TOEFL Eligibility: Age and Minimum Requirements

TOEFL is a language proficiency exam taken by candidates who want to study abroad in English-speaking countries. In addition, TOEFL is usually a requirement for those students whose first language is not English. Therefore, it is essential to know TOEFL eligibility, including age and minimum requirements. We’ll discuss that in detail in this article.

What is the TOEFL Eligibility Criteria for 2021-2022?

Educational Qualification

Candidates must complete their 10+2 (grade or class) from a recognized board of their respective countries. In other words, you need to complete 12th class or equivalent to sit for the exam. However, you can also take your test while studying in high school.

Age Limit

There are no stringent criteria for the age limit for the TOEFL exam. Additionally, ETS, the organization that administers the TOEFL exam, has not set any criteria for age either. Although, it is preferred that candidates must be 18 to take the exam.

Documents Required

According to the ETF guidelines, students must have the following documents if they wish to appear in the TOEFL test: 

  • a valid passport
  • a recent photo
  • signature of the candidate for ID proof
Note: The photo and the signature at the time of the exam must be the same as the one submitted. Additionally, the candidates should carry their national ID proof as this contains important information and the printout of the confirmation mail from ETS for verification. All the above-mentioned documents must be original. 

However, students should keep in mind that a few documents are not accepted for TOEFL. These documents are:

  • Temporary ID card
  • Birth Certificate
  • Any kind of credit/debit cards
  • Employee ID card
  • International driver’s license
  • International student ID
  • Notary-prepared letter or document
  • School/College Library cards or IDs

In addition, ETS is stringent regarding the ID proof, and the candidate will not be able to take the exam if they do not have the proper documents.

Eligibility for Retakes

Just like the IELTS, there is no set number of times you can take the TOEFL exam. This also depends on the availability of dates as TOEFL occurs 50 times during a year. Candidates can sit for the exam as many times as they want, but there should be at least a 3-day gap between each exam as mentioned in the TOEFL guidelines.

Eligibility for Scholarship

The TOEFL eligibility criteria for scholarships mainly require students to stay in their country at the time of application. In addition, they must apply to a university or institute mentioned in the TOEFL Destination Search. Moreover, candidates must hold a GPA of 80/100 or at least 3.0, along with the minimum score of 84 in TOEFL. The higher your score is, the better it will be for you to obtain the scholarship.

There are different types of TOEFL Scholarships, and each serves a different function. They also have varying criteria.

  • TOEFL Research Grant: This scholarship only offers a limited amount of grants and that too to the students who are pursuing doctoral research in a foreign language or have dissertation approval.On the other hand, this is different for the candidates who are pursuing research in the English language. As per the eligibility criteria, candidates must have taught at least 5 years of English using TOEFL. They must have pursued at least 60 credit hours with students.
  • TOEFL Young Student Services (YSS): The eligibility criteria for the TOEFL YSS demands students to conduct research on YSS topics only, for instance, any university. They should also have proficiency in teaching English.
  • Jacqueline Ross Dissertation Award: It is also known as TOEFL Awards by Application. It is for those who have published appropriate and practical research in the last three years. The essay should be in English.
  • Samuel J. Merrick Memorial Lecture Award: Otherwise known as TOEFL Awards by Nomination, it is simply available for those whose names have been given for nominations.
  • TESOL Award: To obtain this scholarship, candidates must be TESOL members residing out of the US and Canada. However, the candidates should be first-time presenters at the International TOEFL Convention.

What Eligibility Criteria for TOEFL at-home Exam?

ETS has arranged the TOEFL Home Edition because of the current pandemic. It enables students to give this exam from the comfort of their homes. However, there are specific eligibility requirements you need to follow to be able to give this test.

