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What is a Good TOEFL Score?

Woman laying on back with book on face representing wondering what is a good TOEFL iBT score range? - image by magoosh

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Your TOEFL iBT scores can be a real source of anxiety, can’t they? You spend weeks waiting for those numbers to come in. And then even after you get your score report, you may wonder if your score even fits into a good TOEFL score range for your dream school.

There’s no single answer to the question, “What is a good TOEFL score?” But have no fear. In this article, we’ll give you all the information you need in order to measure the value of your score on the exam.


Table of Contents


General Requirements for a Good TOEFL Score

Whether you’ve already taken your TOEFL test (congratulations!) or you’re planning to take the exam, you’re likely wondering, “Will my TOEFL score be any good?” You’re not alone. Waiting the 10 days before your TOEFL results are posted online can be frustrating, but it can be even more frustrating not to know how to interpret your results!

However, unlike most other tests we take, you can’t pass or fail the TOEFL. No TOEFL score range or individual TOEFL score can really be said to be “good” or “bad”, just as no level of English is inherently “good” or “bad”—it all depends on what kind of language you use and what you need it for. So in this post, we’ll look at a few ways to answer the question, “What is a good TOEFL score?”

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Minimum TOEFL Score Requirements

Fortunately, many universities take the guesswork out by stating exactly what score you need to qualify for their programs. (Go to our TOEFL Scores Infographic to see the required scores for many top US schools.) At quite a few schools, you can just look up the score you need, then take a TOEFL practice test to see where you currently are. (This isn’t true at all schools, though. See later sections of this article for more information.)

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Of course, the minimum score can still differ a lot from school-to-school. Some schools require a score as low as 70 points, and others as high as 110. From a practical standpoint, the score required by the school you’re interested in should be considered a “good” score.

If, after taking a TOEFL practice test, you discover that your TOEFL score does not meet the minimum score requirement for your school, you can use Magoosh TOEFL Prep to improve your skills and increase your score. (Our free trial is a good place to start.)

Now, if you’re taking the SAT or GRE, you may have noticed the culture of scraping up as many points as possible; it’s not uncommon for people to spend months and months studying and then take the test multiple times over a period of six months or a year. For many exams, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, since even a fairly small increase in score can give you the competitive edge that gets you admitted or wins the scholarship that allows you to attend the school of your dreams.

The TOEFL, however, is usually a little different… at most schools, at least. More often than not, if a school states a score, then the office of admissions has determined that that score is what’s necessary to perform well in that school’s curriculum. So as long as you meet the requirement, your score probably won’t play much of a role in your admission or rejection.

Let’s say you were sick the day of your test, and you didn’t perform your best. You scored a 90, but you think you should have scored a 100. If your program only requires an 80, then you probably don’t need to take the test again. Instead, it’s likely better to focus on other parts of your application that the admissions department is more interested in, like your essays, interviews, and portfolios.

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…But for Certain On-Campus Work, the Minimum TOEFL Score is Not Enough

Notice that in the explanation above, I used a lot of cautious phrases, such as “usually,” “at most schools,” “probably,” “more often than not,” and so on. If I sounded hesitant, it’s because I don’t want you to get the wrong idea. Yes, often, the minimum TOEFL score is enough. But there are definitely are some cases when the minimum TOEFL score isn’t desirable.

Sometimes a school will offer special benefits or opportunities if your TOEFL score exceeds the minimum. For example, if you are trying for admission to a top graduate school, the minimum score might be 90. However, in order to get a TA (a teaching assistantship), your minimum speaking score might be 26, or you might need a 100 on the TOEFL overall. If you are hoping for special on-campus work opportunities, check to see if there are separate, higher TOEFL requirements.

If this is the case, remember that Magoosh’s prep comes with a 4-point score guarantee. So, if you’ve taken the test before, then we guarantee that you will improve your score by 4 points, or we will give you a full refund. Luckily, most students who watch our lesson videos and try our over 500 practice questions do see a 4-point improvement in their TOEFL scores (and a boost to their English skills).

There are also a few other cases where you want to aim higher than the minimum TOEFL score. Read on….

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A Note on Programs that Set a TOEFL Score Range

As I mentioned, scraping up as many points as possible is usually not necessary for the TOEFL. However, in some cases, a university program doesn’t set a single minimum TOEFL iBT score. Instead, you may need to have a TOEFL score that’s in a certain range. In that case, you will want to aim for the highest possible score.

TOEFL iBT score ranges are commonly set by conditional acceptance programs. These kinds of programs allow lower-scoring TOEFL test-takers to still be accepted. But conditionally accepted students have to take some ESL courses before they can start their regular degree.

