Thursday, October 12, 2017

2018 Admissions Guideline: Standardized Tests

As you are getting your application together, I'm sure you are thinking a lot about the standardized tests and language competency exams. We get a lot of questions about them, so I want to demystify them for you.



Who's required to submit standardized test scores? 

The answer to this question depends on which degree program you choose to apply for. Applying to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Masters of Arts in International Economics and Finance (MIEF), or Master of Arts (MA) program? Then standardized test scores as well as English competency exams such as the TOEFL or IELTS are required for non-native English speakers. Applying to the Master of Arts in Public Policy (MIPP) or Master of Arts in Global Policy (MAGP)? If so, the standardized test scores (GRE or GMAT) are strongly encouraged, but not required. However, the English competency is still required for non-native English speakers. The only exception for MA applicants is international students applying to Bologna, who have to complete an interview instead.

If English is NOT your native language, (or in the case of bilingual students, your dominant language is not English), you will need to submit an English competency exam such as the TOEFL or IELTS (or the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English if applying to Bologna). If English is NOT your native language, (or in the case of bilingual students, your dominant language is not English), but you hold an undergraduate degree granted by an accredited institution in a country where English is an official language and where English is the language of instruction, then you will not be required to submit your language proficiency test scores. However, in the same case, but with a graduate degree, you will need the approval of the Office of Admissions to be exempt from submitting an English competency exam.

Do I take the GRE, GMAT, or LSAT? 

We’re perfectly happy to accept either the GRE or GMAT; however, we don't accept LSAT.


What is the minimum test score for the GRE or GMAT?

We don't have an arbitrary cut-off for our test scores. These scores can be a bit controversial, and it's not uncommon to hear people discuss the cultural bias of standardized test scores. So we recognize that strong candidates can perform poorly on standardized test scores, and we don't use a minimum test score as a baseline to eliminate candidates. 

We may reject someone with poor test scores, but that applicant was rejected because his/her application contained a series of weaknesses-not because of test scores alone.

To find the test score range from 2017 applicants, click here.

What is the minimum test score for the TOEFL/IELTS?


We do have minimums for these exams, but we don't do this so we have an easy way to eliminate applicants. We have a minimum score on the exam because we want to make sure that all of our students are well-prepared to succeed in our program. If we admitted an applicant with less than minimum scores, we would be doing a disservice to him/her, because we would know that they would be unable to keep up with the intensity of our program.

A TOEFL score of at least 600 for the paper-based exam, 250 for the computer-based exam or 100 for the internet-based exam is required. Students who choose to submit the IELTS exam results must meet a minimum of 7.0.

To find the test score range from 2017 applicants, click here.

If you are applying to our Bologna campus, you can take the TOEFL, IELTS as well as the Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English. If a candidate takes the Cambridge test, a passing grade is required for admission.

Can I take the GRE and GMAT multiple times without adversely affecting  my application?

The reviewer will not see that you've taken it multiple times. They will only see the best scores you've received.

We only consider the best sub-scores you receive in each category...

...even if they are from different test dates. Say you take the GRE three times, and each time you max out score-wise on a different section. We will use whichever quantitative score is best, whichever verbal score is best, and whichever analytical writing score is best, even if all three scores came from three different dates.


You might get your scores instantly, but we won't.

It takes up to 10 business days for our office to receive official GRE/TOEFL test scores (and potentially longer for GMAT and IELTS), even though the testing center will give you unofficial score results for the verbal and quantitative section on the same day. To ensure that your official test scores reach Johns Hopkins SAIS on time, you should take the appropriate examinations and request your official score reports at least a month before the deadline.

So, when planning for your application, make sure that you take the standardized exam well in advance of the application deadline to make sure we get your scores in time.


Make sure you check the important deadlines to make sure you don't miss any important dates!