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Should you take home based GRE test?

What is home-based GRE?

A Home-based GRE test is recently introduced by ETS mainly due to the cancellation of the center-based GRE test, which many students would have planned to take, due to the COVID 19 pandemic. ETS has introduced this safe and convenient option for students who are unable to take the test at a test center due to public health concerns. ETS is taking every precaution to ensure that test delivery and administration meet the usual high standards. So, you can effectively make use of this lockdown period for GRE preparation and test-taking.


Home-based GRE test is identical in content, format, and on-screen experience to those taken at a test center. The one major benefit is you feel you are less nervous. And the major drawback is you cannot use papers or notebook for doing rough work, for security reasons. 

(For the rough work you need to use a whiteboard or transparent sheets which can be erased after using).


Are there any specific requirements?

ETS has set forth the Equipment and Environment requirements ( along with some stringent rules and regulations to be maintained. Make sure to do a complete checklist for both the equipment and the test environment before registering for the home test. If the requirement is not met, do not register.


What are the things, apart from the requirements, to be considered while planning for home-based GRE?

Certainly, this is a new module and those students who plan to take this home-based GRE need to be meticulous observant of the requirements. The following are some of the things that you need to look out for.

  • Ambiance: Even if you fulfill the specific requirements from the ETS, you should still be cautious to get a go. You have to ensure uninterrupted electricity, internet, and a noise-free environment. Most of us cannot guarantee the silent atmosphere in a home equivalent to what the test centers do. Also, you cannot guarantee electricity and Wi-Fi stability unless you have some better connection services.

  • Booking: Booking the GRE test is the first step to taking the GRE. And there is a slight change in the procedure to book for, as compared to the center-based test. Previously, you were able to select a date and pay the fee in ETS. Home-based GRE first requires you to pay the amount and the proctor will send you the email through which you can book the date and time. This means you are still unable to schedule the test date before the payment.

Can I cancel the Home test after I booked an appointment?

Yes, you can cancel a GRE General Test at home after you booked an appointment. But for that, you must cancel at least four days in advance of your test date to receive a partial refund, which is the standard GRE General Test cancellation policy.


Would I be allowed to leave the room in breaks as in a center-based test?

Fortunately, Yes. Initially for a few tests, may be proctors themselves were confused about the privacy of the test and thus the initial test-taking students were not allowed the permission. But now the breaks have been allowed for some minutes.

Does the score show the testing module?

GRE home testing score is as same as the usual GRE. The score report will not indicate how the test was delivered.

Are there any other Pros and Cons of taking at-home GRE?

There are no basic differences between these two modules in terms of questions, difficulty, or the experimental sections that you’ll face in the real test. Also, the time for the official result will remain the same. If anyone could point out any differences between these two modules, it could only be the technical things. Yet, the advantages and disadvantages of both modules exist. Below are some advantages and disadvantages of taking at-home GRE.


  • The first advantage itself your safety. You’ll not have to go out in this pandemic with the pressure of the exam in your head. You are safe from the COVID 19 when you are at your home.

  • You are always less nervous and more assured when you have no-one physically around. This could help you to maintain the peace of mind, which could ultimately bolster your overall GRE performance.

  • There are more wide dates and time slots available for the bookings, as in center-based it could have been limited.


  • You’ll have to do all the calculations either on a transparent paper and marker or on a whiteboard with a marker, this may annoy you because of its heaviness or the bold point of marker.

  • You’re constantly monitored online by a trained human proctor from start to finish. This may distract the test taker several times even if he is hidden from your main screen.

  • If the proctor finds anything suspicious activities around, he can cancel the entire exam at any moment (even if he has no confirmation for that).


HSP experts suggestions on whether you should take a Home-based test or not?

It really depends on you. If your answer to the following questions are all yes, you can definitely consider it.

Do you fulfill the requirements?

Do you have a reasonably silent room to take a 4-hour long exam?

Can you ensure the technical stability?

For those who have completed the preparation and now are ready for the real test; and cannot wait for the test centers to open up, the home-based GRE is best in terms of your confidence. You are unlikely to get any better comfort-zone in any test center that matches your own home or your independent room. We would recommend you to have a bit of practice in the transparent paper or on a whiteboard (smaller one) with a marker for some days before the test, for your convenience. Having said that, if you live in a limited accommodation or shared room, please drop the idea of taking the home-based GRE.

For those who have just started the test preparation or those who have set a lofty GRE target, please make sure you have adequate preparation in the first place before thinking about the test center. We recommend you to make this pandemic into a productive period. Be the regular subscriber of Higher Study Prep and get the perfect preparation for the GRE test by becoming our premium member. And, after a few months you can revisit this article: Should you take home based GRE test? We have to see if ETS will continue delivering home-based testing even after COVID 19 recedes and the lockdown is lifted.

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