When it comes to TOEFL scores and conditional acceptance, higher scores mean fewer ESL classes. If your TOEFL score is at the bottom of a conditional acceptance range, you may have to take a full year of ESL classes, maybe more. However, if you have a top conditional TOEFL score, there’s a good chance you’ll study English for just one semester before beginning your regular degree. To give one example, the University of Iowa for conditionally accepted students. If you enter their conditional acceptance program with a TOEFL that’s in the upper 70s, you can probably get into your regular degree courses in less than a year.

And there are still other universities that set a score range for fully accepted students. This is less common. But you will see ranges, rather than just a set minimum TOEFL score, at some highly competitive universities.

For instance, the University of Illinois recommends a TOEFL score range of 102-110. Obviously, the closer an applicant is to 110, the better. Similarly, prestigious schools such as Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, etc… may prefer to see your score fall into a TOEFL score range that’s above their minimum.

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Finding University TOEFL Scores: Always do Your Research!

Ultimately, you need to research the exact TOEFL expectations at your school. And when it comes to researching schools, make sure you get the most accurate, up-to-date information.

If possible, email or call your school admissions office to confirm any score information you see on their website. Ideally, of course, the information on the website will be up-to-date. But sometimes it won’t be. So it never hurts to double-check. And remember, TOEFL requirements sometimes vary, depending on the major or program you apply to. So double-check department-specific TOEFL requirements as well!

Now here’s the good news: Magoosh has done some of that research for you already– we’ve compiled some info on the special TOEFL requirements for professional licenses and professional studies in the United States. We’ll explore those in the section below.

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What is a good score for graduate and professional programs?

The TOEFL isn’t just for full time undergraduate students! Adult professionals can also use the TOEFL to become licensed in healthcare jobs in the United States. And professionals can also advance their careers by getting an MBA or law degree, if they have qualifying TOEFL scores.

TOEFL scores for medical professionals

What TOEFL score do you need to get a healthcare license in the USA? That depends on what field you’re going into, and sometimes it also depends on where you plan to work. In the table below, you can see the TOEFL requirements for four of the most common healthcare professions in the States. When possible, I’ve also included the source of this information. Click the names “pharmacy” and “physical therapy” to see my sources.

Physicianvaries by state
  • 22 Reading
  • 21 Listening
  • 26 Speaking
  • 24 Writing
  • 93
    Physical Therapy26 Speaking89
    Nursingvaries by state

    As you can see above, the licensure for physicians and nurses is different in every state. For examples of some of these differences and more information about the TOEFL requirements for healthcare work, see my full article on TOEFL for medical professionals.

    What TOEFL iBT scores do you need for law school?

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    If you want to practice law in America, you’ll need top TOEFL scores! Law school and the legal profession are both very demanding when it comes to English skills. To help you aim for the right target score, I’ve compiled the TOEFL requirements for the top law schools in America. Click the name of each school to see the source page for the TOEFL requirements. (Each school page includes additional helpful information about admissions!)

    University of Chicago Law104
    NYU Law
  • 26 Reading

  • 26 Listening

  • 22 Speaking

  • 22 Writing
  • 100
    Harvard Law School25 (all sections)100
    Yale Law100
    Stanford Law School100
    Columbia Law School
  • 26 Reading

  • 26 Listening

  • 24 Speaking

  • 24 Writing
  • 105
    What is a good score for business school?

    The American MBA can get you far in your career, in the States or abroad. Like law schools, U.S. business schools hold their applicants to high TOEFL standards. However, b-schools are much less likely to have minimum requirements for individual sections of the TOEFL. Instead, American MBA programs are far more interested in the “big picture,” your whole-test score. Because of this, it shouldn’t be surprising that the top MBA programs in the table below have no section score requirements.

    (In the table, click the name of each school for more information on their admissions requirements.)

    Name of business schoolMinimum TOEFL scoreSpecial notes
    Wharton (University of Pennsylvania)110Average score of accepted students; there is no strict minimum.
    Northwestern (Kellog)100
    Dartmouth (Tuck)n/aNo specific TOEFL score recommendations.
    Chicago Booth (University of Chicago)104Conditional acceptance may be available if your score is below the minimum.
    Harvard Business School109If you have less than 109, you are "strongly discouraged" from applying.
    Stanford Graduate School of Business100

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    What is a good TOEFL iBT score, according to ETS?

    ETS, the company that makes the TOEFL, also sets official levels for how good your TOEFL iBT score is.

    When you get your TOEFL scores, they will be accompanied by a document called “performance feedback.” This document will contain a summary of your general level in each section/skill of the TOEFL. There will be separate descriptions of your performance for TOEFL Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing.

    Performance Levels for TOEFL Reading and Listening

    For TOEFL Reading and TOEFL Listening, ETS’s performance feedback breaks the score into 3 TOEFL score range levels: high, intermediate, and low. You can use this information to figure out how good your score is in a very general sense.

