English Test Scores Needed for the Ivy Leagues: TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo

Ivy League schools are known to many as top-notch and the most popular group of universities and colleges worldwide. Every student wants to get into one of these educational institutions because of the high-quality education it gives to its students. 

It’s also very promising to include in your resume once you graduate from any of these schools. However, getting into an Ivy League university is not a walk in the park. The admission process is rigorous, and only those who stood out among the thousands of applicants can get in. 

Aside from the standardized exams, it requires its applicants to take tests like SAT and ACT. The Ivy League universities also demand future applicants to present their English language proficiency certification, especially those non-native English speakers and international students. 

Moreover, the Ivy League universities highly recognize and accept the TOEFL and IELTS test results. And due to the pandemic, many language exam testing centers are closed due to lockdowns. They now acknowledge the test results from online language proficiency exams such as Duolingo English Test

What is the Ivy League?

The Ivy League term was famous when the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) athletic conference started last 1954. This term came about because of how these schools dominate the area of basketball for educational institutions. 

Moreover, the Ivy League schools are the prominent and highly coveted educational institutions among the other universities and colleges worldwide. These institutions are also known for their high standard and are very selective regarding their admission process. 

The Ivy League universities are also sought-after because of their academic excellence, and they also have well-respected professors and high-quality academic resources for their students. And also, these prestigious institutions provide promising career opportunities for their students after graduation. 

List of the Ivy League Universities

Moreover, many students wish to get into one of these elite schools because of the name recognition that you will get in your credentials once you enroll from these prestigious schools. 

It will also give you a higher chance of landing high-paying jobs and excellent career opportunities once you graduate. However, getting into these sought-after universities and colleges is not as easy as you think. 

In addition, these schools in the Ivy League require exceptional grades and test scores from their applicants. Aside from that, their admission process is highly competitive, which means they have an acceptance rate, and you need to meet their standards to get in. 

First off, there is a minimum score requirement for different standardized tests that you need to achieve for these Ivy League schools. Moreover, some of these school does not require a GPA score, but you need to have an SAT and ACT score. It depends on what Ivy League school you want to enroll in. 

And also, these Ivy League schools require you to present an English language proficiency certification since most of their courses are taught using the English language. 

For example, in Harvard, you need to have a GPA of 3.0, while in Princeton University, they require a GPA of 3.46, SAT scores of 1460 to 1570, and ACT scores of 33 to 35. 

Consequently, Cornell University has a minimum GPA of 3.9 or above, and also they require their applicants to submit SAT scores of 1420 up to 1540 plus an ACT score of 34 and above. 

Some Ivy League schools do not have a GPA requirement, such as Brown University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University. 

In addition, Cornell University has the highest acceptance rate of 8.7%, Harvard and Princeton University has the same acceptance rate of 4.0%. And the lowest acceptance rate is Columbia University. 

And due to the influx of applications for these Ivy League schools, their acceptance rates are likely to remain low. It ensures that they can accommodate enough students and provide the highest quality education. 

Here is a table showing the minimum GPA, SAT, ACT score requirements, and acceptance rate of the Ivy League Universities. 

Ivy League
Acceptance RateMinimum
Score Requirement
Brown University5.5%
  • None
Columbia Univerisity3.9%
  • None
Cornell University8.7%
  • GPA of 3.9 or above
  • SAT score of 1420 to 1540
  • ACT score of 34 or above
Dartmouth College6.2%
  • No GPA requirement for matriculating students
  • Requires: Undergraduate of current student: GPA of 3.52
Harvard University4.0%
  • GPA of 3.0
University of Pennsylvania5.9%
  • No GPA requirement
  • SAT score requirement of 1460 to 1550
  • ACT score requirement of 33 to 35
Princeton University4.0%
  • GPA of 3.46
  • SAT score requirement of 1460 to 1570
  • ACT score requirement of 33 to 35
Yale University4.6%
  • No GPA requirement
  • SAT score requirement of 1450 to 1560
  • ACT score requirement of 32 to 36

English Language Proficiency Tests: TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo Test

Many applicants for these top universities and colleges come from different countries worldwide and are not native English speakers. If you are a non-native English speaker and wish to enroll in one of these prominent universities, you will be required to prove your language abilities. 

