Good TOEFL Scores for Top Public and Private Universities

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The TOEFL, or Test of English as a Foreign Language, is designed to measure the English proficiency of non-English speaking people. Many universities require this test for admittance for people who typically speak a language other than English.

Although the test isn't necessarily a competitive exam (college admissions officers aren't using the scores like they would the GRE or SAT), it is an incredibly important exam because a good TOEFL score is not subjective.

 Among the 8,500+ universities that accept TOEFL scores, each university to which you submit your TOEFL score has a published minimum score they accept. There are no, "Is my score good enough?" worries because universities and colleges publish the absolute minimum scores they will accept on this exam. The TOEFL process is pretty straight-forward. The only reason you'd need to retake the test is if you did not make the minimum score requirement of the university or college to which you are thinking of applying. 

To find out the minimum TOEFL score requirement for the school to which you're interested in applying, contact the university's admissions office or check out the website. Each school typically publishes their minimum TOEFL requirements. 

Here are a few examples of good TOEFL scores, based on the best universities in the United States.

Good TOEFL Scores for Top Public Universities

University of California - Berkeley

  • TOEFL iBT: 68
  • TOEFL Paper:570

University of California - Los Angeles

  • TOEFL iBT: 87
  • TOEFL Paper:560

University of Virginia

  • TOEFL iBT: 80
  • TOEFL Paper:550

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

  • TOEFL iBT: 88 - 106
  • TOEFL Paper: 570 - 610

University of California - Berkeley

  • TOEFL iBT: 79
  • TOEFL Paper:550

Good TOEFL Scores for Top Private Universities

Princeton University

  • TOEFL iBT: 108
  • TOEFL Paper: does not typically accept

Harvard University

  • TOEFL iBT: 100
  • TOEFL Paper: 600

Yale University

  • TOEFL iBT: 100
  • TOEFL Paper:600

Columbia University

  • TOEFL iBT: 100
  • TOEFL Paper:600

Stanford University

  • TOEFL iBT: 100
  • TOEFL Paper:600

TOEFL Score Info for the Internet-Based Test

As you can see from the numbers above, the TOEFL iBT is scored much differently from the paper-based test. Below, you can see the ranges for high, intermediate and low TOEFL scores for the test taken online. 

  • Reading Skills: High: 22-30 points; Intermediate: 15-21 points; Low: 0-14 points
  • Listening Skills: High: 22-30 points; Intermediate: 14-21 points; Low: 0-13 points
  • Speaking Skills: Good: 3.5-4.0; Fair: 2.5-3.0; Limited: 1.5-2.0; Weak: 0-1.0
  • Writing Skills: Good: 4.0-5.0; Fair: 2.0-3.0; Limited: 1.0-2.0

The Speaking and Writing sections are converted to a 0-30 scale like the Reading and Listening sections. If you add them all together, which is how the scores are tabulated, the highest total score possible you could receive is a 120 on the TOEFL IBT. 

TOEFL Score Info for the Paper-Based Test

The TOEFL paper test is quite different. Here, scores range from from 31 on the low end to 68 on the highest end of three separate sections.

Hence, the highest total score you can hope to achieve is a 677 on the paper-based test. 

  • Listening Comprehension: Score range: 31 (low) - 68 (high)
  • Structure/Written Expression:Score range: 31 (low) - 68 (high)
  • Reading Comprehension: Score range: 31 (low) - 67 (high)
  • Total Score: Score range: 310 (low) - 677 (high)

Boosting Your TOEFL Score

If you are on the fringe of getting the TOEFL score you would like, but have taken the test or numerous practice tests, and just aren't quite getting to that minimum, then consider using some of these test prep options to help you out. First, figure out which method of test prep suits you best - an app, a book, a tutor, a test prep course or a combination. Then, use the TOEFL Go Anywhere free prep offered by ETS to get started on preparing for this exam the right way.

 

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Roell, Kelly. "Good TOEFL Scores for Top Public and Private Universities." ThoughtCo, Jun. 9, 2017, thoughtco.com/whats-a-good-toefl-score-3211665. Roell, Kelly. (2017, June 9). Good TOEFL Scores for Top Public and Private Universities. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/whats-a-good-toefl-score-3211665 Roell, Kelly. "Good TOEFL Scores for Top Public and Private Universities." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/whats-a-good-toefl-score-3211665 (accessed February 19, 2018).