The TOEFL iBT “Special Home Edition”

(and why you should NOT waste your money on it!!!)

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portallthough I was very excited about the so-called “Home Editio” of The TOEFL Exam when it was first announced — I became just as quickly (and severely) disappointed by it, as soon as I learne more about how it is delivered, and what the MANY restrictions and requirements are for the Test-Taker.  This is a GREAT idea gone HORRIBLY wrong by completely idiotic people being in charge of making decisions.

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portalo, even though this is a very long article — if you are thinking about taking the “Home Edition” of the TOEFL Exam — PLEASE read the whole article, and watch ALL of the videos.  I do NOT want you to lose your precious time and money by wasting it on this terrible product and (dis)-service.

The First Video Below Shows My Excitement About The Exam, Based Solely On The Name…

(Before I Learned About How Terrible The Implementation Of This Version Of The TOEFL Is)

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portals a result of the so-called “Covid Crisis” of Spring 2020 — ETS announced the release of the new “Home Edition” of The TOEFL iBT Exam.  They CLAIMED that this would allow people to safely take the exam while they were locked in their homes and forced to give up their normal lives.

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portalut just like the promises lies of the politicians that told us that it would only be “two weeks to slow the spread” — The TOEFL Home Edition would prove to be a FAR worse alternative than if someone would “risk their health” to take the exam at a testing center…  (something we now know would have been almost no risk at all.)

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portalnd from the time that I first recorded the videos in this article, to now — I have communicated with HUNDREDS of people who not only lost their money on the Home Edition, but they also lost opportunities to go to University because of all the problems with this exam and the almost COMPLETE lack of customer service from both ETS and ProctorU (the company that monitors and treats you like a criminal during the exam).

So Let’s See Why The Home Edition Is So Terrible

What Are The Requirements To Be Able To Take The Special TOEFL iBT Home Edition?

1.  You Must Pass An Equipment & “Environment” Check

2.  You Must Be In A Room Where You Will NOT Be “Disturbed” For The Entirety Of The             Exam

          • This Sounds Like “Good Advice” But It Is Actually A REQUIREMENT…
          • If Anyone Enters The Room — Or If The Monitor Even THINKS That Someone Enters The Room.  You Will Instantly Be Deemed To Be “Cheating” And You Will Lose Your Money
3.  You Must Live (or be) In A Country That (already) Hosts The (normal) TOEFL iBT Exam (excluding China & Iran)
          • This Means That For People Who Live In Countries That Do Not Have Support For The Exam — But You DO Have The Internet…  Tough Luck…  You Can’t Participate
            .
            • VPNs Will Not Fix This Problem Because The Use Of The “ETS Browser” AND The ProctorU System Already Requires Such An EXTREMELY Fast & Secure Connection That A VPN Will Cause Connetion Problems…  (And then you lose your money because they will say that you did not have the proper equipment.)  😐
          • Furthermore — Now that Covid restrictions are being liften almost everywhere — the Home Edition is no longer needed  (Especially since it is such a horrible service.)

The Equipment & “Environment” Check

First The “Environment” Check

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portale will start the “Environment Check” because — after only a brief examination, this seems like the worst part of the entire situation.  The idea of being able to take The TOEFL Exam at home is brilliant!  But what they require of you (or more appropriately, how they restrict you) is draconian, fascistic, and frankly quite stupid on many levels.
| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portalne of the stupidest (and likely most dangerous for the test-taker) is that there seems to be no way to actually “Check” many of the things on this list until you are actually IN the exam.  Which means that if they deem your “Environment” to be “inappropriate” — then, quite-possibly, you could loose all your money on the exam because they can say that you did not comply.  (Many of these restrictions are probably those of ProctorU, and not ETS, but either way they suck!)
Privacy

  • You Must Have Privacy During The Test & You Must Be Alone — (no one else may enter the room while you are taking the exam)
  • You Must Be AT HOME — (it will not be permitted for you to be in a public space while you are taking the exam)
  • You Must Close All Doors In The Room Before Beginning The Exam — (So rooms without doors are not an option — if your family has only one computer in a shared room, you would have to move everything to a closed room)
Your Table or Desk & Chair

