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TOEFL Tuesday: Does the TOEFL have “score select”?

Those of you who are taking the GRE as well as the TOEFL may be familiar with the GRE’s “score select.” This is a system that lets students choose which of their GRE scores to send to the schools they are applying to. The TOEFL has a similar system, but it’s not called “score select.” The TOEFL’s system for sending scores to schools is a little bit complicated, so today we’ll go over how it works!

Free score reports

Every time you take the TOEFL, you are given the chance to send the score from that test to up to four different schools. These four score reports are sent for free, but you need to choose the schools that you’ll have the scores sent to before you take the test.  When the schools get your results, they will only see your scores from that one particular TOEFL test.

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Let’s use an example to go over how this works. Imagine that you’ll take the TOEFL twice. Before you take the TOEFL for the first time, you choose to send your score from that test for free to schools A, B and C. These three schools will receive your score for that test. You cannot change the schools that you’ve chosen after taking the test.

Then, before you take the TOEFL for the second time, you choose to send your scores from that test to schools D, E, and F. These schools will only receive your score from that particular TOEFL test. They will not receive the score you got the first time you took the test. So score reports do not list all of your TOEFL scores. Each score report includes your score from only one TOEFL test.

Paid score reports

The ETS (the company that creates the TOEFL) also gives students the option of paying for their scores to be sent to schools. This costs $19 per school, and allows students to choose one of their TOEFL scores to be sent to particular school. With this option, students can wait until after they’ve taken the test to choose which schools to send the scores to. The advantage of this is that students can take the test more than once, and then send only their highest score to the schools of their choice.

For both free and paid score reports, each test is independent of each other. So every score report will only tell the school the score of one of your TOEFL tests. I hope this information helps you make good choices about which schools to send your scores to!


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24 Responses to TOEFL Tuesday: Does the TOEFL have “score select”?

  1. Roman Karagodin August 2, 2016 at 12:28 am #

    How is TOEFL iBT grade for reading and listening is calculated? Is it converted proportionally to the percntage of correct answers into the 30-points scale? For example, if I need to get 25 pts. of 30 possible for reading, does it mean that I need to answer 25/30 (5/6) of all the questions correctly? Or are there other calculation principles? If there are, which ones?
    Thanks in advance for your answer.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 6, 2016 at 11:36 am #

      You’re basically on the right track. Reading and Listening scores are converted proportionally based on the percentage of points you earn in each section. For the most part, the number of points earned corresponds to the number of questions answered. However, some questions are worth more than one point— Reading has some 2 and 3 point questions, and Listening has some 2 point questions. The questions that are worth more points are easy to spot. They won’t be in the standard multiple choice format, and instead will involve activities like filling in a table, creating a summary of the passage, and so on.

      When your official TOEFL score is calculated, our points-based percentage score is then converted into a percentage of 30 (the total possible number of points). After that conversion is made, ETS may adjust your TOEFL score by a few points, based on the relative difficulty of the questions on your exam.

      Actually, the Magoosh TOEFL Blog is about to put out two posts on how to calculate your 0-30 scale TOEFL score, based on practice tests. In the next week or two, keep an eye out for the Magoosh TOEFL Blog posts entitled “How to Predict Your TOEFL Score: Reading,” and “How to Predict Your TOEFL Score: Listening.”

    • Mohamed September 29, 2017 at 8:52 am #

      Hi Lucas,
      I ve obtained a score of 98 in Toefl and the required score to be admitted in the aimed universities is 100. Should I retake the Toefl or is there a chance to be accepted ?

      • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
        Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 30, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

        Hi Mohamed,

        If you have the ability to retake the TOEFL, it might be worth sitting the exam again to avoid the paperwork and commitments related to conditional acceptance. You might get admission, but there might be all kinds of rudimentary language requirements attached. Good luck! 🙂

  2. ramkrishna August 22, 2016 at 11:35 am #

    If lets say I chose schools A,B,C when I wrote Toefl for the first time and say,I didnt get a satisfactory score. As I had chosen them, so A,B,C gets my score. When I give toefl test once more and if I keep the same schools A,B,C and lets say I got some good score. As I had chosen A,B,C they get the scores which I got. Now do the schools A,B,C have two copies of my score? If they have two copies then they actually get to know that I wrote test twice right? Or is first one overwritten by second one?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert August 22, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

      If you send more than one TOEFL score report to a university, that university will know you took the test twice. But for nearly 100% of universities, they will consider your highest score as the “valid” one, and will overwrite or ignore your other score. In other words, if a university knows that you took the TOEFL multiple times, they won’t care. They’ll just care about whichever score of yours from the last two years is the highest score. (TOEFL scores expire after two years.)

