TOEFL Requirements for MBA Programs and the New TOEFL

The test of English as a foreign language is required by most programs for applicants whose native language is not English. There are some cases where the TOEFL requirement may be waived. The TOEFL® test measures the ability of non-native English speakers to use and understand the English language as it is heard, spoken, read and written in the university classroom.

The TOEFL test is offered in two formats: the TOEFL iBT™, administered in an Internet-based format, and the TOEFL PBT, administered in a Paper-based format. The format you take depends on your testing location. Test centers that do not have Internet access offer the TOEFL PBT test.
• The TOEFL iBT test measures reading, listening, speaking and writing skills. It is offered 30 to 40 times a year, and is administered online via computer at more than 4,500 testing sites in 165 countries. Most test takers take the TOEFL iBT test.
• The TOEFL PBT test measures reading, listening, grammar and writing skills and is offered six times a year in areas where Internet-based testing is not available.

Most MBA programs will waive the TOEFL requirement for international candidates who attended an undergraduate institution, earning a bachelor’s degree, where the sole language of instruction is English, and/or earned a graduate degree that was taught in English. However, there are a few exceptions:

At Berkeley-Haas, if your degree is from an institution in India, you are required to take the TOEFL or IELTS.

UCLA-Anderson require all international applicants (with the exception of those from Australia, Barbados, Canada, Ireland, Jamaica, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom or who hold a bachelor’s or higher degree from universities in those countries) to provide TOEFL/IELTS scores, regardless of being educated in English during your undergraduate years.

At Cornell Tech, the TOEFL requirement may be waived if you are a native citizen of the United States, Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand or the United Kingdom, or if you studied in full-time status for at least two academic years within the last five years in the United States, Australia, Ireland, New Zealand or the United Kingdom, or with English language instruction in Canada or South Africa. You must submit a transcript that shows you have attended college in one of these approved locations.

Some business schools will accept TOEFL alternatives from applicants as well, such as IELTS and PTE.

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On August 2019, ETS introduced the new TOEFL IBT test. Here is a summary of the test changes:

Test Section Before August 1, 2019 After August 1, 2019
Reading 3–4 reading passages
12–14 questions each
60–80 minutes
3–4 reading passages
10 questions each
54–72 minutes
Listening 4–6 lectures, 6 questions each
2–3 conversations, 5 questions each
60–90 minutes
3–4 lectures, 6 questions each
2–3 conversations, 5 questions each
41–57 minutes
Speaking 6 tasks

  • 2 independent
  • 4 integrated

20 minutes

4 tasks

  • 1 independent
  • 3 integrated

17 minutes

The Writing section will remain the same, with 2 tasks taking a total of 50 minutes. The test will still be scored on a 0–30 scale for each section, and 0–120 for the total score.

Another new feature in the new test is MyBest scores – it combines your best scores for each section from all of your valid TOEFL iBT scores in the last 2 years. MyBest scores give you a way to show your best overall test performance. You don’t have to do anything to take advantage of this feature. All TOEFL iBT score reports sent after August 1, 2019, regardless of the test administration date, will automatically include MyBest scores along with the traditional scores from your selected test date.

Who has accepted MBS?

My Best scores has now been launched and schools have started to consider whether to adopt MBS.  The list of institutions that will use MBS for decision making is growing and includes institutions at the high school, undergraduate and graduate levels in the US and Canada as well as at institutions outside North America.

Why aren’t more accepting MBS?

Adoption of MBS is a multi-year project that is subject to university decision making processes and academic cycles.  It is better to be patient while universities consider MBS while at the same time ETS continues diligently to offer information or assistance for their decision making.

What if the institution I want to apply to does not accept MBS?  Will that be a problem if I submit MBS report to them?

Every score report contains both the MyBest score and the scores from the single test date selected by the candidate.  If an institution has indicated they will not be using MBS, although they will receive both sets of scores, the university will determine whether the candidate met their requirements based upon the single test date score.

Several of the institutions that accept the MyBest score:

Yale University US Graduate Arts and Sciences
MIT US Undergraduate
Colby College US Undergraduate
William and Mary US Undergraduate
University of Maryland US Graduate RH Smith School of Business
Lehigh University School of Business US Graduate MBA
Sophia University Japan Graduate
University of Tokyo Graduate School Japan Graduate
Seoul National University Korea Graduate
Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies Korea Graduate School of International Studies
The Catholic University of America US Undergraduate
Miami University US Undergraduate
University of British Columbia College of Graduate Studies CA Graduate School of Graduate Studies
Millbrook High School US High school admission Secondary School
Art Center US Undergraduate
Carnegie Mellon University School of Design US Graduate School of Design
George Mason University US Undergraduate and Graduate
New York University Tisch School US Graduate School of the Arts
Shoreline Community College US Undergraduate
FAU – Erlangen-Nurnberg, Germany Germany
Robert Gordon University UK Graduate and Undergraduate
ESMT Berlin, Germany Germany Graduate Business School Business School
Smith College US Undergraduate