  • You Must Position Your Table And Chair So That The Door To The Room Will Be Visible To The Proctor.  “The Proctor May Require You To Do This At Check In”. — (This implies that you also may NOT be required to do this — depending on the whims of the Proctor. But either way — you may have to move furniture around JUST IN CASE the Proctor decides to make you do this.)  😐
  • The Tabletop & Surrounding Area Must Be Clear Of All Non-Approved Items, Including Cell Phones, Cameras, Notes & Study Materials — (This means that the camera that you use during the exam can’t be a built in camera, because you will have to show your desk. So you may need to buy a web-cam before taking the exam)  😐
  • You Must Sit In A “Standard” Chair — Not An “Over-stuffed” Chair — (these are the terms used on the ETS website — no criteria for what a “standard” chair is. And if the only private room is your bedroom, if you do not have a table or desk and “standard” chair, you will have to get one. You can’t sit on your bed or any non-“standard” chair)  😐
  • Food And Drinks Are Not Allowed During The Exam — (first of all, no one is going to eat while they take their exam, but to say that you can’t have something to drink is completely fascistic — especially considering that water-bottles are allowed at any traditional testing-center…  but not in YOUR OWN HOME!)  😐
Your Clothing & Appearnace

Seriously!?!?!?!…  Yes…  They Are Seriously Going To Tell You What You Can And Can Not Wear In Your Own Home

  • Your Ears Must Remain Visible During The Entire Test — Not Covered By Hair, A Hat, or Other Items — So by definition, this means that headphones are (ridiculously) not allowed. This also means that you will be using external speakers, and — unless you already have a good quality microphone — you will be using an internal microphone.  Thus, your chances of losing your money because they say that your recording was no clear enough GREATLY increases.  Because we all know that internal microphones suck!  😐
  • You Must Be Dressed “Appropriately” For The Exam — This is, of course, Common Sense. But the fact that they are telling you that this is a rule that they can enforce, at your expense is pretty lame. But this is probably the least “bad” of all the rules. Just dress like you would if you were going to a job interview.
  • “You Must Remove All Headphones, Smartwatches, Face-Masks, Jewelry, Tie Clips, Cuff-Links, Ornate Clips, Combs, Barrettes, Headbands — And Other Hair Accessories Before Checking In For Your Exam.  You Do Not Need To Remove Wedding And Engagement Rings.” — (Oh how nice of them to not require you to remove your wedding or engagement rings.  This rule used to say “Avoid wearing…”  apparently they didn’t like that, so they changed it so “YOU MUST REMOVE!”.  There is literally NO logical reason for this, but they probably think that you are James Bond, or Batman, and will have some secret device that will help you do cheat on the exam…  which is not possible.)  😐

If you’re fine with being treated like a prison inmate, and you don’t care about the possibility of losing your money because the opinion of each Proctor is different — so your “Environment” may not be suitable for that person on that particular day…  And you’re fine with the fact that these rules were already bad when they first released the “Home Edition” — but since then, they have only INCREASED the severity of these ridiculous rules…  Well then, go ahead and take it.  But If you not quite convinced, then keep reading.  It gets even MORE stupid in the next section!  In fact, if the next section was the ONLY bad thing…  It alone would be a “deal breaker”!  8)

Note-Taking Materials

  • (AMAZINGLY!!!)You May NOT Take Notes On Paper!!! — This is apparently for “Security Purposes”.  But since this is a HUGE step “backwards”, and it is FAR MORE restrictive than taking the exam at an official testing center, I would consider this restriction to be an Absolute “Deal-Breaker”!  Taking Notes Is One Of THE MOST IMPORTANT things you need to be able to do during the exam. This makes about as much sense as wearing a Covid mask, in your home, by yourself, while you take a shower, after testing Negative… for “health” reasons… It makes NO sense AT ALL!!!   😐

Here’s What They Say That You Can Do…  Which Shows That (in my opinion) The People At ETS & ProctorU Are Either Complete Idiots, or Gigantic Assholes… But I Suspect That They Are Both

  • You May Only Take Notes Using:
          • A Small White-Board — Which is actually feasable, but that means that you probably have to go buy one, because almost no one besides teachers actually have one.  This is not a large expense compared to the other things you may have to buy in order to do this version of the TOEFL.  But at the time that this was released — due to Covid — it was very difficult or even impossible for many people to get out to buy a freakin’ whiteboard.
            .
            • It is possible to take notes on the exam this way, but having to constantly erase and continually show your notes throught the exam (which has been reported to me by MANY people) means that you will be interrupted by the ProctorU monitor and will almost certainly miss some important information and your score will be affected  😐
          • Or, They Say You Can Use Some Paper In A Plastic Sleeve, Writing With Erasable Marker — Which (anyone who has tried this knows) is COMPLETELY infeasible and will cause you to lose even more time and essential information than with the whiteboard method
WARNING! — It Is Said That You Will Be Asked To Erase All Notes “In-View Of The Proctor At The End Of The Exam”.  However, You Will Actually Have To Erase All Of Your Notes After Nearly Every Task, Because You Will Have To Use A Marker And Will Not Have Room To Make Notes Like You Could With Pen And Paper.  And If The Proctor Doesn’t See You Erase Your Notes After Each Exercise, He Or She Can (and most-likely will) Accuse You Of Cheating. This Has Been Reported To Me NUMEROUS Times.  😐

Conclusion Of The “Environment Check”

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portal

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portalhe so-called “Environment” rules are so freakin’ bad that I was telling people during the crisis (and still do!) that it was better to wait until the testing center opened back up again to take the exam.  And everyone who contacted me about this and did NOT listen to me, contacted me again afterwards to tell me that it was even worse than I said.