An English language proficiency certification is one of the Ivy League institutions’ admission requirements. And this is to make sure that their applicants can handle and meet the high demands of the different academic courses in the academe. 

The TOEFL and IELTS are some of the widely used and highly accepted English language proficiency exams by the Ivy League institutions such as Harvard Univerisity, Yale University, and more. 

Due to the pandemic, the TOEFL and IELTS test schedules were affected, and most were canceled. In addition, some testing centers are closed in areas or countries with high levels of infections.  

As a result, many students and individuals who wish to take these language proficiency exams have difficulty securing test schedules for admission purposes. 

However, due to these unavoidable circumstances, the Ivy League schools accept the Duolingo English Test due to its accessibility and convenience features wherein the test-takers can take the language exam at home. 


The TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) is a standardized English language proficiency exam that measures the individual’s four English academic skills in reading, speaking, listening, and writing. 

TOEFL is globally accepted in prominent universities and colleges, such as Ivy League schools. In addition, it is preferred by most academic institutions because the TOEFL exam is known for its high-level vocabulary, formal, and academic language in its exam contents. 

In addition, the TOEFL exam offers two test formats: including TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT. The TOEFL iBT is an internet-based test version, while the TOEFL PBT is the paper-based test version of the exam. Both of these test formats must be taken in the official testing centers. 

Two TOEFL Test Formats:


Aside from the difference in the test formats, the TOEFL iBT and TOEFL PBT also significantly differ in their test sections, structure, duration, and other exam features. 

The ETS (Educational Testing Service) developed the TOEFL exam in 1964 and the most recent revision done for the exam was in 2005. Consequently, they highly recommend that all those who wish to take the TOEFL exam be at least 17 years old or 11th graders. 

They have imposed this minimum age requirement because of the challenging nature of the exam, wherein it uses a high level of English vocabulary and formal language in its contents. 

In addition, they want to make sure that the test-takers can handle the difficulty of the TOEFL exam since it also includes reading long and complex passages. 


The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) is a highly recognized and widely used language proficiency exam in the market. It is a standardized English language proficiency exam commonly used to assess a non-native English speaker’s language skills, including writing, listening, speaking, and reading.  

Moreover, the IELTS exam is highly in demand because it is also known to measure the individual’s English language effectiveness in using it in any situation. Consequently, it is also trusted by thousands of universities and colleges, including those in the Ivy League. 

The IELTS is also highly recognized by migration offices, government agencies, and other private institutions to provide an accurate and reliable English language certification. 

And the IELTS exam is also highly trusted by thousands of educational institutions worldwide and various organizations, including government offices, migration offices, and other private organizations. 

Duolingo English Test

The Duolingo English Test is an English language assessment exam developed for native and non-native English speakers. This exam is a modern and comprehensive online language proficiency exam. 

It is also designed to measure an individual’s four primary English skills, including writing, listening, reading, and speaking. Moreover, Duolingo is getting more popular because of its adaptive test structure and fun approach to the test. 

Many test-takers find it easy, and the difficulty level is suited for their abilities. In addition, this language exam is very accessible since you can take it in your home using your computers and it also does not take much of your time.  

Moreover, the Duolingo exam is convenient, cheap, and delivers the test results in just 48 hours. The test results are also comparable to other standardized language proficiency exams, and it also uses the CEFR proficiency level as its benchmark for its interpretations. 

Scoring Difference: TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo English Test

These three language proficiency exams have different overall scoring scales.

However, the TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo English Test scores can be interpreted using the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages or the CEFR proficiency scale

Moreover, the CEFR has six proficiency levels, and these different proficiency levels are used as a benchmark for assessing an individual’s English language proficiency. 

