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Quick Guide to International English Tests

Become familiar with TOEFL and IELTS


Many PathwayConnect students continue their education through BYU-Idaho online. Students who do so don’t need to take an English assessment, although BYU-Idaho campus does require PathwayConnect students whose first language is not English to take an English test. U.S. residents whose first language is not English also need to take an English assessment to be considered for admission to BYU-Idaho.

students in class

Setting a minimum English proficiency requirement helps students succeed in school by ensuring they’re prepared for the demands of university life. The two most common of these English assessments are the TOEFL and IELTS. Of course, universities will look at grades, work experience, and personal activities too, but having a strong TOEFL or IELTS score is important to getting into the university that you want.

Here’s some quick info on these tests. These are not exhaustive resources, so we encourage you to do more research on your own:

pencil next to test
The TOEFL test is four hours long.


The Test of English as a Foreign Language is the most common standardized measurement of non-native English proficiency in the U.S.

TOEFL consists of four sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing.

The test lasts four hours, with a ten-minute break after the first three hours. Each section is graded from 0 to 30, so a complete TOEFL is scored from 0 to 120.

BYU-Idaho requires an overall TOEFL score of 66. BYU requires a score of 85.

The test is available in over 130 countries, and the cost varies by country. There are no age limits on who can take the test. Registration information is available at the TOEFL website .


man studying for test

The International English Language Testing System is similar to TOEFL in purpose but used mostly by Australia, Canada, England, and New Zealand.

IELTS tests four areas of language mastery: listening, reading, writing, and speaking. The test lasts 2 hours and 45 minutes in total, but the speaking section may be completed at a separate time within a week of the written portion of the test.

Scores are reported from 0 to 9 in increments of 0.5. Most universities require at least a score of 6.0 for admission.

BYU-Idaho requires an overall IELTS score of 6. BYU requires a score of 7.

The test is administered in over 140 countries every year. There are no age limits on who can take the test, and one test costs $330. The IELTS website provides a test center locator and registration information.

Students Not in the U.S.

Most countries have their own tests required for admission to higher learning schools. Students who are planning to apply to a school outside the U.S. should make sure they know which tests are required in their country.