Oh, hey, ETS finally uploaded a new “Score Reporting Dates” chart.

We didn’t have one of these for the first few months of 2021. This chart tells you how long you will have to wait for your scores to be reported Sadly, it is only for tests taken at a test center. It does not indicate how long you will have to wait for scores from the Home Edition.

The most important part of the chart is that it lets you know when an American holiday will slow down the report of your score.

Big news in the world of TOEFL.

This August ETS is launching a new test called “TOEFL Essentials.”  If you want to learn about the test, check out this report in Inside Higher Ed.  That report contains all of the information we currently know, but I’m doing my best to gain additional details.

A few highlights from the article are:

  • It will take 90 minutes to complete
  • It will cost about half of what the TOEFL iBT costs
  • It will cover academic as well as “conversational” English
  • It has “more tasks, but they are shorter”

All in all, this sounds somewhat similar to the “TOEFL Ladders” concept I posted about here way back in March of last year.

The test seems to be a response to  the growing popularity of the new Duolingo English Test, which has become very popular this year.  Indeed, the article actually contains some very tense words on that subject, so I encourage you to check it out.

I don’t know anything about the actual content of the test, but I have put out feelers for more details.

The cost of taking the TOEFL has increased in some countries.  This comes exactly six months following the last price increase.  Below you can see a table summarizing the cost of taking the test in the countries I track.  Some of the highlights include:

  • I spotted increases in: Argentina, Georgia, Guadalupe, Japan, Jordan, Mexico, Morocco, New Zealand, the Palestinian Territories, New Zealand, Thailand and Uganda. Of course there are many countries I am not tracking.
  • I spotted a price decrease in Vietnam.  
  • Switzerland remains the most expensive place to take the TOEFL ($320).
  • There are a handful of countries where the cost is still $185.
  • There are no countries on my tracker where the price is still $180 (Georgia was the last on my tracker).
  • None of the assorted service fees (score review, late registration, etc) have changed.
  • The test cost $140 when it started.
  • I am not associated with ETS.

Country

Pre August 1, 2020

August 1, 2020

February 1, 2021

Afghanistan 

$200

$220 

$220

Argentina

$195

$195

$205

Australia

$300

$300

$300

Azerbaijan

?

$195

$195

Bangladesh

$190

$200

$200

Benin

$185

$185

$185

Brazil

$215

$215

$215

Canada

$245

$245

$245

Colombia

$240

$240

$240

Congo, DR

?

$195

$195

Egypt

$180

$185

$185

Ethiopia

?

$200

$200

France

$255

$265

$265

French Polynesia

$180

$185

?

Georgia

?

$180

$185

Germany

$255

$260

$260

Ghana

$200

$220

$220

Guadalupe

$180

$185

$195

Hong Kong

$225

$245

$245

Indonesia

$205

$205

$205

Iceland

$230

$220

$220

India

$180

$185

$185

Iran

$225

$245

$245

Iraq

$195

$215

$215

Israel

?

$280

$280

Italy

$255

$270

$270

Japan

$235

$235

$245

Jordan

?

$195

$200

Kenya

$200

$220

$220

Korea

$200

$210

$210

Mexico

$180

$185

$190

Mongolia

$195

$210

$210

Morocco

?

$210

$220

Netherlands

$255

$265

$265

New Zealand

$270

$270

$275

Nigeria

$195

$195

$195

Norway

$290

$315 

$315

Pakistan

$195

$195

$195

Palestinian Territories

?

$235

$245

Peru

$210

$220

$220

Philippines

$200

$215

$215

Russia

$260

$260

$260

South Africa

$230

$230

$235

Spain

$245

$250

$250

Sweden

$270

$280

$280

Switzerland

$295

$320 (!)

$320

Tajikistan

?

$185

$185

Thailand

$195

$210

$215

Turkey

$185

$185

$185

Uganda

$195

$215

$225

United Arab Emirates

$240

$255

$255

United Kingdom

$210

$220

$220

United States

$205

$225

$225

Vietnam

$190

$220

$200

West Bank

?

$215

$215

It seems that starting on December 11, the TOEFL home edition will be scheduled directly on the ETS website, not on the ProctorU website.  It also seems that the regular rescheduling policies will apply to the home edition (you must reschedule four days in advance, and a $60 fee applies).

This information comes from an e-mail that some students have received if they have a pending test.  Here it is:

ETS is updating the registration system for the TOEFL iBT® Home Edition on December 9–10, 2020, and moving the selection of the test date and time from the ProctorU® site to the ETS site. You could be affected by this change because of the status of your test.

Our records indicate that you have purchased a TOEFL iBT Home Edition test and scheduled your test date and time via ProctorU. No action is necessary unless you wish to make changes to your test appointment before test day.

