TOEFL score validity- how long are TOEFL scores valid for?

Do you know what is your TOEFL score validity? Read here to know about the TOEFL test and know how long your TOEFL scores are valid for?

TOEFL is a Test of English as a Foreign Language which is meant to test English language proficiency. TOEFL scores are accepted by more than 10,000 universities and other institutions worldwide, including universities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K., the United States, and across Europe and Asia. TOEFL scores are accepted for admission in both undergraduate and graduate-level programs. The test is held around the year with 50 test dates to choose from.

TOEFL Score Range

The TOEFL test provides scores in 4 skill areas of the English language- Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing

  • Reading 0–30
  • Listening 0–30
  • Speaking 0–30
  • Writing 0–30
  • Total Score range 0–120

The exam requires test-takers to combine the above-mentioned skills during the test, to give responses to the questions asked. The final TOEFL score is a sum of the 4 skill scores.

TOEFL Score Validity

After taking the test unlike other tests like GRE, GMAT, the TOEFL score is valid only for two years. During the two year validity period one can choose to share the TOEFL score with the institutes of their choice.

The score report of each individual will be available on the ETS official website. The report will include marks scored for each test section and the total score of the test. Post the validity period, the scores are taken off the website and are no longer available to the students for sharing or viewing.

Considering the above-mentioned fact, it is advisable to take a print out of the score report for record purpose. However, post the validity period TOEFL scores are not accepted by institutes for admission purposes.

One may wonder why the TOEFL score validity is so short when compared to the other tests. The answer to the question lies in the fact that it is a test of language proficiency. Over a period of time, one’s linguistic abilities may either improve or weaken depending on practice or frequency of usage of the language, which may have an impact on one’s academic success.

When to take the TOEFL test?

Considering the two-year validity criteria, it becomes important to plan the test dates carefully. Only valid TOEFL scores are accepted as part of admission applications. Most institutes will ask for a valid score during the admission application process but some may also have a policy for the score to be valid through the start date of the program.

For a student, this becomes an important consideration before taking the TOEFL exam as there may be a significant gap of time, usually several months, between the date of application to the university and the program start date. If required by the institute post-acceptance in a program, one might have to retake the TOEFL test if the score is valid only during the application process and not at the start of the program.

Thus, checking the validity criteria of all the institutes one plans to apply for is important. Only after carefully researching and collecting relevant information and requirements should one select the TOEFL test dates.

TOEFL Score timelines

TOEFL test scores are not published immediately. They are posted online approximately 6 days after the test. If requested beforehand, during the registration process, the final scores are sent to selected institutions or agencies within 11 days after taking the test.

It may take upto7–10 days for mail delivery in the United States and 4–6 weeks for areas outside the United States. Thus it is recommended to take the test atleast 2-3 months before the application date.

Good TOEFL Score 

There is no pass or fail in the TOEFL exam to apply for college admissions. The score requirement differs from college-to-college, as it is up to the institutes to set cut-offs as per their requirement. Therefore, checking with the college or university on their eligibility requirement concerning the TOEFL score is always advisable.

Generally, it has been observed that a score in the range of 90 -110 is considered good enough for admission in prestigious institutes.

Along with the score requirement, it is also important to take note of what kind of TOEFL score is acceptable at a particular college or university. The most commonly accepted one is TOEFL iBT.

There are three types of test:

  • PBT- Paper Based Test
  • CBT-Computer-based
  • iBT- Internet-based Test

Currently, TOEFL iBT is the most common type of examination that has displaced the CBT version. Most institutes will accept the most up-to-date TOEFLiBTtest score to qualify for the application of admission. Paper-based tests are conducted only in special cases, in areas where there is no internet facility available.

TOEFL Test Score Review and Retake

There is a provision for a TOEFL test score review. One can request a score review up to 30 days after the test date. A request for review of either the Speaking or the Writing section can be made for US$80 each, or a request for review of both the TOEFL Speaking and Writing sections can be made for US$160.

However, scores cannot be sent for a review if a request for score reports to be sent to an institute has already been made during the registration process.

Test Retake

If in the first attempt one is not satisfied with the scores, there is a provision of reappearing in the test. Though, one has to retake the test within the two year validity period and at a gap of 12 days minimum. If the retake scores are better than the previous attempts, the best scores will be taken into account. However, there are institutes like Harvard that do not accept the best scores and will only consider the most up-to-date TOEFL score.

Considering all the important aspects and information given above, it is important for aspirants to carefully plan their TOEFL test dates. This can save them from a lot of hassle during the application process. As the TOEFL score requirement differs, doing a thorough check with the institutes is equally important.

If this article has helped you chose your own way of TOEFL preparation then schedule your TOEFL exam and start preparing. Also, do share it and help others searching for the right guidance to ace the exam.

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