The Ultimate Checklist for Taking the GRE At Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic


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You’ve heard it time and again: college is not like high school. In college, you’re taught to access subjects from a critical lens, as opposed to simply memorizing important information that is deemed vital by your teachers and their set curriculums. Before you head off to graduate school to continue your education, however, you will be expected to test those highly valued critical thinking skills with the Graduate Records Examinations, or GRE.

The GRE General Test is a standardized test created and administered by the Educational Testing Service, commonly known as ETS, which has the mission to measure your overall academic readiness for graduate school. The exam is similar to the SAT college entrance exam in that it assesses competence in math, reading, and writing. Usually, the GRE can be scheduled at different sites across your town or city, whether it’d be at a local university or testing center.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic and all of its social distancing mandates, you can now take an at-home version of the GRE General Test. The test is identical in content, format, cost, and on-screen experience to the usual standardized test – meaning the only aspect that has changed is where the test is taken – ahem, your off-campus apartment!.

If you’ve been studying for the GRE and were planning to take it soon, then you might agree that taking the at-home version will keep you safe and on-schedule. Just because you’ll be taking the GRE at home doesn’t mean that you should skip making the same preparations you would for the traditional test. So, without further hesitation, here is a comprehensive checklist put together by none other than ETS that will make your at-home GRE examination as convenient and stress-free as possible. Good luck!

Equipment You Need:

  • Computer: Desktop/laptop. PC with Windows operating system version 10 or 8, or a Mac computer with Mac OS X 5 or higher.
  • Browser: Chrome or Firefox
  • Speaker: Internal or external that is not part of a headset.
  • Microphone: Internal or external that is not part of a headset.
  • Camera: Internal or external to show a 360-degree view of the room.

Registration Must-Dos:

  • Log in to your ETS account.
  • Select Register/Find Test Centers, then select the Test at Home
  • Confirm your time zone, or select the correct one.
  • Choose a test date and time.
  • Follow the directions to complete your registration and pay for your test.
  • Look for the confirmation email with a link to launch your test. Keep it safe until test day!

Before Your Test:

  • Make sure your equipment meets the technical requirements and resolve any issues prior.
  • Close all browsers and applications not needed to test to prevent bandwidth issues.
  • Have your ID and a small mirror or your mobile phone ready for check-in.
  • Make sure your testing area is private and free of people and distractions.
  • Sit at a desk or table with a standard chair. Clear the area of all items not approved for use.
  • Have your note-taking materials ready — a small whiteboard or blank sheet of paper with transparent sheet protector and erasable marker.
  • Dress appropriately. Make sure your ears and face remain visible throughout the test and do not wear jewelry, tie clips, or other accessories.

During the Exam Session:

  • At your appointment time, click the start your test URL in your registration confirmation email.
  • Complete the check-in steps with the proctor.
  • The proctor will launch the ETS Test Browser and enter the password required.
  • Expect the entire check-in process to take about 20 minutes.

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Kait Spong earned her B.A. in Creative Writing from the University of New Orleans and is on track to earn her M.A. in American Literature from the the same institution by Spring 2018. With nearly thirteen years worth of experience in creative, academic, and technical writing, Kait has immersed herself in the world of web content writing over the past two years and loves every moment of it. Outside of her career as a Digital Content Director, her hobbies and interests include literature, film, music, traveling, cooking, fitness, and technology.

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