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 Home Edition. Students have told me that they are still waiting for their scores weeks (or months) after taking the test at home. Scores are supposed to arrive ten days after taking the home edition of the TOEFL.
It is impossible to say why your scores are “on hold,” but there are a few common causes. They include:
- Technical problems with your computer or the test software
- Issues detected by the automated anti-cheating AI used by ProctorU
- Loud noises
- Suspicious activity by the test-taker
When one of these things happen, a recording of your test is manually checked by a human expert at ETS. This is called “Administrative Review.” Officially, it takes 2-4 weeks for this process to be completed. Sometimes longer.
To talk to someone about this, you should contact the TOEFL Office of Testing Security. You can call them at the following numbers:
- 1-800-750-6991 (in the USA)
- +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. If you call, it is sometimes possible to be connected to the specific ETS staff member who is reviewing your scores. Usually they will tell you to wait ten days and call back again, but sometimes it speeds up the process.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Office of Testing Security
Princeton, NJ 08541
Remember: I’m not an employee of ETS. I’m just a guy on the Internet.