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Journey to my MBA

Thursday, March 22, 2007

TOEFL Server Woes Frustrate Koreans

TOEFL Server Woes Frustrate Koreans
By Park Chung-a Staff Reporter
Kim Hye-won, a 22-year-old university student, doubted her eyes while looking at the TOEFL registration Website on Thursday. The Republic of Korea (ROK) had been omitted _ without notice _ from the countries listed as providing the test.
She called up Korean-American Educational Commission, a domestic organization which is the representative of the U.S.-based Educational Testing Service (ETS) only to be told that South Korea has been temporarily off the list beginning Wednesday morning due to Web server instability resulting from the site being swamped by registration requests from Korea.
``I have been trying to register for the test for two weeks now and I am just sick of spending my time on the computer waiting for the places to open. And I can’t understand why ETS did not give any notice on its Website before omitting our country from the list,’’ said Kim who needs a TOEFL score to apply for her school’s exchange program with an American university.
According to an official of the commission, this is the third time this year the ETS has temporarily excluded South Korea from the list and the exclusion could last up to a week.
``We truly feel sorry for such inconvenience to our customers. However, there is not much we can do as ETS is wholly in charge of organizing the test. We did not get any notice from the ETS about the temporary omission either. All you can do is wait,’’ said the commission official who wished to remain anonymous. ``ETS has resorted to denying Koreans’ access to the Website temporarily due to people overloading its Website, which has caused instability in the Web server. Due to Koreans’ excessive connections, people from other countries suffered difficulties of access.’’
An Internet Website, Hackers Academia, one of the most popular private institutes providing courses on TOEFL, is filled with comments reflecting resentment and frustration over the lack of spaces to take the test. One cynical user even posted an article urging people to take the test in Middle East countries like Jordan, which have lots of vacant slots.
When slots open for the test some English institutes even send text messages to inform their students.
Since IBT (Internet-Based Test) was introduced in September, Koreans have been battling to register for the test due to the lack of test facilities.
Under the CBT (Computer-Based Test), more than 100,000 people could take the test each year in South Korea as test-takers were allowed to take the exam almost every day except for the weekend. However, since the introduction of IBT, it is estimated that the number has been reduced to 30,000 since testing has been limited to four times a month and there is a lack of places with proper facilities for the test. Although there are 19 test centers in the country, depending on the situation, they are sometimes closed for the test.
Demand for the test has increased since an increasing number of high schools and universities have adopted TOFEL as one of the entrance requirements. Six foreign language high schools in Seoul alone have TOEFL as one of their entrance requirements.
Taking advantage of the phenomenon, some who have succeeded registering for the test sell their slots to others who are desperate to take the test, charging high prices. Travel agencies have also been quick to offer ``TOFEL package programs,’’ including overnight trips for those who want to take TOEFL abroad.
A 26-year-old office worker Lee will go to Taiwan in April to take TOEFL on a trip arranged by a travel agency in Seoul. It costs 990,000 won and includes test fee, round-trip ticket and overnight stay.
``Since I have to apply for a training program abroad which requires TOEFL, I had no other choice. As I am an office worker, I do not have the time to wait in front of a computer to register for the test. Even if it’s expensive, I thought it’s better to take it,’’ she said.
At Agora of Daum, an Internet portal site, 1,463 people have signed up as of noon yesterday to file a petition to the Ministry of Education and Human Resources to exclude TOEFL from the entrance exams for high schools and universities.
``Excluding TOEFL from the tests required to enter high schools and universities is the only way to reduce demand for it and enable those who really need TOEFL scores to study abroad,’’ said a netizen, ID Param, who suggested collecting signatures to petition the authorities.
``The government should develop its own English ability test that can replace TOEFL. Everyone from elementary school students to salaried workers is fighting to find slots for TOEFL. Although we have been criticizing the ETS service, I am at the same time ashamed of this crazy fever over TOEFL,’’ said Param.
michelle@koreatimes.co.kr 03-22-2007 19:44

15 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

common please post something for US. for long no updates ?

8:09 AM  
Blogger dahz said...

Hey Dave,

I'm running my way to a top MBA and I've spent the last month reading your blog from the beggining. You did a pretty good job. Actually, I will use some of your tips on my application process. Thanks a lot!

All the best!

6:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dave, I know U must be hating these questions.... but I have a 680 GMAT/Female/3 years work ex in a statistical modeling in financial services industry/ loads of teamwork and some leadership qualities... But the point is do U think 680 will completely remove me from the game?? I am interested only in top 10 schools (Short term: Consulting and social entrepreneurship mixed interests) Should I take my GMAT again??? :(( thats the question....

4:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

....And Indian

4:53 AM  
Anonymous Piet said...

Long time, no post ... where are you?

Piet

1:16 PM  
Blogger Ric in Japan said...

TOEFL Website is the worst I've ever seen. Every now and then it blocks access alledging too many users...

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Dagny said...

Excellent Blog you have maintained. :) I will definitely suggest my friends to visit it. Thanks again

7:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Dave!

I just recently attended The MBA Tour event in New York and it was fantastic. The school representatives were really helpful.

You should check out one of their events. I believe they travel all over the world.

www.thembatour.com

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so Dave--I assume you got into Tuck. Can you tell us about your experience?

Thanks

11:51 AM  
Anonymous starwalker said...

i faced slr probs i middle-east

8:11 PM  
Anonymous Johny Cage said...

So, when are you going to come back to the blogging world?

6:48 AM  
Anonymous Adam said...

Test prep world can be a tough one.

3:22 PM  
Anonymous Shabbir said...

Hey really good resource I must say. Keep it up

2:14 PM  
Anonymous enc said...

thanx for sharing all these

12:57 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

Hi Dave

Do you do sponsored posts at all on your blog?

Kristin Babiarz

kristinbabiarz@gmail.com

1:47 PM  

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