So I took the TOEFL today, and I was completely shocked by the superfluous security they had set up at the test centre. In India, Prometrix conducts the TOEFL, GRE and a bunch of other ETS tests. I thought it was going to be just like the SAT, show your Passport and registration number, and walk in and start the test. The only difference was that there would be a computer screen instead of the OMR sheet. But my initial thoughts were completely annihilated by what I witnessed before I started the test. Firstly, they kept repeating announcements and important notices to people who kept coming into the small room, full of undergrad students (I’m SO PROUD of being the only PROSPECTIVE undergrad student!!!). When I checked in, they gave me a confidentiality form to sign, and a key to a locker in which I could store my belongings. The next thing really caught me off guard, they asked all of us to remove our watches, handkerchiefs, money and anything else they could think of. That’s some pretty impressive security! Then they called us in to ANOTHER security room where they performed the most extensive security check I’ve ever encountered in my life, I mean that includes airport security, EVEN AMERICAN AIRPORT SECURITY! They took my passport, asked me to confirm my full name and date of birth (Quite unnecessary and pointless), then they made me pull up my jeans and open up my socks, turned out my pockets (even the little mini-pocket where one keeps coins), dragged up my sleeves, opened up my collar and checked my palms (still trying to figure out that one). Although completely over-extensive, I was really impressed with the professionalism with which the staff carried out their duties. It was only then I was able to come to terms with the $165 that my dad paid for the test.
What I want to say now is, what can’t the SAT do with this kind of security? Surely there are an approximately equal number of SAT and TOEFL test takers every year, so I don’t think the cost can affect everyone. If they can increase the cost of the SAT, they can improve the security of the test and make up for the innumerable controversies involved with it.
See you next week!!