By ELTSociety

COVID Responses

Four Online English Tests Available During COVID-19

As part of the worldwide response to COVID-19, English proficiency test providers have been forced to quickly adapt to a society without public testing centers. Several have opted to postpone activities until after the mandated social distancing protocols have been lifted. Others have instead chosen to answer the call and provide fully virtual alternatives for international students who need them.

Here are four trusted English proficiency test providers who have gone virtual during COVID19:

Educational Testing Service (ETS)

Tests available online: TOEFL iBT® and GRE®
Although not all ETS tests are available for their brand new “At Home Testing” service, the TOEFL iBT® and the GRE® have been given priority as students struggle to complete admissions requirements worldwide.

  • Security: Test security is provided via ProctorU®, a third-party online proctoring service based in the US. ProctorU utilizes both live proctors and artificial intelligence to observe the student as they complete their test at home.
  • Availability: The ETS At Home Testing service has been enabled for select countries where the need for testing is highest. The list of approved countries is dynamic and continuously changing as the situation develops.
  • Test Content: TOEFL iBT evaluates reading, writing, listening, and speaking. Content available through At Home Testing is identical to the in-person version of the TOEFL iBT and GRE.
  • Results: the printing and mailing of student reports has been indefinitely suspended. Students and institutions opting for results via mail should expect delays

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

Tests available online: IELTS Indicator
A very recent addition to the pool of newly adapted English tests available during the pandemic is the IELTS Indicator. With a proposed launch date of April 22nd IELTS will face a brand new challenge in offering an online evaluation for the first time.

  • Security: IELTS Indicator will require test takers show their passport / identity document details when they book. Test takers will also be requested to show their passport / identity document during the video call speaking test.  Although the IELTS Indicator speaking section will be conducted in a real-time video environment with a trained examiner, the test won’t be fully proctored.  The use of IELTS’s Secure Exam Browser (SEB) is required during the entirety of the test.
  • Availability: The test is available online, once per week in selected locations where it is not currently possible to deliver in-person IELTS testing. This test is a temporary evaluation available only during the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Test Content: The IELTS Indicator evaluates four sections: reading, writing, listening, and speaking in two hours and 45 minutes. It follows the same structure and timing as its in-person equivalent.
  • Results: Test results are available seven days after completing all sections of the test.

iTEP International

Tests available online: iTEP SLATE and iTEP Academic
iTEP is not a newcomer to virtual testing services, having launched their Examity-proctored online experience in the past two years. To better accommodate the needs of both students and administrators in this specific time, they have enhanced the security process and launched the brand-new Virtual Proctoring service, fully monitored by an internal review committee.  

  • Security: Virtual Proctoring utilizes iTEP’s own long-running Fotosure® software to photograph students at short intervals during the entirety of the test. Additional security measures such as ID verification, browser lockdowns, keystroke monitoring, and audio recordings are taken and monitored by an internal review committee. All captured data are available to partner institutions.
  • Availability: The iTEP Virtual Proctoring service has been enabled worldwide
  • Test Content: iTEP Academic (university) and iTEP SLATE (high school) both evaluate five sections: Grammar, Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking. Content available through Virtual Proctoring is identical to the in-person versions and rotate via a cloud-based item bank to provide unique tests to each student.
  • Results: Score reports are delivered via email within 24 hours or less.

Learn more here


Tests available online: E3PT for J1 Exchange Visitors
English3 provides a more specialized service built to evaluate J-1 exchange visitors’ ability to “participate in their program and to function on a day-to-day basis”. Since English3 has always offered the flexibility of a fully virtual assessment, there has been little adjustment during the COVID-19 period.

  • Security: Like a few other options on this list, English3 tests are fully monitored by professionally trained proctors knowledgeable in ways to spot suspicious behavior from the students. Facial-recognition, screen monitoring, and randomized test forms are also active throughout the test – footage captured here is reviewed post-administration.
  • Availability: The English3 Test is available worldwide
  • Test Content: Four skills are evaluated during the test; Reading, Writing, Listening, and Speaking.
  • Results: Score reports are available in 1-5 days with an option to request expedited services.

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