The coronavirus outbreak has thrown abroad education into a loop. Standardized tests across the world are canceled and postponed, be it GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL, or GRE. With the increasing number of coronavirus cases, it is unknown when the centers will conduct these tests in person. Students, however, cannot afford to lose time and money as the admission deadlines are closeby. To solve this problem, the agencies that conduct these tests have prepared for students to take the same now sitting at home albeit with some strict rules and conditions.
The Graduate Management Admission Council that conducts GMAT has rolled out the GMAT Online Exam for students who are working to apply to B-school and meet the application deadlines. Students can take the GMAT Online Test starting from 20th April 2020 until 15th June 2020. Registering and scheduling the exam is made easy by the agency as the appointments for the exam are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The online test is available in every country, with the exception of Mainland China, Sudan, Cuba, Iran, Slovenia, and North Korea. To register for the test, the students have to make an account on the website MBA (dot) com and search for available time and date. The cost of the examination is USD 200. Students also have the option to reschedule or cancel the exam. The agency has not given the option of retesting, that is the student can take the Online Test only once. However, this online test will not count towards the students’ yearly or lifetime exam attempt limits and the scores will be valid for 5 years. The structure of the exam has also been changed as it only includes the Quantitative, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning Sections. The Analytical Writing Assessment Section has been omitted. The section order is fixed with the same number of questions as was in the in-person test. The Online test will also use the same scoring algorithm and score scale for the Section Score and the Total score as were used in the test center-based version. These scores will be available within 7 business days of taking the test. The duration of the test is approximately 3 hours with an optional 5-min break before the Integrated Reasoning Section. The test can be taken on a personal computer with a Mac or Windows operating system. However, the agency has given out certain system requirements, which the students should read before registering for the test.
On fairly similar lines, the British Council has rolled out IELTS Indicator, “created to help students keep their education goals on track during the COVID-19 crisis”. Universities can use these test scores as an indicator of the student’s English proficiency while the test centers are closed. The test has four sections – Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. The speaking section will be conducted separately before or after the scheduled test. It will be delivered online once a week at a fixed time and therefore, the students are advised to start the test on time. The duration of the test is approximately 2 hours 45 minutes, which includes the sections Reading, Writing, and Listening. The time window of the test is strictly controlled and the sections are time-bound. That is the student cannot pause the test at any given time. The test matches the format of the in-person IELTS test. However, students should note that this test is not a substitute for the in-person IELTS Test and therefore, the students will have to check the universities where these scores are accepted as the test provides an “indicative” score only. The scores of the same will be available within 7 days of taking the test. Once the in-person testing resumes, the test-taker may have to take the test at a testing center to meet the requirements of the university or the institute. The British Council has also listed the universities and institutions accepting the IELTS Indicator test on the website. To make it easy for the test-takers, the test can be taken on any desktop or a laptop with steady internet access. Other requirements include downloading the Zoom application, Safe Exam Browser, a headphone, and a working web camera. The test is priced at USD 149 and students can retake the test if they wish to. However, this test is available only for a limited time, that is till the testing centers are shut.
As most countries are reeling under the effects of the virus, it is unknown when these standardized tests will be conducted in testing centers. It would be sensible to take advantage of the online test taking facility and not delay the admission applications further. GyanDhan, an education-focused financing platform, has been helping students with the latest COVID-19 updates from various abroad universities. Along with updates from universities, they have been working hard to get new information related to abroad admissions. Read their blog on GRE and TOEFL Home Testing here to know about how GRE and TOEFL are being conducted at home.