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Sharp Rise In Number Of GRE Test-Takers In India Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

According to data collected by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the GRE administering agency, the number of students taking the Graduate Record Examinations in India has increased in recent years. According to experts, the cause for the change in numbers could be due to ETS’s new modifications and regulations.

While the GRE’s structure and marking have remained largely unchanged throughout the years, the exam centres appear to have varied little. GRE added a ‘Test at Home’ option in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the growing trend of ‘at-home’ services.

“The GRE general test at home is identical in content, format, and on-screen experience to the exam taken at a test centre. Launched in March 2020, the GRE general test at home is a safe and convenient option for test-takers who prefer to take their exam at home rather than at a test centre. The test is monitored by a human proctor online through our vendor, ProctorU, and is available to test takers around the clock, seven days a week,”

Alberto Acereda, associate vice-president of Global Higher Education at ETS.

This additional choice appears to have benefited the test since ETS reported an increase in the number of students taking the GRE in India. The number of test-takers in India climbed from 64,333 in 2019-20 to 66,326 in 2020-21, according to the latest ETS Snapshot report. This graph depicts India’s greater acceptance of ETS’s new measures, especially given that the number of test-takers fell by 6,854 in China, 3,848 in Europe, and 12,406 in other regions and nations.

Technologies side effects:

While the technology of the ‘at-home’ option aided applicants during the pandemic years, others were concerned that test-takers would take advantage of the chance and utilise it to cheat on the eligibility exam.

ETS, on the other hand, claims to be ahead of the game.

“We use a variety of tried-and-true procedures and tactics to deter, catch, and prosecute cheaters, as well as technology to help proctors and novel post-administration analysis approaches. To maintain the integrity of our examinations, we have – and will continue to – invalidate results that we have detected as being gained unfairly,”

Acereda said.

“Not only do we complete a thorough analysis of each score prior to its official release, but in the event, we collect additional insights that contradict our initial analysis, we can (and do) cancel scores after they are officially reported to test takers and institutions. This is critical to maintaining the integrity of our assessments.”

The company is also experimenting with AI during test delivery, new statistical tools, and new approaches to detect remote access malware. Students are not permitted to use headphones or earphones throughout this exam, and must instead rely on external speakers. Furthermore, the candidate must exhibit a 360-degree view of their room, which ensures that the candidate is not in a public location and is alone when taking the test.

“Apart from this, candidates cannot take notes on regular paper. However, they can do so on a whiteboard which the proctor can see. At the end of the test, they should also erase all the notes and show it to the proctor,”

explained Tumul Buch, co-founder at Yocket.

How to increase your score?

While universities determine the ‘ideal’ score, “the average GRE score for all test takers is 151.4 in the Verbal Reasoning Section and 155.8, therefore it’s reasonable to conclude that if an average student can earn a better score than this, they’ll be able to apply to several universities and schools. However, if a student is aiming for top universities, a score of at least 160 in each area would be a safe score,” said Tarun Aggarwal, CollegeDekho’s CBO and head of Study Abroad.

Experts advise students who want to improve their GRE scores to create a study regimen and stick to it. “The key here is to find the right amount of time so that the student is neither overwhelmed nor underwhelmed,” explained Aggarwal. “Every student must analyse what they have been doing. Analysis can reveal patterns that were earlier invisible. With this new knowledge, a student can quickly identify the scope of improvement and push his GRE score.”

Candidates should also attempt as many practice papers as possible to ensure that they comprehend the exam’s pattern, and then analyse their individual performance accordingly, according to experts.

“GRE is a competitive exam and the syllabus is not essentially something completely new. Most students have studied all the concepts in their schools and colleges. So then, it all boils down to how smartly you understand the test, how much do you practice, and your performance on that day,”

said Buch.

ETS also provides a number of free resources to aid test-takers in their preparation for the GRE exam. Monthly virtual prep sessions, video presentations, and POWERPREP Online Practice Tests are just a few of the free materials available on ETS’ official website — — and may be found in the ‘prepare’ area.

What is GRE?

The GRE is a standardised test that is used to determine eligibility for admission to some of the world’s most prestigious graduate institutions and programmes. ETS has been administering this test since 1936.

Thousands of colleges in many countries accept GRE scores, including those in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Ireland, which are among the most popular destinations for Indian students.

More than 1,300 business schools throughout the world, including Harvard University, the University of Chicago, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), use this score to determine eligibility for master’s, MBA, and other professional programmes.

Legal Disclaimer: This article is provided for information purposes only.

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