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portalnd considering that the Covid restrictions have been lifted almost everywhere in the world…  AND because testing centers were still open ALL throughout the so-called crisis (not everywhere, all the time.  But the TOEFL never stopped)…  AND because there is no longer ANY reason to NOT go to the testing center…  Then there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON to take a chance on the TOEFL Home Edition.

But If You Still Need Convincing…

The Equipment Check

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portalhis part of the rules makes a little more sense, but it is still not good.  Mostly because the company ProctorU is (in my opinion) one of the MOST corrupt companies on the entire Internet.  More on that later.

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portalesides ProctorU being a terrible company in the way that they literally force you to give them access to ALL the information on your computer, there are a lot of other proplems with the “Equipment Check”.  Especially if you don’t use windows…  Non-Windos users are basically screwed.  Thanks ETS!

Computer

  • You Must Have A Laptop Or Desktop Computeryou will NOT be able to use a tablet or a mobile device
  • You Can Only Use Microsoft Or MacNo Linux Users Allowed!  They also say that “Un-licensed” versions will not be allowed.  This implies that when you install their spyware, they will somehow be able to monitor your system and know such things.  This is a HUGE security risk!
  • You Must Use Firefox Or Chrome Browser
  • You Must Have An Internal Or External Microphone Which Is Not Part Of A HeadsetBut as we all know — internal microphones are crap & can make it so that your recordings for the Speaking Section are not clear enough to be graded. Unfortunately, you will not find this out until either the beginning of the exam — at which time it will be too late to cance — or until after you have finished the exam, when you receive an email stating that you must take the exam again… at your own expense. Which — for most people — also means that they will miss their deadline for scores to be submitted.

Speakers

  • You Must Have Working Speakers — Not Headphones!!!These can either be the internal speakers of the laptop of external speakers on the desk-top. Headphones are not allowed… for “Security” purposes. However this can pose a big problem if your speakers are not of high quality. Especially if your home is in a noisy area.

Camera

  • You Must Have A Working Camera Which Can Show A 360° View AND Show The KeyboardIn other words — It Must Be An External Camera. They say that you can use an internal camera, but no internal camera will be able to show both a 360° View AND be able to show your keyboard. It is not possible. More genius moves by ETS & ProctorU.
  • You Will Be Asked To Show Your Environment By The Monitor From ProctorUThis is so they can see if it is “appropriate” and that you aren’t going to cheat. Even though there is almost NO way to actually cheat on the TOEFL.  Unless, of course, you want to take notes like a normal person with a pen and paper — like you would in a testing center while taking the “normal” TOEFL Exam.  (Once again, you will not know if your room is “appropriate” until the it is FAR too late to be able to make any changes…  And ETS does not give refunds.  So if your “environment” is not up to their liking… you are screwed once again.)

Conclusion Of The Equipment Check

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portal

Now Watch The Video I Made After I Discovered All The Problems Of The TOEFL Home Edition

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portalo as you can see — my view on this new “Edition” of The TOEFL Exam is QUITE different than in the first video.  For this reason, I will NOT be explaining to you the entire process of how to go about registering for this edition of the exam, because I do not want to be responsible for sending ANYONE to take The TOEFL iBT “Special” Home Edition…  Because there is absolutely NOTHING “Special” about it!

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL Portalhere are simply FAR too problems with the way that this exam has been (and continues to be) implemented, for me to be able to endorse The Home Edition.  Furthermore — I have spoken with FAR too many people who have lost their, time, money, & chosen opportunities for going to the University that they wanted to — or to get the scholarship that they need — for me to EVER recommend ANYONE to take The Home Edition of The TOEFL.

| GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! - TOEFL PortalThe people who where responsible for making the decisions that led to this (and the new Paper Edition!) should be fired immediately, as well as the CEO of ETS, and probably many other people working in that organization.  The TOEFL Exam has been around since the 60s, and up until 2021 was awesome!  But ever since around 2020, every decision that has been made to change the TOEFL in any way has been a HUGE Mistake!

So I Will End By Saying This…

Do NOT Take The TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition!!!  The Traditional TOEFL iBT Exam At Official Testing Centers Is Still Available And Is 1000 Times Better And 1,000,000 Times More Secure!!!

And Now That You’ve Heard From A TOEFL Expert — Watch The Video Below From An IT Expert On Just How Bad ProctorU Is…

Have An Excellent Day!

8)

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