    Here is a short summary of the three official ETS “performance feedback” levels for TOEFL Reading and Listening:

    • HIGH: At the high level, you have a chance to get into the best schools that accept the exam. And the very top high scores give you a chance the very top schools, schools that are Ivy League or similarly good.
    • INTERMEDIATE: ETS’s intermediate TOEFL scores will meet the requirements of most schools. Intermediate scores are good enough to get into the schools I mentioned earlier in this article: the ones that only need you to meet their minimum score.
    • LOW: As you probably guessed, low TOEFL scores are not-so-good. At the upper end of ETS’s “low” score range, you can probably get into conditional acceptance programs. However, if your score is low by ETS standards, you should consider a retake. Very few universities accept TOEFL scores in this bottom range.
    Performance Levels for TOEFL Speaking

    TOEFL performance feedback reports give four different levels for TOEFL Speaking: Good, Fair, Limited, and Weak. Here are short descriptions of these four levels:

    • GOOD: “Good” TOEFL Speaking performance will get you into upper-mid-ranked schools and top schools. Obviously, the closer you are to the maximum score of 30, the better. Perfect or near-perfect scores give test-takers a great shot at the Ivies.
    • FAIR: If your TOEFL Speaking performance is rated as “Fair,” you will be able to get into most mid-ranked universities. Believe it or not, fair TOEFL spekaing scores can sometimes also get students into top graduate programs. Certain graduate programs, especially ones in the STEM fields, are willing to accept talented applicants at this lower level of TOEFL Speaking.
    • LIMITED: At this level, test-takers may be offered conditional acceptance into some schools. Full acceptance into a degree program is very unlikely at this level.
    • WEAK: The name of this Speaking performance level says it all. If your TOEFL performance feedback indicates that you’re weak in Speaking, you may be eligible for conditional acceptance at some schools. However, full acceptance into a university degree program is very unlikely at this performance level.
    Performance Levels for TOEFL Writing

    Like TOEFL Reading and Speaking, TOEFL Writing is divided into three levels in ETS’s feedback performance document. However, these TOEFL Writing performance levels don’t have the same names as the levels for Reading and Listening. Instead, the three TOEFL Writing performance levels are Good, Fair, and Limited. Here is what a score each performance levels means:

    • GOOD: Good TOEFL Writing performance means good chances at getting into a good school. Exactly how good of a school? Like the other top performance levels, that depends on how close your score is to the perfect 30 score. Expect acceptance into upper-mid-ranked schools at the very least, with the possibility of top school acceptance in some cases.
    • FAIR: If your TOEFL Writing performance is fair, you still have a good shot at mid-ranked schools. You may also be able to get into top schools, particularly for STEM graduate programs. Conditional acceptance at upper mid-level and top-ranked schools is also a distinct possibility.
    • LIMITED: Limited TOEFL Writing abilities equal limited chances of acceptance into school. If your TOEFL score indicates limited Writing ability, consider conditional acceptance programs. You may also have a chance of full acceptance at mid and low-ranked schools, provided the rest of your TOEFL sections have higher performance levels.
    TOEFL Performance Levels and Score Ranges

    So what’s the score range for these different performance levels? I’m glad you asked. Magoosh has compiled ETS’s performance feedback score ranges and levels into a hand chart. Check out the table below!

    TOEFL Results and Levels

    SectionLevelScore Range
    Reading or ListeningHigh22-30
    More Details From the Official TOEFL Website

    The chart above gives a very basic look at ETS’s TOEFL score range levels. For more detailed information, you can read the official Guide to Understanding TOEFL Scores.

    This PDF gives detailed descriptions of the score levels for Reading, Listening, Speaking, and Writing. Note that the PDF also shows raw scores for the score levels in Speaking and Writing. In this post, Magoosh’s chart shows final scaled scores only.

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    What is a good score, in terms of percentiles?

    Then there’s the matter of TOEFL percentiles. Your percentile shows how you did in comparison with other test takers. The higher the percentile, the better. A 90th percentile TOEFL score means you scored higher than 90% of the other test takers. If you can fall into that percentile, you have a pretty good TOEFL score. And more basically, the higher above the 50th percentile you go, the better off you are.

    Now, here’s where percentiles get interesting: ETS measures percentiles based on the demographic that you’re in. This means you compare your TOEFL score to other test-takers who share your language, come from your home country, share your gender, or have the same level of education that you do.

    Let’s say that your TOEFL score is in the 90th percentile for your country. This makes your score a good one, if you’re applying to English language degree programs in your own country.

    If you’re from a very big nation, your national TOEFL percentile influences global percentiles a lot. So a high TOEFL percentile in your home country may be good by the standards of universities around the world. “Big nation” high percentiles are especially valuable for university admissions in the English-Speaking world. Many American, British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, and Irish universities primarily accept either Chinese or Indian international students. What does this mean if you’re from China or India and have a high TOEFL percentile for your country? It means your TOEFL score will probably be good for schools you apply to in native English speaking countries.

