Things to Consider Before a TOEFL Retake

If you think about it, taking the TOEFL is really a relatively quick and painless way to prove your level of English. It allows schools to outsource the vetting of international candidates, which ultimately frees up the resources for them to consider more candidates; it’s cheaper than an interview, and less time-consuming (for you and for the admissions office) than putting together a portfolio; it’s more reliable and consistent than each institution creating its own placement test (imagine having to take not just one English proficiency exam, but five or ten or twenty)! That being said, it’s not a perfect solution.  Although Internet access has greatly improved matters, the test is still neither cheap nor convenient for you, the student. Here are some things to consider if you’re debating whether or not you should retake the TOEFL.


1. Don’t get tunnel vision

When preparing applications, we’ve all been tempted to obsess over a turn of phrase here, a point or two there. But with an investment of at least $150 and four hours (and that’s if—god forbid—you don’t study at all), you really don’t want to take the test any more times than you have to. Below are a few things to consider before you decide whether it’s worth taking the TOEFL a second (or third) time.


Practice for your TOEFL exam with Magoosh.

2. Think practically

As tempting as it can be to get caught up in an endless quest for a perfect or near-perfect score, try to keep your eye on the prize: acceptance into your school you want to go to.  How does your score compare to posted statistics? Are you above the minimum requirement? Are you scoring near the average score for accepted students? You can find the score requirements for many top universities (as well as how to find your particular requirements) in our TOEFL Scores Infographic. If your scores don’t meet these requirements, a retake (and some targeted studying) may be in your future. If, on the other hand, you can answer yes to these questions, then move on to #2; a retake—and the few points it may win you— could be more trouble than it’s worth.


3. Look back.

Remember what test day was like. Was anything unusual going on? Were you sick? Had you slept very poorly before the exam? Did you arrive flustered and late, or were there other things going on in your life that distracted you during the exam? Of course, no one can take the test under perfect conditions. But if you think that unusual circumstances had a significant impact on your score, you may benefit from another try.


4. Look forward

Take a look at your calendar. You probably have a job. You may have classes.  You have activities and hobbies and chores and friends who won’t be happy if you drop off the face of the planet for three months to prepare for a test you already took. So before you go and register, stop and decide how much time you’ll really be able to commit to studying. If you can’t be confident in at least a few hours of consistent study time each week, you may not get the boost you’re looking for. If that’s the case, then return to step #3. If you have a lot of room to improve, and you really need it to get into the school of your choice, then work out a study schedule, and plan on catching up with your friends and hobbies after test day. If retaking the test would just put a feather in your cap, then you can probably use your energy best elsewhere.

Psst...Need more TOEFL practice? Start your FREE TRIAL today.

Most Popular Resources

112 Responses to Things to Consider Before a TOEFL Retake

  1. pavan December 28, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    I scored a 106 in TOEFL (R 29,L28 , S22, W27 ) and I have a CEFR rating of C1 which puts me in the range of 110-120.

    Most of the colleges I plan to apply for require 100-105 ,However I am not entirely satisfied with my speaking score.

    Is it recommended to take the TOEFL again ? or will my CEFR make up for this ?

    • Kate Hardin
      Kate Hardin December 29, 2013 at 5:57 am #

      Hi there– Unfortunately, I can’t really tell you what’s best for you and your situation, but I will say that vastly exceeding your school’s TOEFL requirement doesn’t usually help. If you have the required level of English, that’s all the admissions department is likely to care about. If you’re uncomfortable with your score as it is, you can retake the test; it won’t hurt anything. But it may be wiser to focus on improving other parts of your application.

      • pavan January 1, 2014 at 2:49 am #

        Thanks..I will focus on my GRE preparation right now,and will take a call on re-taking toefl post-gre.

  2. Ojas February 23, 2014 at 7:11 am #

    i have given toefl 2 times
    the result of second toefl is awaited….
    first time i scored 84… which is pretty low…
    reading:22 listening:17 speaking:23 writing:22

    i think i will score low in english this time…
    rest are fine
    but i have already send the toefl scores to universities,,because while regsitering for toefl,there is an option by which we can send..

    My question is if i will retake the test,
    Will it affect my admission ??
    will taking toefl 3 times affect my visa application as i am also planning to gre again….

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas February 24, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

      Good news–taking the TOEFL multiple times won’t affect your admissions negatively. If you took the test 6 times in one year (which nobody really does), it might look bad at some admissions offices, but taking the test 3 times as you will have is definitely not a problem. And your visa application certainly wouldn’t be affected. I hope those scores come back better than the first test (they often do!) and good luck on your third try 🙂

      • Kaushik May 20, 2017 at 6:03 am #

        Will recent test score be written on older test score report?

        • David Recine
          David Recine May 20, 2017 at 6:57 am #

          No, each score report is completely separate. Your school won’t see any of your old scores alongside your new score. And most schools are only interested in your highest TOEFL score from the last two years. This means that even if your most recent score is lower, you can submit the older, higher score instead.

  3. pvk June 3, 2014 at 4:25 pm #

    hi … i’ve already took toefl once but im still not satisfied with the score, even though it already meets the requirement but still i think i can do better… now this might sound silly but my question is if my score on my 2nd attemp is lower than my 1st attemp ( coz you know its the matter of scoring enough in a specific section) do i have the option to choose which score to send for application?

    • Kate Hardin
      Kate Hardin June 4, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      Hi– that’s a great question. First of all, I would advise you to talk to your university admissions department and see if a retake will really be worth it. Most schools don’t care what score you get, as long as you meet the minimum, and I don’t want you to waste your time if that’s the case with your school. The admissions department should be able to give you some advice on whether you should retake or not. If you do decide to retake, both scores will be sent, because the score reports are sent out as soon as the test is graded. If the university receives two score reports, I don’t know which one they will use–that’s up to the individual university. That’s also a great question for the admissions department, who will have more information about your particular university’s policies.