For example, the CEFR C2 proficiency level is the highest, while the lowest falls under the CEFR A1 elementary level. 

The 6 CEFR Levels

  • The C Levels: Proficient User
  • The B Levels: Independent User
    • B1 (Intermediate)
    • B2 (Upper Intermediate)
  • The A-Levels: Basic User
    • A1 (Beginners)
    • A2 (Elementary)

The TOEFL overall scoring ranges from 120 as the highest score down to 8 to 1 points, considered the lowest score. On the other hand, the IELTS uses a band score of 9 points to 0 with an increment of 0.5 points. 

In addition, the Duolingo English Test overall scoring is from 160 points, the highest possible score, and the lowest points for this exam falls between 40 to 30 points. 

You can check the table below regarding the different scoring of these three language proficiency exams with the scores corresponding to the CEFR proficiency level. 

A table showing the scoring differences of TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo English Test. 

Duolingo English Test
CEFR Proficiency
120 9160 to 155C2 Proficient Level
119 to 1178.5150 to 145C2 Proficient Level
116 to 1138140 to 135C1 Advanced Proficiency Level
112 to 1037.5130 to 125C1 Advanced Proficiency Level
102 to 927120 to 115C1 Advanced Proficiency Level
91 to 806.5110 to 105B2 Upper-Intermediate Proficiency Level
79 to 686100 to 95B2 Upper-Intermediate Proficiency Level
67 to 565.590 to 85B2 Upper-Intermediate Proficiency Level
55 to 44580 to 75B1 Intermediate Proficiency Level
43 to 324.570 to 65B1 Intermediate Proficiency Level
31 to 20360 to 55A2 to A1 Elementary to Beginner Proficiency Level 
19 to 92.550 to 45A2 to A1 Elementary to Beginner Proficiency Level 
8 to 11 to 040 to 30A2 to A1 Elementary to Beginner Proficiency Level 

What are the English Test Scores Required by the Ivy League Universities?

The universities and colleges in the Ivy League vary in their English test scores requirements. In addition, these educational institutions highly recommend that their applicants provide an English proficiency certification, especially non-native English speakers. 

The TOEFL and IELTS are commonly used and highly recognized English language proficiency exams. And due to the pandemic outbreak and restrictions in most areas, these universities and colleges now accept and acknowledge the Duolingo English Test as part of their admission requirements. 

Harvard University accepts TOEFL, IELTS, and Duolingo English Test scores. The minimum TOEFL test score requirement they accept is 100, for IELTS 100, and Duolingo is 125 points. 

And most Ivy League schools require a TOEFL score of 100 and above, while Brown University only requires a TOEFL score of 90 points. In addition, they also have a minimum IELTS score of 7.0, and on the contrary, Brown University requires an IELTS score of 8.0

Note that only Princeton University does not accept the Duolingo English Test score. Moreover, Harvard and Columbia University has the highest minimum Duolingo test score requirement of 125 points. 

The rest of the Ivy League score requires a minimum Duolingo test score of 120. However, Brown University prefers a Duolingo test score above 120 points for their admission. 

Here is a summary table of the TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo Exam Test Score Requirements for Ivy League Schools. 

Ivy League UniversityTOEFL Test
Test Score
Duolingo English Test
Harvard University100 7.0125
Yale University1007.0120
Princeton University1007.0Not accepted
Cornell University1007.0 120
Brown University908.0120
University of Pennsylvania1007.0120
Columbia University1007.0125
Dartmouth College1007.0120

Ivy League Schools Standardized Testing Requirements for Admission

The Ivy League schools differ in their standardized testing requirements for admission. In addition, we also discussed the acceptance rate of each university and college, their minimum GPA, SAT, ACT score requirements, and their required English language proficiency test scores. 

However, due to the current pandemic restraints, many universities and colleges worldwide have halted their face-to-face classes because of lockdowns. Consequently, some classes are continued via online sessions. 