    The people at ETS offer a very “data heavy” way to answer the question “What is a good TOEFL score?” They keep an official document of TOEFL iBT score percentiles. That document can help you find your percentile for one or more of your demographics.

    This official TOEFL percentile report can seem a little complicated and overwhelming for some readers, though. That’s why Magoosh has created an analysis and explanation of ETS’s TOEFL percentile data. You can read explanations of the official TOEFL percentiles in these three posts:

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    So what is a good TOEFL score, in general?

    As you’ve seen, a good score depends on many things: your university, your major, your country, and more. Still, generally, the following is true about TOEFL scores at most schools:

    Less than 80: This is generally not a good TOEFL iBT score. If you below on 80 on the TOEFL, it will be hard to get into an English language university, unless you go for conditional acceptance. However, some small public universities in the US will accept TOEFL scores below 80. And English degree programs in non-English speaking countries also sometimes may accept scores in this not-so-good range.

    80-90: This score range is treated as moderately good. Once you get your TOEFL iBT score to 80 or higher, many more universities will accept you. Interestingly, in this moderate range, it’s easier to get accepted into grad schools. (Graduate programs require English ability, but are more interested in your research skills and academic expertise.)

    90-100: TOEFL scores in this range are perfectly good. At this level, your TOEFL score is good enough for most universities. With these TOEFL scores, you also have a shot at getting a position as an RA, TA, or GA on campus.

    100-110: These are very good TOEFL scores. Once you start scoring this high on a TOEFL iBT, you can be accepted into Ivy League schools and other top universities.

    110-120: These are the best TOEFL iBT scores by any standard. If you score this well, you should get in…. Unless you fail to meet section subscore requirements.

    A school may require a TOEFL of 100, but also require that you get at least 27 in Speaking. If your TOEFL iBT score is Reading 29, Listening 28, Speaking 26, and Writing 27, you’ll be at 110, but you’ll still need to retake the test.

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    TOEFL MyBest Scores and Retaking the TOEFL

    TOEFL score reports now potentially include two scores: the score the student received on the indvidual testing session, and a “superscore” that combines the best section scores across all of a student’s testing sessions for the past two years. A small but growing number of schools will now consider the superscore rather than the individual test session score. You can click here for ETS’s list of the schools that accept TOEFL MyBest scores (a.k.a., the TOEFL “superscore”).

    What does this mean? Well, if you’ve only taken the TOEFL once, or if you’re applying to a school that doesn’t accept MyBest scores, it doesn’t mean much. However, if you are applying to a MyBest-accepting school, and you’ve taken the TOEFL two or more times in the last two years (or if you are considering a retake), below is a breakdown of how MyBest combines your best section scores on your score report.

    For an example of how this can work, let’s say that you take the TOEFL once and get the following:

    • Reading 25
    • Listening 24
    • Speaking 28
    • Writing 23

    Then suppose you take the TOEFL a second time, and get:

    • Reading 24
    • Listening 26
    • Speaking 27
    • Writing 26

    If you order a score report after those two exams, your score report will include a MyBest score, as follows:

    • Reading 25 (higher score from first exam)
    • Listening 26 (higher score from second exam)
    • Speaking 28 (higher score from first exam)
    • Writing 26 (higher score from second exam)

    This also means that even though your score on the first exam was 100 and your score on the second exam alone would be 103, your MyBest score report would show a total score of 105, using your best scores from each.

    In short, the new MyBest score system may help you if:

    • You have taken the TOEFL more than once in the last two years or are considering a retake.
    • You are applying to one of the schools that accept MyBest TOEFL scores.
    • Some of your section scores meet your requirements, but others don’t.
    • Boosting your score in just one part of the exam will get your whole test score to where it needs to be.

    So for some of you reading this, the MyBest changes to TOEFL scoring are certainly something to consider. But again, if you’ve only taken the test once, and that got you the score you need, no need to worry about this. 🙂

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    My Whole Application is Great! What is a good TOEFL score for me?

    Consider the quality of the rest of your application. If you have a very strong admissions essay, an excellent past academic record, recent coursework that was taught in English, etc., a lower TOEFL score may still be seen as “good” by schools. Or at least, a low TOEFL score can be seen as good enough.

    In fact, if you have a TOEFL score that’s just below the minimum, but the rest of your application materials are excellent, you should ask your school if you can still be considered for acceptance. Many schools will say yes. (There are also many schools that won’t be flexible, of course.) Good luck!

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    63 Responses to What is a Good TOEFL Score?

    1. pavan January 18, 2014 at 4:07 am #


      The score range for fair in speaking is wrongly printed as 28-25 ,Its 18-25.

      • Kate Hardin
        Kate Hardin January 27, 2014 at 4:23 am #

        Thanks for pointing that out. It’s fixed now.

      • kajal Urwan October 8, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

        I need help to find out the toefl test in the computer. Yes, I found it but l try to find that kinds of test which show me my mistake, score, which I need to work on and which is my weakness.

