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GRE at Home: Frequently Asked Questions

gre at home online test graduate admissions

Students wanting to take the GRE General Test as part of the admissions process to graduate school can now do so online.

The GRE test was moved online so prospective students could take the test from the comfort of their own home while test centers remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new format of the GRE has led to lots of questions from students. We’ve answered some of the most frequently asked below.

Is the registration fee for the at-home test the same as the traditional format?

Yes, it’s US$205 for both.

How long does it take to get GRE results?

Your official scores will be available in your ETS Account and sent to the institutions you designated approximately 10–15 days after your test date.

Will the at-home version of the GRE be available after the pandemic?

This is still to be decided.

What if I have a power cut, network failure, or the internet drops during the at-home GRE test?

If you have technical issues immediately before your test, contact ProctorU via the Live Chat feature in your ProctorU account. If you have a technical issue during your test that prohibits you from speaking to the proctor, call ProctorU at 1-855-772-8678 for assistance.

Should there be a major interruption, the test taker would be offered a free retest through ETS.

What are the room conditions for the exam? And how do you check this is compliant?

Once students pass the equipment check, their environment will be checked by the proctor to ensure the room you take the exam in is safe and secure room and meets ETS’s high standards of security.

How does the score select option work?

At the end of the exam, you’ll be prompted on whether or not you want to report your scores. If you do, you’ll see your unofficial verbal and quantitative scores and be able to designate the universities that you want to send your official scores to be sent off to your university of choice.

How should I start my preparation and how long should I prepare for it?

ETS recommends six months of test preparation, but the average student usually starts prep about 90 days prior to administration.

How do you make sure no one cheats during the test?

ProctorU trains diligent proctors, so any attempt to cheat can be detected immediately.

ETS also uses AI technology that determines if a student tries to open up an unauthorized browser such as Google or if they try to download any unauthorized software.

Any attempt to do something malicious will be detected immediately and the exam will be terminated immediately.

A video will also be recorded during your entire test session.

Can students use paper or notes during the exam?

ETS allows students to take notes with an erasable marker on either a whiteboard or a blank sheet of paper, visible through a transparent sheet protector.

Notes need to be erased in view of the proctor in their entirety before the end of the exam for security purposes.

When will the at-home GRE be available until?

The test is offered around the clock Friday through Monday until June 30 2020, and seven days a week from July 1 through to September 30 2020.

Can you retake the GRE if your scores aren’t high enough?

Students can take the exam once every 21 days, no more than five times in any continuous, rolling 12-month period.

Is there a link to get a mock test for the GRE?

ETS recommends using its own websites and materials, especially the free POWERPREP® Online which provides sample test questions, information, and various resources to prepare for the exam.

Where can the GRE test be taken?

The GRE is a worldwide exam, and currently, wherever physical tests were administered, the at-home version is available – excluding Mainland China and Iran, but ETS is working with both governments to see if they can move forward with offering testing in those countries.

For how many years is the exam valid? or is it valid for all your life?

The GRE scores is valid for five years from the date of administration.

Could you explain the adaptive nature of the GRE?

The test is adaptive by section. It’s the only exam right now with a test taker friendly design.

Test takers can navigate freely within sections, skip questions, mark answers, come back to them if they’re not sure on the answers, and there’s also a review screen that lets them see questions they've answered.

Once you complete your first verbal and your first quantitative section, it will determine the difficulty level of the next verbal and quantitative section. How well you do on the first verbal and quantitative sections will determine the difficulty level of the next.

You can review the scoring process on the website which will walk you through the scoring method.

Will universities know that I have taken the GRE at home?

Universities will only receive your score, there is no indication on the score card if you take the exam at a test center or at home.

Does GRE have negative marking?

No, points aren’t deducted for incorrect answers. ETS encourages students to make an educated guess because it will hopefully help boost their scores.

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Written by Niamh Ollerton
Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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