TOEIC and TOEFL Can No Longer Be Used to Get British Visa

June 22, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. suspend  /səˈspɛnd/ (v.) – to punish or not allow to operate
Example: He was suspended for being absent for three consecutive days.

2. proficiency /prəˈfɪʃən (n.) – the state of being great in doing something
Example: One of the requirements to work abroad is high English proficiency.

3. outright /ˈaʊtˌraɪt/ (adj.) – direct, obvious
Example: The accomplishments he wrote on his resume are outright lies.

4. allot ˈlɒt/ (v.) – to give or assign something for a particular time or purpose
Example: The teacher allotted three hours for students to finish the report.

5. comply /kəmˈplaɪ/ (v.) – to do what is expected of someone based on the laws and regulations
Example: Everybody should comply with the school regulations.


Read the text below.
The two largest English proficiency tests in Japan, TOEIC and TOEFL were suspended in visa application after fraud exposed by the BBC Panorama.

As a consequence, international students who are planning to obtain student’s visa to the UK may need to take alternative exams.

The BBC program aired in February showed outright cheating, which involved fake exam takers reading answers out loud. As a result, students finished the exam within half an hour instead of the allotted two hours, granting visas even to those with poor English proficiency.

Because of this, ETS, a US non-profit organization, that handles both TOEIC and TOEFL examinations, decided to no longer extend Britain’s Secure English Testing (or SELT) license.

TOEIC and TOEFL operators in Japan have already informed examinees about the decision. Junko Aoyagi, assistant director of a travel agency in Japan, said that they have received a lot of phone calls from students who were already accepted in UK universities but have yet to take the exam for visas.

According to Aoyagi, they advise students to take less popular exams like IELTS (or International English Language Testing System) and the Pearson Test of English Academic. Also, the Institute for International Education Exchange promised to refund to those who took the TOEIC exam.

According to statistics, more than 3,000 Japanese students went to the UK to study in 2012. But with the change of system, students may not be able to comply with the UK standards on the set deadlines and eventually may not be able to study there.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you find the suspension of TOEIC and TOEFL exams reasonable? Why or why not?
·         What else do you think would be the impact of this change in UK’s system of visa application?

Discussion B

·         What are the advantages of studying abroad?
·         In what way does studying abroad help a student get a good career?

June 22, 2014