        • Lucas Fink
          Lucas October 13, 2014 at 12:53 pm #

          Sadly, there aren’t many options for online practice tests that give such a detailed breakdown of you strengths and weaknesses. The best material at the moment is the CD that comes with the Official Guide. We’re working on making Magoosh TOEFL into a product like you asked about, but it will be some time before we have practice questions. In the meantime, buy the official guide if you haven’t already!

        • Pappu October 16, 2014 at 10:11 am #

          You can try:

          • Lucas Fink
            Lucas October 17, 2014 at 11:35 am #

            Yes, that’s also an option. Thank you for mentioning it, Pappu! It’s fairly expensive, though (more than the book for just one test), and after you finish a test, you only have limited feedback—there are no explanations, only correct/incorrect, and the speaking and writing tasks are scored by computer, which doesn’t work well.

    2. Mridul January 26, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

      I managed to score a 112/120 (R-30,L-28,S-29,W-25)for TOEFL. Is this score considered good enough? I saw in some forums that a score of 117 is required for top 10 universities. Is that true?

      • Mridul February 19, 2014 at 11:47 am #

        Thanks for your insight Kate.

        • aboushi October 10, 2014 at 4:51 pm #

          Your score is considered high enough, Check the Wikipedia, there’s a table for required scores for TOEFL for the top universities around the world.

          • Lucas Fink
            Lucas October 13, 2014 at 1:01 pm #

            I can verify that yes, 112 is high enough for pretty much any program. 🙂 I’ve never heard of a program requiring 117. 110 is the highest requirement you’re likely to see. Here’s some more context (prettier than the wikipedia. 🙂 ):


    3. Seers January 29, 2014 at 7:22 am #

      I got a 120 in my TOEFL. Does that mean I can get into any top notch college now?

      • Kate Hardin
        Kate Hardin January 29, 2014 at 8:03 am #

        Congratulations! That’s great! Unfortunately, your admission depends on a lot more than just your TOEFL score, so I really can’t say whether you’ll get in. Good luck with your application.

    4. Mr. X February 1, 2014 at 6:13 pm #

      Hello Kate,
      My GRE score which i had given 2 years back is 307 (161 Quant and 146 Verbal). Since then, I am working for Microsoft and interact daily with US citizens. I am fairly good at speaking now but I think challenges for me could be reading and writing. I am planning for Fall 2014 and my TOEFL date is 1st of March. Any comments what should I do?

      Mr. X

      • Kate Hardin
        Kate Hardin February 2, 2014 at 6:35 am #

        I would start by taking a practice test to get an idea of what your weaknesses are. It might even be worth hiring a tutor for an hour or two to assess your writing, if you haven’t been writing much at work. Then you’ll have a good idea of how you need to prepare to get all of your skills ready for test day. Thanks for writing!

    5. Chinmoy March 12, 2014 at 5:57 am #

      I got a TOEFL score of 109.
      In all sections I got around 28-29 , except in speaking in which I scored 23.
      Will that effect my chances of getting a TA in an university?

      • Kate Hardin
        Kate Hardin March 12, 2014 at 7:32 am #

        Hello there–

        Congratulations on your high overall score! Generally, 23 is considered in the “fair” range. I, unfortunately, don’t have enough information to determine whether that score will negatively affect your application. If you write the department you’re applying to, they may be able to give you an idea of what that score means for their specific program, and if there’s cause for concern, they may have ideas about what you can do to improve your application. Good luck!

    6. lily May 8, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

      thank you for sharing so much about TOEFL with us<3
      my TOEFL is 544 and i don't know what is the highest score and whether this score is good or not,, i want to know the level of this score.. thank you

      • Kate Hardin
        Kate Hardin May 9, 2014 at 5:26 am #

        Hi, Lily! I’m glad you wrote. A 544 (total possible points: 677) on the paper-based TOEFL is equivalent to a 76 or 77 (total possible points: 120) on the Internet-based test, which is the most common test format these days. According to this chart, your score is in the intermediate range. Does that help?

        • lily May 10, 2014 at 3:40 am #

          thank you so much Kate <<3 i took the test without preparing anything so think it is not bad,,,,, that helps a lot

    7. bharadwaj May 9, 2014 at 2:50 am #

      i got my TOEFL overall score 83 reading 25 listening 23 speaking 14 writing 21
      will my speaking score is less for admission and take the TOEFL again?

      • Kate Hardin
        Kate Hardin May 9, 2014 at 5:19 am #

        Hi there– Different universities have different requirements, so I can’t tell you if your score is definitely too low or definitely good enough. You can write the office of admissions or international students, and they will be able to help. Thanks for writing!

    8. Dhananjay Rao June 5, 2014 at 8:21 am #

      Hello my TOEFL score is 76…Gre- 300 & B.Tech-81% (No Backlogs).Should I retake the TOEFL again?. I need your suggestions, please!!

