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: 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.  

Note, also, that these are “scaled” scores, which means they are on the same 1-30 scale as your final score report.  They are NOT “raw” scores.

Update 2:  After five months, it seems that the instant scores match the final scores almost all of the time.

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).