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GRE Study Materials. // Photo by Sophia Galvez

By Sophia Galvez

The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE), a standardized test used by universities to assess a student’s readiness for graduate school, will be offered online by Educational Testing Services until June 30.

“[Educational Testing Services] is offering the GRE test online until we [the Western testing center] are open for testing,” said Karen Bade, Western’s Testing Center manager.

Currently, test dates for the GRE General Test at home are available through June 30, said Chrystal Molnar, the senior director of Global Higher Education for Educational Testing Services.

“Due to the impacts of COVID-19, we launched the GRE General Test at home so that

impacted test takers could test in a secure, safe location,” Molnar said.  

Bade said the test will be identical in content, length, format and on-screen experience to those taken at the testing center.  

The at-home GRE General Test is also identical in content, price and scoring to the in-person GRE, Molnar said.

“Test takers can expect the same features of the usual testing experience, including the ability to preview, skip questions and go back, review and change answers and access unofficial scores immediately upon test completion,” Molnar said. 

The difference is the test candidate must use their own computer, Bade said. The test will be monitored by a human proctor and artificial intelligence technology.

Students looking to take the GRE should expect a testing experience similar to those who took the test in person.

Haley Sefi-Cyr, a Western alumna who graduated winter quarter in environmental science, took the GRE in person just before the test went online. 

“I think I would be even more stressed by [a proctor] watching me the whole time rather than just taking it at the testing center,” Sefi-Cyr said. 

Molnar said if test takers choose not to take the at-home test, they can reschedule to a later in-person date or receive a refund. Test takers can choose from test times every Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday until June 30, which allows a date and time that fits into their schedules.

GRE subject tests are offered up to three times a year. Registration for the 2020-21 testing

year will open in July, and the next scheduled Subject Test administration will be in

September, Molnar said.

“The security of the GRE General Test at home was a priority to [Educational Testing Services] when developing this solution,” Molnar said.

The level of security for this solution is comparable to the in-person GRE General Test, Molnar said. 

Educational Testing Services is partnering with ProctorU, an organization that provides human proctors for online tests, which will provide proctors to insure academic honesty by monitoring test takers via live video for the GRE General Test at home. 

Online tests are monitored by a proctor who completes a comprehensive security check, an ID review, a test-environment scan, videotapes each test from start to finish and cancels the test results if cheating attempts are identified, Molnar said. 

“That sounds almost more stressful, because if they feel suspicious about anything they might assume you’ve cheated,” Sefi-Cyr said.

Educational Testing Services will continue to assess the situation to determine if test dates will be added beyond June, Molnar said. Test takers interested in registering for the GRE General Test at home are encouraged to secure their seat, she said.

“Due to the current circumstances stemming from COVID-19, [Educational Testing Services] worked quickly to identify a solution that would enable test takers to meet time-sensitive deadlines to continue their educational journeys, while simultaneously providing institutions continuity in making fair and informed admissions decisions,” Molnar said.


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