just sharing my recent and very "fresh!" experience at the test center in New York. (Took a test 3 hours ago....)
During the listening section, one of the staffs came to my test booth and interrupted me with some body language that I couldn't understand while listening to the test with the headphone on. I suddenly felt disturbed and lost focus as soon as her "improper and careless" manner approached me. It took me more than just a second to pull myself back together and indicated her with my hand waving sign that I was in the middle of something very important. She soon went away and left me with great angst. Due to a lack of listening comprehension in the lecture when she intervened, I had no context information and sadly was not able to answer some questions forth fully as I should. Later on, I was able to catch her message that she wanted me to lower the volume; a very absurd and undeserved reason to cut in when a test taker is taking a test.
According to the test instruction, test takers are able to adjust the voice to whichever level of volume the computer allows them to. And to my understanding, my volume at the time the staff interrupted wasn't at the maximum capacity.
After the test, I spoke to Test Center Manager and let her know the problem. She assured me that she would write a report on this which I felt skeptical. So, I wrote to ETS TOEFL Email as well in hope they could do something about this. I expect there will be some damage on my score due to this event and if my guts is right, I know my lost scores won't be returned. My malaise has now turned into exasperation at this point that I would like to request a proper action from ETS and TOEFL toward this misconduct.
I hope and pray that my score on listening part, some of which that I missed because of this interruption, would be acceptable. I also hope and pray that I don't have to come back and retake the test again and if I have to, I truly hope and pray that I will not experience this unprofessional manner ever again. I would appreciate if they do a further investigation for a better improvement and for the sake of the future TOEFL test takers who invest their already frugal $170 on this test.
That's very rude of them. Anyway, what was your exam location a school, prometric center or other institution. Sometimes prometric test centers are more strict.
My friend also experience that here in Canada. The ETS response is that "there is a feedback that they will be sending in your email and that's where you can give your feedback about the test center". I know that is just for research or some study but just send that report anyway.
Don't expect ETS to do something with your complain because they will just take it as a bad feedback to that test center.
Anyway, I hope you will still get the score you needed. Sometimes those who have bad experience in the exam are the people who have high scores. Just be positive and and continue to hope for the best.
My experience a bit different ... today NY also. Just when I was about to prepare for my answer, in the speaking section, the screen went blank. I thought it was power cut and waved for help. A man came to help and only moved the mouse to get the screen back - it was on "Screen Saver" ... I was so panicked and confused... forgot my note I prepared during the question and paused several time in between and sigh... I wrote to ETS about this but do you know if they will consider??
Also the test center, I can here the phone rings and staff conversation. Can they?
I also took a test the next day... same location but much better. Made sure to move the mouse regularly and it was kidda camfortable because the staffs were friendly and felt at ease - Elmhurst ... but that screen saver will going to cost me for sure