Many Chinese who took the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test were informed that their results would be delayed or permanently withheld.
The Beijing-based newspaper Mirror reported on Sunday that results of many examinees in Changsha, Hunan Province and Nanjing, Jiangsu Province have been delayed.
A student surnamed Sun from Qingdao, Shandong Province, who took the test on July 25, told the Global Times on Monday that she was informed by the British Council on August 11, which administers the IELTS test, that her "test results will not be released and a test report will not be issued."
The British Council accused her of "breaching IELTS test rules and regulations," without further explanation.
Sun is not the only one informed. An online group formed by Sun for some 130 IELTS examinees on the Chinese social media application WeChat showed that 110 students, most of whom took the test in August from across China, were told they would not get their test results without further explanation.
According to test regulations, results are generally issued by the British Council 13 days from the time the test is taken.
The British Council has also delayed the release of test results to many Chinese examinees who took the test in August due to "routine checks," according to an e-mail the institution sent to another examinee surnamed You.
"The results of more than 70 percent of examinees taking the test in August were under investigation, most of them have not received their results yet," You told the Global Times.
Routine checks are conducted every year, but a check on such a large scale is quite rare, an IELTS trainer at Global Education, a Beijing-based English training center, told the Global Times on condition of anonymity. "The exams may have been leaked," he added.
"I cannot get the results before the application deadline of British universities," an examinee surnamed Liu from Changsha told the Global Times. The British Council has not responded to an interview request from the Global Times as of press time. It told the Mirror they have concrete proof that the withheld results are inconsistent with their true language competence.