The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test designed to measure your potential for success in graduate school.
Since recently, you can take the GRE at home, in a convenient and safe environment, rather than taking it at a testing center. Here is what you should know about at-home GRE testing.
Summary of the Key Findings
- ETS now offers test-takers to take a GRE general test at home.
- Home-based GRE testing comes with stringent requirements to maintain the integrity of the exam.
- The exam itself is no different from the one given at a test center.
What is At-Home GRE Testing?
At-home GRE testing is the Educational Testing Service (ETS) method to provide safe and secure testing services for the GRE General Test. 
The test itself is the same as at a GRE testing center; only the location and scheduling of the exam are different.
Home-based GRE is convenient because you can schedule the actual test for any day and any time.
The exam is monitored through ProctorU, a service that provides a human proctor online to ensure the test-takers do not engage in any behavior considered inappropriate.
If you are thinking about taking the GRE test at home, you need to meet certain equipment requirements:
- You need a desktop or laptop computer running the Windows operating system or Mac OS to take the exam. You cannot use a tablet, mobile device, or Chromebook.
- Your Windows or Mac computer must run the Firefox or Chrome browser.
- Your computer can only have a single monitor - dual screens are not allowed.
- You must have either external or internal speakers so that you can hear the proctor. You will not be permitted to use earphones or headsets during the exam.
- You also need an internal or external microphone; it can’t be part of a headset.
- The final major technical requirement for the at-home GRE is a camera. This can either be a separate webcam or the computer’s built-in camera. The camera needs to show the proctor a full, 360-degree image of the room where you will be taking the GRE.
Once you have your equipment set up, download and install the ETS Test Browser, which allows the proctor to monitor your computer screen on the test day.
Then, run the ProctorU equipment check to verify everything meets the requirements for testing. 
This will check your bandwidth, computer, camera, speaker, and microphone function properly.
Also, it will ensure that security applications and firewalls do not interfere with the testing software.
Test Site Requirements
Here are the test site requirements you need to fulfill:
- To prevent cheating, you must be alone for the entire GRE test. It means no one can enter the room during the test, and you cannot take it in a public place.
- The computer and keyboard must rest on a flat surface such as a tabletop surface or desk, and your chair must be a standard chair - not a bed or sofa.
- The area around you must be clear of all items except those approved for the exam - you cannot have notes or study materials in the room.
- You cannot wear a face mask during the test, and your ears have to be uncovered throughout the exam. You must pull your hair back behind your ears and not wear any hat that covers them.
- Eating and drinking during the exam are forbidden.
- You should avoid wearing jewelry items, hair accessories, cufflinks, and tie clips.
- You also need to dress appropriately as the entire test session will be recorded, and the proctor will observe you through the camera on your own computer.
- You are allowed to have either a small whiteboard or a single sheet of paper inside a transparent sheet protector for note-taking and problem-solving. You may use an erasable marker with either of those.
- You may not use regular paper, and you will have to show the proctor that you have completely erased all notes once the test is complete.
Taking the GRE General Test at Home
The home-based GRE test is an excellent option for those who want to take the exam from the comfort of their home.
The ETS says that the GRE at-home option will stay in effect as long as the pandemic makes it necessary. After that, they may require everyone to use test centers again.
Now that you know what to expect on test day, you can make an informed decision on which option to choose.
If you want to take the GRE General test at home, take advantage of it while it is still available.
Don’t forget to start studying on time and take enough practice tests to do well on the exam.
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