GRE and TOEFL - A Brief Overview

If you want to pursue education/work in an English-speaking country, or if you want to settle abroad, you must write one of the English language tests that suits your need. There are many popular English language tests such as IELTS, TOEFL and GRE. This article provides a brief overview and a comparative analysis of the GRE and TOEFL tests.

What are GRE and TOEFL?

Both GRE and TOEFL are English language tests administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

TOEFL is the "Test of English as a Foreign Language". The TOEFL test assesses your skills of understanding and using English in an academic environment. TOEFL score is required to pursue education in foreign countries. The TOEFL scores are accepted by over 8,500 colleges, agencies and other institutions in more than 130 countries worldwide. The TOEFL scores are required by the Immigration departments to issue residential/work visas and by the Medical and licensing agencies to issue professional certification purposes. These also help in evaluating the level of your English proficiency.

GRE is the "Graduate Record Examination". The GRE test is required for admissions in graduate and business schools in the English-speaking countries, such as the United States. The GRE scores are accepted at thousands of graduate and business schools in more than 160 countries worldwide. These are accepted by admissions or fellowship panels to complement your undergraduate marks, recommendation letters and other qualifications for graduate-level courses.

Formats of the GRE and TOEFL Tests

Both the GRE and TOEFL tests are available in two formats: Computer-based test and Paper-based test. The Internet-based TOEFL and Computer-based GRE tests are available in most regions of the world, and the Paper-based GRE and TOEFL tests are available in areas where Computer-based testing is not available.

Sections of the GRE and TOEFL Tests

The Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) comprises the Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing test sections. The Paper-based TOEFL (PBT) comprises the Listening, Structure & Written Expression, Reading Comprehension and Writing sections. For more details regarding the format, question types and time allotment for each section of the TOEFL test, refer to the ETS website

The GRE revised General test comprises the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing sections. To know more details about the different sections of the GRE test, refer to the ETS website

The GRE and TOEFL Scores

The TOEFL iBT scores are given as four scaled section scores and a total score. The individual scores for the Reading, Listening, Speaking and Writing sections range from 0 - 30. The total score ranges from 0 - 120. The TOEFL PBT score ranges from 310 - 677. The sub-scores of for Listening and Structure sections of the TOEFL PBT range from 31 to 68, and the sub-scores for the Reading section range from 31 to 67. The score for the Writing section ranges from 0 to 6.

The scores for the Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE range from 130 - 170, in 1 point increments. The scores for the Quantitative Reasoning section of the GRE range from 130 - 170, in 1 point increments. The scores for the Analytical Writing section of the GRE range from 0 - 6, in half point increments.

Validity of the GRE and TOEFL Scores

The GRE and TOEFL scores have different validity periods. The GRE scores are valid for five years, whereas the TOEFL scores are valid only for two years after the test date.

Difference between GRE and TOEFL Tests

The GRE and TOEFL tests have different test formats and sections. Many universities and colleges require both GRE and TOEFL scores. However, some colleges and universities accept applications with eligible TOEFL scores irrespective of the scores in GRE.

The information given in this article provides the main points related to the formats, sections and scores of the TOEFL and GRE tests. For more details about these tests, you can refer to the official website of the ETS (

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