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English Test: TOEFL and IELTS

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English Test: TOEFL and IELTS

If you want to apply to a English taught study program in the Netherlands you will need to take and English test. This rule applies to non-native speakers of English. There are two English tests that are accepted by Dutch universities: TOEFL and IELTS. In both tests your English proficiency is being judged on 4 key components: writing skills, reading proficiency, listening and speaking.  These separate components (or band scores) will result in a final (overall) test score. To apply for a master program you will need a higher score than for a bachelor program.


The TOEFL test (Test of English as a Foreign Language) assesses the proficiency of non-native speakers of English. This test represents an internationally accepted standard of academic English proficiency.  The TOEFL score is used by: admissions offices, deans and similar decision makers, directors of scholarship agencies, administrators of certification or government agencies, individuals who plan to study in an English-medium college or university.

TOEFL Test Variations

There are various TOEFL tests that you can take. These versions include: an Internet Based TOEFL test (IBT) and a Paper Based TOEFL Test (PBT). There is also an Institutional TOEFL Test but universities do often not accept this test.

Internet Based TOEFL
The Internet Based TOEFL test simulates real-life academic situations. It measures all 4 language skills (reading, listening, writing and speaking). This English test takes 4.5 hours and can be completed in one day.

Paper Based TOEFL
The Paper Based version of the TOEFL test measures listening, reading and writing skills and consists of four parts: Listening Comprehension, Structure and Written Expression and Test of Written English.

Important: The Paper Based TOEFL test will be phased out starting in mid-2012. In some regions, the last TOEFL PBT test administration will be in May 2012. You can take the TOEFL PBT test until that time and submit your scores to institutions and agencies for two years after your test date.

More information about the TOEFL test


IELTS stands for International English Language Testing System. The test has been created to assess the linguistic proficiency of non-native speakers of English language. The test is designed to help the entry of non-English native speakers to a region where English is the medium of education or work. The IELTS test is recognized by over 6,0000 universities and colleges in over 135 countries worldwide. There are over 800 IELTS test centres worldwide.

IELTS Components
IELTS tests all four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. The Speaking test is a face-to-face interview with a certified Examiner. It is interactive and as close to a real-life situation as a test can get.

Research shows that taking the IELTS motivates students to develop real and well-rounded English rather than learning by rote. This will eventually lead to a better understanding of English.

More information about the IELTS test 

Required TOEFL and IELTS Scores for Admission to University

The following table shows you the minimum TOEFL and IELTS test score requirements set by Universities in the Netherlands.

Type of Program Required Internet Based TOEFL Score Required Paper Based TOEFL Score Required IELTS Score
Bachelor 80 550 6.0
Master 90 575 - 600 6.5 - 7.0
Research Master 90 575 - 600 6.5 - 7.0
PhD 100 600 7.0

TOEFL and IELTS Equivalence Table

The following table shows you have the various TOEFL and IELTS relate to one another.

Internet Based TOEFL Scores Paper Based TOEFL Scores IELTS Scores
113 - 120 625 - 680 7.5 - 9.0
100 600 7.0
90 - 91 575 6.5
79 - 80 550 6.0
69 - 70 525 5.5
59 - 60 500 5.0
49 - 50 475 4.5
39 - 40 450 4.0
29 - 30 425 3.5

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