As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many GRE testing facilities have closed, so ETS has made the GRE available online. Consequently, examinees can now take the online version of this exam on a PC or laptop in the comfort of their own home. This at-home testing is available anywhere the GRE test is usually available except for only some international locations.
An increasing number of graduate school programs have waived the GRE requirement as part of their admission process because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, an online or at-home version of the GRE test became available for examinees as an alternative to taking it at the test centers.
The list of graduate schools who waived the GRE because of the pandemic can be found below:
List of Graduate Schools that Waived the GRE because of CoVid-19
Graduate Schools Waiving the GRE for all of their Programs
Only a few programs/colleges in these universities have waived the GRE requirement
These Universities Only Give GRE Waivers Under a Certain Criteria
The number of grad schools waiving the GRE test for all of their programs/schools is growing. However, some universities only have particular programs/schools that waive the GRE, and some only offer GRE waivers on a conditional basis or only if students can fulfill the specific criteria provided by the university.
Yes, GRE offered an online home test-taking option during the COVID-19 pandemic. This online version of the exam can be taken at home using a PC or laptop with a Windows or Mac operating system. It is virtually identical to the on-paper version of the GRE administered at test centers.
Read more: Home-Based GRE General Test: Taking the GRE Exam Online
Test takers can schedule appointments that may start as soon as 24 hours after registering for the GRE General Test at home, which is available 24/7, seven days a week. Those who wish to take the GRE at home must meet the Equipment and Environment Requirements set by the ETS (makers of the GRE).
Except for China and Iran, the at-home GRE can be taken wherever the computer-delivered GRE is available. Students whose appointments got canceled because of test center closures can take the at-home test. They may schedule their exams for at-home testing without incurring any rescheduling fees. However, for the examinee to take the test or receive a free reschedule, they must meet the requirements set by the ETS.
Yes, disability accommodations are available on the GRE General Test at home. Test takers who received approved accommodations such as extra breaks, screen magnification, or extended testing time from the ETS Disability Services can still obtain these accommodations when taking the GRE at home.
Read more: GRE Disability Accommodations
The score report will not indicate whether the examinee took the test at home or not. However, schools will see the examinee’s photo taken during check-in, so they will probably assume it was a GRE test taken at home. There is a very low likelihood that at-home testing will affect admissions decisions.
Yes, the GRE General Tests at home and those at standardized testing centers are similar. In online home tests, a proctor monitors the test via ProctorU, which is an online proctoring service platform. At-home GRE tests are available seven days a week and during all hours of the day.
Read more: Home-Based GRE General Test: Taking the GRE Exam Online
Some examinees taking the at-home test feel nervous about having a proctor surveilling them closely through a video camera. Others found the experience burdensome due to technical and internet problems. Nonetheless, there was also some positive feedback saying they appreciated taking the GRE test in a familiar environment or the comforts of their own home.
Test centers for the GRE have begun to reopen in some locations. In locations where test center testing is still limited, candidates have the option of taking the GRE test at home, and this is to prevent the possibility of the virus spreading.
Some GRE test centers require proof of a negative COVID-19 test from their examinees within a particular time frame to be allowed to take the exam. Hence, test takers should check the health and safety procedures and requirements of their respective test centers.
In some GRE test sites, vaccination proof may also be part of the requirement for admission to the center. Examinees must check the health and safety procedures and requirements of their designated test center before their test dates.
In the case where a prospective GRE test taker has already registered for the GRE in-person, but their test center is closed, they can take it at home instead. If they want to reschedule a test and don’t want to forfeit their test fee, they must do so no later than 4 days before their test-taking date.
The list of enhanced safety procedures implemented at test centers is as follows:
- Observing social distancing
- Mask wearing requirements for staff
- Test takers are required or permitted to wear masks (depending on local policy).
- Allowing the test takers to wear gloves
The enhanced safety procedures implemented in test centers include social distancing, wearing masks for staff and test-takers, and allowing test-takers to wear gloves. Test centers also have schedules for cleaning of high-touch surfaces and provide cleaning wipes so that test-takers may wipe down their testing area.
Yes, test takers are required to bring their masks during the GRE test day. Depending on the test center rules or local policy, the examinee may be required to wear it all the time or only some time inside the center. It is allowed to wear medical masks and cloth face coverings; masks with valves or vents are not allowed.
The test takers must bring the following things at the GRE test center:
- Valid ID. The test-taker must bring a valid ID on the test day or every time they report to the test center. They must present an ID that exactly matches the name they used upon registration. If the GRE administrator questions the ID they present, they may be required to provide a backup or supplemental ID.
- A Mask. The examinee must also bring their mask, or they will not be admitted to the testing center. They are only allowed to wear medical masks and cloth face coverings; masks with valves or vents are not allowed.
If the examinee has health-related needs or disabilities that require them to bring equipment or food inside the testing room, they must follow the accommodations request procedures of the ETS Disability Services before taking the test.
The list of prohibited items to bring during the GRE test during this pandemic is found below:
- phones, tablets, watches, wearable technology of any kind
- any other electronic, recording, listening, scanning, or photographic devices
- jewelry other than wedding and engagement rings
- clothing such as hair accessories, neckties, hats, scarves, jackets, and other personal items are subject to inspection
Before the test, test entry personnel will provide instructions to the examinees on where they should place their items. If they are unable to follow the instructions of the test center staff, they will not be allowed to take the test, and their test fee can’t be refunded.
What are the procedures and regulations during the GRE test center examination in response to Covid-19?
The procedures and regulations that must be followed at the GRE test center are as follows:
- Inside the testing room, no food and beverages are permitted.
- Tobacco and e-cigarettes are not permitted.
- No deadly weapons or firearms are allowed.
- It is prohibited to bring clothing, footwear, or ID documents that have test-related info written on them.
- Removal of footwear is not allowed in the testing room unless an inspection is asked from the test taker for usage or possession of an unapproved aid during the exam.
- Test takers must remain in the exam center building at all times during the test. They must obtain permission from the test administrator to leave the test center. Test takers may be dismissed, test fees may be forfeited, and their scores may be invalidated if they leave the test center without permission.
- Before and after the exam session, as well as any time they leave or enter the testing room, test takers may be requested to sign a test center log.
- After returning from breaks, test takers must temporarily remove their masks to allow the test center employees to verify their identity.
- If test takers bring a friend or relative with them to the test center, they will not be allowed to wait in the test center or communicate with the test taker during the test.
- Staff at the testing center will keep a close eye on the session. It includes staff moving around the testing room and entering and exiting it.
- The testing facility is being recorded.
The procedures and regulations mentioned above apply throughout the entire testing period, which starts during signing in and ends with signing out and includes breaks.