GRE & TOEFL To Be Available Online In The Wake Of Covid-19

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As the world continues to battle the deadly respiratory COVID-19 virus, as an aspiring study abroad graduate you must be getting used to the new normal of ‘social distancing’   and ‘lockdown’-  in essence spending more time at home studying and contemplating on your TOEFL, GRE and graduate admission journey.

While universities continue to remain shut, the closure of test centers and suspension of TOEFL and GRE   must have added to the uncertainty that you are experiencing currently.  While you may be wondering if your test preparations have come to naught, there is absolutely no need to feel bogged down by the prevailing circumstances, as Educational Testing Service (ETS), the governing body of TOEFL and GRE has facilitated Special Home Edition testing for all those students affected by the closure of test centers.

What does this At Home testing mean?    

While under the normal circumstances you may have had to book a test center well in advance and commute to the center to take your TOEFL and GRE, the ‘at home’ test will enable you to appear for your language and entrance tests from the comfort of your home. You can avail of this online facility from April 2, 2020, till the time it gets safe to re-open the test centers.

As you would be dealing with an exceptional situation in unprecedented times, it is important for you to weigh the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ of taking the tests remotely-so that you are not only intellectually equipped but also psychologically prepared.


At home test offers you the following advantage :

1. You can cover up for the time lost owing to test cancellation

2. You can save on the commute time to the test center

3. You can make the most of the flexibility and convenience that taking the test from the confines of your home offers


How does this ‘at home’ test compare with the regular test?

1. Firstly, you need to ensure that the ‘at home’ test is available in your country and your computer meets the equipment requirements for the test.This will include installing ETS Test Browser, Procter U systems check, and a conducive environment

2. You can subsequently register by creating/ signing with an ETS account and make the due payment. You will receive an email link from ProcterU instructing you about the steps to schedule your test date and time. It is important to note that your registration would not be  valid until you schedule an appointment

3. Please note that you cannot register via TOEFL Official App. You can schedule or cancel your test only via the website

4. You can reschedule your test from the test center to an at-home test by duly contacting ETS Test Takers. All test center appointments till June 2020 can be rescheduled to an at-home test. You can also reschedule or cancel your at-home test, if need be, prior to your appointment date and time.

5. While this is certainly a deviation as far as the mode of testing goes, the tests would be similar to the in-class tests in form, content, and format

6. You can prepare for the tests with the same prep materials that you have at hand and the fees would be the same as test center fees

7. The tests would be valid and reliable, in the sense that you would be monitored in real-time closely for the entire duration of the tests by invigilators and artificial intelligence technology-the leading proctoring solution for online testing.

8. Your primary identification document (ID) would be your passport. You have to ensure that your name on your ID matches the name you use for your ETS account. For Indian students only passport would be considered as the primary identification document

9. You need to use a windows desktop or laptop . You cannot use Mac,phone or tablet.You can contact ProctorU in case you face any technical glitch

10. You can retake the tests as many times as you want,but at an interval of minimum three days.You cannot reschedule your at home test to test center test

11. You will receive your test results in 6-10 days

12. You can send your test scores to four institutions at no additional cost by selecting free score recipients at the time of registration


What system requirements you need to have in place and what you should avoid doing?

1. Firstly, you should ensure that you have a secure and reliable Internet connection with adequate bandwidth offering seamless and uninterrupted connectivity for 3-4 hours

2. You need to have a web cam in place offering 360 view so that the invigilator is not only able to see you,but,also monitor your activities as you take the tests

3. You should avoid cheating at all costs such as trying to open a new window to google up answers or referring to your mobile phone

4. Avoid using the services of test-taking proxies, as your photo from your ID document would be duly matched with your face by means of facial recognition software


If you should need any help or clarification regarding the Special Home edition of testing, you can connect with us remotely, as we are committed to support, encourage and guide you through these tying times and help you adapt to the new reality.

