If you’re unable to take the GRE at a test center due to the coronavirus, the Educational Testing Service is now allowing you to take the test at home. ETS announced that prospective students can take the GRE on their own computer while being monitors by a human proctor online. You can register for the new at-home test here.
The at-home option will be available starting today (March 23) in the United States, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong (China) and Macau (China) at the same cost of taking the GRE at a test center. In most countries, the cost of taking the test is $205. ETS is working toward making these at-home solutions available in additional locations in the coming weeks. Many scheduling options will be available for each test, with numerous test times each week. ETS also added an at-home option for its TOEFL language test.
“It was imperative for us to create a timely, flexible and reliable solution to allow students the opportunity to take these tests, so that they can complete time-sensitive applications that will allow them to continue on their educational journeys,” said Alberto Acereda, executive director of the Global Higher Education Division at ETS in a statement. “Test takers can expect the same valid and reliable tests that are administered in test centers from the comfort of home.”
AT HOME OPTION WILL LIKELY FURTHER BOOST GRE’S MARKET SHARE OVER GMAT
The availability of at-home testing will almost certainly boost the GRE’s use at business schools where the test has been gaining significant market share on the GMAT for several years now. According to data compiled by Poets&Quants, over the past five years, the percentage of entrants submitting GRE scores has climbed at 42 of the top 50 full-time MBA programs in the United States (see Average GRE Scores At The Top 50 Business Schools).
Last year, six schools reported that 40% or more of their enrolled MBA students submitted a GRE for admission. This year there are nine schools above 40%, including two above 60%: Tennessee Haslam leads all schools at 67%, and Texas-Dallas Jindal jumped 22 points in one year to land at 62%. Among other schools with big jumps: UNC Kenan-Flagler, which grew its GRE population from 30% to 48%; and Florida Warrington, which more than doubled its GRE submissions, from 24% to 50%.
The at-home option is just the latest in a series of innovations rolled out by ETS to more effectively compete with the GMAT exam. In turn, GMAT has often responded with changes of its own to combat the new features offered by ETS. The GMAT is expected to follow up again with this latest innovation by GRE.
AN ONLINE GMAT MAY BE AVAILABLE IN MID-APRIL
A GMAC spokesperson, Geoffrey Basye, told Poets&Quants that the organization “is actively working to launch an interim online proctored alternative to the GMAT exam to be used during the extraordinary circumstances caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, which has caused the closure of testing centers in multiple countries. This is targeted to be available in mid-April. With the exception of not having the AWA section, the test will have the same structure, number of items, time and scoring to the one delivered in test centers. Our focus is on maintaining a valid and rigorous assessment, with the relevant security practices and protocols in place, to evaluate a candidates’ ability to succeed in a graduate school business program. ”
Basye added that GMAC will “prioritize the availability of the alternative assessment as we seek to support test takers and schools in all impacted markets, outside of mainland China. GMAC is continuing to work with the Chinese government authorities to present appropriate alternative solutions for test-takers in mainland China. In light of the current unprecedented situation, this interim alternative will be offered at a lower price point than our current exam.”
GMAC increased the cost to take its GMAT exam by $25, or 10%, on Feb. 4th of this year. The cost to sit for the exam rose to $275 from $250. It was the first price increase in North America in 15 years. The boost in price made the GMAT cost $70 more than the rival $205 Graduate Record Examination.
ETS WILL EMPLOY HUMAN PROCTORS TO MONITOR GRE TEST TAKERS AT HOME
During the new at-home GRE, a human proctor will watch you via video camera and your computer screen to ensure you follow all testing procedures. The entire test session will be recorded and a photo of the test taker will be taken. The photo from the test session will be made available in the ETS® Data Manager as part of a person’s score record to their target institutions.
There are six sections with a 10-minute break following the third section and one-minute breaks between the remaining sections. “You are required to remain in your seat for the one-minute breaks,” according to ETS. “You are allowed to leave your seat during the 10-minute break. If you do not return on time, your test will be canceled and your fee will not be refunded. Unscheduled breaks during the at-home test are not allowed.”
At the end of the test, you will be given the option to report or cancel your scores. If you choose to report your scores, you will be able to view unofficial Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning scores. Because of the essay scoring process, you will not be able to view your Analytical Writing scores at the end of your test.
STUDENTS CAN TAKE THE GRE ONCE EVERY 21 DAYS UP TO FIVE TIMES IN A 12-MONTH PERIOD
ETS said that prospective students can take the GRE General Test once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period (365 days). This applies even if you canceled your scores on a test taken previously.
To take advantage of the at-home test, students must use a desktop or laptop computer with a Windows operating system, versions 10, 8, 7, Vista™ or XP. The GRE test cannot be taken on a Mac computer or on an iOS operating system.
ETS said test takers must use an internal or external microphone and a speaker that is not part of a headset to communicate with the proctor. Headsets and wireless earphones are not allowed. And your computer’s camera must be able to be moved to show the proctor a 360-degree view of the room, including your tabletop surface, before the test.
MUST BE ALONE IN A ROOM TO TAKE THE AT-HOME GRE
ETS also noted that prospective students must be alone in a room with no one else entering during the test. Testing in a public space such as a park, internet cafe or restaurant is not allowed. You must sit in a standard chair and your tabletop and surrounding area must be clear. Food and drink are not allowed during the test.
The test administrator is also placing a series of restrictions on both the clothing and appearance of test-takers. “Your ears must remain visible throughout the test, not covered by hair, a hat or other items,” according to ETS. “You must be dressed appropriately for your test. You will be monitored via camera by the proctor, and your photo will be shared with institutions that receive your scores. Avoid wearing such items as jewelry, tie clips, cuff links, ornate clips, combs, barrettes, headbands, and other hair accessories.”
Test takers also are not allowed to take notes on regular paper, though the ETS is allowing students to take notes on a whiteboard with an erasable marker or on paper with a “transparent sheet protector and erasable marker.”
To register for a TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test, students can sign in or create an ETS account by visiting www.ets.org/mytoefl, and to register for the at-home option for the GRE General Test, students can sign in or create an ETS account by visiting www.ets.org/mygre. Once logged in, students can select and pay for their test, and upon doing so will receive an email from ProctorU with instructions on how to schedule their test date and time.