      In other words, you can’t choose which scores get sent in (unless you cancelled your first scores, which it sounds like you didn’t), but you can send scores from subsequent tests to the university, and then they’ll see all of them.

      Does that help? Thanks for writing in! Let me know if you have any more questions.

  4. san October 2, 2014 at 2:18 am #

    I took toefl twice and my second score is low compared to the first one. I didn’t select any university to send free scores. Right now I have two scores. I want to send my first score, which is high compared to second score. If I send score now, will ets send my second score also along with first one?? Or just my first score?

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas October 6, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

      You can choose which scores to send. Each time you send scores, only the scores that you choose go to the schools. But most schools only care about your highest score, anyway. 🙂

      • Bappy October 12, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

        Hello Lucas,

        I am totally confused whether I will be able to send my first score or not. ETS says, “TOEFL score reports include scores for only the last test taken.” What does that mean then?

        • Lucas Fink
          Lucas October 13, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

          That sentence on their website is a bit confusing, isn’t it? That only refers to the free score reports which you choose to send at the time of taking the test, not any additional score reports that you order after taking the test. In other words, when you send scores at any time, only the scores from that test are sent. No earlier scores are sent. So if you have a January score and a June score, and in August you pay to send your January score, only that one will be sent. Similarly, in June, before the test, when you choose schools to send free score reports, those schools will only receive the June score and nothing from January.

  5. Nicks October 23, 2014 at 11:21 pm #

    I scored 82 in TOEFL and I have been advised by many to re-take the TOEFL exam. I wanted to know what do universities look at- is it the case that if one has qualified their minimum TOEFL score requirements, they’re okay with it (without affecting the admit chances) or the chances of getting an admit can be severely affected because of low TOEFL score.

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas October 28, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

      In general, meeting the minimum is the most important thing. After reaching that point, the other parts of your application are usually far more important. But if the rest of your application is already as strong as you can make it, reaching more than the minimum might be a big help. You might want to contact the admissions offices at the schools you’re applying to. Sometimes they will tell you whether scores even higher than the minimum are particularly important to them (although often they will just give a stock response).

  6. Jay November 19, 2014 at 4:11 pm #

    Do I need to pay every time I take a TOEFL test?

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas November 24, 2014 at 4:50 pm #

      Yes, unfortunately. It’s not a cheap test, and every time you take the TOEFL costs money again. The amount of money depends on the country you are in. For example, in America, it is $185, but in Germany, it is $245. You can see that information on the official ETS website:

  7. sai November 30, 2014 at 8:54 am #

    Ih’ve taken toefl 4 times and every time score was low and my last time got 72 so what should i do shall i take it again? since you said in the last post that we can send the recent score and they won’t able to get past scores.I’m totally worrying.

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas December 2, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

      Hi Sai,

      First, whether you should retake the test depends on what the schools you’re applying to want. If your target score is much higher, and the rest of you application isn’t extremely strong, then you might want to retake the test, yes. But make sure you are really learning more English and using it before taking the next test! Simply repeating the test again and again is expensive and may not be helpful. You want to build up the English experience, knowledge, and skills that will bring you to a higher score. 🙂

      In any case, don’t worry about taking the test too many times. If you don’t specify which schools to send scores to for free before you take the test, then nobody will see the scores until you choose to send specific ones.

      By the way, you sent in a few comments and asked why your first comment didn’t appear on the blog. Our approval process is quite strict and can take several days. Please see our comment policy at the bottom of the page: if your comment is not helpful to other students, we might not be able to respond.

      • Taiga Mikami November 26, 2015 at 6:57 am #

        Hello, I am a student from Japan planning on transferring to a university in the United States and I have a similar question which I would really appreciate if I can get an opinion on. Most of the schools I plan on applying have a minimum score requirement of 100, and I have taken the TOEFL 3 times already with the highest score being 96. If possible I would want to retake the exam one more time, but will taking the test four times negatively impact my admission?

        Thank you.

  8. Steve December 24, 2014 at 1:15 am #

    I have been looking for online that if I can reach my old toefl score from 2008 but I couldn’t find any information. The scores are not available online on my account. Do you know how long ETS keeps the scores?

    Happy Holidays.


    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas December 30, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

      Happy holidays to you, too! TOEFL scores are valid for two years from the test date. After that, I’m fairly certain you cannot access them at all. That would explain why you couldn’t find them in your account. :-/ I wish I could tell you otherwise.

  9. pooja April 22, 2015 at 1:35 am #


    Few days ago I had a tofel test……it didn’t did well what I was supposed to because I was very sick at that time and hardly open to my eyes because I was very tired. I feel I should take a retest but afraid that it might not be the same like earlier. Please suggest me what I do

  10. David Recine April 27, 2015 at 3:31 pm #

    So sorry to hear about your bad experience on test day, Pooja! If you’re mostly worried that the test will be more difficult on the retake, I would say don’t worry too much. ETS does everything it can to keep the TOEFL at a similar level of difficulty, even when the questions change. If one exam still winds up being harder than others, ETS will try to adjust student scores to make up for those differences. Kate wrote a good article on that here: .

    Of course another thing to consider before a retake is whether or not you truly *need* to retake the TOEFL. You want to consider the score requirements of the schools your’e applying to, and how important those requirements are. To help yourself in that decision, read Lucas’ post “Should I Retake the TOEFL?”:

  11. Sourav June 4, 2015 at 5:37 am #

    Should the toefl scores be valid till the time of visa application. In my case toefl score expires on 28th June 2016. I was of the impression that toefl scores should be valid at least till the time of college application process. kindly suggest if I should take the toefl again….I am planning for fall 2016 admissions.