And because of the COVID-19 outbreak, most testing centers have canceled and postponed their test schedules, significantly affecting the universities, colleges’ admission process, and test-takers. 

In line with the current situation, the Ivy League school has also adjusted its standardized testing requirements and policies to cater to the different applicants here and abroad. It includes the SAT, ACT, and English language proficiency test results. 

Some universities and colleges under the Ivy League school have adjusted their admission requirements. 

  • Harvard University 

This prominent university has adjusted its admission requirements due to the pandemic. They have recently announced that they will allow students to apply without presenting any standardized test results, such as SAT, ACT, and an English language proficiency certification for class 2020 to 2025 class applicants. 

They added that those applicants who cannot comply with the necessary standardized test scores would not affect their application status and be reasonably considered. 

Moreover, for those international applicants who have difficulty taking any American standardized tests, Harvard University will accept test results from national examinations from their respective countries. 

  • Yale University 

The administration highly recommends that their applicants, especially non-native English speakers, submit any English language proficiency test results, either TOEFL, IELTS, or Duolingo English Test. 

Consequently, Yale University also announced that SAT or ACT scores are an optional admission requirement for the upcoming first-year applicants for the admission cycle during the 2020 to 2021 schedule. 

  • Princeton University 

Princeton University also has adjusted its admission requirements to address the current happenings due to the pandemic. 

They also have adopted the test-optional policy for the SAT and ACT scores for their admission requirements which applies for first-year applicants for the 2020 to 2021 admission cycle. 

However, they require all non-native English speakers applicants to present their language proficiency certification from TOEFL, IELTS, or PTE Academic exam. Note that Princeton University does not currently accept the Duolingo English Test. 

  • Brown University

The university has announced that applicants for the class of 2025 have the option of whether to submit their SAT and ACT scores or not. If the applicant can present such scores, they will be accepted. 

However, if the applicant has not taken the SAT and ACT due to the pandemic restrictions, it is still considered by the university admission office. And also, if the applicant fails to present their SAT and ACT scores, it will not be taken as a disadvantage. 

In addition, Brown University strictly recommends that all international applicants take an English language proficiency test, either TOEFL or IELTS and submit the official test scores and certification during the admission process. 

They also highlighted that they would accept the test results from the Duolingo English Test for the class 2021 to 2022 admission cycle. 

Note that most Ivy League Schools highly require their applicants to submit proof of their language proficiency level by taking the English language proficiency exams such as TOEFL and IELTS. In addition, they also now accept online language exams such as Duolingo English Test and the TOEFL iBT. 

Here is a table showing a complete detail for the adjusted admission requirements for the Ivy League Schools. 

Ivy League SchoolsTOEFLIELTSDuolingo English TestSAT/ACT
Harvard UniversityOptionalOptionalOptionalOptional
Yale UniversityRecommendedRecommendedRecommendedOptional
Princeton UniversityRequiredRequiredNot AcceptedOptional
Cornell UniversityRequiredRequiredRequiredOptional
Brown UniversityRecommendedRecommendedRecommendedOptional
University of PennsylvaniaRequiredRequiredRequiredOptional
Columbia UniversityOptionalOptionalOptionalOptional
Dartmouth CollegeRequiredRequiredRequiredOptional

What are the Benefits of Getting An Ivy League Education??

Are you eyeing an Ivy League school? Yes, it is undeniably the dream school of many students worldwide. Consequently, it is a privilege to get into an Ivy League school since most consider it challenging to pass their admission process and have low acceptance rates. 

Many people aim to get into one of these prestigious and sought-after universities and colleges included in the Ivy League. Aside from the popularity, you get once you are admitted to one of these schools, many great opportunities come. 

We have listed here a few benefits of getting yourself an Ivy League education, and you can check below what these are. 

  • Excellent Set of Associates and Faculty

These Ivy League institutions also include some of the oldest educational institutions and high-quality pioneers in education. 

