TOEFL Tuesday: Sending Scores – Must See Tip!


Choosing Schools Before Your TOEFL: Sending Scores for Free

When you register for the TOEFL, you have the option to choose four schools to send your scores for free. You don’t have to choose the schools immediately, though. You have until the day before your TOEFL to add schools to the list or to take schools off the list.

But here is an important detail. After 10 p.m. the day before your test, any schools you chose on the ETS website will definitely get your TOEFL scores. You don’t have any control after the test is finished. Imagine if you got 95 on the TOEFL, but you needed 100. You might not want to send that score to all the schools you’re applying to, because you might want to retake the test and only send higher scores.

Usually, this doesn’t matter too much. If you get a higher score on a later test, schools only care about that score. But what if you take the test a second time, and actually score lower, only a 90? This is not common, but it happens. Then, if you selected four schools to send scores to for free, you would again send them that lower score. After you take the test, you cannot cancel the scores you choose or change which schools you send them to.

Choosing Schools After Your TOEFL: $19 per report

Imagine that same situation, except you didn’t choose any schools to send scores to for free. Let’s imagine you scored the 95 in May and the 90 in June. Then, in July, you are going to choose schools that will get your scores. In that case, you can choose to send only the scores from your May test date, the 95. The universities you apply to will not see the lower score from June.

This sounds like a good idea, right? For many students, it is, but it can be expensive. You have to pay $19 for every score report you send after you have taken the test. So this choice gives you more control, but you have to pay more money.

So if you are very unsure of what your TOEFL scores will be, and you don’t mind paying extra money, I recommend not choosing schools for free score reports before your test. You can wait to see your score, and then pay to send the scores only if they are high enough.

But again, if you cannot spend the extra money, don’t worry: usually, students who take the test twice or more times score higher on the later tests. And schools care more about more recent, higher scores than they do about earlier scores. After all, students’ English can improve over time!


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10 Responses to TOEFL Tuesday: Sending Scores – Must See Tip!

  1. Anchal December 7, 2015 at 8:15 am #

    I have a doubt.
    Lets say I gave the TOEFL, sent the free score to 4 schools and scored 95. I gave the TOEFL again, sent the free score to the same 4 schools and scored 90. Which score will the schools consider in this situation? Now I want them to consider the first score of 95.

    • David Recine December 8, 2015 at 6:58 pm #

      Hi Anchal,

      That’s a great question. Most schools will only consider your highest score, but it’s also a little unusual for students to send their second score if it’s lower. You’ll likely be OK, but you should contact your 4 schools to make sure that they consider your 95 and not your 90 in their admissions decisions.

  2. Edward June 1, 2016 at 5:36 pm #

    Hello i got a toefl score of 61 and the score required is 61. Is it ok? Can i still apply for that school? I need your answer pls. .

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert June 3, 2016 at 12:48 am #

      Hi Edward,

      Typically if you meet the bare minimum requirement, you want to have a much stronger application in many other areas. You know yourself and your academic profile better than anyone else–do you have other parts of your application that can help prove your worthiness with a minimum requirement TOEFL score? If not, or if you are doubtful, it can definitely be worthwhile to retake the TOEFL to score higher. 🙂

  3. Bishwash September 2, 2016 at 9:39 pm #

    When I tried to send toefl scores before the test it asked me to make payments even though I hadnt selected any college before. Why?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 5, 2016 at 9:34 am #

      It sounds like you may have navigated to the wrong part of your ETS account, or there could be an error on the TOEFL website. If you keep encountering this problem, I recommend that you contact TOEFL customer service.

  4. Fernando October 19, 2016 at 10:52 am #

    I am thinking on retaking TOEFL but I have a doubt about which scores are delivered to universities. In my case, I reached the minimum requirement, but I want to improve my score. My question is, what happens if I obtain a lower score in my new test? Would the universities receive the lower score?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 20, 2016 at 9:12 am #

      The vast majority of universities will go just with your higher score. you can also send scores form each testing section separately. (In fact, the results of each test must be sent in separate score requests.) So you can just choose to send the highest scores, on whichever test date you got them.

  5. Yujune October 20, 2016 at 8:34 pm #

    I tried to find the answer for my question, but I could not find it anywhere. When I first took my toefl, I did not assign the college I wanted it to be sent to. So I sent it after my test scores were out. My question is, how long does it take for the test scores to get to the college? In the official toefl website, it says, “Official score reports will be sent to your designated recipients approximately 13 days after you take the test. However, ETS has no control over mail delivery to various locations around the world. Allow 7–10 days after the mailing date for delivery in the United States, and 4–6 weeks for locations outside the United States.” But I know my scores and I have sent it. Also, it says ,”For online orders, scores are mailed 3–5 business days after your request is received.” So does that mean that it will take 13 days or 3-5 days since I know and have my scores ready to go? Thank you in advance.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert October 21, 2016 at 9:32 am #

      Hi Yujune,

      If the scores are already finalized when you send them, it should take just 3-5 business days to be sent to to any US institution, but they give broad ranges of time to cover odd circumstances. They also don’t control mail delivery, so I would honestly plan for 6-10 business days minimum. I hope that clarifies a little! 🙂

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