  12. David Recine June 7, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    Hello Sourav,

    Visa application and international college admissions are two separate but related processes. The university you apply to ultimately decides whether or not your TOEFL scores are still valid or too old— immigration will follow their recommendation about whether you should get a student visa with an older TOEFL score.

    My advice is to speak with the admissions office of the university or universities you will be applying to. Double check the answers you get from admissions. You can do this by also talking to the university’s office of international education. At some (but not all) universities, the office of international education makes or greatly influences admissions decisions about international students.

  13. Neha June 16, 2015 at 12:19 pm #


    I have already sent my TOFEL score to interested university for spring’15 admission. But the score will expire on 30th June 2015, so will it still be valid when they will review my application , lets just say after on 30th June 2015?


    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas Fink June 16, 2015 at 8:04 pm #

      This depends mostly on the policies at the program you’re applying to. Email them to be sure! But in general, scores that are over two years old at the time of the admissions deadline may not be valid.

  14. Krishna Kumar July 23, 2015 at 3:37 am #


    I took my TOEFL a couple of weeks back and my score is 109 (R-30, L-29, S-22, W-28). I am very disappointed with my Speaking Score. Though I meet the total minimum requirement for almost all the universities, I am worried if my low speaking score will have any impact on the processing of my application.

    Moreover, I will also be looking forward to get a Teaching Assistantship for which Speaking Score is very important. So, I am wondering if I should retake my TOEFL.

    What are the possible impacts of my speaking score on the processing of my applications? If I retake my TOEFL and my score is not as good as it was before, will I be able to send my best scores to the Universities?

    Further, Do all the Universities have Oral Proficiency Test up on arrival for TA aspirants who haven’t met the TOEFL Speaking Minimum?

    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas Fink July 28, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

      Whether your speaking score is enough for you depends on the requirements at the specific programs you’re applying to. It’s possible that TA positions have requirements over 22 in speaking, so you should check with the universities you’re interested in what the requirements are for TAs; not all schools are the same! As for retaking the test, any schools that you select for free score reports will get the score, regardless of whether it’s higher or lower than a previous score. But most schools only really care about your higher score. And if you don’t choose schools before taking the test, but instead pay to choose schools after the day of the test, you can select which scores to send.

  15. Harry September 25, 2015 at 5:11 am #


    If I chose four universities for free test reports of my Toefl Score before August 2015, give my first attempt to toefl in August 2015, then, will the same universities will get the updated score reports for free after my second attempt in September 2015? Do I have to pay and send them my updated score reports after my second attempt as these universities are the once which I am primarily targeting? Will they receive the updated scores for free again?


    • Lucas Fink
      Lucas Fink September 28, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

      It will not happen automatically, no. You will need to choose those same four schools again when you sign up for your second TOEFL. But yes, they can be sent for free. 🙂

  16. Angel November 7, 2015 at 11:09 pm #


    I took the toefl test last oct 2015, and this November I am planning to take the test again.
    I scored 93 total, speaking 24. I am trying to apply for RN license here in the USA.
    The state requires a total score of 83 and speaking 26. I was so devastated ’cause i missed 2 points. My question is, are the questions will be the same the second time I take it? Because I am going to practice my answers, especially with the speaking section.
    This question might be silly but any answer will be a great help!
    Thank you 🙂

    • David Recine November 9, 2015 at 6:54 pm #


      Not a silly question at all! Some standardized tests do re-use a lot of questions. The TOEFL rarely does, though. You’re highly unlikely to get any of the same questions. I would say you should assume the questions will be all different. However, the question TYPES are the same from test to test. So practicing answers on TOEFL prep material can definitely help you prepare to give answers on the TOEFL itself, even if the questions are unfamiliar.

  17. Kristin February 3, 2016 at 5:39 am #


    I took the toefl test some days ago but I think it was horrible!
    2 many ppl squashed into one small room, everyone talking at the same time, I couldn’t concentrate at all!
    Anyway, my question is: since I´m sure I will not score high, I´m wondering if I can cancel the scores to be send to University I already selected when I registered for the test?…

    ( Btw,I don’t ever plan to retake this horrible test! I would rather take extra courses in English than to waste my time and money).

    • David Recine
      David Recine February 4, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

      Hi Kristin,

      That sounds awful! So sorry to hear you had such a bad testing experience. 🙁 Unfortunately, you likely will not be able to cancel your scores. If you select a university to send scores to for free before the exam, you only have until 10pm the next day to change or remove schools from that list. After that, your scores will go out.

      A lot of students do choose extra English classes rather than a test like the TOEFL— it really comes down to a choice between studying for the TOEFL to get into degree classes, or studying general English before your degree classes after you arrive.

      You still may want to consider a retake at a different testing center. It sounds like your testing center may have some problems with noise and crowding— not all test centers are equally good. And you may also want to consider the IELTS— some test-takers who dislike the TOEFL end up being much more comfortable with an alternate test.

      But if a retest or the IELTS just aren’t for you, taking extra English classes after you arrive on your new campus is a perfectly good way to go about things too.

  18. shaik March 18, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

    HI Team,

    I got Speaking 22 in first time i opted for second time and i gave better than first time but still got 22 in speaking i dont know what happing is that they are purposely doing this ? coz if i take again they will get more money ? can any one answer me.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert April 4, 2016 at 2:32 pm #

      Hi Shaik,

      Man, that sounds frustrating. I can understand your concern that ETS might be just trying to get your money, but you’ll be happy to know that it’s unlikely they’d fail you to get an additional testing fee. There definitely are some testing companies out there that rig exams so they can make more money. But ETS— the maker of the TOEFL— does not have a reputation for doing this. And they’re officially registered as not-for-profit.

