Thursday, March 1

What is a good TOEFL iBT Score?

What is a good TOEFL iBT score? My TOEFL students ask me that question all time, and I always reply, "What score do you need?"

For example, let's say you want to apply to Yale or Princeton or Colombia. These are top schools. The best. That means you need to get the highest TOEFL iBT (not PBT!) score possible. The rule with these schools is the higher, the better. 100/120 at least. Why? Because you're not just competing against Americans. You're competing against the world. And remember: Your TOEFL score is only one part of your admissions package. For these schools, you must be the best in your class - your country! You must also demonstrate leadership or some other special talent that separates you from everybody else. To get into these schools, perfect grades and a perfect TOEFL score are not enough. What makes you special? That is what Yale and Princeton and M.I.T. want to know.

Note: Harvard does not require a TOEFL score. Submitting one is optional (read Harvard's TOEFL policy). Why? Good question. I guess Harvard figures if they let you in, you're pretty much a genius and already speak fluent English - and a couple of other languages - so why test your English. Note: As a university, Harvard is often ranked #1 in the world, right up there with Cambridge and Yale.

Okay, so you don't want to go to Yale. You want to go to a regular school. In that case, before you take the TOEFL iBT, contact the school and find out what TOEFL score you need, then aim for it. For example, if you need 79/120, and you score 79/120 on the TOEFL test, 79 is a good score. If you need 90/120, and you score 90/120 on the TOEFL test, 90 is a good score. However, if you only score 82/120...? Not so good.

As you can see, a good TOEFL score is the score you need. Don't stress out thinking, "I want 100! I want 100!" if you only need 79. You're not trying to impress your friends (though scoring 100 would be totally cool!) You are trying to get into an English-speaking school or trying to get a professional license, whatever the case may be.

Remember: "Wanting" is different from "needing." A good TOEFL score is not the score you want. It is the score you need.

Remember: Before you take the TOEFL test, contact the school(s) or licensing agency you are applying to and find out what TOEFL score they require.

Want a good TOEFL score? Click on the book.