How Important is TOEFL Score in Admissions?

    Updated on: 06 Sep 2023

    TOEFL or the Test Of English as a Foreign Language assesses an individual’s ability to communicate in English. It is crucial for work, study, and immigration as English-speaking countries across the globe accept the TOEFL scores. It is very important to have a decent TOEFL score for studying abroad since universities maintain a minimum TOEFL score requirement for admissions. However, there is no thumb rule related to the TOEFL minimum score, but most of the top universities in the US and Canada require a certain score to be able to apply for admissions. 

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    How Difficult is the TOEFL?

    It is a very subjective question, and the answer depends on a lot of factors. For some students, TOEFL preparation can be relatively easier for others. There are several instances where students get top scores on the first attempt while students keep on reeling even after several attempts. One of the reasons for not getting a good score even after several attempts is because the test takers don’t wholly understand the TOEFL exam pattern. Test-takers need to get hold of the test by attempting some sample tests or previous papers before starting the preparation. The level of difficulty varies from one student to another. Some students feel that the speaking section is the toughest, while others might think that the listening section is tough. 

    No thumb rule can let students ascertain the level of difficulty of the TOEFL test. After taking the test, a student can understand which section they found the most difficult. Some students are very good at writing and have an excellent ability to comprehend the language, which gives them an edge over others while at the same time they might not be good speakers. So, speaking is of utmost importance for them, and they should focus more on the speaking section. So, it varies from one student to another, but in general, those students who have been good at English don't struggle much with their preparation. While there is no dearth of instances wherein, students with a good grasp of the English language take the test lightly and get bad scores. It is very important to note that a good understanding of the English language can only help them to get a head start but can’t make them sail through the TOEFL exam syllabus itself. 

    Why Is TOEFL required?

    Students across the globe use the test for studying at top universities globally. Many people undermine the importance of test scores, but they are very important at multiple stages, even after immigration. For instance, the TOEFL score helps students get an edge over others while grabbing the best internship opportunities provided by top companies. 

    Even in research projects, when the students of equal talent are assessed, the TOEFL score is compared to make the final selection because of the better English proficiency of one student over others. In a nutshell, the TOEFL exam is the ultimate panacea for all the worries related to studying, working or immigrating to an English speaking country. TOEFL assesses an individual’s ability to read, write, listen, and speak English, making studying, working, or living possible with native English speakers.

    Get An Overview On TOEFL Exam Click Here

    What Makes the TOEFL Test So Important?

    The TOEFL test can play an instrumental role in taking an individual’s career to a new high. All the top universities of the world consider TOEFL as the test of an individual’s ability to study, live and contribute to the growth story of their country. TOEFL holds very high importance among students, universities, employers and those seeking immigration. The following factors make TOEFL the most preferred option for people wanting to move abroad for work, study or living.

    Accepted in All the English Speaking Countries

    It is a test that opens the gateway to all the world’s predominantly English-speaking countries. Once a test taker secures a good score in the test, it opens the door for work, study or immigration in countries like the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and a pool of other countries from Europe that accept TOEFL scores for admissions to their universities. It is one of the most respected English proficiency tests for students from non-English speaking countries. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that can take an individual’s life in a diametrically opposite direction. 

    Read More: Get an overview on GRE Exam

    Given Top Preference in the US and Canada

    TOEFL is given more preference in the US and Canada than any other English speaking country. Over 85% of universities in Canada prefer TOEFL scores over others for admissions to students in higher education. A similar ratio prevails in the US, wherein all the top universities give preference to the TOEFL score. Also, the universities in France, Germany, Switzerland, and other European countries prefer TOEFL over other English proficiency tests for admissions to courses available for International students. So, seeing it only as a doorway to American and Canadian universities is a narrow way to see the TOEFL exam

    Preferred in All Types of Admissions 

    Many students are under the impression that it is strictly restricted to courses available under direct admissions. However, even those students who get admission in student exchange programs take the TOEFL test to enhance their chances of getting accepted to the top universities in the US. Students wanting to study in high schools in the US have to take the TOEFL test. Top boarding schools in the US accept TOEFL scores for admissions. TOEFL score is needed for both public and private universities. So, irrespective of the choice of institution, one has to take the TOEFL test. 

