Is TOEFL Exam Compulsory? 6

This question is asked again and again, mostly by the international students who want to pursue higher education in the US, UK and Australia. TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language, which is conducted by the ETS, mainly for the international students seeking admission in the US universities. However, universities in YK, Australia and other major countries also accept TOEFL scores for judging the English comprehension and speaking abilities of the non-native English students or those who have completed their formal education in a university that does not use English as the official instruction medium.

Is it compulsory to submit TOEFL scores in addition to the GRE/GMAT/SAT scores?

As stated earlier, the submission of TOEFL scores is mandatory only for those students who:

  • Studied in a university that does not follow English as the official instruction medium
  • Or belong to a country where English is not the official language. In these countries, English as Second Language, may or may not be the norm.

For instance, the Stanford Graduate School of Business requires the applicants to submit their TOEFL (or IELTS) score if they studied in a college where English is not used as teaching medium, irrespective of whether they are from Korea, China or Namibia. On the other hand, Harvard Business School is happy with a GMAT score and does not require TOEFL necessarily.

Another question frequently asked by the international students with regard to TOEFL is:

What is the minimum TOEFL Score one should get to apply to the undergraduate and graduate programs in the US?

The minimum TOEFL score for admission eligibility varies from college to college. But rest assured that there will be a minimum score requirement. The colleges may not specify a minimum score for SAT, ACT, GMAT or GRE but in case of TOEFL, a minimum score will be mentioned.

Some colleges even specify sectional minimum marks and minimum marks for the mode of exam, that is whether the students has taken the TOEFL internet Based Test, Computer Based Test or Paper Based Test. Check properly under the admission requirements and eligibility section of the admission brochure to find out the minimum score requirement.

What is the Average TOEFL Score required for US universities?

Again, this depends on the admission policy of an institution. However, since an average score represents a mid way between the maximum and the minimum score requirements, we can peg the average score at 75 (TOEFL internet based test) for undergraduate programs. For graduate and MBA programs, it is slightly higher at 85. However, this is just an estimation. Since your TOEFL marks are valid for two years and you can retake the exam, try to submit your best scores before application deadline is reached.

What if you miss the minimum score requirement by only a point or two? Should you apply or not?

So many students fall in the category of fateful 82 if the university TOEFL cut off is 83, or 101, if the college TOEFL cut off is 100. Most of them commit the mistake of not applying at all under such circumstances. Though the colleges are strict about the minimum cut-offs, they do not consider them as the be all and end all of a candidate’s eligibility. If your academic record is strong and you have impressive GMAT/GRE/SAT scores, then apply by all means.

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6 thoughts on “Is TOEFL Exam Compulsory?

  • olukunle

    Moreover if a Diploma school in Nigeria is in partnership with a university in the U.S…

  • olukunle

    Is “TOFEL/SAT” compulsory for people in “Nigeria”// Moreover I think Nigeria was colonized by the British…. So we don’t need it?

  • Joel

    Hi. I studied in a university in India where the medium of instruction was completely English. Should I take the TOEFL? I am sorry but I’m confused with the ‘Studied in a university that does not follow English as the official instruction medium ‘ part. Hope I get a quick reply. Thanks in Advance.

  • Shen

    It says here that :”TOEFL scores is mandatory only for those students who belong to a country where English is not the official language. In these countries, English as Second Language, may or may not be the norm.”.

    What about India? I’m not really sure but I think both Hindi and English are regarded as official languages there. Does it make it mandatory for Indian students to take the test too?