TOEFL Eligibility Criteria



TOEFL is the testing mechanism to assess an individual’s ability to read, write, listen and speak the English language. Every year students and job aspirants from non-English speaking countries take the TOEFL test for admissions to universities and companies in English-speaking countries. One has to register by creating an account on the ETS (Educational Testing Services) website, the exam conducting body. One of the noteworthy aspects of the exam is that there are no strict TOEFL eligibility criteria for the applicants. The only important eligibility criteria are that the student should be more than 16 years of age and should have passed the high school exam.

As far as the upper age limit is concerned, there is no bar on the upper age limit for taking the TOEFL test. The TOEFL exam eligibility criteria have a broad ambit to incorporate the maximum number of students. The test is overly democratic in nature, with no distinction between applicants by putting any caveat whatsoever.

Types of TOEFL

There is only one type of TOEFL exam, and students have to take the test and get a good score for admissions to universities or faster processing of the visa application. There is no type per se in the TOEFL test. There is one type of test which comprises of Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking section. Universities assess a student’s proficiency in English based on the score, and it is the only TOEFL qualification criteria by the ETS. However, ETSs broad TOEFL eligibility shouldn’t be seen as the sole factor around which your admission is pivoted. Universities also have different TOEFL exam eligibility criteria, and it is independent of any policy made by the ETS.

Since different colleges have different baseline score for admissions, there can be additional criteria which may vary from one university to another.


Eligibility Criteria of TOEFL

TOEFL is a test to check proficiency in the English language; thus, no TOEFL eligibility criteria make it one of the most comprehensive tests in the world. Students from non-English speaking countries of all age brackets and all educational backgrounds are allowed to take the test. TOEFL exam eligibility is kept at a bare minimum of having a high school passed student to make it broad and encompass the biggest possible chunk of students from different parts of the world. The test is designed in a way to strictly restrict to the language aspect, thus giving students a level playing field to all the students independent of their local method of teaching or curriculum.

However, the threshold score is always determined by concerned universities, e.g. Harvard University and Stanford University have requirements of more than 100 scores on the TOEFL test. These scores shouldn’t be seen as TOEFL qualification criteria by any means since these are put in place by Universities to filter students from a ton of applications they receive every year. Another criteria that can be counted for TOEFL eligibility has a valid passport, and this is a must for every student living outside the country where the university is situated.

One of the prominent reasons for a flexible TOELF eligibility is to incorporate more than 10,000 participating universities and students from more than 130 countries taking the test every year. TOEFL exam eligibility doesn’t include any bar on the number of attempts a student can take. The test is conducted more than 60 times a year to give every student a maximum chance to retake the test and improve the score. However, it should be clear that one can’t take the test back to back. There must be a 12-day gap between successive attempts, and this TOEFL eligibility is put in place to give students a breathing space so that they don’t end up wasting money and time without introspecting their last performance. Also, it takes time to send your scores to the institutions of your choice.

TOEFL Registration

The TOEFL registration process starts with the account creation on the ETS website. After that, students have to fill in the personal and other details, and it must be filled with utmost caution since it will be verified at later stages. After this, an applicant has to choose among the available dates and book a slot. Then a student is redirected to the payment page. Once the payment is made, take the printout of the acknowledgment receipt, and the registration process is complete.

TOEFL Accepting Colleges

More than 10,000 universities recognize the TOEFL scores, and thus, the TOEFL eligibility criteria are kept at a minimum.

A brief outlook of the countries accepting the TOEFL score:

  • US: 9 out of 10 universities in the US accept the TOEFL scores for admission.
  • UK: More than 98% of universities in the UK accept the TOEFL scores. 100% of institutions of the reputed Russel group accept the TOEFL scores.
  • Canada: Around 80% of universities accept the TOEFL scores.
  • TOEFL is one of France and Germany’s widely accepted English proficiency tests accepted by universities in Germany and France.

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Frequently Asked Questions


There are no criteria per se, but an applicant must have passed the 10+2 level from a recognized board or university in India. TOEFL eligibility doesn’t include anything else, but there might be some criteria by the universities.
No. The ETS puts forward no qualification criteria. The test solely focuses on assessing a student’s proficiency in the English language, and there is nothing to qualify. However, the minimum accepted TOEFL score varies from one university to another.
The ETS sets no upper age limit, and thus students of any age bracket can take the test.
There is no cap on the maximum number of attempts. The test is conducted more than 60 times a year. However, two successive attempts can’t be taken within a gap of 12 days.