If you wish to reschedule your test, here are your options:

  • On or before December 8, you can reschedule your test free of charge in your ProctorU account.
  • From December 9 at 7 p.m. ET until December 10 at 6:59 p.m. ET (UTC 0:00–23:59 December 10), you will not be able to make any selections or changes in either your ProctorU account or your ETS account.
  • On December 11, you can reschedule your test date in your ETS Account. TOEFL iBT test reschedules policies will apply.

Again, no action is necessary unless you wish to change your appointment.

Thank you for choosing the TOEFL iBT Home Edition test.

 

Hey, the TOEFL home edition is now permanent. Well, in their advertising ETS uses the phrase “here to stay.” The website says that it will be available “for the foreseeable future.”  See below.

TOEFL Home Edition

Update: here is the e-mail sent to institutions that use the scores:

In response to the needs expressed by institutions and test takers, ETS is pleased to announce that the at home TOEFL iBT® test and GRE® General Test are here to stay and will become a continuing part of each brand’s product portfolios. The TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition will also get an updated name: TOEFL iBT Home Edition. At home testing appointments are currently available around the clock for both tests through the end of January, and future appointments will be available soon.

7 months ago, we proudly announced that we had quickly introduced a solution for students who had been impacted by COVID-19 to take the TOEFL iBT test and the GRE General Test at home until in-person testing could resume. The tests have the exact same content, format, on-screen experience and scoring as the tests given in a test center. And thanks to artificial intelligence and remote proctoring, institutions can feel assured that the tests are administered securely and that the scores are reliable.

Since launching the at home tests in March, we at ETS have learned a lot, and have been making continuous improvements to the products and experience. Early on, the tests were only available on PCs, but we quickly expanded that to include Mac® computers. We worked diligently to increase accessibility for people with disabilities and health-related needs. We increased test taker convenience by increasing testing capacity and reducing the registration deadline. We also addressed test takers’ needs to better understand the new delivery method and registration process by posting videos, developing registration checklists and hosting Facebook® Live events. And, as test centers began reopening around the world, we informed test takers that the decision to test at home or in a test center was theirs to make.

More than 400,000 individuals have registered to take the at home tests for the TOEFL iBT test and GRE General Test in 163 countries and territories since March. We have learned through surveys that many test takers prefer to test at home, and now they can choose whether testing at home or in a center will work best for them. As we move forward, we will continue to make further improvements in service to you and your prospective students.

Thank you for your continued partnership and support of ETS’s high-quality assessment solutions; your trust means the world to us. Should you wish to direct students to learn more, please suggest they visit the websites for TOEFL test takers and GRE test takers. For updates intended for institutions, visit the TOEFL and GRE pages created for you. And should you need ETS’s support during this time, or have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at TOEFLnews@ets.org or

 GREtests@ets.org.

Sincerely,

Srikant Gopal
Executive Director, TOEFL® Program

Alberto Acereda
Executive Director, GRE® Program

I’ve received many reports about people getting payment errors when trying to pay for the TOEFL on the ETS website.   This is sometimes reported as “Error 481” or “Error 101” (or something else).

Remember, this site is not affiliated with ETS.  I’m just trying to help. If you are having such a problem, here’s what you should do:

  • Delete your cookies/cache and try again.  This seems to be the advice given by ETS when people call their customer service line.
  • If you don’t know how to do that, just try another Internet browser (Chrome, Edge, Firefox, whatever).
  • If payment by credit card doesn’t work, try PayPal.  That uses a different payment system, so it might solve the problem.  Note that most people don’t need a “PayPal account” to use PayPal.  People from most countries just need to enter their name and credit card number.
  • Make sure the address in your ETS account matches the address of your credit card, if possible.

And, of course, you should call your bank in case they are causing your problem.

If you can’t solve the problem you can possibly register (and pay) by phone for test centers in the USA by calling +1-443-751-4862.  To register for a test center outside of the USA, look up your country on this contact page.

As always, the general support numbers for ETS are: +1-609-771-7100 or 1-877-863-3546.  Expect to be on hold for a few hours.  Good luck, brother.

Leave a comment down below if you have any experience with this problem.

Hey, it’s my second favorite day of the year!  The updated TOEFL Bulletin (for 2020-21) has been published.  This edition is a few months late, as it was supposed to be made available in July.

If you are interested in what’s new this year, I’ve got you covered.  Listen up:

 

Page 6 – Test Takers with Disabilities or Health-related Needs

This has been added:

“If seeking accommodations, submit your request as early as possible. Documentation review takes approximately four to six weeks once your request and complete paperwork have been received at ETS.”

 

Page 10 – Your ETS Account 

These are now on the list of “Services available through your account.”

cancel or reschedule your test
request a score review

 

Page 12 – Test Dates

This line has been revised:

“The TOEFL iBT test is offered more than 60 times each year.” (previously 50)

 

Page 15 – Test Re-take Policy

The section in bold has been added:

“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. This applies even if you canceled your scores from a previous test. If you already have a test appointment, you cannot register for another date that is within 3 days of your existing appointment.”

