TOEFL iBT, PBT, IBT…now there’s a new member of the TOEFL family: TOEFL ITP Plus. As test centers around the world have struggled to accommodate students during COVID-19, ETS (the TOEFL test-maker) has added at-home options in many places. However, these are not available in China—instead, ETS is offering the TOEFL ITP Plus as an option there.
If you’re wondering what the TOEFL ITP Plus involves, how it’s different from other versions of the TOEFL, and whether it’s right for you, you’re in the right place! In this post, we’ll examine what the exam requires and how universities can use it.
What is TOEFL ITP Plus?
The TOEFL ITP Plus is a new exam ETS is offering in China, where the regular TOEFL and the TOEFL Home Edition have limited availability (at the time of this writing). The ITP Plus is similar to the “regular” TOEFL ITP, except with an unscored speaking component. Basically, the exam is a paper-based test that will allow you to submit TOEFL scores despite the current circumstances, and the limited TOEFL testing options currently available in China.
In terms of how it’s used, the TOEFL ITP is used mostly for class placement, while TOEFL ITP Plus can (in some cases) be used for university admissions.
Why would I take the TOEFL ITP Plus?
If you need to take the TOEFL but live in China, you may find that, as of this writing, spots are limited for TOEFL iBT right now. While iBT testing opened up again in mid-July 2020, as I write this, it’s only available at 12 locations around the country. On the other hand, the ITP Plus is offered at more centers.
What does the ITP Plus test involve?
The TOEFL ITP Plus has similar sections to the TOEFL ITP: Listening, Reading, Structure and Written Expression. In addition, the TOEFL ITP Plus has a speaking component, making it more like the regular test and more useful for general university admissions. All questions are multiple choice, except for the speaking section (more on this in a minute!).
Right now, the only TOFEL ITP Plus test you can take in China is Level 1: Intermediate to Advanced. Level 2, for High Beginning to Intermediate language learners, is not available.
To take the exam, you will attend a test center in person. It is a paper-based test, meaning that it is not on a computer. Overall, the multiple choice portion of the exam takes about two hours, broken down like this:
- Listening Comprehension: 50 questions in 35 minutes
- Structure and Written Expression: 40 questions in 25 minutes
- Reading Comprehension: 50 questions in 55 minutes
Each section is graded on a scale starting at 31. Listening and Structure and Written Expression have maximum scores of 68, while Reading has a maximum score of 67, for an overall score scale of 310 to 677.
ITP Plus Speaking
This speaking component is unscored and done by video, so you will not need to meet face-to-face with an exam official. However, Vericant (the third-party organization that does the interviews) tells us that on-site interviews are also available. In both cases, though, the interviews happen separately from the rest of the test.
For the speaking section, you will receive an email from Vericant seven days before your test. They will provide you with registration and scheduling information for your interview, including your account information and password. During registration, you’ll tell them whether you’re applying to undergraduate or graduate programs and whether you wish to take the interview on-site or online (you can change this later for a fee of 300 RMB).
Actually taking the interview involves a three-step verification process to prove your identity. First, you’ll upload a picture of yourself during registration. Then, you will bring your ID documentation to the TOEFL test. Finally, proctors will check your photo records during the interview to ensure that they match the person speaking.
During the interview itself, you will have a 12-15 minute discussion, one-on-one, with a native speaker. They will ask you a question. After you respond, they will present you with follow-up questions on the same or related subjects. This is an unscored section, but you will send a recording of it with your applications to schools. Find out more about the interview here!
Should I take the TOEFL ITP Plus?
It depends. First, check to see if your schools accept scores: ETS has an official list here.
However, even if your schools are not on the list, it’s worth checking in with them. Certain colleges and universities may be willing to accept TOEFL ITP Plus scores, even if they don’t have an official policy stated about the exam on their websites. Given the current situation, many admissions departments have become more flexible about testing. If you need to submit TOEFL scores and are wondering about TOEFL ITP Plus, it’s worth calling or emailing admissions departments to ask if they would accept your scores.
A Final Word
While a lot of factors in admissions are uncertain right now, it’s important to remember that both test-makers and schools are adapting to the current situation. Because of this, if you need to take the TOEFL for your applications and you live in China, the TOEFL ITP Plus may be a good option for you. Just check in with the programs you’re applying to before preparing and ensure that they will accept the scores. There are a lot of options out there, and schools are being open-minded about testing, so keep your hopes up! The TOEFL ITP Plus may be a great choice in these circumstances.