  • Equipment Requirements:
    • Desktop or Computer; You cannot use phones or tablets
    • PC: Windows operating system versions must be either 8 or 10
    • MAC: Mac OS X 10.5, although 10.13 Sierra is recommended
    • The browser must be Firefox or Chrome
    • Candidates need to download the ETS secure test browser and run it till they see this notification “Success! You have installed the ETS secure test browser”
    • Make sure to run the ProctorU Equipment Check before the exam so that you can fix the issues if there are any.
    • The security and firewall applications might hinder the test software, so make sure to reconfigure or disable them.
  • Speaker and Microphone Requirements:
    • To listen to the invigilator, you can only use internal or external speakers.
    • You cannot use headphones or earphones.
    • You cannot communicate with the proctor through an internal or external microphone.
  • Camera Requirements:
    • The camera can be built-in or separate
    • The invigilator should be able to see a 360-degree view of the room
  • Environmental Requirements:
    • Candidates must be alone in the room they are taking the exam in
    • You cannot take the test in a public place.
    • You must close all the doors before taking the exam.
    • The laptop and keyboard have to be on top of the table at all times
    • Food and drinks are not allowed during the test
    • Candidates are not allowed to wear jewelry 
    • Candidates are not allowed to cover their ears by wearing a headband or a hat, but religious headwear is permitted if the ears are uncovered
    • You must dress properly, as the proctor will be monitoring continuously and your picture will be shared with the universities that will receive your scores.
  • Note-Taking Requirements:
    • Candidates are not permitted to take notes on regular paper
    • According to the TOEFL guidelines, they can take notes on a desktop whiteboard with an erasable marker. No pens or pencils are allowed.
    • At the end of the test, you will need to show the invigilator that all the notes have been erased.

Is the TOEFL Exam for You?

The TOEFL is an internationally recognized English Language proficiency test. It is indeed a helpful tool if you wish to study or work abroad. Universities, immigration services, you name it, require the TOEFL exam. In short, if you want to work or study overseas, your TOEFL score will prove to be a practical asset.

You might ask, what are the benefits of taking the TOEFL test? Here are a few things that make this exam so important.

  • Worldwide Recognition: Taking the TOEFL exam will boost your career chances in countries, like the US. In Canada, it is preferred by nearly 80% of the universities. So if you want to study in the US or Canada, TOEFL should top your priority list!
  • Study abroad: Whether you want to study in a public or private university, with the TOEFL score, you can practically apply anywhere. You do not need to panic at all as this test is internationally recognized, in Business schools, Private and Public universities. The different TOEFL score needed to get admission to universities in the US is given below.

What are TOEFL Eligibility Scores for Top Universities?

The TOEFL eligibility score depends on the universities the candidate is applying for. Most of them require candidates to have a high TOEFL score, a solid GPA, and, sometimes, work experience. Hence, the criteria are dependent on the university, as well as the course student is choosing. Some of the TOEFL eligibility scores of the top universities are as follows:

University TOEFL Score Required 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology 90 overall
Harvard UniversityDepending on the program
Columbia University100 overall
California Institute of Technology78 overall
Stanford University89-100 overall
Yale University100 overall
University of Chicago100 overall
University of Pennsylvania100 overall
Northwestern University90 overall
Duke University90 overall
John Hopkins University100 overall
Dartmouth College78 overall
Brown University90 overall
University of California (LA)83 minimum

FAQs about TOEFL Eligibility Criteria

What Is the Minimum Educational Qualification Needed to Appear for TOEFL?

The TOEFL guidelines indicate that the minimum qualification of a candidate must be till 12th class or equivalent. To elaborate further, the candidates should have completed 10+2 grades from a recognized board of their country. Otherwise, they cannot attempt the TOEFL test. Hence, it is crucial to meet the minimum educational qualification.

How Many Times Can I Take the TOEFL?

According to the TOEFL retest policy, there is no restriction on how many times you can take the exam. However, every time you sit for the exam, you will be required to register again and pay the exam fee. Furthermore, there should be a 3-day gap between each test at least. However, it is recommended to prepare in advance for the exam, as several resources are available. 

Do I Need to Create an ETS Account to Check the Availability of The Test Dates for TOEFL at Home?

You cannot know the available test dates for the TOEFL test at home without an ETS account. Therefore, it is required to make an ETS account to check available test dates for the TOEFL exam at home. You can register for an account on the ETS website. After that, you will be able to view the available TOEFL tests.

Is There Any Institute-Specific Eligibility for TOEFL? 

Most Universities in English-speaking countries will require students to prove English proficiency through an English Language test, which might include TOEFL. The institutes also have set a minimum score for TOEFL and other English language tests, depending on the course students want admission in.

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