TOEFL iBT® Testing Policies

ETS is committed to providing tests that are fair to all test takers and administered in a secure environment. ETS has established and maintains policies and procedures designed to ensure the integrity and fairness of your testing experience.

Test Security Procedures

Make sure that you understand what is expected of you at the test center. More details about test center procedures and regulations can be found in the TOEFL iBT® Information and Registration Bulletin. Watch the TOEFL iBT® Testing Site video (Flash) for a preview of what to expect on test day.

Checking In at the Test Center

All test centers will require you to do each of the following:

  • Show ETS-approved forms of identification that contain a photograph and signature. The name on your ID must exactly match the name you used when you registered for the test.
  • Provide handwriting and signature samples.
  • Have your photo taken. Your photo will be displayed at your computer station and embedded into your paper score report.
  • Testing premises are subject to videotaping.

Some test centers also require any of these:

  • Metal detector scan or security wanding
  • Thumb scan
  • ID with electronic chip
  • Video monitoring of the testing room during the test
  • Voice biometrics or other forms of electronic ID confirmation

Taking the Test

Once the test has started:

  • You will not have access to personal items such as books, electronic devices, handbags or backpacks, which are stored separately to maintain security. See the list of unauthorized aids in the "Improper Behaviors" section below.
  • You must present your ID to the test center administrator for verification when you leave and when you return from a break.

Improper Behavior Leading to Dismissal from Test Center

Fraudulent or unethical testing behavior will not be tolerated. ETS may use statistical evaluation or other professional evaluation methods as evidence that a test taker did not complete the test or part of the test independently or that pre-knowledge of test questions or answers occurred. If ETS believes that a test taker may have gained an unfair advantage by sharing or obtaining test questions, topics or answers before, during or after the test, or that a test was completed in whole or in part by someone or with the assistance of someone other than the registered test taker, ETS may exercise its right to cancel the test taker’s appointment in advance, hold or cancel the test taker’s scores and/or ban the test taker from future testing.

If your scores are placed on hold, you will not be able to send score reports to any institution or agency until the investigation is complete and the scores are released.

If any of ETS’s investigative methods result in a test taker’s scores being canceled, or if unethical behavior is identified on or after test day, ETS may also share its concerns with score recipients selected by the test taker, so that the information can be considered in the institution's or agency’s decision-making process. ETS will send a copy of your cancellation letter to any institution or agency that has received your scores.

The test center supervisor is authorized to dismiss you from the test center, and ETS reserves the right to hold and/or cancel your scores, and/or ban you from future testing, for any action that violates any of the policies and procedures in the Bulletin, on the TOEFL website or communicated to you at the test center on the day of the test, including but not limited to:

