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When you apply to college in an English-speaking country such as the U.S., the U.K. or Australia, you may have to prove that you speak English well enough to keep up with coursework. Taking the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a great way to do that. But– what is the TOEFL and what’s a good TOEFL score?

What is the TOEFL?

The TOEFL iBT (internet based test) tests English proficiency through listening, reading, speaking, and writing. The entire test takes about 4 1/2 hours to complete.

What is the score range?

TOEFL iBT scores range from 0 to 120.
There are four sections (listening, reading, speaking, and writing) and you can score up to 30 in each.

What is a good TOEFL score?

Last year, 52% of English-language school applicants scored an 80 or above on the TOEFL iBT. Only 15% scored over 100. Therefore, if you can get over an 80 then you are doing pretty well. If you can get over 100, well, that’s excellent.

Of course, a good TOEFL score is one that will get you into your school of choice. American University requires a 90 on the TOEFL iBT. In contrast, Auburn University only requires a score of 79.

University/SchoolMid 80% GPAMid 80% GMATAverage experience (yrs)
Duke University, Fuqua School of Business3.0 - 3.83640-7505
University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton SchoolNot reported710-7505
University of Chicago, Booth School of Business3.2-3.9724*4.6
Stanford University, Stanford Graduate School of BusinessNot reported732*4
Columbia University, Columbia Business School3.1–3.8680–7605
Yale University, Yale School of Management3.17-3.87680-760Not reported
Northwestern University, Kellogg School of ManagementNot reported717*Not reported
Harvard University, Harvard Business School3.67*730*Not reported
University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Ross School of BusinessNot reported650–750Not reported
Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business3.3*687*4.9
University of California Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management3.2-3.8680-7505
University of North Carolina, Kenan-Flagler Business School3.4*640-7505
Cornell University, Johnson Graduate School of Management3.34*700*4.7
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sloan School of Management3.6*660-7605
Dartmouth College, Tuck School of Business3.5*670-7505
Indiana University, Kelley School of Business3.34*668*5
University of Maryland, Smith School of Business3.3*600 - 7105.5
Emory University, Goizueta Business School3.3*620-7305
University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business3.36-3.90680-7505
University of Virginia, Darden School of Business3.5*706*Not reported
University of Southern California, Marshall School of Business3.3*640-7305
New York University, Stern School of Business3.18-3.84680-7604.3
University of Texas Austin, McCombs School of Business3.4*690*5
Georgetown University, McDonough School of Business2.88-3.79640-7304.75
Rice University, Jones Graduate School of Business3.4*676*5.4
Queen's University, Queen's Business SchoolNot reported650*5
Washington University in St. Louis, Olin Business School3.43*699*4
University of Washington, Foster School of Business3.43*630-7206.3
University of Notre Dame, Mendoza College of Business3.36*687*5.2
Western University, Ivey School of BusinessNot reported656*4.7
University of Toronto, Rotman School of Management3.5*672*4.3
China-Europe International Business School (CEIBS)Not reported692*5.3
Singapore Management University, Chian School of BusinessNot reported660*42131
Nanyang Technological University, Nanyang Business SchoolNot reportedNot reportedNot reported
National University of Singapore, NUS Business SchoolNot reported672*5.5
Paris Tech, HEC ParisNot reported690*Not reported
University of Oxford, Saïd Business SchoolNot reported692*5
University of Cambridge, Judge Business SchoolNot reported680*6.5
INSEADNot reported650-7406
University of London, London Business SchoolNot reported700*5.5
What if my score is really low?

Some schools offer “conditional acceptance,” which allows you to take intensive English lessons before starting regular university classes. For example, the ACCESS Program at George Mason University “allows first-year students to develop their academic English language skills while taking a full-time academic course load toward a bachelor’s degree.” A list of colleges that accept students with low TOEFL scores can be found here.

In general, acceptance to these kinds of programs requires a TOEFL score of at least 60, although some programs exist for scores as low as 45. Thankfully, only about 6% of applicants scored at or below 45 in 2015, and only 18% scored at or below 60.

How often can I take it?

You can take the TOEFL once every 12 days. Beyond that, you can take it as many time as you’d like– keeping in mind how often it’s offered in your area.

How much does it cost and where do I register?

The registration fee depends on your country. In Singapore, the price is $235. In Malaysia, it costs $185. Find out how much it costs in another country and/or register for the test here.


Maija Wallace is a freelance writer for college admissions blogs. Her website is located at

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