The pandemic is clearly having a pronounced impact on the way various sectors function, education being no exception. Students and their parents are increasingly anxious about the decisions associated with studying abroad — asking themselves when to go, where to go and what their experience will be like. Whether students are ready to pursue higher education plans abroad in the immediate future or are postponing them while they determine their next move, there are active steps students can take to prepare for their future and achieve their goal of being admitted to their chosen university.

Colleges and universities around the world have unique preferences and requirements for admission — topics for personal statements, volunteer experience, personal references and score requirements, to name a few. And when it comes to score requirements, a crucial part of the application process for international students is an English-language assessment to ensure they are prepared for the rigor of English communication in academic classrooms.

Choosing a test

How do students choose which test to take to satisfy this requirement? For many, convenience of testing, along with the requirements or preferences of their top universities, drives this decision.

When it comes to convenience, the TOEFL test offers multiple options for students, whether they prefer to test in person at a test center or from the comfort of home. The TOEFL iBT® test is the only major English-language test with a long-term option to take the same test — with regards to quality, reliability, validity, security and score acceptance — in a test center or at home.

Although the pandemic has created uncertainty for in-person testing, the majority of test centers across Korea are currently open for testing. ETS is working closely with our authorized test centers to continue opening testing locations in line with when it is safe to do so, while taking necessary precautions (e.g., distancing work stations and sanitizing high-touch areas) to maintain the safety of students while testing.

TOEFL iBT Home Edition

In 2020, ETS launched the TOEFL iBT Home Edition, a test that is identical in content, format, on-screen experience and scoring to the in-person TOEFL iBT testing experience. This was initially developed to support students while traditional testing was suspended and to enable them to take active steps to achieve their educational goals despite the circumstances. However, as we adapt to the future of digital learning, where blended learning opportunities are becoming increasingly more relevant and preferred, we’ve recognized the need for the at home test to be an ongoing product in our portfolio.

Because the TOEFL iBT Home Edition is the same test as the TOEFL iBT test given at a test center, scores are being accepted by institutions in the same way. More than 11,000 institutions in over 150 countries worldwide accept TOEFL scores. In addition, the TOEFL test is accepted at 100% of institutions in the United States, Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, as well as universally by English-taught programs in non-English speaking countries worldwide. The test is preferred in countries like France and Germany, as well as the United States, in which some institutions — including Stanford University’s graduate programs, University of Washington’s graduate programs and Columbia Law School — only accept the TOEFL test as proof of English language proficiency. And in Canada, institutions receive more TOEFL scores than all other English-language tests combined. Institutions around the world rely on and prefer the TOEFL iBT test because it is specifically designed for the higher ed sector — the test is made up of 100% academic content, meaning the types of questions students will encounter on test day simulate the communication experiences they will encounter at university (e.g., listening to a lecture, writing and supporting an opinion on a given topic, etc.).

Don’t forget immigration requirements

While preparing to study abroad, not only is it important to consider the requirements for university admission, but also any immigration requirements for one’s selected destination. In Australia and New Zealand, scores from the TOEFL iBT test given at test centers can be used for all temporary and permanent immigration visas including post-study, business and skilled migration. In the U.K., TOEFL scores are also universally accepted for university admissions, and students can use TOEFL iBT test scores as part of the U.K. Government’s new points-based immigration system for a Student route visa, as long as one’s university of choice accepts the TOEFL iBT test and the TOEFL iBT score requirements of that institution are met.  

While the pandemic has created unprecedented times for students across the world, it does not have to stop the momentum of their educational journeys — and ETS is striving in every way to ensure that it doesn’t. By taking the TOEFL test, students can take active steps to pursue their dreams, stand out during the application process and feel confident knowing that they are prepared for an exciting, rewarding journey ahead of them.

For more information on the TOEFL test, including information on acceptance, registration, test prep and more, check out For information specific to TOEFL iBT Home Edition, please visit Video on the TOEFL iBT Home Edition is available at