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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.