Standardized Testing


If you have copies of your score reports from any of the standardized exams (GRE, TOEFL, IELTS), we will accept scans. If you need to request new copies, or are planning to take an exam for the first time, please have the score reports sent directly to Williams College.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE)

If the GRE exam is offered in the computer based format (CBT) in your country, then you are strongly recommended (but not required) to take it and submit scores. You can find testing locations for the GRE at To have GRE scores sent directly to Williams College, use institution code 3965, and department code 1801.

If the GRE is offered in your country as a paper based test, you should consider taking it in October or November (the registration deadline is generally six weeks or more prior to the exam). If you take the paper based exam later than November, we will not receive your scores in time to consider them with your application.

If the GRE is not readily accessible in your country, then we may offer you the option of sitting for our own proprietary quantitative and reading exam. This Williams exam is offered by invitation only to exceptionally strong candidates who have submitted all application materials as requested. The proprietary exam is held each year in early January in many countries around the world.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

If English is not your native language or the sole language of your university studies, then you are strongly recommended (but not required) to submit scores from the TOEFL or IELTS exam. For the TOEFL, use institution code 3965, and department code 84. For the IELTS, request to have scores sent to the CDE at the following address: Williams College, 1065 Main Street, Williamstown, MA 01267, USA.

Test scores must be submitted by December 15 for full consideration.

Preparing for the GRE and TOEFL/IELTS


The GRE measures quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and analytical writing skills. While a strong score on all three sections will help your application, we are primarily interested in your score on the quantitative portion of the exam.

The GRE is offered in two formats: computer based or paper based.

To determine which format is offered in your country, visit:

There are extensive preparation materials available. You should review math skills and take practice tests. The GRE website is a good place to start:

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

The TOEFL measures your ability to use and understand English at the university level. It evaluates how well you combine your listening, reading, speaking and writing skills to perform academic tasks.

There are two formats for the TOEFL test. The format you take depends on the location of your test center. Most test takers take the Internet-based Test (iBT). Test centers that do not have Internet access offer the Paper-based Test (PBT).

We give preference to candidates scoring a minimum of 79 (iBT) or 550 (PBT). Throughout the program you must be able to understand your professors and to participate in classroom discussions. Outside of class you will be expected to read academic texts and articles and to write both short discussion pieces and longer research papers. Therefore, it is important that you have strong scores on all four sections of the TOEFL.

The IELTS ( is an acceptable alternative to the TOEFL (minimum score: 6.0).

There are many things you can do to prepare for the TOEFL or IELTS:

  • Spend as much time as possible speaking, reading, writing, and listening to English
  • Meet with native English speakers in person or online to practice conversation
  • Watch television and movies in English, or listen to podcasts online
  • Join a study group (in person or online)
  • Take online practice tests
  • Visit (scroll to the end of the page for free materials)