Difference between TOEFL & GRE


If you are planning to pursue higher studies in the US and English is not your first language, there are two international tests that you may need to take: TOEFL and GRE. These tests are prerequisites for admission to US universities. While TOEFL primarily tests your English language skills, GRE is designed to assess your verbal, quantitative, and analytical reasoning abilities. To be eligible for admission, you must clear both exams. It is important to understand the differences between TOEFL and GRE to navigate the college application process effectively.

What is TOEFL?

TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language. It tests the English language proficiency of foreign students. The test consists of sections on reading, writing, and listening to assess your proficiency in these areas. Many universities in the US give significance to TOEFL scores as it ensures that applicants have a certain level of English language proficiency. Over 6000 institutions in 130 countries accept TOEFL scores for admission.

The first section of the test requires you to answer 50 questions based on a passage read by a North American speaker. The second part assesses your knowledge of written English through 40 questions. The third part requires you to write in English by answering 50 questions. There is a time limit to complete all the sections. The test scores are valid for two years.

What is GRE?

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination. It assesses an individual’s reasoning, analytical, and quantitative abilities, providing universities with information about the average intelligence of applicants. GRE is specifically for students applying to graduate-level courses, and universities use it to ensure they admit candidates with above-average intelligence. It is a computerized, adaptive test, meaning the difficulty of the questions adjusts based on the candidate’s previous answers, making the test shorter.

GRE allows colleges and universities to compare the scores obtained by different candidates and set a cutoff to limit the number of students admitted.

What is the difference between TOEFL and GRE?

While most colleges and universities require scores from both exams, TOEFL scores are considered qualifying, while higher cutoffs are set for GRE. For example, if a university sets a TOEFL qualifying score of 80, they will automatically reject applications from students who score below 80 in TOEFL, regardless of their high GRE scores. Generally, both students and universities consider TOEFL to be an easier exam compared to GRE.

Key Takeaways

1. TOEFL is a test designed to assess foreign students’ proficiency in the English language, while GRE tests reasoning, analytical, and quantitative abilities for graduate-level courses.
2. TOEFL scores are seen as qualifying only, while higher cutoffs are set for GRE scores.
3. Many colleges and universities require scores from both TOEFL and GRE, but TOEFL is considered to be an easier exam compared to GRE.

Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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