    Working in an English Speaking Country

    When it comes to working in a new country, the need to communicate with people arises. One has to communicate in all walks of life, be it office, residential areas, marketplace, etc. So, it becomes important to be well-versed in the predominantly spoken language over there else, and there will be a lot of problems for both the person going abroad and the native people. TOEFL is one such test that assures employers that communication isn’t going to be a problem. It reduces an employer’s effort to check an individual’s ability to communicate in English. Thus, most companies require job seekers to take the TOEFL test to qualify for a job abroad. 

    Those seeking jobs in the Hospitality sector need to take the TOEFL test more seriously than others. Since it involves a lot of public interaction, fluency in English is one such quality that can’t be compromised. The same goes with those in the healthcare profession, as their public interactions are more than others and very crucial. So, prospective test-takers need to factor in all this and understand the importance of TOEFL. 

    Read About Top U.S Universities Click Here

    An Addition to the Resume;

    Once a test taker takes the TOEFL test and gets a decent score, it can be a significant addition to the CV. The test takers can leverage their position with their TOEFL score as getting a good score in a reputed English proficiency test certainly gives an edge to a candidate over others. When it comes to employment abroad, an employer is very likely to select a candidate that has scored well on the TOEFL test. So students or job seekers wanting to go abroad must take the test well in advance since the test scores are valid for two years. Also, the score reflects an individual’s employability in a certain role at an organisation. 

    Read More: Get an overview on IELTS Exam

    TOEFL Score Requirements at Universities in the US

    Educational Institution

     TOEFL Score for Undergraduate 

    TOEFL Score for Postgraduate

    Brown University

    100 in iBT and 600 in PBT

    90 in iBT and 570 in PBT

    Carnegie Mellon University

    102 in iBT

    84 in iBT and 570 in PBT

    Columbia University

    100 in iBT and 600 in PBT

    100 in iBT and 600 in PBT

    Harvard University

    104 in iBT and 600 in PBT

    100 in iBT and 600 in PBT

     Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT) 

    90 in iBT and 570 in PBT

    90 in iBT and 570 in PBT

    New York University (NYU)

    100 in iBT and 600 in PBT

    Depend on course type and varies

    Stanford University

    100 in iBT and 600 in PBT

    It varies from one course to another

    University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

    100 in iBT and 600 in PBT

    It varies from one course to another

    Yale University

    100 in iBT and 600 in PBT

     It varies from one course to another 


    TOEFL score is undoubtedly required for all the universities in the US. But the score requirement varies from one university to another and also varies from one course to another. The universities might change their TOEFL score requirement, and there is no uniform rule about it. Some universities also have minimum score requirements, while there are courses in particular universities wherein they might waive off the minimum score requirement. Students should also keep on checking with the university of their choice about the TOEFL score requirements. It’s in the best interest of students to aim for the highest score, as the scores have way more implications than merely taking admission at a top university. For the TOEFL score requirement, one must check with universities that are not mentioned in the list above. 

    TOEFL Preparation Guide Click Here

    Aim for a Good Score in the First Attempt

    Students should always aim for the required score of the university of their choice but getting a good score on the first attempt also helps in saving the TOEFL exam fee, which is pretty pricey. It should be kept in mind that clearing the test in the first instance also helps students or job-seekers in getting an early visa. Many a time, students have to wait for clearing the test even after completing their course, which leads to unnecessary wastage of precious time. So, it’s in the best interest of students to take the test seriously and save both money and time. There are many online and offline study materials available for students which can be utilised, and expert advice must be sought. There are many free online resources too that students must utilize to maximise the probability of getting a good score on the test. 

    First published date: 07 Feb 2020

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Madhuwrita Nandi
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