Why GRE and TOEFL scores are important ??
I am writing for those who are planning for higher studies. Probably the most frequent question comes to applicant’s mind is “What is most important for admission?” There is no common parameter that what I understood form my application and admission experience. For US/Canadian universities it seems applicant’s GPA, class rank (merit position), Statement of Purpose (Why interested in MS/PhD), GRE [as a standard measure for all applicants' admission test] and TOEFL for international students are important, research papers are very important when someone is applying for PhD or Research Assistance ship [one way of funding when one work for one professor's project and get tuition fee waiver and stipend for living].
For admission in US and most Canadian universities GRE act as an admission test which is required for all applicants including American or Canadian students. Why GRE is important because the applicants are from all over the world and when applicant’s university is unknown to graduate admission committee they look to the applicant’s GRE score for evaluating the applicant (and GRE act as a standard for all applicants as everyone has to take it no matter form where applicant did his undergrad/MS from). If GRE score is low and the university is pretty unknown then the chance become very low for acceptance.
Then TOEFL especially the spoken part is really important for those who wish to have a funding as a form of teaching assistant ship. TA ships are very competitive and given only to few applicants including American, Canadian or students coming from English spoken countries. If someone’s GPA or all other parts of profile are superb but TOEFL score is very low then chance of getting TA ship is rare because as a TA one has to interact with undergrad students and has to help the labs or grade their projects/quizzes and answer their queries.
Students have to submit both GRE and TOEFL scores for a application not either one. GRE and TOEFL are different exams and both are required for north American universities.
If you do bad or do not even participate in GRE and TOEFL then even if you get your admission, you might face problem getting your visa if one visa officer ask you for your GRE and TOEFL score. You may get admission into some low profile universities in US/Canada with low GRE or TOEFL score or even without appearing at GRE and TOEFL but when funding or good university is a concern then GRE and TOEFL matter. When you have admission but no funding offer form a university then it would be real hard to get a visa. But those who have funding offer VISA is nothing to worry about especially in US unless it is a real bad luck. I know US embassy is even arranging seminar (I attended on in US Emabassy of BD) for attracting more students to apply for US as because last couple of years number of applicants decreased in alarming rate to US regarding VISA hassles. But now visa is real easy if someone has funding offer from a good university but they will definitely look to your profile for finding whether your sole goal for going to US is study.
Once students cross the minimum requirement of GRE score of one university say 1300 or Toefl iBT 100 then other factors become important like research paper (if applying for research assistantship or PhD), GPA and class position. Overally it is a whole package of your profile to make a successful application to get funding and admission.
If you have good scores in GRE and TOEFL then the whole world is open to you. So why not work for GRE and TOEFL from your early student life? It would hardly take 6 monts for GRE and 1/2 two moths for TOEFL to make good scores. Work hard for building your future. Good luck.