      • Kate Hardin
        Kate Hardin June 5, 2014 at 8:44 am #

        Hi! It depends on your program, since each university decides independently what score ranges they want their students to have. You can contact the admissions department at the university or universities you’re considering, and they’ll be able to tell you what you need to get in. Thanks for the question!

    9. Pratik Roy July 2, 2014 at 5:22 am #

      Hi I got 88 in TOEFL but the university wants 92 so should I retake the exam

      • Kate Hardin
        Kate Hardin July 2, 2014 at 6:00 am #

        Hi, Pratik– you can call the office of admissions and see if it’s really necessary, but generally if you don’t have the minimum score the university requires, it would be a good idea to retake the test. Thanks for writing!

    10. Zedzed August 9, 2014 at 3:32 am #

      Hi! My level in english is intermediate, i would like know how many weeks or months are necessary to do well in toefl ( if i give few hours every day)

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas August 11, 2014 at 11:48 am #

        That’s a good question, but it’s hard to answer! That depends on exactly what you would score if you took the test today, what score you need for admissions to the schools you’re applying to, what skills you need to build, how many opportunities you have for English practice in a day, and how much energy you can devote to improving.

        That said, most students study for between one and six months. But I have had students who have studied for two years and others who only studied for a couple weeks! Again, it really depends on what you personally need.

    11. Basi August 15, 2014 at 6:26 pm #

      I’ve just received my toefl results with a 101 total, unfortunately my speaking score is 19 because I didn’t practice speaking as I should have done. Do I need to retake the test ?

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas August 19, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

        That depends. This blog post can help illustrate:

        Basically, some schools have minimum scores on each section, while some scores only have minimum total scores. Very often, if a program has a minimum for a specific section, it’s for the speaking section, so you might need a higher speaking score even though you received a high total score. Check with the programs you’re applying too!

    12. Soha August 20, 2014 at 1:31 pm #

      Hi, I am a senior high school student and plan on taking the TOEFL test, yet i am not sure of the requirements. I read in one of the university requirements that you needed to be studying atleast 4 years in Canada. But I am not sure if it means consecutively or in total 4 years. It would be great if you could reply.

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas August 25, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

        That’s a difficult question! Different schools have different requirements. 🙂 Often if you have studied in an English-speaking country for enough time, a school will not require you to take the TOEFL. If you haven’t studied in an English speaking country before, than almost all schools will require a TOEFL score (or an IELTS score).

        If you’re not sure of a specific university’s requirements after reading their admissions information on their website, then I recommend emailing the admissions office for more information.

    13. shirisha August 27, 2014 at 11:08 pm #

      Hi my toefl score is 62 , I am going retake test.I am trying to get admission in masters engineering management .kindly recommend me tips to ,how should i get better score ?
      Thank you

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas September 2, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

        Hi Shirasha,

        There are many ways to improve on the test—what you need depends on you personally! Possibly the most important step is to learn more about the test and the best ways to answer questions. I highly recommend reading through our blog posts to learn more about that, if you are looking for free advice. 🙂 From there, you can check out our book recommendations or a free trial of our premium lesson videos for more!

    14. Astoria August 30, 2014 at 1:57 am #

      I answered the TOEFL in august 2014. I’ve read that the score is valid for 2 years.
      So if I begin my application in September 2016 (for admission in Fall 2017) will I be able to send this score?


      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas September 2, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

        Hi Astoria,

        Unfortunately, no. ETS doesn’t send scores from tests over two years ago. So if you try to send scores in September 2016, for an August 2014 test, ETS will not send them. But it’s possible that you could apply earlier for that Fall 2017 admission. You may be able to send your scores and application in August or July of 2016, before the expiration. Contact the schools where you’re thinking about applying to check!

    15. Peter September 9, 2014 at 9:31 am #

      Hello dear Kate
      I got 77 in Toefl exam. 20 in each part instead of reading(17)
      Will i have a chance to accept in engineering graduate program ?
      I know it will depend on the school im applying. i want to know that other cases in my resume will cover this score or not. Is it fair enough?

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas September 12, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

        I wish there was a clearer answer, Peter, but you were right—it really does just depend on the school you’re applying to. Some schools require higher schools. Other schools just recommend higher scores. If you can’t find the information on the websites of the programs you’re interested in, email them to ask!

    16. Ashish September 16, 2014 at 2:06 pm #

      I have scored 84 iBT TOEFL.
      The universities I’m applying to have min criteria of 80.
      I’m concerned that while choosing students for admission, my TOEFL score will be a negative point for me? Students are compared on TOEFL scores while choosing for admission even though I have cleared minimum criteria?
      Thank you

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas September 16, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

        Hi Ashish,

        That depends on the school you apply to. Sometimes, a higher TOEFL score will be helpful (even more than above the minimum), but not always. You might want to email the admissions office at the programs you’re applying to and ask for any extra information they can provide.

