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Minor (I hope) problem with TOEFL

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Minor (I hope) problem with TOEFL [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2006, 11:56
Hi guys.

I took the TOEFL test on September 23... and I have just viewed my scores: 103 (Reading 29 / Listening 28 / Speaking 19 / Writing 27).

The overall score is acceptable for just as all schools I'm going to apply, but I'm a little worried about the Speaking score. I'm pretty sure that I will improve such score if I retake the test (I also had a car accident while driving toward the test center...): my spoken English is not so bad.

However, I would rather avoid retake the TOEFL test if it is not strictly necessary (I scored 770 in the GMAT test). Might my speaking score reduce my admission chances in ultra-elite schools? Or will the schools probably better evaluate my spoken English during the interview?

Thank you in advance.
Rob
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 [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2006, 16:23
Welcome back! 103 is a good total score. Most schools that I looked at stated the minimum total score - if I remember correctly, the highest that I have seen is 100.

However, if you visit the TOEFL website, you can see the minimum score for each section that some schools set for graduate program. 19 would be a bit on the border line. E.g.

University of California - Berkeley

* Total Score: 68, with the following minimum section requirements
o Reading: 17
* Minimum Speaking score for appointment as a Graduate Student Instructor (TA): 26

Individual departments or programs may set higher minimum scores.


University of Texas - Austin

* Minimum Required Total Score: 79, with a preferred score of 21 for each section

I think it would be better to ask the schools directly. Another way is to address it in your essays, but I feel the space could be better used to talk about other things.
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2006, 02:28
Thank you!

Looking at the schools' web sites I realized they usually set a minimum overall score for the PhD (usually not a mandatory cutoff, but rather a "preferred" one) equal to 100.

For instance, Berkeley University sets a minimum total score of 100 for the PhD (without saying anything about each section score). This seems to be an exception to the general rule you mentioned above. In reality I read about the 68 limit on the school website too, but the score requirement for the speaking section is not mentioned there. Moreover, in the Phd section, they say they prefer candidates with an overall score of 100.

The only university that specifies the minimum score for each section is Michigan University (Ross). The ask for a 106 overall score (26/26/27/27).

In sum, I think that to ask directly to the schools is a good idea.

I read you are going to complete your apps... now you have just to wait. ;-)
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2006, 04:42
I have submitted my apps to 3 schools. Should be able to do the same for 2 more within the next 1 to 2 weeks. Will send the last 2 to 3 in Nov and Dec at the latest.

How are yours coming along?
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2006, 05:13
I have already contacted my reccomenders, who should complete the LORs by the end of the month. I'm going to begin writing my SOP next week, in order to apply by november 15 (averagely a month in advance).

I'm a bit worried about an issue. I decided, in order to improve my chances, to invest time (and money) to apply to 15 schools. However, one of my reccomenders is an important italian professor. Since some schools requires LORs to be uploaded directly by the reccomender (rather than ink signed and sent by ordinary mail in the application package), he should perform such task many times. I hope this will not annoy him and, consequently, force me either to apply to fewer schools or to find another reccomender.

About the TOEFL... I think I will not retake the test by the application deadline. In the worst case (15 application - 15 refusals) I will apply again next year. Of course, it would be a pity to be descarded by a top schools for what I consider a biased and improvable score (I have had evidence that my spoken English is good several times in the last years). But,a s French people say... "c'est la vie" :-D
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 [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2006, 06:27
LOR - most schools that I'm apply to allow you to select between online and offline submission for LOR. In fact, only 1 school makes online submission compulsory.

Hence if you feel that your recommender would prefer to use paper and ink, I think this issue is not too serious for you.
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  [#permalink] 14 Oct 2006, 06:27
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