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TOEFL Scores

Good TOEFL scores for top universities

If you must take the TOEFL as part of your application for admission, you’re probably asking yourself, “How do I know if my TOEFL score is good enough for my dream program?”

The answer? It depends. A good TOEFL score is the score that meets (or exceeds) the minimum requirements for the program you want to attend. Each university has a different required or recommended TOEFL score range for each of their programs. Finding out what your dream university considers a top TOEFL score is important both for planning your TOEFL prep and setting your TOEFL score goal.

TOEFL scores infographic

Find out what score you need to get on the TOEFL by consulting our helpful new infographic! This new resource provides the minimum required and/or recommended TOEFL scores for some of the top universities. Check it out!

(Click infographic to open in new page)

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Did you find your university? If not, you can research a university’s minimum required TOEFL score by visiting their website or contacting their admissions office. :) Also, continue reading for more info about TOEFL score reports!

TOEFL scoring basics

The TOEFL iBT test is broken into four sections: Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Each section is worth a maximum of 30 points, for a possible combined score of 120.

The TOEFL is a standardized exam, which means that ETS uses a specific (and secret) calculation to generate your final score. This process of equating scores compensates for the fact that some versions of the TOEFL exam are more difficult than other versions, ultimately making all TOEFL scores directly comparable.

TOEFL score ranking

As you can see from the infographic, different universities – and even different programs within universities – require different scores. This makes ranking TOEFL scores extra challenging.

The important thing to note is that there isn’t one good TOEFL score. Instead, each program has a preferred TOEFL score range. Knowing your program’s preferences can help you plan your TOEFL preparation and allow you to set a personal TOEFL score goal.

And before you go …

Let us know how you like our infographic by leaving a comment below and sharing with your friends! :)

 

About the Author

Rita Kreig has a Master's Degree from UCSD, and has helped students achieve their highest potential on the SAT, ACT, and GRE since 2009. She works as Inbound Marketer at Magoosh, where she loves to analyze spreadsheets. After work, she practices vinyasa yoga and bakes cookies. Follow Rita on Google+ and on Twitter @Rita Kreig!

20 Responses to TOEFL Scores

  1. marius July 12, 2014 at 10:29 am #

    Dear Magoosh instructors,
    I am grateful for this infographic and the clarity it contains. I am a French native and recently I’ve taken my first TOEFL test and got my score: 95 (R: 20, L:27, S:23, W: 25).
    Even if I am happy with such a performance, I will have to sit for the test again because I need a score of 100 minimum. I often read your post and like your objective views and tips about the TOEFL. Thanks and keep it up=

    • Rita Kreig
      Rita Kreig July 13, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

      Hello Marius,

      I am so happy to hear that you found the infographic useful, and that you enjoy our blog posts. :) Thank you so much for following the TOEFL blog. Congratulations on your wonderful TOEFL score … you are so close to your goal. Bon courage!

      Rita

  2. Mauricio July 21, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

    Hello,

    How come Berkeley asks for a 68 on the TOEFL, while other universities are in 100 pts.

    Much regards

    • Rita Kreig
      Rita Kreig July 21, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

      Hi Mauricio,

      I was surprised too! :)

      This answer is that it’s difficult to know for sure why Berkeley’s minimum required TOEFL score for graduate admissions is so low compared to other equally impressive universities. But here are some thoughts:

      1) This minimum required TOEFL score is a general one for all graduate admissions at UC Berkeley. I would guess that different programs within UC Berkeley have different preferences, which are likely higher than this general score.

      2) Each university has a different interpretation of a good TOEFL score, which is to say that each university has a different interpretation of the level of English a student would need in order to do well in a class in their program. Some universities put more faith in the TOEFL’s ability to test English skills than other universities do. In fact, a lot of universities (especially in the UK) don’t require TOEFL scores at all, and use other methods of determining whether international students are fluent enough in English to attend.

      I hope this helps! Let me know if I can help answer any other questions you make have.

      Rita

  3. Muhammad Khurram Qureshi July 26, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    Hello. I did gave TOEFL back in 2011 and got 108. I scored well in all the sections except the speaking section where I got a 23. Now I have to retake the TOEFL exam but I definitely want to improve my TOEFL speaking score. The two problems that I faced in the speaking section were as follows:
    1. I am not a natural fluent speaker.
    2. There was too much noise in the test center (Other people were also speaking at the same time).
    Can you please give me some advice on how I could improve my speaking score?
    Many Thanks.

