Students can take the TOEFL and GRE tests at home due to COVID-19. Source: JULIETTE JOCARD/AFP

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) recently announced that students who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to take the TOEFL and GRE tests at home.

TOEFL is a standardised test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enrol in English-speaking universities, while the GRE is an admissions test for entry into graduate schools in the US and Canada. 

But what are some of the nitty-gritty details that students ought to be aware of? Here’s what you need to know:

Are both the TOEFL and GRE tests the same as those taken at a test centre?

ETS may have opened up at-home testing solutions for the TOEFL iBT test and GRE General Test, but they are “identical in content, format, on-screen experience and scoring” to those taken at a test centre. 

Get testing updates by region here.

Where are the tests available?


As long as you have a computer and stable Internet connection, you are good to go. Source: Olivier Douliery/AFP

The tests can be taken online at home, unless you are in mainland China or Iran.

ETS notes that in Mainland China, they are working closely to accommodate test-takers impacted by cancellations, including adding test dates once regular testing resumes. ETS is also working to offer at-home testing in Iran as soon as possible.

How secure is it to take these tests at home?

ETS is taking measures to ensure its safety, noting that these tests employ multiple best-in-class security measures that use both real-time human monitoring and artificial intelligence technology.

For instance, ProctorU is used to monitor students while they are taking the TOEFL or GRE from start to finish to maintain test security.

“We understand the challenges that our test-takers are facing worldwide and are pleased to now offer an option to safely test at home without compromising the integrity of our tests,” said Srikant Gopal, Executive Director of the TOEFL Program, in a statement.

“ETS prides itself on its test security measures, and this solution is consistent with those self-imposed high standards, which are relied upon by institutions around the world who trust that these tests provide an accurate picture of an applicant’s abilities.”

When are the tests available?

ETS notes that “Students have an opportunity to select from numerous test times each week to find a time that is most conducive to their schedules. Registration is currently open for test dates through June 2020.” 

They will continue to assess the situation to determine whether additional test dates will be added.

How can you register for the TOEFL or GRE?

Those who are interested to register for a TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test can sign in or create an ETS account here.  

To register for the at-home option for the GRE General Test, students can sign in or create an ETS account here.  

Once logged in, select and pay for your test, and upon doing so, you will receive an email from ProctorU with instructions on how to schedule your test date and time.

Click here for more details on the TOEFL iBT test and here for the GRE General Test.

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