What is a good TOEFL score?

“What is a good TOEFL score?” ask many students when preparing to enter a university of their choice. Maybe you landed on this web page to get an answer to this question? Am I right?  Generally speaking, specific minimum undergraduate and graduate TOEFL scores of 61 and 80 will at least help you meet the basic English proficiency requirements at most institutions in the United States. However, universities set their own TOEFL requirements concerning TOEFL scores. Like the high jumper you see in the picture, you will need to

  • Choose some universities that you wish to attend.
  • Find out what their TOEFL requirements are.
  • Begin your TOEFL preparation program to improve your academic English so that you can reach the required “height.”
  • Take the official TOEFL iBT exam.

What is a good TOEFL score

Find out what TOEFL score you need.

Each university has its own requirements. To illustrate, Princeton University has not listed a specific score, but the average score of international students admitted is 108/120.  In addition, Princeton does not allow students to use the Paper-Based TOEFL for admittance purposes.  Ohio State University, however, allows a Paper-Based TOEFL score of 527 or a TOEFL iBT score of 71. In fact, I found a fairly extensive web site listing 100’s of universities along with their TOEFL requirements.

  • Find a university in which you are interested in attending.
  • See what required TOEFL score you need.
  • Call the international admissions program for that institution to see any other requirements of which you should be aware.

See a list of US universities with required TOEFL scores: CLICK HERE

Take a TOEFL iBT full-length four hour practice test if you do not have a current TOEFL score.

Once you know what your target score is, you will need to take a practice test to see what your current level is. Taking a full-length four hour practice test has several benefits:

  • To get more familiar with the structure and format of the TOEFL exam
  • To learn to concentrate for longer periods of time in English
  • To not only find your current level but to identify your strengths and weaknesses on the reading, listening, speaking, and writing portions of the exam.

Email me at mbuckhoff@aol.com if you are ready to take a full-length TOEFL iBT practice test.

Choose an Online TOEFL Course based on your current level and the target score you need.

Most students can improve their overall TOEFL score about 5-10 points for each month that they study.  As a result, if you have a current TOEFL score or practice test score, go here to choose a TOEFL course that best fits your situation.

TOEFL Score Percentages: How hard will it be for you to achieve your score?

Educational Testing Service, the creator of the TOEFL exam, compiles percentages of how many students achieve a certain score annually.  I took all of their research, as you can see here, so you can see what percentage of students annually achieve a certain overall or subtotal reading, listening, speaking, and writing score. Understanding these percentages will show you how easy or difficult it will be for you to achieve your desired TOEFL score.

Final thoughts

As you can see what is “good” has multiple interpretations. Hence, there is no way to really answer the question.  Perhaps, if you look at the word “good,” you can think of it as being 1/2 way between what the minimum required TOEFL scores and the maximum score of 120 you can get on the test.

  • Minimum undergraduate score of 61: A good score, thus, is 90/120.
  • Minimum graduate score of 80: A good score, consequently, is 100/120.

If you should need guidance on your TOEFL journey, I have several services to help you:

May the next TOEFL exam you take be your last!

Michael Buckhoff, mbuckhoff@aol.com

Teaching Experience








1 thought on “What is a good TOEFL score?”

  1. Pingback: Zaban TOEFL TPO: Get the link. - Better TOEFL Scores Blog

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