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TOEFL Tip #169: Score Reporting Differences Between The GMAT And The TOEFL

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on September 16, 2012

International MBA applicants have to take both the GMAT and the TOEFL, and there are some stark differences you should be aware of regarding how both tests handle score reporting.

First of all, there is a limit to how often you can take the GMAT. As stated on the official GMAT website, you can only take the GMAT once every 31 days, and a maximum of 5 times per consecutive 12 month period. The TOEFL exam does not have such requirements. Although the iBT used to have some restrictions on how frequently you could take the test, now there are no limitations. We even know of a student who took the TOEFL in Brazil on a Friday, and then again the next day in New York City.

Second, the GMAT has full disclosure of your scores. Again, according to the webpage: “Your scores from all of your test dates within the last five (5) years will be reported to the programs you designate as score recipients.” Many schools frown upon students who have taken the GMAT too many times. But, here again: the TOEFL is different. Even if you take 15 TOEFL tests, you can choose to send only one set of scores to the school, and that school will never know anything about the other 14 tests.

Why the difference between these two exams? Basically, admissions offices recognize that language learning is a slow and difficult process, so it is very common to take many exams to check in on your progress. On the other hand, the skills being tested on the GMAT shouldn’t take nearly as long to master. If it does take 5 or 7 tests to master them, then you might not be the kind of learner that the school wants to admit to their program. MBA programs want to graduate students who can think quickly and process new information efficiently. If you’re taking a long time to master the GMAT, MBA programs interpret this as a poor ability to process information quickly.

So remember: you do want to finish your TOEFL requirement as quickly as you can, if for no other reason than to have it behind you as soon as possible in the application process. Yet, you do not have to lay awake at night worrying that too many TOEFL tests will destroy your chances of being accepted. With the TOEFL, you can send only your best test result.