Can you please let me know how following TOEFL scores are usually judged on graduate (mainly master) admission if a) minimum requirement is 100 and b) minimum total requirement is 80 and minimum speaking requirement is 24?

Reading & Listening: 29
Speaking & Writing: 20

Probably I would not have the chance to provide this explanation to admission board however it may be worth mentioning here that I communicate very well in my native language and I can speak better in English without exam pressure. I have learned English on my own and I have not been able to practice speaking/writing enough.

  • You will likely have to explain this on your application itself, and hope that it doesn't get thrown out because the scores are too low. The problem is that if it's an institutional requirement, you probably won't be able to get around it.
    – aeismail
    Dec 21, 2014 at 21:50

3 Answers 3


Speaking ability is considered very important; the TOEFL is used to determine if you can speak well enough to teach as a TA at US universities. Keep in mind teaching is also high pressure, like taking an exam.

These scores might do better with degree programs which do not require the graduate student to teach.



This largely depends on the school. Some schools have this as strict requirement others good profile may compensate lower TOEFL scores. In either case, the department secretary/chair is the one who has the answer ( or the graduate studies office).


Besides the aspects of TA roles, there are other issues with both speaking and writing. On speaking, will you be able to participate properly in class discussions, will you be able to ask sufficient questions when stuck in a topic.

On writing, most assessment will be in written form and the inability to communicate clearly in written English can cost you a significant amount of marks.

Besides this, you need to think about your ability to listen to spoken English. Listening and reading are separate skills, and the inability to consume spoken English can entirely undermine your studies.

Based upon my experience with master students (we increased our requirements at some point, computer science is actually remarkably dependent on good English), you really do not want to skimp on the English requirement. Poor English tends to result in poor or failing results, despite the student's inherent capabilities.

Finally, most programmes want to admit foreign (profit making) students. Language requirements tend to be absolute minimums and going below them tends to be inadvisable from both sides (student and university).

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