        Even when a higher TOEFL score can help, though, if you reached the minimum, it’s usually a better choice to focus on other parts of your application (other test scores, your recommendation letters, statement of purpose, etc.)


    17. Yuli September 19, 2014 at 11:23 am #

      I took the toefl test right now. And I feel afraid because my knowledge in english is limited. The university that I want just ask for around of 70 point, this is not a lot. But in the speaking section was so hard for me. For this reason I believe that my point could be lower. Please tell me something that can make me feel better.

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas September 22, 2014 at 2:14 pm #

        Hi, Yuli!

        It’s hard to predict how you’ll score, but don’t focus on just the speaking section. If you were more comfortable in the other sections, maybe those were enough to give you a score above 70. It’s very possible to have a low speaking score and still reach above a 70!

        And remember that the TOEFL is meant to be a very difficult test. Remember that some students have goals of 100 or even 110. The test must be difficult enough for those test takers to get wrong answers, too. So if you think some of your answers weren’t perfect, don’t worry too much! There is a big range of scores, so there will almost always be some incorrect answers. This is not like a normal English test in school, in which many students want to hit 100%. Very few TOEFL takers get everything correct. It is made to be more difficult than that for a good reason—so it can measure the skills of large range of people.

    18. anton October 1, 2014 at 11:42 pm #

      I got 48 for listening, 48 for structure and 48 for reading. Total: 480. Is it good enough? I want to reach 500 point.

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas October 6, 2014 at 6:35 pm #

        That depends on where you will apply. It may be enough at some programs, and not enough at other programs. By the way, that’s a PBT score, rather than an iBT score, in case you’re not sure about the difference. Schools often only show the required iBT score, because the iBT (internet-based test) is the more common type of TOEFL.

    19. Arun Agrawal October 12, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      Hi 🙂

      I got 96 (Ninety Six) in my TOEFL examination.

      Reading: 23
      Listening: 23
      Speaking: 24
      Writing: 26

      The schools I am applying for a PhD in science have at most a minimum requirement of 88. So what do you think of my score? Is it good enough ?

      Please help. It will really be helpful. Thanks a lot 🙂

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas October 13, 2014 at 2:18 pm #

        If the programs you’re looking into require no more than an 88, than your 96 should be great for you. 🙂 You might want to check with the programs if there are any requirements for sub-sections, though. Some schools require higher scores on specific sections—especially the speaking section if you’re seeking a teaching assistantship (T.A.). But even there, it’s rare that schools require more than a 24 on speaking, so you’re probably in good shape!

    20. Rox October 16, 2014 at 11:32 am #

      hi, recently i’ve got a toefl test and i got an average score of 485 i want to know what this mean?


      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas October 17, 2014 at 11:42 am #

        It sounds like you took the TOEFL PBT, the paper-based test. You can see a bit of information about the scoring on the official site. You might also need to contact the programs that you’re going to apply to if you want to find out their minimum score. Often, on universities’ websites there are only IBT (internet-based test) score minimums, because that test is much more common.

    21. Junaid October 22, 2014 at 7:38 am #

      Hi there,
      I am planning to write the TOEFl after two weeks from now and then I’ll prepare for the GRE. I came to know that it is not possible to get an admission for the Jan semester. I could wind up the GRE in december itself. Do you know some universites that would allow me in the Jan semester?It’ll help alot.

      Thank you.

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas October 28, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

        Most schools require a much longer window between applications and admissions: if you’re going to take the GRE in December, you probably will not be able to find a school that you can start at in January. First, though, you should find what school you want to go to! You don’t want just any university—you want one that matches your skills, experience, and goals. That’s how you get accepted into a school, too—they search for candidates who are a good match. So start researching school, and you’ll find their application deadlines, too. Here’s a great place to start your research:

    22. Rahman October 23, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

      Hi Kate, Thank you for your wonderful write up.

      I came up with only 68 (R-10, L-17, S-18, W-23) last year. But this year I manage to secure 79 (R-19, L-16, S-22, W-22). Most of the universities for my major seek for minimum 79 in TOEFL. Since, my latest score is exactly the cut-off for departments, should i retake for hiking my chance for admission?

      Thanks in Advance.

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas October 28, 2014 at 12:40 pm #

        First, congratulations on that increase! That’s a huge jump, especially in reading. 🙂 Nice work!

        But that’s a tricky question, because it depends on how the admissions office judges applications and what your specific application looks like. Many schools only care that you reach the minimum—after that, they are more concerned with the other parts of your application. But at some schools, reaching more than the minimum might be a big help. I would only study to retake the test a third time if you are confident the rest of your application (other test scores, academic history, statement of purpose, recommendations…) is as good as you can make it. It might also help if you contact the schools you’re going to apply to. Sometimes the admissions office can tell you whether scores even higher than the minimum are very important to them.

