TOEFL iBT Acceptance for Australian Visas Paused

On 26 July 2023, the Australian Department of Home Affairs announced that it is temporarily not accepting TOEFL iBT tests for Australian visa applications.

The pause is due to ETS, the organisation that conducts TOEFL, revising the TOEFL iBT test. The Australian government is reviewing the changes, and the test is unavailable during the evaluation.

At this stage, it’s unclear how long the review will take.

What is changing?

ETS (Education Testing Service) made changes to the TOEFL iBT test to optimise the test-taking experience for candidates. Test takers can expect the following from the enhanced test:

  • Shortened TOEFL iBT test: The test will now take less than two hours to complete, as opposed to three hours previously, due to:
    • Streamlined instructions and navigation throughout the test
    • A new, more modern “Writing for an Academic Discussion” task, which replaces the previous Independent Writing task
    • A shorter Reading section
    • The removal of all unscored test questions
  • Simplified registration process: Test takers can create an account and register for an available TOEFL iBT test date quicker and easier than before. In addition, more localised benefits, such as additional local payment options, will be available in select markets and expanded over time.
  • Increased score transparency: Test takers will see their official score release date upon completion of the test, in addition to getting real-time notification of changes to their score status.

“ETS is driving the future of assessment through product innovations across education and learning, and TOEFL is core to that effort,” said Amit Sevak, CEO of ETS. “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 — because they are our highest priority to serve.”

What about migrants who took the TOEFL iTB test before the pause came into place?

Migrants who took the old TOEFL iTB version on or before 25 July can rest assured that their test results will remain valid. Please speak to your licensed immigration advisor if you require more details.

Are the Department of Home Affairs still accepting other English proficiency test results?

The Department of Home Affairs still accepts these English proficiency test results:

  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS), including One Skill Retake (OSR)
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE)
  • Cambridge English (CAE), also known as C1 Advanced
  • Occupational English Test (OET), for health professionals

To recap

The TOEFL iTB is on a temporary pause while Australia’s Department of Home Affairs reviews the enhanced test introduced by ETS, the organisation that conducts TOEFL. In the meantime, the Department of Home Affairs is still accepting all other English Proficiency Tests. Test results of migrants who took the TOEFL iTB before 26 July 2023, when the pause came into effect, will remain valid.

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