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Last Updated: February 18, 2021

Low Score in TOEFL- What Should You Do Next?

TOEFL is a tough exam to crack! It could be quite challenging for those who are taking the TOEFL exam for the first time in their life. So have you given your TOEFL exam and now dread the pending result? Do you fear poor scores on the exam? It takes specific knowledge to understand your TOEFL results and recognize if you have received a good or bad score.

If your TOEFL scores have already come out and if you have scored less than expected, then there is no need to sit back and remorse over what has already happened. Let us first identify if the score you have received is considered a low score in general. And then we can move on to the different options you have remaining.

What is a Low Score in TOEFL?

There is no particular low score for TOEFL. It depends upon the universities you have applied to, the major you have chosen, the country you intend to visit, etc. But there is, in fact, a certain criterion that is followed year after year in most places.

The highest scores in the exam are in the range of 110-120 by any standard. Attaining a score in this range is enough to get you into any university of your choosing anywhere in the world. But this is subject to the sub-score requirements that the best universities might have in place. Sub-score Requirements- This is a criterion that is set by Ivy league universities according to which you are required to have a particular score in any of the sub-sections apart from being in the total score range they mandate. If this is not met, then they have the right to deny you admission.

A score between 100-110 is considered extremely good and can get you into any Ivy League Schools out there since most of them require a score above 100.

When the score is in between 90-100, you might not be able to enter Ivy League Schools but can definitely enter most other universities. This isn’t considered a low score in general.

Getting a score between 80-90 is still good if you are trying to enter into grad schools. These schools focus less on your proficiency in English and more on your research skills. This offers you a better chance of being admitted than other schools.

A score less than 80 is termed, in general, as a low score. Since there is no specific pass or fail in TOEFL, but receiving a score below 80 can be a drawback while trying to get admission.

What Next if my TOEFL Score is Low?

If you have figured out that your score is below 80 or even below 90 and you aimed to go for the best universities out there, you are not out of options yet. The different options that you have are listed out below from which you can choose what is best for you.

Seek Out Favorable Universities

The first option that you should consider is to find a university that accepts your grade. The number of universities that accept low TOEFL scores is less, but not non-existent. Most universities accept students under a conditional admission basis where the student is expected to take additional courses to compensate for the low score.

Having a higher score, in that sense, helps you can a minimum number of courses thereby ensuring that you can focus on the subjects that are relevant than adding courses to improve your overall score. But this is not an entirely bad thing since at the end of the day you have an admission to a decent college.

Look Outside TOEFL Universities

Students who have scored poor marks for their TOEFL exam might also consider taking admission to any university which does not categorize their mode of selection based on the candidate's TOEFL scores. Why should the students waste their time and money on preparing all over again if they can easily get admission in a university which does not limit its admission procedure to TOEFL scores? This applies to those candidates who simply wish to pursue their degree in English literature and become a professional in this discipline. Such students can make a list of the top of such universities that do not consider TOEFL scores for their admission process and apply for the same.

Taking IELTS

TOEFL is not the only English proficiency test accepted worldwide. Other important exams include the IELTS which can be attempted by the students if their TOEFL grades are not up to mark. Most students attempt both exams simultaneously just to ensure a seat in colleges. But some may take just one considering how expensive both these exams are.

IELTS score is accepted in almost all universities to show your English Language proficiency. If your score in TOEFL is low (below the cutoff required by most universities) then you can attempt IELTS. Remember that receiving a good TOEFL or IELTS score is the first step to getting started (unless you have an exceptional profile, some universities may grant you conditional admission and you might have to take some English courses).

Taking TOEFL Test Again

Retaking the TOEFL test might seem a little too difficult after receiving a low score. But retaking the test often provides results that you never expected. Candidates who retake the test generally have a greater probability of getting a higher score.

This option demands an investment of a considerable amount of time needed for the preparation. The students are also expected to prepare with a stronger zeal and dedication, far greater than the previous attempts.

Tips to Score Better in TOEFL

Students must not be disheartened by their low scores in the TOEFL exam. It is imperative to prepare in advance for the TOEFL exam to avoid such problems. Proper preparation entails hard work and dedicated study patterns to achieve success. The study model must also be supplemented with the use of the right study materials including good books and journals from expert writers.

Ensure that the study pattern you follow is tailor-made for you. Learning a language can be extremely challenging when compared to preparing for other competitive exams. Give yourself some time to master the language.

Mentor Assistance
Students might also take expert help from their subject professors to help them in subjects they might get stuck in. Getting private tutors for teaching you the basics of the language will be useful if you are finding it hard to identify your weaknesses. Articulating your thoughts in a language will take time and proper guidance from someone who is well versed in the language.

TOEFL Online Practice
Candidates can also prepare for their TOEFL exam by taking online help from the online study materials. There are also many online prep courses that can help you achieve your goal. The online practice available is comparatively more flexible and suited to individual needs than other methods can be. But always choose the right online course by looking at detailed reviews of what each one offers.

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