I am from Georgia (the country) and I aim to apply for a mathematics Phd in the US. My application in general is good. I have Gpa of 3.96, strong letters of recommendations, two preprints etc.

But my IELTS test scores are not as good. Listening : 6.5, Reading : 8.0, Writing : 6.0, Speaking: 6.0.

In many universities the minimal requirement for a teaching assistantship is 7.0 in speaking sub-score. I don’t have enough time to retake the test. Do I still have any chances of funding with these scores?

  • Would you please explain what you mean by "I don’t have enough time to retake the test" ? Can you take TOEFL ?
    – Nobody
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 8:18
  • @Nobody No i can not .
    – JohnNash
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 8:53
  • What if the university you apply to says they will consider your application if you re-take the English test (IELTS or TOEFL) ?
    – Nobody
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 9:19
  • @Nobody Before the deadline I can not. Minimal requirement is 6.5 overall band score and i have it. Excellent score in reading.
    – JohnNash
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 10:46
  • Speaking score is critical for considering TA because students would complain if they cannot understand the TA's lecture. It's likely the school will ask you to re-take the test even if the score report time will be later than the deadline.
    – Nobody
    Commented Nov 10, 2023 at 11:12

1 Answer 1


At many universities, PhD students teach intro math courses. So language skills are important qualifications departments pay attention to.

If you don't get admitted this year, make it your goal over the next year to learn better English. Get a job that ensures you have enough to live but are not overworked, and spend the rest of the time getting better at English -- watch English language movies, read English language books and journal articles, etc. With some practice, you will find that your English can improve significantly over the course of a year, and that you will be in a much better position next year around. Dedicating yourself to such a task is also a positive thing to write about in a Statement of Purpose in your application next year.

  • One of my chosen universities is Colorado State University. If i had good application would i get reject because of IELTS? As I know if you don’t become TA immediately, you are given a job of grader and then if you undergo University’s trainings in english you could reach the position of Lecturing TA.
    – JohnNash
    Commented Nov 11, 2023 at 7:56
  • @JohnNash Interesting. I'm not on the selection committee, and so cannot speak for what my colleagues will look for. You could write to the graduate director to inquire about the situation. Commented Nov 11, 2023 at 21:52
  • That said, I believe that most of our graduate students have student-facing jobs right from the start, including as tutors in the Calculus Center. You really do have to interact with others. And once you have to take 3-4 graduate classes plus work, you will not likely have much time left to take formal English language training outside of learning-by-doing. Commented Nov 11, 2023 at 21:54

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