A student who had a TOEFL test center complaint at the Phoenix, Arizona location said that initially proctors would not accept her identification even though she had a passport and other forms of ID. In addition, she complained “that the center provided a single restroom with no lock for both men and women,” which created a long line during the break.
Another student who had a TOEFL test center complaint said that his testing center provided “horrible testing conditions,” which made it hard for him to concentrate during the test.
Finally, a student complained that he “suddenly got deviated by hearing a heavy (LOUD) voice. One student (girl) who’s taking exam with me in the same room sitting behind me started screaming ( I guess she’s giving listening section answers). Everybody started staring at her in the room and few students smiled at her. Somehow managed to finish with the listening section. But when I started Speaking section I was totally lost my focus due to the LOUD, BOLD and HEAVY voice of her (who’s sitting behind me).”
Whether you confront proctors unfamiliar with admission procedures, whether you have just plain horrible test conditions, or whether there is a lunatic distracting everyone else in the testing center, you may wish to file a complaint about the lackluster testing conditions. Filing a complaint will help to make the testing conditions better at that and other testing locations. In addition, filing a complaint might allow you to retest at no extra charge. Hence, do not be afraid to file a complaint.
How to file a TOEFL Test Complaint
ETS has some rules you need to follow if you want to file a complaint:
- You must file your complaint in writing within 7 days of your test date.
- You can ask for a re-test within the first 21 days of the required waiting period.
- ETS will investigate the testing conditions before they will grant your request to re-take the TOEFL exam.
- Please note that ETS will not offer a re-test if your scores have already been reported.
There are three ways that you can send your complaint:
Mail: ETS—ParaPro Assessment
Mail Stop 51-L
660 Rosedale Road
Princeton, NJ 08541
Another Way to file a TOEFL Test Center Complaint
In addition to contacting ETS, if you were in a testing center in the United States, you can go the Attorney General in the appropriate state to file a complaint against the testing center. For example, at the California Attorney General web site, you can contact the Attorney General’s Public Inquiry Unit to report a complaint about the conditions of the testing center.
You are asked to fill out your personal information, including address, zip code, email address, and phone number. Moreover, you need to provide name of the testing center, city, state, zip code, and phone number. Then type in your complaint, after which you authorize the Attorney General to send your complaint to the testing center. Doing this can make test-taking conditions better for future test-takers.
I assume that you are able to file complaints in other countries similarly. Follow whatever procedures are necessary so that you can correctly file a TOEFL test center complaint in those places as well.
Expected Testing Distractions during the Speaking Section
During the speaking section, you will use your headset to record your speaking tasks. Other test-takers next to you, behind you, and in front of you will also be recording their responses. As you can expect, some test-takers will cough or sneeze as you work on your exam. In addition, test-takers will be writing notes onto scratch paper, which may cause some minor disturbances. Therefore, you should expect some minor distractions. These minor distractions will not be enough reason for you to file a TOEFL test center compliant.
How to Cope with Distractions during the Speaking Section
Since others will be recording their speaking tasks at the same time as you are, you will need to block out that extraneous noise. Focus on jotting down your notes and using your notes to answer the speaking tasks. As you record your responses, imagine that you are in a crowd with other people talking. As you speak, look directly at the video camera on your computer and pretend that there is a person on the other side. Therefore, despite all the noise from others in the testing center, confidently and clearly talk to the camera as you answer the six speaking tasks.
Long before taking your TOEFL exam, you should practice recording your responses to various types of TOEFL speaking tasks. Turn on the TV so that you have some background noise. Or, go to a public Wifi place such as Starbucks. With this background noise, practice recording speaking practice tests. Train yourself to block out all the background noise. Focus on the speaking task and make your recording. Doing this type of speaking practice regularly will prepare you for the noisy testing center conditions.
How was the TOEFL Test Center for you?
If you already took the TOEFL test, please make a comment below keeping in mind these questions:
- Did you have a long wait before you entered the testing location?
- Were there any unusual distractions as you took the exam, which made it hard for you to concentrate?
- Where was your testing location?
- Were the proctors knowledgeable about the test-taking procedures and rules?
- Were you treated fairly and respectfully?
- Did you have to file a complaint about your testing conditions? What was the result of your complaint? For example, did ETS offer you a re-test at no extra charge?
- Do you feel that ETS resolved your test center complaint fairly and quickly?
Michael Buckhoff, http://onlinetoeflcourse.com