Disability Accommodations for the TOEFL, GRE and Other ETS Tests

Stack of test books and dictionaries
Find out how ETS makes the TOEFL, GRE and other tests accessible to people with disabilities - and what you need to do to access yours.

Do you plan to take the TOEFL or GRE test? You may be eligible to receive disability-related accommodations through the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which administers these and other tests. But start soon. All requests for testing accommodations must be reviewed and approved by ETS before you can schedule your test!

The information on this page will give you a general idea of what to expect. For complete details, instructions, and requirements, visit ETS' Information for Test Takers with Disabilities under Related Links.

Steps for Requesting Accommodations through ETS

In order to request disability accommodations for the TOEFL, GRE, or other tests administered by ETS, you must:

  1. Have a documented disability. ETS will explain what kinds of documentation you need to provide, if any.
  2. Start early. The application review process can take six weeks or more, so be sure to complete your request for testing accommodations well in advance of your planned test date. If you will request Braille, audio, reader, or large-print formats of your test, you should plan even earlier - these formats can take up to eight weeks to produce after approval. Note that most of the tests at ETS are brailled using contracted braille and Nemeth code for mathematics and science tests. Learn more in ETS Materials in Accessible Formats under Related Links.
  3. Register through ETS Disability Services. Test takers requesting accommodations cannot register using the online registration system.
  4. Follow the instructions in the Bulletin Supplement for Test Takers with Disabilities. This Supplement contains important contact information, registration procedures and forms, such as the Request for Nonstandard Testing Accommodations form. The Supplement is available as a PDF and screen reader version.
  5. Submit all of the necessary documentation. All materials must be submitted together or your registration will be returned to you unprocessed, which may cause your test date to be delayed. The address to which your request should be submitted is in the Supplement.
  6. Contact ETS Disability Services if you have any questions.

After you make your request, you will receive a confirmation letter within six weeks if your request is approved. Once your request is approved, you will need the voucher number and information in your confirmation letter from ETS in order to schedule your test.

Previously-Approved Accommodations

If you've already submitted a request for testing accommodations that was approved by ETS within the last two years and your documentation is still current, you may be permitted to request the same accommodations for any GRE, TOEFL, or ETS-administered test during the current year. 

Minor Accommodations or Medical Aids

Some test takers require only minor accommodations to the standard testing environment because of documented medical needs such as diabetes, epilepsy, chronic pain, or others. Minor accommodations might include special lighting, an adjustable table or chair, and/or breaks for medication or snacks. If you require minor accommodations, you must see the additional instructions in the Supplement.

Your own personal aids do not require approval for accommodations, such as your wheelchair, crutches, service animal, hearing aids, etc.

Test Scores and Reporting

ETS has discontinued flagging almost all scores for tests that are taken with accommodations. For example, if a test taker receives additional time or extra breaks, the score will no longer be flagged in the report. In rare instances, ETS will flag the score report as a “nonstandard administration” only if the test is significantly altered.

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

What it is: TOEFL measures the ability of non-native English speakers to communicate in an academic setting.

Who takes the test: Non-native English speakers who are applying to enter a college or university in the U.S. 

Format: The TOEFL is available as an Internet-based test (iBT) and as a paper-based test (PBT), which have different test sections.

  • The internet-based test (iBT) has four sections: reading, listening, speaking, and writing.
  • The paper-based test (PBT) provides testing in areas where the TOEFL iBT is not available. It does not include a speaking section.

Disability accommodations: Different accommodations may be available to test takers with disabilities depending on whether they take the iBT or the PBT. If you are not sure whether the accommodation(s) you need is available for the iBT or the PBT, please contact ETS Disability Services.

Scoring: If the TOEFL Listening section is omitted for an applicant who is deaf or hard-of-hearing, no Listening or total score will be reported. If the TOEFL Speaking section is omitted for an applicant who is deaf or hard-of-hearing, or for an applicant with a speech disability, no Speaking or total score will be reported. The score report will indicate the section that was not taken by the examinee. No other information will be provided.

For more information: Contact ETS Disability Services.

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) 

What it is: The GRE is a standardized test of verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing that measures readiness for graduate-level study.

Who takes the test: Those applying to enter graduate programs and business schools in the U.S.

Format: The GRE revised General Test is offered as a computer-based exam that includes a verbal section, quantitative section, an analytical writing section, and an unidentified experimental section. The verbal section does not require speaking or listening - in other words, test takers need not speak or hear speech in order to complete the verbal section. The quantitative section includes mathematical expressions and figures.

Disability accommodations: Accommodations may include an audiocassette recording with a tactile figure supplement for applicants who are blind or have low vision. Materials requested in Braille may contain charts and figures presented as raised line drawings, and Nemeth Code is used for mathematical expressions. Learn more in How ETS Works to Improve Accessibility.

For more information: Contact ETS Disability Services.