    • Rita Kreig
      Rita Kreig July 28, 2014 at 11:27 am #

      Hi Muhammad,

      Thanks for your question! :)

      Many students find the speaking section of the TOEFL to be the most difficult part of the test. It can definitely be a challenge to practice speaking a foreign language on your own. In terms of the two problems you mentioned, there are definitely things you can do to overcome them a bit:

      1) You are not a natural fluent speaker: The TOEFL doesn’t expect you to speak like you are fluent in English. However, the scorers must be able to understand you. This post on Improving your pronunciation for the TOEFL gives you tips for identifying the parts of your English pronunciation that need the most work, as well as strategies for improving your pronunciation. I definitely recommend giving it a read!

      2) The test center was noisy: This is a definite challenge of the TOEFL. Everyone taking the test at the same time is speaking at the same time! It makes it difficult to concentrate. I’d recommend that you play music or have the TV on when you practice TOEFL speaking, so that you get used to ignoring distracting noises. Practice staying focused on your own thoughts, and even write down some notes on paper as you speak so that you remember what you were planning to say, and don’t get thrown off by distracting noises around you. Here is a list of topics you’ll talk about on the TOEFL, to help guide your practice.

      Here are two other blog posts that you might find useful: How to Practice TOEFL Speaking and TOEFL Speaking Practice.

      I hope that you find this advice useful! Good luck retaking the TOEFL. :)
      Rita

  4. alex July 27, 2014 at 9:10 pm #

    I did like the infographic , but next time hopefully u guys post a good methods to pass the test successfully

    • Rita Kreig
      Rita Kreig July 28, 2014 at 11:15 am #

      Hi Alex,

      I’m glad you like the infographic, and thanks for the suggestion! :)

      If you’d like some more strategies for passing the TOEFL, please explore some of the other posts on our TOEFL Blog – we write a lot about TOEFL exam strategies each week. We divide the strategies by the different sections of the TOEFL exam: Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. If you look at the top menu bar of the blog, you can click on the links and easily navigate to posts that’ll help you learn to pass each section of the test successfully. :)

      Happy Studying!
      Rita

  5. Ciccio August 1, 2014 at 5:17 am #

    Hi guys,
    thanks for the infographic! Very useful!

    Do you have any experiences of people getting their scores before the 10-days? I took the toefl on the 26th of july, and now I’m waiting… but waiting is hard! Will I get an email stating that my scores are ready to consult?

    Thanks!

    • Lucas
      Lucas August 1, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

      You’re welcome! It generally takes the full 10 days, I’m afraid—sometimes a couple days more. But you will get an email, yes. :-)

    • Maria Denisse August 1, 2014 at 4:37 pm #

      Hey Ciccio,

      I took the test the same day as you did, and I just got my results a couple o hours ago! :)

      Try checking your email

      • kapil August 23, 2014 at 9:09 am #

        What? Did u get your result in 5days ?

  6. Robin Renardi August 10, 2014 at 8:43 am #

    Hello, i hope you can help me to give me some important information.
    I want to apply to both UC Berkeley and Stanford.This is what i’m worrying about, actually, Stanford and UC. Berkeley stated that they need 90 in TOEFL IBT as the minimum requirement. However, i got only 91 and right now i’m confused to retake it or not. And from your opinion, is TOEFL a test that need to be scored as high as possible or just fulfill the requirement? But the way, the graph is really helping.

    • Lucas
      Lucas August 11, 2014 at 11:00 am #

      Hi Robin. First, congrats on that 91! From my experience, you only need to meet the minimum for most, if not all, schools. Once that minimum is reached, it’s time to focus on other parts of the application. Schools only use the TOEFL to see whether you’ll be able to communicate in English well enough. It’s not a measure of your academic capability, like the rest of your application. So don’t worry about it if you’re a bit close to the minimum! That should be enough. :-) If you want to be certain, though, I recommend emailing the admissions offices at Stanford and Berkeley to see if they value higher TOEFL score in applicants. And I’m glad you like the infographic!

  7. kapil August 22, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

    So you got your results in 5 days ? :O

  8. Frenci September 9, 2014 at 2:43 am #

    Hello,

    What if I get 108 points and the school requires 110 points?

    Do I need to retake the test?

    Thanks

    • Lucas
      Lucas September 12, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

      That depends on the program you’re applying to. Email them to ask if the information isn’t on their site. Good luck!

  9. francis September 12, 2014 at 1:11 am #

    Pls am a little bit confuse here, I thought when you reach the minimum score of what the university you applied required you have automatically qualify for the admission to study in your dream school you applied for.

    • Lucas
      Lucas September 12, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

      The TOEFL is just a test of your English ability, nothing more. If you reach the minimum score, then a school will consider the other parts of your application. That includes other test scores (like the GRE), your academic history, your recommendations, and your statement of purpose (application essay). An application includes many pieces! But keep in mind that some schools don’t have minimum scores. Some schools look at your TOEFL scores next to the rest of your application, so they have recommended scores but will also value other parts of your application.


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