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# Earplugs during TOEFL

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Current Student
Joined: 12 Apr 2010
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11 Aug 2010, 19:06
I was wondering whether or not it is allowed to wear earplugs during the exam.

In fact, during my first TOEFL attempt I got constantly distracted by the people around me, during even the reading (somehow some people skip the first sections and start talking 5 minutes after the test begins).

I was thinking about using earplugs during the reading section, and also during the listening (and increasing the volume).

Do you know if the test center will allow me to do that?
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11 Aug 2010, 19:22
The test center staff used to give them out back in the day.
Ask. They should have earplugs to give you (you can bring yours too but most likely they won't let you use them).
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Current Student
Joined: 12 Apr 2010
Posts: 459
Location: Spain
Schools: Chicago (Booth) - Class of 2013
GMAT 1: 740 Q50 V40
WE: Information Technology (Investment Banking)
Followers: 37

Kudos [?]: 336 [0], given: 151

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14 Aug 2010, 05:35
Just in case that helps, I've taken the test today and I've worn earplugs all the time.

Thankfully I did that because it was the worst test room, organization, etc I've ever seen in my experience doing these kind of exams (toefl(2), toeic, french exams, gmats, etc).

No separations between desks and we were like 30 guys in a very small room. My elbows were almost touching the guys next to me. I had direct view to the guy in front of me, and the guy next to him, and so on. Half of the headphones didn't work and while some guys were trying to concentrate in the reading passages, the others were shouting "describe the city you live in, describe the city you live in, DESCRIBE THE CITY YOU LIVE IN!!!" louder and louder. No luck, they didn't work guys. In fact, they seemed from 1980s. I saw 3 guys doing the exam in CRTs screens that remembered me my old 486 computer.

Honestly, it was like doing the exam in a McDonalds.

And that's not all, the exam was scheduled to start at 9 AM, and at 8:30 we were already grouped next to the room door, but we were outdoors! you know this is Hong Kong, 32 degrees and 98% humidity. The guy was calling one by one and by the time I entered the room it was 9:30! and I was sweating like if I were in my way to finish a Marathon. And then, the freeze with full power air conditioning.

I didn't ask if I could use earplugs as I was expecting a negative answer and I wasn't going to risk my entire exam. There were no cameras, and the ONLY guy there was always busy trying to find headphones working. So I decided to put my earplugs, forget about the world and focus on the exam.

Really, what an experience! but no doubt the earplugs saved my exam.
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14 Aug 2010, 13:36
Thanks for the feedback! How did you do?

Also, is this the same test center as for the GMAT? If yes, could you post a quick review of the test center here? review-gmat-test-centers-96476.html#p742825
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Current Student
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14 Aug 2010, 21:38
The exam was OK.. hopefully I'll get more than 104 (Chicago's minimum).

It wasn't the same test center. In fact the GMAT Hong Kong test center is good.

But the two times I took the TOEFL here were both in High Schools' classrooms. The first was OK, but yesterday's was horrible.
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28 Aug 2010, 05:02
Earplugs are very helpful during the test I've taken TOEFL today and during the speaking section I hardly heard even my voice ) it was crazy )
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30 Aug 2010, 10:52
With candidates sitting next to each other and taking the speaking section there is significant noise around. My exam center provided earplugs.
Getting earplugs definitely helps.
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05 Sep 2010, 06:01
My exam center didn't provide ear plugs. I suggest to bring you own. In the worst case they will provide with ear plugs and you won't be able to use your own. In my case, I really suffered from the "Describe your city" effect!..
when I asked for earplugs they told me to use the headphones as earplugs.. you can guess that it is far from being any good..
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05 Sep 2010, 07:20
rafi wrote:
My exam center didn't provide ear plugs. I suggest to bring you own.

Hmm.. I wrote a couple of certifications exams and GRE at the prometric center near my house. I took the Toefl at an ETS exam center. Prometric especially was very particular about what we carry into the exam room. I had nausea when I gave an exam and wanted to take a small cotton ball with some lavender oil to make me feel better. But, they said that, it is not allowed in the exam hall.

So, I doubt if they would allow us to carry ear plugs.
If they do, it is definitely advisable to bring your own for the Toefl.
Current Student
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Location: Spain
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Kudos [?]: 336 [0], given: 151

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05 Sep 2010, 07:27
I think it really depends on the exam center. As I commented, in the last exam I took no one was controlling anything (not even cameras) and I put my own earplugs without asking anyone
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10 Sep 2010, 02:48
I used earplugs and actually very happy about it.

The administrator was a bit confused and thought that I had never tried toefl before

but be sure to buy good earplugs. I bought the ones made by american company for about 8 \$ - minor investment

and also try it out before the exam - it is very importnant to use them properly.
Re: Earplugs during TOEFL   [#permalink] 10 Sep 2010, 02:48
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# Earplugs during TOEFL

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