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Collegepond April 7, 2020 0 Comments

Coronavirus – The Pandemic and the Higher Education Pandemonium

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As the world finds itself entangled in the rapidly spreading Covid-19 pandemic with the resulting travel restrictions that the alarming situation has caused, students across the globe are experiencing a sense of uncertainty. Following gruelling hours of test preparations and tedious application processes, most students were awaiting their admits with bated breath when the virus raised its ugly head. Travel restrictions also raised questions concerning the timely commencement of the next intake. Amid such uncertainties, the epidemic, which has now been declared by the WHO as a pandemic, is being viewed as an impediment threatening to dampen students’ international education experience. The situation demands closer scrutiny, and our research has led us to believe that universities are equally concerned about the situation as the students.

Universities, especially those without state or public funding, run the risk of losing out on a significant chunk of their annual revenue as a consequence of the failure in meeting enrolment targets.

A survey conducted by the Institute of International Education reveals that the scales are tilted in favour of international students. Higher education institutions in the USA are bending over backwards in adjusting their teaching methods to the current requirements. Of the more than 230 higher education institutions that responded to this survey, almost 37 percent confirmed that they were considering alternatives like ‘flexible study or distance learning, leaves of absence, refunds, or other opportunities’ owing to the fact that the Chinese students are unable to return to the campus due to travel restrictions. Around 76 percent of institutions acknowledged that student recruitment activities for the next intake would be rendered ineffective in China due to the cancellation of standardized tests. Therefore, they have started incentivizing Chinese students by offering application deadline extensions and deferrals. More on this can be read at:

Even in the UK, some of the higher learning institutions are considering extending deadlines for or waiving off the requirement for standardized tests. For instance, the London School of Economics has allowed its prospective graduate students to submit their applications without their GRE/GMAT scores. More information on this can be obtained on:

As the outbreak escalates in major US states like Washington DC, California, Florida, Georgia, and New Jersey, many prominent universities have devised elaborate academic continuity plans to ensure that ongoing courses for their currently enrolled students are on track. The following link elaborates on the efforts undertaken by institutions and professors to leverage technology in helping students complete their programs:

At the heart of using these innovative, remote teaching-learning technologies is the intention of helping students maintain their F1 status. A delay in the program completion for their current batch of students might necessitate institutions to apply for F1 extensions for a large number of their students. Universities may also need to either hire more professors or reduce the number of seats for the next intake. Nevertheless, both these options could potentially burden them financially. Therefore, the online modalities of teaching, such as MOOCs and webinars, which were earlier not considered as part of main-stream teaching methods, are now being touted as the need of the hour. Professors are now familiarizing themselves with technologies such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom for webinars. Additionally, even the US government has stepped up in its efforts to provide a sense of relief to international students.  The Student & Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) has temporarily suspended the limitations on online class hours for all current international students within the USA. More on this can be read at:

Such extraordinary measures being undertaken by educational institutions and the government highlight the fact that universities are now ready to explore previously unchartered territories to maintain their financial viability. This paradigm shift is bringing in numerous advantages for the international student community. As soon as the COVID situation subsides, universities would resume operations and expedite I-20 and other procedures with vigour. In the worst-case scenario, should travel restrictions prevent students from entering the USA for the Fall intake, there would be a high chance that the SEVP would extend its support. Students might be able to complete a considerable portion of their studies in a subsidized online mode in their home countries and still receive the benefits of the F1 visa and the OPT period once they enter the USA. In their procedural adaptations update, the SEVP has acknowledged the ‘fluid and the rapidly changing nature of the Covid-19 crisis, which seems like a ray of hope for international students.

Therefore, students must exercise patience for now and continue preparing for their visas. While, as of March 14, 2020, the embassy has canceled visa appointments in response to the declaration of national emergency in the USA, the embassy may be required to work over-time to compensate for the lost time as soon as the situation is brought under control.  Hence, in the given situation, the students should spend time in educating themselves about visa processes to minimise last minute hassles. In the current circumstances, we intend to serve our students to the best of our abilities and our team is all geared up towards resolving any visa queries that the students may have.

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Collegepond March 16, 2020 0 Comments
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