      So you don’t have to worry about that. 🙂 But that still leaves you with the problem of why you got a 22 on Speaking both times, and what you can do about it. One option to look into is requesting a rescore– you can ask ETS to send your Speaking responses to a new scoring team for a second opinion. If your performance on your second attempt at TOEFL Speaking really was a lot better than your first, you may indeed get a better score on the rescore. And this new score would completely replace your old score on the exam.

      Still, rescoring has its advantages and disadvantages (check my earlier post for details). To make sure you really are Speaking at above a 22 at this point, I recommend either checking with a tutor (perhaps through an online platform like iTalki, Voxy, Myngle, or TOEFL Speaking Teacher) or uploading audio samples of your Speaking to a TOEFL forum for feedback. That can also help you figure out your best route to the best possible score on TOEFL Speaking.

  19. toeflknowledge May 3, 2016 at 3:51 am #

    If I retake the Toefl, which score would be considered? The latest one or the one which is higher?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert May 3, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

      In almost all cases, your university will just consider the highest score. In fact, if you haven’t sent them any scores yet, you can just choose to send the highest score of any of your exams, and not even tell them about the lower scores.

  20. kinya June 23, 2016 at 4:26 am #

    I scored only 66 in my TOEFL. this has been so much frustrating, will I surely get an university for my admission.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 27, 2016 at 6:10 am #

      Hi Kinya,

      While you should always explore options to see if it is true across the board, most universities require a minimum of 70+ even at the undergraduate level. If you want to go to grad school, the requirements are even higher. You should explore retaking the TOEFL to push your score higher to get admissions abroad.

      Good luck! 🙂

  21. Marlinco July 6, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

    Hello Kristing,
    I just got my TOEFL results… I’m supposed to have 20 points minimum at each section for my erasmus exchange and got 25,25 ,22 in listening and 19 ( ! ) in speaking, resulting to 91 points when i am supposed to have 92 /120 points overall. I am truly devastated, as I had applied to my school’s dream and missed it by one miserable point. I don’t know what I should do… retake it this summer ? try to apply nevertheless and explain my motivations ? I fear they will reject my application without explanation since I missed it by one point. This is a nightmare, I have worked so hard for this only to fail it… Do you have any idea of what I should do ? I am lost…

    Thank you in advance,

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 7, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

      This really does sound frustrating and disappointing! But if you’re this close to the goal, there are reasons for you to have hope, for many reasons.

      For one thing, as long as you study well and boost your TOEFL Speaking skills even just a little, you’ve got a very good chance of getting your Speaking score to 20 or higher, while still staying at 20+ in the other sections.

      For another, while it is true that some exchange programs are very strict on TOEFL scores, programs are sometimes willing to be flexible on your TOEFL score, if you are just at the cutoff, and if you can demonstrate your abilities in academic and English in some other way besides your TOEFL score. My advice is to actually contact Erasmus directly in a private message to see if they can accept you. Personal contact usually gives you the best chance in situations like this. And the worst they can say is “no.”

      Good luck… and if you get a chance, come back here and let us know how it turned out.

  22. Shilpi July 13, 2016 at 5:07 am #

    Hello there,

    I scored a total of 97 on my TOEFL iBT (Reading: 24, Listening: 22, Speaking: 27, Writing: 24). I want to apply for Business Scools in the US. Their minimum requirement for a total score, however, is 100. I am only 3 points below. Do you suggest me to retake the test or just apply with the same scores? What if my my retest score fall below than the previous test? Will I be able to send only the highest score to the Universities?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 14, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

      Hi Shilpi,

      You should reach out to the schools to check individually, but often a TOEFL score is a benchmark that is either a threshold to accept or reject candidates, so if you don’t meet the level, you won’t be looked at further. This is a blanket statement, though, but you should definitely still ask the admissions committees because there may be some wiggle room.

      I would suggest you retake the TOEFL if you think you can improve your score. As for your question about what happens if your retest lowers, that is also hard to say–again, this is the kind of question you might want to ask the admissions people! Some schools only choose the highest score, some the most recent, and some might take highest section and combine across multiple tests. Contact them ASAP and hopefully you’ll get some good news.

      Good luck! 🙂

      • Shilpi July 14, 2016 at 11:59 pm #

        Thank you for your help and reply. I will contact the schools directly.

  23. Sanjay July 23, 2016 at 5:16 am #

    Hi, I got 104 on my first attempt. I scored 20 in speaking, whereas the other three were 27 and above. Although the minimum requirement is an 80 for most colleges, the average speaking score for computer science is around 25.should I retake the test? Also, I felt that the speaking section went pretty well, so I’m not really sure why I only got a 20. The feedback says errors in grammar and vocabulary, but I’m pretty sure that alone wouldn’t ve led to a 20 score. Any opinions on why it might have gone this wrong?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 24, 2016 at 4:33 pm #

      If a score review indicates errors in grammar and vocabulary, then that’s definitely the reasoning behind your lower score. Of course, the TOEFL Speaking scorers are humans, which leaves room for human error in judgement. If you think a different scoring team would give you a better grade, you might want to request a TOEFL rescore.

      As for whether you should retake, based on the score you have, I suggest you take a look at some specific schools you might want to apply to. TOEFL score requirements can vary a lot in different programs.

  24. Sayali July 24, 2016 at 4:14 pm #

    Hello sir,

    I took toefl twice first attempt I scored 84…but then university where I applied suggested me to retake the exam .as per their suggestion I retook the exam and I got 77:(.. I’m feeling so bad now..
    But here my question is as I scored little bit higher in my first attempt than second..does other universities will accept my old score? Or they just look for the recent one??