  3. Aj November 5, 2016 at 11:47 pm #

    I scored an 85 on my TOEFL on my first attempt
    Reading :20
    Listening :23
    Speaking :20
    Writing :22
    Should I retake the test or should apply with this score
    and my university requirements are 88

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 8, 2016 at 10:05 am #

      If you’re three points below you’re school’s requirement, that usually means you need to retake the TOEFL in order to be accepted. having said that, some universities are surprisingly flexible, especially if the rest of your application materials are very strong.. It can’t hurt to contact your university and see if they can accept an 85. Be prepared to do a retake if need be,though.

  4. Jacques November 7, 2016 at 3:27 pm #

    Hi Lucas,

    is it possible to send two different scores to the same school if the first attempted test didn’t go so well?


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 8, 2016 at 9:27 am #

      Hi Jaques,

      In most cases, this is possible. The majority of schools will only consider your highest TOEFL score, even if they have previously received a lower score from you. In rare instance, though, the lower of the two scores can still affect your chances of admission in some ways. Contact the schools you’ve applied to and ask them their exact policy.

  5. Deepak November 22, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

    I scored 95 in TOEFL and I have sent my score to 4 university…I am giving TOEFL again ..if my scores in the second attempt is lesser than the first one ..can I still use the first TOEFL score

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert November 23, 2016 at 11:44 am #

      In nearly all cases, yes– you only need to submit your highest TOEFL score. More recent lower scores won’t matter, unless your older score is so old that it’s expired. (TOEFL scores expire in 2 years.)

      A tiny handful of universities may want to see all of your recent TOEFL scores. This is very unusual, though. Unless your school specifically asks for this, just send them the highest score.

  6. Hemanth December 18, 2017 at 8:49 am #

    Hi, Lucas!

    I have taken TOEFL twice, and selected the same four universities for sending free score reports.
    In the 1st one I scored 97; While in the second one I scored 102.
    I am wondering with the question that universities will consider which score ?

    Please help me by clarifying my doubt, should I need to really worry about this issue?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 19, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

      Hi Hemanth,

      Nearly every school will take the higher score, especially since they can see that you improved your score from a 97 to a 102 (a very good sign!) I don’t think you need to worry about this–the school isn’t out to ‘get you’ and ignore your higher score! If you want to be absolutely sure, however, you can look up admissions information from each target university–they will usually provide information about their policies when they receive multiple score reports.

  7. sabin December 11, 2018 at 8:22 pm #

    Hi Lucas,

    I recently scored 80 (R=20,W=20,L=19,S=21) on TOEFL IBT.Do you think I have still chance of getting assistantships? Or,Should I retake the TOEFL?

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert December 13, 2018 at 9:04 am #

      Hi Sabin,

      I recommend that you look for this information directly in the website of your target schools. Most schools provide this information directly on their website, or you can email and admissions counselors to ask about score requirements for teaching and research assistantships. Good luck!

  8. Poshak Batra June 29, 2019 at 2:25 am #

    Lets say i have taken toefl twice and in first attempt i sent scores to A,B,C university and in second attempt i sent to D,E,F university (the free ones) but somehow i got less score in the the second attempt so if i want to send previous score to D,E,F university
    Can i do that by paying money???

    • David Recine
      David Recine July 7, 2019 at 12:44 pm #

      That’s an interesting question! The answer is that you can send an earlier score report rather than a later one, simply by paying extra for the earlier score report that you already sent to three universities for free… until August 1. After August 1, the TOEFL score reporting system changes significantly. At that point, any score report you send will be a combination f your highest section scores across any TOEFL exam you’ve taken in the last two years. For details on that score reporting change and other changes to the TOEFL, see our blog’s TOEFL 2019 format changes post.

  9. Muthafer October 28, 2019 at 1:27 pm #

    Hi there,
    Can I postpone posting my score until I take the exam because I am not sure about which school I will apply for?
    thanks in advance…

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert February 7, 2020 at 2:20 pm #

      Hi there,

      You can send your scores after taking the exam, but you’ll need to pay $19 per score report. You can see more information about sending your scores here.

  10. Alan_A July 22, 2020 at 3:51 am #

    If I am planning to apply to schools A, B, C, and I want to control which scores they receive – Can I choose not to add any school to the “free schools”, wait until after I receive my score, and then if satisfied with the result, send for additional cost to schools A, B, and C. If not satisfied, take the test again per the same strategy.
    Would this work?


    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert July 24, 2020 at 10:15 am #

      Hi Alan, yes that would work!

  11. Amanda January 9, 2021 at 12:36 am #

    I have a question, let’s assume in my first attempt of TOFEL I didn’t scored as expected and I don’t report or send scores to any universities. I’ll retake exam for 2nd time and get expected results, will send this to school. So question is can universities see my both test results or just a later one, which I send to them, irrespective of number of times I take the test. Thanks for confirming.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert January 15, 2021 at 12:40 pm #

      Hi Amanda, the school you send the score to will only see the scores for the test that you are sending. In your example, if you pay to send the scores after your second test, the school will only see the second test. You would have to purchase a separate score report for the first test.

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