 38.0

Source: Average Score / Score Distribution Details (271) | IIBC

From this, it can be seen that about 40% of the total people score about 550 points. By the way, the average score of the same test was 602.0 points.

Evaluation of TOEIC 550 points

Now that you have a rough idea of the level of TOEIC 550 points, let's take a look at how TOEIC 550 points are evaluated according to the situation of university, job hunting, and job hunting.


In some universities, the TOEIC score may exempt you from the English test or allow you to earn credits. The standard score varies depending on the university or faculty, but it seems that it is often evaluated if it is about 500 points. Therefore, you may set a goal of 550 points for the time being.

Job hunting

At the time of job hunting, TOEIC 550 points is not a very promising level. As mentioned earlier, the average TOEIC score is about 600 points, so 550 points will be below the average score and will not be very appealing. When writing on your resume, we recommend that you write it in the sense of "I will aim to improve my skills from now on."

Job change

Job changers who are expected to be ready to work tend to be required to have higher English proficiency. A minimum of 600 points is required for Japanese companies, and a minimum of 700 points is required for foreign-affiliated companies. Check how much English you need at the company you want to change jobs to.

Study method to get 550 points in TOEIC

In order to get TOEIC 550 points, it is necessary to study by holding down the points. Here, we will introduce effective study methods for each listening and reading.


First, let's take a look at the recommended listening study methods.

Read aloud

"Reading aloud" is recommended for people who want to improve their listening skills. You may be wondering, "Do you read English when you are listening?", But reading aloud is very effective for getting used to the sounds of English. What is often seen in English beginners is that listening to a lot of English will improve your listening skills.

To tell the truth, just listening to English is not enough to improve your listening skills. This is because you tend to be unable to hear sounds that you cannot pronounce. In particular, English has a very different structure from Japanese, and its intonation and rhythm are also different. First of all, by imitating the native voice and reading aloud, you will be able to pronounce it yourself, and your listening skills will improve.

Those who aim for a TOEIC score of 550 should start reading aloud using short English sentences such as TOEIC Part 1 and 2 as teaching materials. Once you get used to it, try long sentences such as Part 3 and 4. Before reading aloud, it is also important to look up words and grammar that you do not understand in English and to understand the meaning firmly.

Utilize listening comprehension apps

After practicing reading aloud and getting used to the sounds of English to some extent, let's move on to the stage of listening to a lot of English. There are many reference books and problem books that come with a CD or you can download the sound source to your smartphone, and it is convenient to use these. Also, the smartphone app is especially recommended. Many of the apps are specialized for TOEIC measures, and some of them can be used for free.

The content and usage differ depending on the app, so it is important to choose the one that suits you. There are slow speed ones for beginners and ones that can change the speed, so you can challenge normal speed after getting used to it to some extent.

Most of the content of the app is from a few minutes to 30 minutes, so it's perfect for listening during the gap time. If it comes with a script, you can check the English text with your eyes and ears, and it is recommended because it can be used as a reading measure.

Reading edition

If you aim for a TOEIC score of 550, it is important to acquire grammar and vocabulary as a reading measure. Firmly holding the foundation will be the fastest way to improve your score.

Master junior high school English grammar

The first recommended way to study reading is to master English grammar at the junior high school level. TOEIC 550 points are below the overall average, so it's a good idea to get the basics first. By understanding the grammar properly, you can aim to improve your score.

You may think that grammar is necessary only for the fill-in-the-blank question in Part 5, but knowledge of grammar is essential for reading long sentences. It is good to study grammar items one by one in reference books, but the drawback is that the range is very wide and it takes time. It is more efficient to solve a lot of exercises in Part 5 and thoroughly investigate the mistakes and unknowns.

There is also the advantage of getting used to the TOEIC question format and trends by solving many problems. If you find yourself in a field that you are not particularly good at, use a reference book to delve into it.

Learn TOEIC frequently used words

TOEIC, which is difficult to complete all the questions within the time limit, is a test that requires speed, which can be said to be a match against time. Therefore, if all the words you don't know appear during the exam, you can't really compete.