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 24, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

      Sorry to hear about your lower score on the retake. It’s so disappointing when that happens. The good news here is that universities can accept your older, better TOEFL score, as long as your TOEFL score of 84 is less than 2 years old. (Scores expire after two years.)

  25. Gunbold August 22, 2016 at 11:50 am #

    I took a toefl test twice and got 90 on the first one (R:18 L:24 S:26 W:22) and 96 on the second (R:23 L:26 S:22 W:25). My speaking is lower on the 2nd because the questions were much harder to understand and also the room was very small, so people’s voices were really loud. So i was wondering if the university will choose my first score’s speaking section and choose the rest from the 2nd one. If so my score will be 100 and I qualify.
    Thank you

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 22, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

      It’s uncommon for universities to look at individual section scores across multiple TOEFL tests. But I have heard of this happening sometimes. I’d say it wouldn’t hurt to contact your university, explain the situation to them, and see if they can do this for you.

  26. Gaurang Dhake September 7, 2016 at 7:07 am #

    I gave TOEFL test on 26th August, 2016 and scored 79 (R 16, L 18, S 22, W 23).

    After checking the minimum requirement of the universities I want to apply, I concluded that I need at least 90+ score in TOEFL.Hence, I am appearing again for TOEFL on 10th Oct., 2016 (after 45 days) .

    So coming to my question, I want to ask whether it is possible to get 90+ or 100+ score (which is 20+ in my recent score) in just 45 days. I am raising this question because of the opinions on various posts of students saying that a months preparation would not make much difference.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 13, 2016 at 11:45 am #

      Getting to the low 90s in 45 days can be done, but will be challenging. Raising your TOEFL score a full 20 point sin 45 days isn’t impossible, but would be pretty difficult. I’ve seen very few students make a big improvement like that in just a month and a half.

      If the whole reason for your lower TOEFL score is lack of English language skill, then improving to 90+ or 100+ in a month and a half may not be possible. But usually, TOEFL scores are a combination of language skills and abilities in test strategy. And exam strategy can be learned and mastered much more quickly than language skill.

      So I recommend really building up your test strategies in the next 45 days, while steadily working on English skills as well. If test strategy is half of the reason you got a disappointing TOEFL score, you’ve got a good chance at getting a 90+ on your retake. And if test strategy is the main reason you got a 79 before, than you just might have a shot at 100+ if you put a lot of effort into improving your TOEFL strategies.

  27. Hanu September 25, 2016 at 9:58 pm #

    Should we pay fee for every retake of test?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 29, 2016 at 1:09 am #

      Hi Hanu,

      Unfortunately, yes, you must pay the test fee every time you take the TOEFL.

  28. Siddharth Jain October 2, 2016 at 2:43 am #

    Hi, I gave toefl and received a score of 110. However I got a score of 24 in speaking where as some universities require it to be 25. What can I do. If I take the retest, could I send scores for individual sections in toefl?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 3, 2016 at 4:14 am #

      Hi Siddharth,

      Good question! First, congratulations on a strong score! Unfortunately, it is not possible to only submit a partial score for consideration–I have never heard of a school doing this and the TOEFL will only let you take the entire exam, not single sections. If you definitely need a 25, you may have to retake the TOEFL.

      Sorry that wasn’t the news you were looking for, but if you’re only 1 point away, you should definitely be able to do it! 🙂

  29. Chiranjeet das October 7, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

    Which are the preffered sites for practicing the TOEFL test?

  30. Shivam October 18, 2016 at 12:34 am #

    Hello. I took toefl recently and have score 92 (R20 L27 S20 W25). Is this score good or average? Or shall i plan to retake the test?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 18, 2016 at 2:53 am #

      Hi Shivam,

      Happy to help! The quality of your score depends a lot on what you need to do with it. Do you have insight into the score required by universities you want to enter? What about scholarships or TA positions? These questions matter a lot more than just evaluating your 92 in isolation. Many places have cutoffs as 80 or 90, so you would easily meet those requirements, so compare your score to what you need it to do for you to make the ultimate decision. It looks like you might be in good shape, though! 🙂

      • Shivam October 21, 2016 at 1:33 am #

        Thank you for your reply. I am not considering TA for my Grad School. But yes, I do consider scholarships. Aiming for MS in Construction Management, few universities I wish to enter have cutoff of 100. But the do give provisional for the same. They have a criteria in which you need to have minimum score in particular section. I fit in 3/4 section except for reading in which minimum required score is 21. What do you have to say about it?

        • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
          Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 21, 2016 at 9:29 am #

          Hi again! 🙂

          It is hard if you’re in a position where you exceed the provisional cutoff in most areas. Some schools will be very strict about this, and you really should ask them directly. I think it would be ideal if you can retake the exam and smash that final reading section so you don’t have to worry, but if that’s not an option, see what the university can do for you. Your high scores elsewhere may be enough to help mitigate that one low skill, but this is a very individual issue. Good luck!

          • Shivam October 21, 2016 at 1:12 pm #

            Thanks a lot. Your insight on this issue is of great help.

  31. Swostika October 18, 2016 at 3:41 am #

    Hi, I am from Nepal I have given TOEFL test and I got low score. I want to retake the toefl test.. in how many days I can take the toefl date…did we have to wait for 15 days after we get the score or we have to wait for 3 month to take the toefl date.
    Thank you

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 18, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

      Actually, your wait to retake the TOEFL is even shorter than that. ETS allows you to sit for the TOEFL once every 12 days. So you’re able to do a retake twelve days after your last test date.

