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People's Daily Online>>Life & Culture

US study boom fuels testing times

(Global Times)

10:44, December 06, 2011

Studying in the US is more popular than ever, but students who must first take an English Language proficiency test are complaining that they are unable to register on the slow website, or have to pay scalpers and agencies inflated fees.

Some candidates have paid double to register online for the Test of English as a Foreign Language, or TOEFL, paying up to 3,000 yuan ($469), the Beijing Evening News reported yesterday. The test should cost 1,479 yuan.

The test was developed by ETS, a US-based nonprofit organization, which also offers a number of other standardized tests.

As of Saturday, more than 20,000 people had applied for a TOEFL test for next year. Online applications opened at 2 pm on December 2 with a total of 240,000 places for Chinese students, according to the Beijing Evening News report.

Many candidates complained online that it takes a long time to log onto the application page. Some of them turned to scalpers or agencies for help to book a test place.

"I spent five hours waiting to enter the application Web page. I think 2 am to 6 am is a good time, much easier to log into the page, and remember, keep refreshing," an examinee named "Sanghyo" posted online Sunday at Xiaoma.com, a website that provides information about studying abroad.

Candidates are anxious to secure a place early, said a PhD candidate at Peking University, surnamed Fei. He took TOEFL in October last year, and said that students want to book a place in the most convenient and suitable test center for them.

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