    23. Sappy October 28, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

      I got 91 in Toefl ibt

      L- 24
      S- 23
      W- 25

      Is the score good enough to apply for a TA or GA in a university which requires 79-80 in Toefl? Is the reading score too low?

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas November 3, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

        If the program says their minimum score is 80, and you scored a 91, you should probably focus on other parts of your application. 🙂 If you’re not sure about the requirements for a T.A. at a specific university, contact them to ask!

    24. Ako November 2, 2014 at 9:04 am #

      Hi, I just have received my TOEFL results and my score is 96. R: 28, L: 24, S: 23, W: 21. I wanted to ask whether this score is good enough or should I retake the test? On the university site min. point is 90, preferred 100. I am applying for engineering programme, so is it relevant to improve writing? Can I still apply to top universities with this score or do they admit students only with over 100.

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas November 3, 2014 at 2:54 pm #

        Your TOEFL scores are relevant no matter what your program is—even if you will study engineering, you will have to write in English and communicate in English every day at an English-speaking university. So yes, your writing score is important. Each school has its own requirements; there is no group of “top-tier” schools that exclusively seeks 100+ in TOEFL scores. Look at the requirements of individual programs. If you scored a total of 96, then whether you retake the test depends on the rest of your application. Do you need to improve those other parts of your application? If you do, then spend your energy there, not on the TOEFL, since you are already higher than the minimum. But if all the rest of your application is as good as you can make it, then you might want to take the test one more time to score over 100 if the score recommends that.

    25. Ann November 20, 2014 at 2:05 am #

      Hi 🙂 I got my toefl score which is 87.I was stuttering so badly during speaking section but I got the highest score on it -26.I was really surprised because I got 19-reading ,18-listening.I was doing this sections good enough but I don’t know why I scored THAT Low.Im going to retake the test on December 21 and I really need a help.Please any tips on how to improve those 2?

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas November 24, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

        First, congrats on that speaking score! I’m glad to hear it was higher than you’d expected. As for reading and listening, I do think you can improve before your December test. First, you’ll want to figure out exactly what caused you trouble on the test. Were you taking enough notes during the listening section? Too many notes? Did you have enough time for the reading section? Did you check your answers with the original text, or did you rely on memory? Identifying your weaknesses is the first step toward improvement. And of course, if you are looking for free advice on TOEFL reading and listening, there’s plenty of good material in our blog. 🙂

        You might also benefit from our lesson videos and practice questions.

        Happy studying!

    26. sandrine November 20, 2014 at 10:52 am #

      Hello !!

      In approximately 2 weeks, I’m going to pass the Toefl.
      I did practice well for already 1 month but I’m afraid for the reading and writing sections.
      I bought a book to prepare myself and I’m still not able to manage to get more then around 7-8-9 out of 12 or 13 for the reading section. If I’m having this score at the exam how much I could get on a total of 30?

      About the writing section, I’m a person who really enjoys writing texts. The problem is that I only have word office on my laptop to correct me. I don’t know if my texts are good enough and if my sentences seem to be ok if I expect to get a good result at my score’s toefl. Does anyone know how the writing section is scored ?

      By the way: “This website is a awesome! I already found a lot of advice!” Thanks.

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas November 24, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

        Hi there! The TOEFL is scored in a complicated way: it’s not possible to simply take a fraction of correct answers and give a 1-30 score, I’m afraid. There’s more information about that in this blog post. You can estimate, but it is far from perfect.

        The writing section is scored mostly by how well you communicate ideas. You can see the official scoring system here. Grammar is important, but it’s not the only part! Vocabulary, structure, length, and general clarity are all major factors.

        And I’m glad you’ve liked Magoosh’s TOEFL blog. 🙂 Keep studying, and good luck on your test!

    27. prabhakar November 23, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

      Hi…I am gonna take TOEFL IBT, I want 70 score which is the requirment of my university.

      Is it possible to get it within the 15 days preparation?

      Help me out

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas November 24, 2014 at 6:10 pm #

        That depends on your starting point! Some students would score above a 70 with no preparation (near native speakers would, for example), while lower level students would need more time to study. Use some official practice material to find out how comfortable you are with the level of English on the test.

    28. T December 4, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

      My TOEFL score was pretty bad :/ . I had a 12 out of 30 in reading but my other sections were fine. I really need help with reading. what can i do to improve and all? please help!!

      • Lucas Fink
        Lucas December 8, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

        That depends partly on what your specific issues are and why you made the mistakes that you did. But there are a few things I’d recommend in general:

        – Read a **lot**. And read actively! Ask yourself questions about the text and summarize it afterward. The more you read in life, the easier TOEFL reading will be.
        – Look carefully at each of your wrong answers after you do some practice. Find exactly why your answer was wrong and learn how you can avoid it in the future.
        – Try different strategies and find the method that works best for you. This blog post explains a few different strategies for the reading section and their advantages and disadvantages.

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