  32. Aarzoo Ahuja October 24, 2016 at 6:54 am #

    Hello , I am a student from India. I recently gave a TOEFL test and scored 75 . I scored least in listening section i.e. 14 . 🙁 I am planning to give the test again. But I am worried that if i get a score lower than 75 the next time, the universities will consider the latest score only or they will consider the score which is higher out of the two (if ill choose to send the free scores in any of the same universities which I selected earlier)
    The universities which I am targeting for MS program require minimum 80 score in TOEFL.
    It would be a great help if you could help me clear my doubt that the previous scores are nullified or they remain applicable after registering and appearing for the second attempt.

    Also recommend me free online course where I can reading and listening ,so that I can improve in both before giving my test again (also which match the difficulty level of actual TOEFL test ).

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 25, 2016 at 3:42 pm #

      Hi Aarzoo,

      Happy to help clear up some of your uncertainties and anxieties. The good news is that the vast majority of universities ONLY look at your very highest TOEFL score. So there’s a good chance your previous scores will be nullified if your new score is higher. Having said that, a few universities have different policies. So check with the school you’re applying to, to make sure.

      As for a free online TOEFL course, I recommend the official online TOEFL course from ETS. You can enroll here:

      Only the first half of this 6 week course covers Reading and Listening. But since this course is free and ungraded, it’s completely OK to just do that part of the course if you want. The Speaking and Writing sections of this course are excellent too, though.

  33. aviel October 25, 2016 at 10:26 pm #

    Hi there Magoosh team,

    I wanted to ask about the TOEFL, if i should retaking it. I’m planing to apply to Princeton and Yale to the Ph.D. program in political science, and i noticed that their graduate school don’t have any minimum score for the TOEFL. I took the test and got an 81, and i wanted to ask if it’s reasonable for me to apply with that score. I’m thinking about retaking it but i wouldn’t have so much time to study for it, about 10 days, because of the GRE right now, and all the other components after that.

    Thank you for your advice.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 26, 2016 at 3:52 am #

      Hi Aviel,

      That’s a hard question to answer because it depends on the school and your goals in the program. An 80 is a typical cutoff for undergraduate study, but at the master and PhD level, it is not uncommon for the required score to be 90 or 100. Are you sure your score will gain you admission?

      If you are sure, you want to also consider whether TA or research positions will require you to have a higher TOEFL score–that is also a possibility that I have seen at many universities. If you think you can improve on that 81, I would recommend you do it just to make your application and transition to PhD life less stressful due to language requirements! 🙂

  34. Sofia November 11, 2016 at 7:52 pm #

    Hello! I’m worried about my TOEFL score. I got 89 but I need a minimum of 100. I was very comfortable about me, but I had some personal problems the day I took the test. I just lost the concentration sometimes 🙁 what can I do? My deadline to apply to the graduate school is coming. I don’t know if I can do it.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 13, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

      How frustrating and disappointing! I’m sorry you had some unexpected troubles on test day! 🙁 This happens to the best of test-takers sometimes. The good news is that this is a setback you can definitely recover from.

      If personal factors affect your concentration on the TOEFL, you can usually do much better on the retake, so long as you are well-rested and focused the next time around. Of course, you will need to think carefully about your grad school application deadlines. You may benefit from our article about whether you have time for a TOEFL retake. If you don’t quite have time for a retake, you may need to delay your entry into grad school. Either way, though, it sounds like you have a really good shot at a better score on your next try.

  35. Helena November 12, 2016 at 8:57 am #

    Hi! There is a way to make a complaint about the test done and get the chance to do another test without paying the fee again? I did the test in not the best conditions, the room was crowded and it was hard to concentrat so I did a lower score than usual in the first section, reading. This affected my whole score. Thank you for letting me know. Helena

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 13, 2016 at 5:50 pm #

      To my knowledge, ETS doesn’t generally give refunds due to poor conditions at the testing center. This is a shame, as bad testing conditions certainly do happen form time-to-time. I’m sorry it happened to you! 🙁

      Although there’s no guarantee that ETS will do anything about your complaint, there’s at least some chance that complaining might do some good. I definitely recommend contacting TOEFL customer service and seeing if anything can be done.

  36. Mohit Khemchandani November 23, 2016 at 5:54 am #

    My toefl score is 88 . Its low score i know . Unfortunately, i don’t have time for retaking as deadlines are nearing for some university.

    My gre score is 319 (Q:166 and V:153)

    My toefl score is passing minimum criteria for some graduate programme i m applying to.

    Is it worth it to re-take even though its passing minimum criteria looking at i have dearth of time ?

    I have good profile,sop,lor and work ex in one of the well-renowned US-based software company .

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 23, 2016 at 7:50 am #

      Hi Mohit,

      Remember that it is important to make your application as strong as possible as a collective. Given your limited time, I would recommend that you spend your time on the piece that will help make your application the strongest. If working on your essays strengthen your candidacy, I would focus on that. If improving your TOEFL score makes your overall package stronger, I would do that. Remember that your application is as strong as it’s weakest piece.

  37. Krishna November 26, 2016 at 9:51 pm #

    I have a score of 88 in my TOEFL and the minimum requirement for graduate admission is 100. will this score affect my application? will my application be rejected based on this score?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 27, 2016 at 5:41 pm #

      Hi Krishna,

      If the minimum requirement for graduate admission for your specific program is 100, I would recommend that you consider retaking the TOEFL to meet this requirement. For the application process, you want to follow the guidelines provided by admissions to ensure that your application is not only competitive, but also accepted. Following directions also sheds a bit of light on your candidacy. That being said, you should also contact your program to confirm whether this is a strict requirement. There may be circumstance in which a program may waive or overlook the requirement, or perhaps the requirement is not a strict requirement. In these cases, if the other pieces of your application are strong, you may be able to proceed. However, I would definitely contact admissions and also attempt to retake the exam if you have the flexibility to further strengthen your application. Good luck! 😀

  38. Michelle December 14, 2016 at 11:47 am #

    Could you tell me please how and for how many days can i send my scores to a university? I read somewhere that the scores reports must be send in the next 10 days after receiving the results, it is true? If i don’t send them within 10 days, i will not be able to send them after?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 16, 2016 at 8:01 am #

      Don’t worry– there’s actually no 10 day limit. However, if you request that scores are sent, it will take ETS 10 days to process your request and send off the scores.

