One week after the first group of prospective students took the GRE in the comfort of their own homes, the Educational Testing Service today said its at-home version will now be available in virtually every part of the world. For the first week, test takers could only take the GRE in nine countries.
ETS said the at-home solution is now available everywhere the computer-delivered GRE general test is normally available, with the exception of Mainland China and Iran. In Mainland China, ETS is working closely with NEEA to accommodate test takers impacted by test cancellations, including adding test dates once regular testing resumes. ETS is working to offer at-home testing in Iran as soon as possible.
Initially, ETS made the at-home option available 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.
‘SEVERAL THOUSAND HAVE TAKEN THE AT-HOME GRE SO FAR. WE HAVE PLENTY OF CAPACITY THROUGH JUNE’
According to ETS, students have an opportunity to select from numerous test times each week to find a time that is most conducive to their schedules. Registration is currently open for test dates through June 2020. ETS will continue to assess the situation to determine whether additional test dates will be added.
While some potential test takers have told Poets&Quants they have had difficulty registering for the test, a spokesperson for ETS said that “several thousand” people have already registered for the at-home test, many from the U.S. “We have plenty of capacity now through June,” said ETS’ Allyson M. Norton told Poets&Quants.
Admission consultants praised the move. “Obviously this is huge,” said Linda Abraham, founder of accepted.com, a leading MBA admissions consulting firm. “For internationals, while they have the option of taking the GRE now, the almost global availability will have greater impact outside the U.S.for Round 1 of next year. Difficulty in acquiring a visa may hamper international applicants efforts to join the MBA class of 2022 even with all the new deadlines. We can hope that visa processing will resume and borders will open for the Class of 2023.”
FEW DETAILS ON AT-HOME GMAT WHICH IS STILL EXPECTED IN MID-APRIL
Meantime, the Graduate Management Admission Council is targeting mid-April for the launch of its at-home GMAT exam. But GMAC has offered no details about the test or when prospective students will be able to take it.
The at-home GRE test is conducted through artificial intelligence technology and the use of live human remote proctoring. ETS says its at-home testing solutions are identical in content, format, on-screen experience, scoring and pricing as the TOEFL iBT test and GRE taken at a test center. Every test feature that students would expect in the test center — such as the ability to preview, skip questions, review and change answers on the GRE General Test, and the ability to view Reading and Listening scores at the end of the TOEFL iBT test — is available to test takers at-home.
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).
‘TEST TAKERS CAN EXPECT THE SAME VALID AND RELIABLE TESTS AT HOME’
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%.
“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.”
ETS said it is taking every precaution to ensure that the tests students will take from home meet the highest standards for validity, reliability and security. These tests employ multiple best-in-class security measures that use both real-time human monitoring and artificial intelligence technology.
“We understand the challenges that our test takers are facing worldwide and are pleased to now offer an option to safely test at home without compromising the integrity of our tests,” added Srikant Gopal, executive director of the TOEFL® Program in a statement. “ETS prides itself on its test security measures, and this solution is consistent with those self-imposed high standards, which are relied upon by institutions around the world who trust that these tests provide an accurate picture of an applicant’s abilities.”
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.