  • Taking or attempting to take the test or part of the test for someone else, or having or attempting to have someone take the test or part of the test for you.
  • Removing or attempting to remove any test content, scratch paper or notes relating to the test. Under no circumstances may test content or any part of the test content be removed, reproduced and/or disclosed to any person or entity by any means, including by hard copy, verbally and/or electronically.
  • Referring to, looking through or working on any test or test section when not authorized to do so, or working after time has been called.
  • Failing to provide valid, acceptable identification.
  • Obtaining or having improper access to any test content, a part of the test, or information about the test, including test questions, topics or answers, in advance of the test administration, or bringing pre-knowledge of any test information into the test center in any form. This includes on your ID documents, via prohibited devices, and any other method used as an aid in connection with the test. ETS reserves the right to cancel scores when evidence of pre-knowledge is found.
  • Using or having a phone, watch, or any other electronic device at the test center is prohibited and will result in your dismissal from the test center and/or cancellation of your scores by ETS. Your test fee will not be refunded.
  • Using or having of any of the following unauthorized aids:
    • mechanical pencils
    • pens
    • scan pens
    • calculators
    • watches of any kind
    • books
    • pamphlets
    • notes
    • unauthorized scrap paper
    • rulers
    • highlighter pens
    • stereos or radios with headphones
    • dictionaries
    • test preparation materials
    • translators
    • phones of any kind
    • any electronic listening, recording, scanning, listening or photographic devices
  • Tampering with the computer.
  • Leaving the testing room, the immediate area of the testing room or the test center building without permission during the test or during breaks.
  • Taking a weapon or firearm into the test center.
  • Taking food or drink into the testing room, unless you have been approved for an accommodation based on a disability or health-related need.
  • Taking tobacco or electronic cigarettes into the testing room.
  • Taking excessive or extended unscheduled breaks. Test center supervisors strictly monitor breaks and are required to report test takers who take multiple or extended breaks.
  • Using a break or delaying the start of the Speaking section to prepare your responses, or receiving assistance of any kind with your responses to the Speaking section questions.
  • Using the scratch paper provided or notes of any kind to prepare your essay during breaks.
  • Evidence that responses are invalid for reasons including unusual timing patterns, unusual answer patterns, inconsistent performance on different parts of the test, or performance inconsistent with other test administrations.
  • Evidence that a Writing or Speaking response includes material that is substantially similar to material in other TOEFL test-taker responses, or the quoting or paraphrasing of language or ideas from published or unpublished sources without attribution.
  • Creating a disturbance by engaging in any kind of disruptive or threatening behavior. Disruptive behavior in any form will not be tolerated. The test center supervisor has sole discretion in determining what constitutes disruptive behavior.
  • Receiving or attempting to receive help, or giving or attempting to give help. Communication in any form is prohibited, including discussing or sharing test questions, topics or answers during the test or during breaks, and discussing or sharing test questions, topics or answer after the test. This also includes communication via chat, message board or forum, SMS message or text message.
  • Failing to follow any regulations in the Bulletin, on this website, instructions given by the test center supervisor or specified in any materials.

ETS reserves the right to take any and all action — including but not limited to banning you from future testing or holding or canceling your scores — for failure to comply with test administration regulations or the test center supervisor’s instructions. If your scores are canceled, they will not be reported and your test fee will not be refunded.

Reporting Suspicious Behavior

Contact ETS to report behavior that may interfere with test security or cause a disturbance. All reported incidents of fraud are taken seriously and investigated closely. All information is held in the strictest confidence.

1-800-353-8570 (United States, U.S. Territories, Canada)
1-609-406-5430 (all other locations)

Rescheduled Tests

On occasion, weather conditions or other circumstances beyond our control may result in a delayed start or rescheduled test, or scores may be canceled after you take the test.

If your test is rescheduled by ETS before you test, you can select a different test date and you will not be charged the rescheduling fee.

If you travel to the test center and find out that the test administration has been canceled by ETS, you can reschedule your test at no charge or receive a full refund of your test fee.

If you take the test and your scores are canceled by ETS, ETS will determine, at its sole discretion, whether or not you are eligible to re-test at no charge or receive a refund.

If ETS cancels a test administration or cancels scores after you test, and you have incurred travel costs to get to the test center, you may be eligible for reimbursement of reasonable and documented travel expenses for yourself only within 30 days of your original test date. Refunds are in U.S. dollars.

When you contact TOEFL® Services, have appropriate receipts available and be prepared to provide the following information:

  • Name
  • Date of birth
  • Mailing address
  • Daytime phone number
  • Email address
  • Original test date
  • TOEFL registration number
  • A description of the problem

If you have any questions about the rescheduling and refund policies, please contact TOEFL Services.

TOEFL Test Taker

Promotional Links

Ready to take the TOEFL iBT® test?

Register Now >

Official TOEFL iBT® Tests with Audio, Volume 1

Includes 5 actual past TOEFL iBT® tests, with all audio passages on disc. Also includes the TOEFL® Test Prep Planner. Purchase now >

TOEFL® Practice Online

Get the only official practice test that gives you the experience of taking the real TOEFL iBT® test. Order now >

Official Guide to the TOEFL® Test, Fourth Edition

Practice with the only authentic TOEFL® test prep guide created by ETS. Also available as an eBook. Purchase now >