15 Jan 2017

Who needs to take the TOEFL? You do

Ahh, the TOEFL. ETS’s (the thugs behind the SAT and GRE) answer to the IELTS. A fine test. An absolutely choice piece of work. Certainly recommended as the grand arbiter of your English fluency. (cough cough)

The TOEFL is a test of English Fluency administered on weekends in Thailand.  It is required for almost every international high school student who wants to attend college in the United States. It is definitely required for every graduate student who hasn’t studied in the US for her undergraduate degree.

So what is the TOEFL?


The TOEFL is a 4 part test of your fluency in English (theoretically). It tests the big four competencies: reading, listening, speaking, and writing. It is an approximately 4 hour test held on Saturdays and Sundays, and most programs will require it. The score is scaled from 0-120, and most programs in the US will require something in the 80 point range (20 out of 30 for each section), although certain schools will have a different range, so be sure to do some research for each of your programs.

Unlike the other standardized tests, there is actually no benefit to scoring higher than the minimum. For example, if your university requires an 87, you don’t get extra consideration for getting an 88, you aren’t in the running for a scholarship if you score a 90. You just scored higher than you needed to for admittance. When it comes to the other tests, however, the higher the score you achieve the better your chances are for admittance, although those scores are certainly not the only criteria.

Whether you will actually have to take the TOEFL or not depends on your college choices. For example, certain colleges don’t require US citizens take the TOEFL, regardless of native language and/or where they went to high school (Fordham, Pacific University), while others won’t make you take the TOEFL if you score above a certain level on the SAT/ACT (Chicago, Penn). It all depends, so make sure you ask those questions!

For graduate students, the TOEFL is required for almost every University unless you graduated (4 years, no transferring cheaters) from a university in a country whose mother tongue is English.

Any way you slice this cake, TOEFL doesn’t taste good. If you’re lucky, you won’t have to take it. If you do have to take it, please contact us! We can help you help you.

And now, a sloth reacts to this information:


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