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September 22, 2006

TOEFL iBT: Off to a Sluggish Start?

The TOEFL iBT exam hasn't been without problems, a spate of recent articles have announced. Apparently, there have been instances of testing centers around the globe shutting down on a given day because of technical glitches. This forces affected test-takers to have to reschedule their tests. As college and university application dates approach, tensions are liable to rise if such closures continue.

One of the primary changes between the new TOEFL iBT (internet based) test and the old CBT test (computer-based) is the introduction of a speaking component, which requires test-takers to either answer a question directly or react orally to listening and/or reading content. Their responses are recorded simultaneously.

The TOEFL iBT exam debuted in Japan this past July. At least one testing center in Japan has been forced closed for a day because of technical glitches, although further statistics have not been reported. The test is administered by ETS (Educational Testing Service), a non-profit organization.

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