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URGENT NOTICE: TOEFL to Limit How Many Tests You Can Take!!!

by Strictly English TOEFL Tutors on December 16, 2012

On Friday, December 14, 2012, ETS announced a new policy regarding retaking the TOEFL exam. Here is the announcement in full:

Beginning in January 2013, there will be a change in the Repeat Policy for the TOEFL iBT® test. Test takers can still take the test as many times as they wish, but only once within a 21-day period. If a test taker has an existing test appointment, he or she cannot register for another test date that is within 21 days of the existing appointment.

This policy change will have serious, immediate repercussions for students with upcoming deadlines. Many students register to take the TOEFL 3or 4 times in the two months preceding an application deadline. That won’t be possible starting in January 2013. First, you have to wait 10 days to get your scores to decide if you want to take the exam again. If you do want to retake it, you have to choose a date that is 21 days after your most recent exam. These two factors significantly cut down a student’s opportunities to take the exam just before a deadline. For example, if your deadline is January 13, 2013, you have to take your last TOEFL by January 3rd, and you cannot have taken a previous test any closer to that January 3rd date than December 13th.

Even for those test-takers without deadlines in the next few weeks, this new policy is going to drastically change how almost every TOEFL student approaches studying and preparing for the exam. You will NO longer be able to CRAM in multiple exams and hoping for the best. Students are going to have to plan much further ahead, and pay very close attention to schedules and deadlines.

Another issue is that many professionals, like pharmacists, are being given a deadline for when their licensing application expires. This year, we had a lot of students at Strictly English who knew in FEBRUARY that they had to pass TOEFL before December 15th. Many of these professionals planned on taking the exam every week until they passed. However, this new policy will dramatically reduce their chances to take the TOEFL. If, for example, they found out on February 1st that they had until December 31st to pass the exam, that’s 48 weeks – 48 chances to pass under the previous policy. With the new policy, they will only be able to take the exam 16 times – cutting their chances in thirds.

Perhaps the most important complication regarding the new policy is the subtle difference between 21 days and 3 weeks. What if you take a test on a SATURDAY, and “three weeks” later you want to take a test again, but that weekend only has a FRIDAY date available. This is only 20 days later, and you would have to sign up for the following week, instead. This is effectively 27 days before you can take the next test, a significant delay if your deadline is coming up soon.

Strictly English believes that this is a terrible decision by ETS. It will reduce their income significantly and give PTE Academic a huge advantage in the English proficiency testing market. By making it possible to register for an exam 48 hours before taking it, PTE Academic offers nearly on-demand testing, and results are typically ready within 5 working days. For students applying to institutions which accept both the TOEFL and PTE Academic, the flexibility of PTE Academic may be more appealing.

Categories: Industry Issues,Non-TOEFL English Proficiency Exams,PTE Academic,TOEFL for Pharmacy,TOEFL for University,TOEFL Preparation

5 comments so far. Leave a comment.

  1. StrictlyEnglish | Blog » TOEFL Tip #125: It Takes Two To Make A TOEFL Go Right

    wrote on December 16, 2012 at 9:54 am

    [...] as of January 2013. For the latest ETS policy regarding retaking the TOEFL exam, please see this [...]

  2. StrictlyEnglish | Blog » TOEFL Tip #184: The Year In Review

    wrote on December 28, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    [...] most dramatic news item was also one of our most recent posts – starting in January 2013, test-takers must wait 21 days between scheduled TOEFL exams. We also alerted readers to changes in security policies to prevent [...]

  3. ahmet

    wrote on December 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    I have a problem this policy and I Registred Saturday, January 12, 2013 and Friday, January 25, 2013 ,but I registered in 2012.
    But I didn’t know it. Is it a problem and what can I do ?

  4. StrictlyEnglish | Blog » TOEFL Tip #201: Use Google Alerts To Track TOEFL News

    wrote on April 28, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    [...] up with the latest information about the TOEFL exam is important. Whether the news is a policy change regarding administration of the TOEFL exam or an expanded use of TOEFL scores, anyone studying for the TOEFL exam should follow developments [...]

  5. Catherine Roberts

    wrote on November 16, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    Hi, How much many test take limit for PTE?

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