      In fact, you can send TOEFL scores at any time for two years after you take a test. (After two years, yours scores are considered expired.)

      Just make sure you send your free score reports by 10pm the night before the exam– otherwise, the free score report offer expires. Beyond that– no real deadlines for sending TOEFL scores.

  39. Rohit Kumar December 29, 2016 at 4:06 am #

    My TOEFL score is 98(R-25 L-24 S-22 W-27)
    Most of my universities have TOEFL cutoff 85-90.
    Will my TOEFL score hinder my chances? (since I have applied in some top universities including CMU with this score.) GRE is 323(170 153 AWA 4)

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 31, 2016 at 8:59 am #

      Hi Rohit,

      I don’t think you should have trouble—you comfortably exceeded the minimum requirements and show well-rounded abilities. 🙂

  40. Archana January 3, 2017 at 8:23 am #

    My toefl score is 71.I want to retake the test but I am in confusion as some people told me that retaking toefl will increase your score only by 4-5 not more than that. I don’t know what should I do.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 5, 2017 at 4:51 am #

      Hi Archana,

      It is definitely possible to improve by more than 4-5 points, but that depends entirely on how hard you study and where you focus. If you need a higher score, a retake is the way to go! 🙂

  41. Sodalyss Sin January 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

    Hi! I’m wondering if I have to pay for retakigg my toefl test.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 15, 2017 at 4:01 pm #

      HI Sodalyss,

      Yes, every time you take the TOEFL you will have to pay the testing fee again. The only exception is if your scores are canceled for a reason outside of your control (i.e. a problem with the testing center.) But if you aren’t happy with your scores and want to retake, you’ll have to register and pay the fee again.

  42. Alabhya January 23, 2017 at 6:06 am #

    Hi Team Magoosh,

    I took TOEFL in September 2014 and scored 117 (Speaking – 27). That score expires this September. I’m working right now and plan to apply for Fall’18 as soon as the applications open for that session. My question is, if I send these scores to the universities before they expire, would they consider it or do I have to retake TOEFL. I do intend to apply at the first chance possible. This is a decent score and I’d hate to see it go waste. Any suggestions?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 23, 2017 at 10:34 am #

      Hi Alabhya,

      Unfortunately,TOEFL scores are valid for only two years after your test date, which means yours expired in September 2016. I’m sorry, but you’ll have to retake the test in order to have a valid score to send in.

  43. Alabhya January 24, 2017 at 3:57 am #

    Hi Team Magoosh,

    My bad there. I mixed up the TOEFL dates with my GRE ones. I appeared for TOEFL on 26th September 2015. So the scores are valid till 26th September 2017. Now based on my earlier query, any suggestions?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 24, 2017 at 10:34 am #

      Hi Alabhya,

      In this case, you may be okay. However, every school/program should provide dates for when your TOEFL test date must fall on or between in it’s application requirement section. I would confirm with your target programs’ website dates or even contact the schools. It’s always best to be sure for your target programs! Then, you can make sure that you take the appropriate proactive action. Good luck! 🙂

  44. Vema Sundeep March 27, 2017 at 8:00 pm #


    I recently took TOEFL test and scored 105(29R,29L,26S,21W). I scored pretty well in all sections except the last speaking section(out of 6) and 1st essay, I was disturbed because of a student who was sick puked beside me, so I could not concentrate.
    I will be applying to top US universities(MIT, UCB etc.) for PhD. I have already sent this very low and poor score. Will taking the TOEFL twice have a negative effect on my application?


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert March 28, 2017 at 7:06 am #

      First of all, a 105 is not a low and poor score, so please feel a little more positively about yourself! 🙂 Also… yikes. Your test day sounds like it was stressful. Given what happened, you definitely did well. Having two TOEFL scores will not hurt you at all. I suspect that many schools will accept your current score without issue, but sending along a better one will definitely work for you. Additionally, if your application package has the option to add an additional document, you could detail your reasons for having the second test.

      Good luck!

  45. avani June 12, 2017 at 7:23 am #

    Hello I want to appear for toefl ibt in the next month.I have not decided any collages I only want my further education would be done in europe so on which basis I should prepare for collages.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 14, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

      Hi Avani,

      Our expertise is in test prep, not admissions and university advice, so I’m not sure if I will be very helpful! I do konw that there are many different guides you can use to search for universities in Europe. I recommend that you figure out what you want to study, where you want to study and do some research on tuition, programs and requirements 🙂

  46. Shruthi September 7, 2017 at 8:15 am #

    HI Lucas,

    I got a bad TOEFL score of 81(R-15, L-18,S-26 -22) I really don’t understand how could I get such low scores in R and L:( Out of 5 universities shortlisted, 2 universities criteria is to get a minimum of 80. Please do let me know if its suggestible to take a retest or go ahead with the current score for those 2 universities.

    Also what would be chances of admit.

    • David Recine
      David Recine September 7, 2017 at 8:47 am #

      I can take this one, Lucas! 🙂

      Hi Shruthi. Often, universities only care that you get their minimum required TOEFL score. In that case, it should be safe to submit a TOEFL of 81 to most universities that require a minimum of 80. Be careful though. Some universities also require a minimum score in each section, such as a minimum of 26 in Speaking, a minimum of 24 in Writing, and so on. And on rare occasions, universities want to see the highest TOEFL score possible. So check with your prospective schools to make sure it’s OK to submit your 81 TOEFL score. But it probably is.