Also, even if the question is grammatically understandable, it is difficult to answer just because there is a word you do not know. Especially in Part 5, there are many problems that cannot be solved without knowing the words. If you want to improve your score with TOEIC, you need to improve your vocabulary.

You can memorize only the words as they are, but the more memorable thing is to remember them together with the sentences. Learn not only the meaning of words but also how they are used. Generally, it is said that about 4,500 words are required to obtain TOEIC 550 points, and about 5,000 words are required to obtain TOEIC 600 points. Let's learn TOEIC frequently used words by using reference books that specialize in words on a daily basis.

5 Recommended Reference Books for Those Who Are Aiming for TOEIC 550 Points

Here are five recommended reference books to break through the TOEIC 550 points.

TOEIC L & R Test 1000 Questions for Grammar Questions

"1000 Questions for TOEIC L & R Test Grammar Questions" is a collection of questions created by the author who got TOEIC 990 points 100 times or more. The number of questions recorded is 1049! Perfect for those who want to solve many problems and get used to it. This is a book specializing in Part 5 grammar questions, which is a fill-in-the-blank format.

The feature of this book is that the explanation is easy to understand. Each question is explained in logical detail as to why the answer is correct. It even explains why other options are wrong, so you'll be able to get out of the "somehow understandable" situation. Another feature of this book is that it has a spread structure with problems on the left page and explanations on the right page.

It saves you the trouble of checking the end of the book and the explanations in the separate volume after solving the problem, and has a good reputation for ease of use. Since it is completed in one page spread, it is an advantage that you can study without interruption of concentration. English audio can also be downloaded, so be sure to use it as a listening measure.

Recommended level Beginner to advanced
author TEX Kato
the publisher Ask
Price (tax included) 2,530 yen

The most easy-to-understand TOEIC test English words in the world

An English word book "The World's Most Easy-to-Understand TOEIC Test English Words" by Professor Masao Seki, who is popular in the " World's Most Easy-to-Understand " series. Memorization was the mainstream of conventional word learning methods, but this book has been devised so that you can learn words without having to memorize them in their entirety.

Introducing synonyms and antonyms of each word, as well as episodes and trivia related to the word. You'll be amazed at its content. Through these explanations, you can "memorize" words more easily. In addition, there are many example sentences that can be asked as they are in the actual exam, so it is an advantage that you can naturally get used to the exam format.

This book is also characterized by the way words are categorized. It includes the unique perspectives of the author who knows all about TOEIC, such as "words that everyone can easily misunderstand" and "words that you want to check once". We have carefully selected words that often appear in TOEIC, so this book is recommended for those who want to improve their score.

Recommended level Beginner-Intermediate
author Masao Seki
the publisher KADOKAWA / Chukei Publishing
Price (tax included) 1,650 yen

1 station 1 subject! TOEIC L & R TEST Grammar Limited Express

" 1 station 1 subject! TOEIC L & R TEST grammar limited express " is recommended as a collection of questions specialized for Part 5 and 6 . This is a revised version of the popular "1 Station 1 Title New TOEIC TEST Grammar Limited Express" released in 2009. It is a good book that the author of the TOEIC expert instructor can aim to improve the score created without any waste.

Although the number of questions is small, it is narrowed down to frequent questions, so the point is that you can study efficiently. You can improve your grammar score by solving this book over and over again and reviewing the mistakes you made. It is also attractive that it has a polite commentary. It's nice that there is about one page of explanation for each question, and there is also an explanation of the path to derive the correct answer and the options for incorrect answers.

This new edition comes with a commentary reading voice by the instructor. You will be able to learn as if you were listening to a lecture. Audio can be downloaded. You can use it with a little gap time, and it will also be a listening measure.

Recommended level Intermediate to advanced
author Tetsuya Hanada
the publisher Asahi Shimbun Publishing
Price (tax included) 935 yen

TOEIC (R) L & R test Platinum vocabulary as it is

" TOEIC (R) L & R Test Platinum Vocabulary as it is" to acquire vocabulary that can be used in TOEIC production . It is a good book that you can efficiently learn the words and phrases that often appear in TOEIC. All of Part 1 to 7 are posted in English in the same format as the actual one, so you can get used to the exam question format.

