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TOEFL to be shortened by an hour from July

New Delhi: The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) will now take less than two hours to complete instead of three hours and the candidates will be able to see their official score release date upon completion of the test, according to the Educational Testing Services (ETS).

ETS, which conducts TOEFL and Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), announced on Tuesday a series of changes in the English language proficiency test to create an optimal experience for those taking it. The changes will be be effective from July 26.

TOEFL is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enrol in English-speaking universities. The test is accepted by more than 11,500 universities and other institutions in over 160 countries, including the US, the UK, Canada and Australia.

According to ETS, while the reading section in TOEFL will be shortened, the "independent writing task" will be replaced by the "writing for an academic discussion". All unscored questions will also be removed from the exam.

Test takers will see their official score release date upon completion of the test, in addition to receiving real-time notification of changes to their score status.

The reduced duration of the test will be 1 hour 56 minutes. The time duration for the reading section with 20 questions will be 35 minutes, followed by 36 minutes for the listening section (28 questions).

The speaking section will have four tasks and 16 minutes to complete, followed by two tasks in the writing section (29 minutes), officials said.

"ETS is driving the future of assessment through product innovations across education and learning, and TOEFL is core to that effort. TOEFL has been an industry standard for nearly six decades, and these enhancements further underscore its position. Most importantly, these enhancements were developed through the lens of our customers and stakeholders," said Amit Sevak, CEO of ETS.

Sevak explained that the registration process has been simplified and for the first time the test fees can be paid in Indian rupees.

"A simplified registration process will be available beginning July, 2023. Test takers can create an account and register for an available TOEFL iBT test date quicker and easier than ever before," he said.

"More localized benefits such as additional local payment options, effective immediately and expanded in the coming weeks. In addition to widely used global credit cards, test takers will have access to convenient local payment options such as locally issued credit and debit cards, digital wallets and net banking. For the first time, test prices will be presented in their cart in INR," added Sevak.

A dedicated customer service centre has been set up exclusively for Indian test takers which will be available for 12 hours a day throughout the week.

"Test takers who have already registered for a TOEFL iBT test have the option to reschedule their test date for free, if they'd like to experience these new enhancements, or move up their test date before they take effect. Free reschedules can be made until April 30, 2023, via their TOEFL account," Sevak said.

According to Nishidhar Reddy Borra, President, Association of Australian Education Representatives in India, the changes will immensely benefit lakhs of Indians who aspire to study abroad and take TOEFL.

"With a dedicated customer support centre and availability of local payment options, study abroad consultants will be better placed to support test takers," he said.