  47. Srishti October 15, 2017 at 11:04 am #

    Does TOEFL affect a MS application or do we have to clear just the minimum required score of a university?

    • David Recine
      David Recine October 17, 2017 at 9:14 am #

      That depends on the MS program and on the school. Different universities and different programs have their own rules for this. Check with your prospective MS program and ask them if they just want the minimum, or if a higher score makes a difference.

  48. Rodrigo December 20, 2017 at 8:31 pm #


    I have taken the IBT and sent the scores to two universities. Are they able to see my score recipients?


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 21, 2017 at 6:05 pm #

      Hi Rodrigo,

      They should be able to, but you can always email admissions and check. 🙂

  49. sai pranav December 27, 2017 at 5:23 am #

    i had taken toefl two times each time i got 69 and 79 respectively. what need to be done inorder to get score over 100. just now i had taken magoosh account for one month.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 27, 2017 at 9:45 am #

      Hi Sai,

      Since you are a Premium student, I forwarded your question on to our team of tutors. Someone should get back to you within 24 hours with personalized advice to help you on your way to a 100 🙂 As a reminder, you can always use the purple ‘Help’ button on your Magoosh dashboard to send in questions 🙂

  50. Aria March 6, 2018 at 2:41 pm #

    Hey there,
    I got a score of 77. I’m extremely disappointed. I got really nervous, it wasn’t my best day. Most of the colleges I’m applying to require at least 79. There are some colleges that require 90… I though that colleges were kind of flexible in some cases such as 1-3 points of difference but based in what I had read I was wrong. I think that I should retake the test because my score is not even decent. Just one college ask me for 71, but idk… I’m not comfortable with having just one option. Is it a month enough to practice? I’m studying in an American school since 3 years ago. I’m not super good at english but I really cannot understand what happen.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert March 10, 2018 at 1:40 pm #

      Hi Aria,

      I’m so sorry to hear that you did not reach your target score on the TOEFL! I know it’s disheartening to study and take the test without getting the results you were looking for. You can certainly improve that score with one month of study, but you’ll have to study smart. Consider what might have gone wrong on test day–were you nervous or anxious? Did you follow a good pacing strategy? Also, think about what strategies you used to answer each question type and how much you studied for this test. The TOEFL is not just a test of whether you know English or not–it requires strategy so that you can get full points on each question. There are specific guidelines and rubrics that you should know for each section. I encourage you to think about how you studied for the test and what you can change this time around. Take a look at our one month study plan, which gives step-by-step instructions for studying for the TOEFL. And if you are looking for a low-cost and high-quality study program, I suggest that you check out our Magoosh Premium Program. Our comprehensive program takes you through all of the information, strategies and practice you need for success 🙂

  51. Arl May 16, 2018 at 10:58 am #

    If i’m going to retake the toefl exam in the same testing center, would I be given the same questions?

    • David Recine
      David Recine May 16, 2018 at 7:08 pm #

      Unfortunately, no. In fact, even two students who take the test at the same center at the same time get a different mix of questions!

  52. Aditya October 24, 2018 at 12:35 am #

    I have taken toefl test. my score is 86
    R:16 L:24 S:22 W:24
    my score in reading is pretty low. Should i retake the exam?
    What about my already sent receipt
    Is it possible that now i juz send applications to school and then after result second attempt I will send my toefl score??

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 1, 2018 at 10:52 am #

      Hi Aditya,

      Whether or not you should retake really depends on the requirements of your target schools. For the TOEFL, schools often set a minimum score that is required for admission, and sometimes there is also a minimum score set for each section. There’s not always a benefit in exceeding these scores, but sometimes schools offer better financial assistance to students with higher scores. You will have to do some research or contact your target schools for more information on their policies.

      Many schools have a deadline for test results (usually the same deadline for admissions applications). That means that all scores must arrive at the school before that date; in most cases, schools won’t accept or consider late score reports. Again, you should contact your target schools for more information on their policies and see if you are able to re-take the test before their deadline. Good luck!

  53. Ashi August 5, 2019 at 4:31 am #

    I have given TOEFL twice but did not get good score. In both tests I have got below 70 score. What should I do? or should I apply for pathway programs or retake TOEFL? If I thought to retake TOEFL again which is horrible and I am very afraid of doing this again.Will I able to score 90+

    • David Recine
      David Recine August 9, 2019 at 10:35 am #

      I’m sorry to hear your scores are below where you’d like them to be! Looking into pathway and conditional acceptance programs certainly couldn’t hurt. However, it’s worth noting that many reputable mid-ranked public universities in Canada, the US, and elsewhere will accept TOEFL scores as low as 65. So if you’re flexible on where you go to school, that could be an option too.

      Retaking the test is also definitely an option! The trick there is to look closely and carefully at why you’re getting lower-than-ideal scores. What sections and skills are you weak in? How can you improve? That sort of thing. If you do go for a 90+ it also helps if you have a good amount of time to study and boost your score– 2-3 months or more would probably be ideal in that case.

Magoosh blog comment policy: To create the best experience for our readers, we will only approve comments that are relevant to the article, general enough to be helpful to other students, concise, and well-written! 😄 Due to the high volume of comments across all of our blogs, we cannot promise that all comments will receive responses from our instructors.

We highly encourage students to help each other out and respond to other students' comments if you can!

If you are a Premium Magoosh student and would like more personalized service from our instructors, you can use the Help tab on the Magoosh dashboard. Thanks!

Leave a Reply