I’ve been getting a lot of reports about extremely late score reports from students who have taken the TOEFL Special Home Edition.  Students have told me that they are still waiting for their scores two, three or even four weeks after taking the test.  Scores are supposed to arrive six days after taking the test.

Delays occur when  a technical failure occurs during the test, or the automated anti-cheating software detects something, or when the proctor notices something abnormal.  When this happens, your test result and testing experience are manually checked by a human expert.  This is called “Administrative Review.”

Don’t worry, though.  To talk to someone about this, you should contact the TOEFL Office of Testing Security.  I highly recommend calling them at the following numbers:

1-800-750-6991 (in the USA)

+1-609-406-5430 (all other locations)

You can also email them, but I don’t recommend it.  If you want to try, their email address is: otiassist@ets.org

They will answer the phone from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.  Note that you are supposed to wait four weeks before calling them.  You can, of course, call before then but they may just tell you to keep waiting.

I do not recommend using the regular TOEFL customer support phone number for this problem, but I guess it can’t hurt to try it as well.



As promised, ETS will be launching the “TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition” of the test starting March 23.  This version is meant to satisfy students who are unable to visit a test center due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

As of that date, it will be available in the United States, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong and Macau.  Presumably, other countries will be added in the future.

For more information, visit ETS’s website.

It has the same test questions and the same grading format will be used. It is also the same length. The test will, of course, be taken at home.  Security will be provided by a live proctor from ProctorU who will watch you take the test.  A few rules are worth mentioning here.  They are:

  • Students must use Windows (not Mac OS or Linux)
  • Students must use a laptop or desktop (not a phone or tablet)
  • Students must use a QWERTY keyboard.
  • Headsets or earphones are not allowed.
  • A microphone must be used, but it must not be part of a headset.
  • A camera must be used.  It must be able to move around and give the proctor a 360 degree view of the room.
  • You may not take notes on paper.  You must only take notes on a whiteboard (erasable) or a transparent film (erasable).
  • You must be alone in a room.
  • Your computer must be on a desk with nothing else on the desk.
  • You must sit in a standard chair.
  • You must have a handheld mirror or cellphone (with camera) that you can use to show your computer screen.
  • There are various rules regarding clothing.  Your ears must be visible.
  • There is a ten minute break after the listening section and you must return on time.  No other breaks are allowed.

Before taking the test, students must download and install the ETS Secure Browser and test their equipment with ProctorU.

After that, students should register for the test with ETS , using their regular ETS account.  Make sure to specifically register for the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition, rather than a test at a test center.  After that you will get an email from ProctorU and must select a time for the test.

If you take the test leave a comment down below and let me know about the experience.


A report on Inside Higher ED  confirms that ETS will soon be launching a version of the TOEFL that students can take from their own home.  The article quotes Srikant Gopal, executive director of the TOEFL program, who says that the new test will be introduced by the end of March in selection locations outside of mainland China that are currently affected by the Coronavirus.  Curiously, the report only indicates that it will be launched within mainland China “as soon as possible.”  

Update:  this has now been confirmed on the ETS website.



TOEFL scores are now available six days after you take the test.  When an American holiday takes place after you take the test, they could be delayed. Note that the detailed PDF score report is available only after 8 days.

To access your score, log in to your account on the ETS website.  Note that there isn’t a particular time of day that the scores are available.  

To confirm the specific date when YOUR score will be reported, consult this chart from ETS.  It lists every test date until the end of 2020, and the date that the scores will be available.

Updated Story:  It has been confirmed by ETS   that students now get their TOEFL listening and reading scores at the test center, at the end of the test.  They say:

You can now view unofficial scores for the Reading and Listening sections on screen immediately upon completing the test. These scores can give you an early indication of your performance and help you make a well-informed decision about reporting your scores before leaving the test center.

Note that these are “unofficial” scores, which mean the final scores could be different.  I will try to gather data to see how often this happens.  As we have reported, these scores are sometimes adjusted based on the difficulty of the test that week.

Original Story:

If you go to the ETS page on getting scores (https://www.ets.org/toefl/ibt/scores/get/) and look at the page source, the following was added sometime in January, but was “commented out” so it doesn’t actually appear:

“At the end of your test, you will see your unofficial scores for the Reading and Listening sections on the screen. This gives you an idea of how you did on the test and helps you determine whether to report or cancel your scores.”

I assume this  means that in the future ETS will provide scaled reading and listening scores at the end of the test, but that they will not be adjusted for the difficulty level of the test that week.  This means the scores given will usually be accurate… but that the final (official) score could be plus or minus one point.  If this is confusing to you, just note that ETS adjusts everyone’s score some days if the questions are deemed too easy or too hard after everyone has taken the test.

While this remains hidden (we aren’t supposed to see it) my guess is that this is a change that will be announced in the coming weeks. I just hope they don’t frame it as helping students determine if they should cancel their scores, as that should only  be done if they are planning to make a test center complaint (in my opinion).

Well, I was able to get a few more questions answered.  Nothing really earth-shattering here, but I thought I would pass the answers along.  Please don’t consider the answers direct quotes by ETS.  They have been edited by myself for clarity and organization.

Q: In the reading section is it possible for test-takers to receive 9 questions instead of 10 questions? There are students claiming that they have received only 9 questions.

A: There have been tests where students received 9 questions instead of 10. There will be further clarification from ETS about this.

Q: In the speaking section, Advantages and disadvantages,” and multiple choice(choose from 3 options) independent questions have been absent since August. Are they gone for good?

A: While we cannot say those formats will never appear again, they featured most prominently in our old Item 1 question (the Free Choice question), which we eliminated when we shortened the test.

Q: Does ETS have plans to release a new conversion chart for TOEFL raw scores and scaled scores?

A: Not at this time.

Q: Does ETS have plans to restore level descriptions of each speaking or writing task in the score report? (The ones that showed limited’ ‘weak or fair results for each task)

A: Not at this time.

Q: Does ETS have plans to release a new version of official guidebooks and other test prep materials?

A: An updated Official Guide to the TOEFL Test and Official TOEFL iBT Tests (volumes 1 and 2) will be released; the current projected release date is June 2020, but that date may change.

The TOEFL Bulletin was updated sometime this month.  Normally I would list the line-by-line changes here, but those appear too numerous to list.  The policy changes, meanwhile, are just what has already been discussed here already.  Let me know, though, if there is something you want me to dig into.  This edition of the bulletin is valid until June 2020.  Here’s a link.

One thing that did catch my eye is that score review still takes up to three weeks. While students have reported getting those results really quickly (in three days) I guess ETS doesn’t want to make any official promises.

Students can now take the TOEFL every single week. In the past, they could take it only once every two weeks, but ETS has changed this policy. There were rumors of this change last month, and now it is official. You can find the details in the most recent version of the TOEFL Bulletin.

It says: “There is no limit to the number of times you can take the test, but you cannot take it more than once in a 3-day period. If you already have a test appointment, you cannot register for another test date that is within 3 days of your existing appointment. “

Note the the old version of the bulletin referred to a “12-day” period.

I think this is a positive change, however it will still take about two weeks for scores to be reported. This means, of course, that you might register for a sitting that is not actually required.