I was asked to answer this question:

Have you previously applied for XXX? If so, please state the year of application and the outcome?

I want to answer this

I have applied on 2013 and I wasn't accepted because I had no TOEFL yet.

I don't now if "had" is correct. I also tried this:

I have applied on 2013 and I wasn't accepted because I wasn't taken the TOEFL yet.

Which version is correct?

  • Both are actually not what you should say. Can you "be" the TOEFL? Can you be a test? No, you can't. So, "was" is surely wrong. And what about "to have no TOEFL", "to have no test". This doesn't make sense either. But you can say "I haven't taken the test yet".
    – Em1
    Mar 28, 2014 at 11:21

1 Answer 1


Go with:

I applied in 2013, but I wasn't accepted because I hadn't taken the TOEFL yet.

  • "I applied...": you're talking about a specific moment in the past, so you need to use the past simple (on the other hand, the question they're asking doesn't concern a specific moment in the past, it's about your entire life - that's why they used the present perfect)

  • we use "in" with years, months, decades and centuries, not "on" (which we use for days of the week)

  • you need the "hadn't taken" form, because when you were applying in 2013, the fact that you had not taken the TOEFL was already in your past (this may be difficult to see when talking about something you haven't done - but imagining the opposite sentence should help you: "When I applied in 2013, I had already taken the TOEFL")

  • "because I had no TOEFL" would be ok if not for the fact that you can't have an exam in the way you mean; you can "have" a diploma, a degree or a score, but you "take" an exam.

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