 

Page 24 – Personal Items

The sections in bold have been added:

“Personal items other than ID documents are not allowed in the testing room and are not permitted during breaks, except for food, beverages, and medication.”

“You cannot access your phone or other device during the test session or during breaks to check messages, make a call, or check the time or for any other reason.”

 

Page 26 – On Test Day

The following rule has been removed:

“Referring to, looking through or working on any test or test section when not authorized to do so, or working after time has been called.”

 

Page 27 -Unofficial Scores

The following has been added:

At the end of the test, you’ll be able to view your scores for the Listening and Reading sections. These scores are not your official scores until your score reports are posted in your ETS account, approximately 6 days after you take the test – however, these unofficial scores will give you an idea about how you did on the test.

 

Page 28  – Test Question Inquiries

All of this has been removed.  Weird.

“Language specialists prepare TOEFL test questions following very careful, standardized procedures developed to ensure that all test material is of consistently high quality. Each question is reviewed by several members of the ETS staff. The TOEFL Committee of Examiners (COE), an independent group of professionals in the fields of linguistics, language testing and language teaching that reports to the TOEFL Board of Trustees, establishes overall guidelines for test content and test specifications.

After new test questions have been reviewed and revised as needed, they are selectively used in trial situ ations and then assembled into tests. The tests are then reviewed using established ETS and TOEFL procedures to ensure that all possible versions of the test are free of cultural bias, and statistical analyses of each question ensure that all items provide the appropriate measurement information.”

 

Page 34 – ETS Score Cancellation Policies

ETS hq ain’t no sanctuary city.  The following has been added:

“ETS reserves the right to share any and all information in its possession about a test taker and the terms and conditions of test taking with any third party, including but not limited to (a) any entity which ETS recognizes as an authorized user of test scores, including without limitation any entity to which ETS reports test scores at the test taker’s request, and (b) any government agency with responsibility for administration or enforcement of U.S. criminal and/or immigration laws.”

Page 35 – Holding/Cancelling Scores

The following has been added:

“The retake test policy will be enforced even if a violation is not immediately identified (e.g., inconsistent registration information). If the violation is identified after registration but before the test administration, the testing appointment will be canceled and test fees will be forfeited. If the violation is identified after test scores have been reported, the invalid scores will be canceled, score recipients will be notified of the cancellation and test fees will be forfeited.”

 

Interestingly

The new version includes contractions.  Indeed, they are used whenever possible. Strange.

There are also a few minor changes to wording that I haven’t mentioned here.

Okay, so here is a selection of countries, and both the old and new price to register for the TOEFL.  Increases range from $5 to $25. Countries where prices have changed are indicated in bold.  As you will see, in some countries prices have not changed. 

I am sure that prices have changed in additional countries, but I didn’t track them.  

Update: I finally got info for Sweden (+$10) and China (+$20, aprox).

Note that you can look up your own country on the ETS website.

I’ll update the chart next week in case any changes are delayed.

Country

Old Price

New Price (August 1)

Afghanistan 

$200

$220 

Argentina

$195

$195

Australia

$300

$300

Bangladesh

$190

$200

Benin

$185

$185

Brazil

$215

$215

Canada

$245

$245

Colombia

$240

$240

Egypt

$180

$185

France

$255

$265

French Polynesia

$180

$185

Germany

$255

$260

Ghana

$200

$220

Guadalupe

$180

$185

Hong Kong

$225

$245

Indonesia

$205

$205

Iceland

$230

$220

India

$180

$185

Iran

$225

$245

Iraq

$195

$215

Italy

$255

$270

Japan

$235

$235

Kenya

$200

$220

Korea

$200

$210

Mexico

$180

$185

Mongolia

$195

$210

Netherlands

$255

$265

New Zealand

$270

$270

Nigeria

$195

$195

Norway

$290

$315 (!)

Pakistan

$195

$195

Peru

$210

$220

Philippines

$200

$215

Russia

$260

$260

South Africa

$230

$230

Spain

$245

$250

Sweden

$270

$280

Switzerland

$295

$320 (!)

Thailand

$195

$210

Turkey

$185

$185

Uganda

$195

$215

United Arab Emirates

$240

$255

United Kingdom

$210

$220

United States

$205

$225

Vietnam

$190

$220

 

Good news, everyone!  The TOEFL Special Home Edition can now be taken on a Macintosh computer.  Your computer must be running OS X 10.5 or later, and 10.13 (High Sierra) is recommended.  It is no longer necessary to have Windows installed on your Macintosh computer.

To get started, you should download the ETS browser and then run the Proctor U system check.  Early reports have indicated that some students have trouble with their microphone passing the system check, so I hope you guys can leave some feedback once you have tried it yourself.

 

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 ten 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)

If you do this, it is sometimes possible to be connected to the specific ETS staff member who is reviewing your scores.  You can then ask them to expedite the process.  It has worked for some of my students in the past.

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