Aside from that, these highly distinguished educational institutions’ faculty members are composed of top-notch professors and masters of different academic programs. In addition, you will get high-quality education from these experts.

  • World-Class Resources and Educational Materials

One of the many benefits of getting into an Ivy League university is the array of top-quality educational materials that you can get access to. 

For example, they have massive libraries that contain journals, research materials, limited edition books, and other high-standard resources. 

They also have excellent research programs that will help you in your studies. And these research programs are led by their top professors conducting timely research on different issues and topics that will help students. 

  • Influential Connections

Most Ivy League students also have prominent backgrounds, either in the business or political world. So if you get into one of these Ivy League universities, there is a high chance you can build good influential connections with these people. 

Moreover, the Ivy League also has a powerful alumni network whose members are graduates from different universities and colleges included in the Ivy League. Staying connected with these elite alumni can significantly jump-start your career, especially when a fresh graduate. 

These connections can come in handy when you apply for a job, and you can also add them to your references or even ask for a referral. Chances are you will get a high percentage of getting that job because of your influential connections.

  • High Starting Salaries

It is one of the great takeaways when you graduate from an Ivy League school. A study was conducted regarding this, and it shows that graduates from a prestigious school such as an Ivy League university have high starting salaries. 

Many companies and other organizations do not hesitate to give such high starting salaries to Ivy League graduates because they know the quality of education these institutions provide to their students. 

In addition, these graduates are also equipped with the right skills and knowledge for the job, and the name recognition of these universities and colleges is only a bonus. 

Here is a table showing the average salaries of Ivy League graduates. 

Ivy League
Yearly Salary
Harvard UniversityUSD 89, 700
Yale UniversityUSD 83, 200
Brown UniversityUSD 67, 500
Dartmouth CollegeUSD 75, 500
University of PennsylvaniaUSD 85, 500
Princeton UniversityUSD 74, 700
Columbia UniversityUSD 83, 300
Cornell UniversityUSD 77, 200

Additional FAQs – Test Scores for Ivy League Schools

Does Harvard University Accept the Duolingo English Test? 

Yes, Harvard University accepts the Duolingo English Test to provide an English language proficiency certification. In addition, the minimum Duolingo test score that they accept is 125 points. 

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, many language testing centers have been closed due to lockdown restrictions, and the test schedules have been halted. However, students can take the Duolingo English Test, considering it is an online test accessible to its test-takers. 

What Ivy League school Does not Accept the Duolingo English Test?

Among the Ivy League school, Princeton University is the only one that does not accept the Duolingo English Test

And if you plan to apply to Princeton University, it is best to contact them ahead to know their preferred language proficiency exam. In this case, you will know which language exam to take and their minimum score requirement. 

Since Princeton University highly requires its applicants to submit a language proficiency certification upon admission, especially non-native English speakers and those international students. However, they accept and recognize the TOEFL, IELTS, and PTE language proficiency certifications.

What is Ivy League school Has the Lowest Acceptance Rate?

Columbia University has the lowest acceptance rate of 3.9%. Harvard and Princeton University then follow it with a 4.0%. An educational institution has a low acceptance rate because of its high standards and popularity among local and international students. 

Moreover, these Ivy League schools receive many applications every year, and they make sure to only get the best of them through their extensive admission process. They also want to maintain quality education and their standards. That is also why they only have a low acceptance rate compared to other Ivy League schools. 

What is the Easiest Ivy League school to Get Into?

Cornell University is considered the easiest Ivy League school you could get into since it has the highest acceptance rate among the other Ivy League schools. The acceptance rate of Cornell University is 8.7%.

And also, this university ranks in 12th place in 2021 and 2022 as one of the best universities in the Academic Ranking of World Universities. They also require a GPA of 3.9 or above, an SAT score of 1420 to 1540, and an ACT score of 34 or above to get in. 

Aside from that, they have a minimum of 100 TOEFL scores, an IELTS score of 7.0, and a Duolingo exam score of 120 and above as their minimum score requirement.