This book is a book that contains more than 3,000 words carefully selected by the author from the 350,000 words selected as a result of thorough research on the official TOEIC questions and other TOEIC-related books. Some esoteric words are also posted, which are suitable for those who aim for 900 points or more. It is also attractive that it can be used by beginners to advanced users.

Every word has an example sentence and voice, and the voice can be downloaded to your smartphone. You can study anytime, anywhere by using the gap time. You can also download 426 "Platinum Proficiency Test Questions" for free to test if you have learned the words. If you study this book over and over again, you will definitely be able to improve your score.

Recommended level Beginner to advanced
author Junnosuke Hamasaki
the publisher The Japan Times
Price (tax included) 1,540 yen

TOEIC L & R test You can get 600 points even for the first time!

With this one book, you can take measures for all TOEIC parts " TOEIC L & R Test You can get 600 points even for the first time! ". Recommended for those who are taking the TOEIC test for the first time and those who aim for 600 points. The feature of this book is that you can aim to improve your score by making full use of four techniques such as "Ambush attack method" and "⚪︎ × game elimination method". By utilizing these, it is said that the score can be raised at once.

Also, it comes with a CD that allows you to study all the listening and reading parts as if you were giving a lecture, and it also contains 400 questions for two mock exams. You can also check the strategy and grammar for each part, so you can expect to improve your overall English proficiency.

All of the recorded words are TOEIC frequent words. If you wear it well, you will definitely improve your score. Some of the reviews said, "The score went up from 200 points to 500 points!" It's perfect for people whose scores are sluggish.

Recommended level Beginner-Intermediate
author Kazuaki Yamane, Pierre Babyno
the publisher Seibido Shuppan
Price (tax included) 1,980 yen

How to improve your TOEIC score

So far, I have explained the points to aim for score improvement, such as trying TOEIC-specific learning methods and using TOEIC preparation materials. Here are some tips to improve your score, so please try it.

Get a firm grasp of your strengths and weaknesses

It is essential to understand the strengths and weaknesses of an individual in order to improve the TOEIC score. By knowing what your weaknesses and strengths are, you can take appropriate measures. Each person has different fields of weakness, such as grammar, vocabulary, and listening. It is important to try the learning methods introduced in reference books and the Internet, but the methods may not always suit you.

In order to know the weak points, let's pay attention to the parts that are always wrong in the TOEIC problem collection and the parts that take a long time to solve. If you can overcome your weaknesses, you will reduce the number of mistakes and improve your score. Above all, you can expect to increase your motivation for the exam by reducing your weakness.

Study by making good use of the gap time

The bottleneck in taking TOEIC measures is how to secure study time. When you're busy with work or school lessons, it's difficult to create a cohesive study time. In such a case, it is recommended to utilize the gap time. You can study in small pieces by making effective use of the time you spend while commuting to work or school, or between meetings and lectures.

Another advantage of gap time learning is that you can easily maintain your concentration. You will be able to concentrate more on your studies because it is a short time of about 5 to 30 minutes. If you secure about 15 minutes of study time four times a day, it will be a total of one hour. Continuing to study without wasting any time should be the fastest way to improve your score.

Anyway, increase the time to be exposed to English

If you want to improve your TOEIC score, be aware that you will spend more time in English. In addition to reading English books and listening to English news, we also recommend enjoying your favorite movies and music in English, and writing a diary in English. Especially, it is a merit that you can continue while having fun if you like it.

If you interact with people from overseas, you will practice listening and speaking, but you may not have the opportunity in Japan. Therefore, online English conversation is recommended. It has the advantage that you can practice English conversation while you are at home.

For rare jobs where student satisfaction is high, experienced instructors will firmly support learning. It is also attractive that you can use more than 5,000 teaching materials as much as you want. There is also a free trial lesson, so it's perfect for people who want to try it before applying.