Updated: March 5, 2023

I’ve been getting a lot of reports about TOEFL scores being put “on hold” lately.  These reports are mostly from students who took the TOEFL iBT Home Edition, but sometimes it affects people who took the test at a test center.

When this happens, your TOEFL account says something like “Tested – Scores on Hold.”  This is also called “administrative review.”

This usually happens because ProctorU or ETS detected something abnormal, and the test needs to be reviewed by an expert.  They might think that you did something inappropriate.  Or there might have been a technical problem during the test.  Usually the review process takes 2-4 weeks. After that your scores are reported or your scores are cancelled.

At the beginning of the process, ETS usually sends an email to the test-taker that tells them to wait 2-4 weeks.

To talk to someone at ETS you should contact the TOEFL Office of Testing Security.  You can call  them at the following numbers:

  • 1-800-750-6991 (in the USA and Canada)
  • +1-609-406-5430 (all other locations)

They will answer the phone from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. Usually they will tell you to wait ten days and call back again, but sometimes calling speeds up the review.

You can also email them, but that might take longer. Their email address is: communicatetestsecurity@ets.org  or maybe:   otiassist@ets.org.

You can also contact them using this form.

I do not recommend using the regular TOEFL customer support phone number for this problem.

Update:  Here’s a copy of the email that ETS sends when this happens.

Dear XX,

At ETS, we are highly committed to the quality and fairness of our tests. We go to great lengths to make sure that every score is accurate and valid. As part of this process, sometimes we take additional quality control steps before scores are released.

For these reasons, your TOEFL scores from the XX/XX/20XX test administration are delayed because they are under administrative review. Most of these routine reviews are completed in 2-4 weeks. In rare cases, the review may take longer. These reviews are necessary to ensure that the results are accurate and valid.

At the conclusion of the review, you will be notified of the status of your scores.  If they are released, your scores will be reported to you and to any institutions or agencies you have designated to receive them.

If you have not been notified after four weeks, you can call to inquire about your scores at 1-609-406-5430 or 1-800-750-6991, 7:30 a.m – 5:30 p.m. U.S Eastern time, Monday through Friday, or email us at otiassist@ets.org.

Office of Testing Security
Rosedale Road
Princeton, NJ 08541

Remember:  I’m not an employee of ETS. I’m just a guy on the Internet.



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