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April 27, 2005

Candian Firm Hopes to Calm TOEFL "Freak Out"

A Canadian software company is hoping its TOEFL preparation program will calm student fears in Asia, according to a recent article in the Vancouver Sun. With the test soon to incoporate new speaking and listening elements, many students in the region are "freaking out," says ACT360 Solutions Ltd. president Vincent Wong. Test administrator Educational Testing Service (ETS) has spent a decade and between $40 and $50 million on the latest 'upgrade,' described by ETS marketing manager Gene Netten as "one of the biggest changes to the TOEFLs since it began in 1964." Interactive and online test preparation are increasingly popular alternatives to books and CDs, and with the new changes they will soon become the most effective way to ensure success on the test. The test itself will digitally capture answers spoken into a microphone in a secure testing room and send them via the Internet to evaluators at ETS in the U.S. Vancouver-based ACT360 plan to roll out their new program, which includes a simulation of the oral component of the test, this summer. The company already sells its testDEN program in Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and is currently expanding into the booming market in China. Finding better ways to teach English

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