This year, I got a new experience to take the GRE General Test at Home (online GRE Test). I took this test because of a need that requires including GRE scores even though there is no minimum requirement. Therefore, I took the GRE test with super minimal preparation. So don’t expect this article to tell you about tips for dealing with the GRE. I’m just going to share my experience taking the GRE General Test at Home.
For those interested in studying abroad, you must have heard of the GRE test. In some campuses abroad, in addition to an English certificate, we are usually also required to include a GRE score with a certain minimum. But at some other campuses, the GRE is not mandatory. So, before taking this test, make sure you need to take this test. I’ve never even heard that the GRE test can be used for college admission requirements in Indonesia.
The GRE test is different from the IELTS or TOEFL test that is available almost everywhere. The GRE test is only available in certain cities. What I know is in Bandung, Jakarta, and Surabaya. But recently, there is an At-Home Test option, where we can test GRE at home online.
GRE General Test
The test is consist of 3 sections: Verbal, Quantitative , & Analytical Writing.
Verbal test, in general, there are two types of questions here: reading comprehension and word choice. Regardless of the type, the biggest challenge on this test is the English vocabulary. During the test, we will meet with difficult (unbelievably) words that I never encounter .-. (“enervate”, “prodigal”, “laconic”, “calumny”, …) and we must understand its meaning and usage.
Quantitative test, (usually just called “Quant”) as the name implies, this is a basic math test. Although basic, this test is not just basic arithmetic like the TPA test here. The problem is more complicated and more tricky. We need to remember the basic geometric formulas, combinations, permutations again, and more importantly, just memorizing formulas doesn’t help.
Analytical Writing test, In this test, we will be asked to write two English essays that are correct grammatically and logically. In the first essay, we will be asked to respond to an issue, and in the second essay, we will be asked to make logical rebuttals from other people’s statements.
Before the test day
- Before Registration. We will be asked first to check the readiness of our test equipment. We can use the system test at https://go.proctoru.com/testitout. Two software needs to be installed, namely ETS Secure Browser and ProctorU browser add-on (installation guide is at https://www.ets.org/s/cv/gre/at-home/equipment/). ETS secure browser is the official browser that we will use for the test, while ProctorU is the software for communication between Proctor / Exam Supervisor and us.
- Also, make sure the internet connection that we will use is stable enough. I chose to tether because the wifi at home was declared not to have a good speed by the system test. We are prohibited from using public wifi in public places, so the only choices are wifi at home or tethering. Based on yesterday’s experience, the total quota used during the test was only about 2-3 GB.
- Registration. Registration for the GRE test is done through the official ETS website (https://www.ets.org/gre). First, create an account on the web and then follow the registration guide on the web. Make sure to use Google Chrome every time you access the ETS web. In Firefox, I often experience problems, just like I can’t select the test at home option.
- For the GRE test at home, the time is very flexible. I registered around D-7 of the test and the available hours are very diverse. Almost every day there. Please make sure the time zone is correct because the selection of the test schedule is made centrally on the (international) web, so we don’t choose the wrong time zone for the test. It’s not funny if we want to test at 10 in the morning, but it turns out to be at 10 at night.
- After registering we will be informed of the payment method.
- Belajar. Study. As I said at the beginning, I didn’t do much preparation 🙁 I had several practice questions from Magoosh, memorized some vocabs with the help of Magoosh Flash Cards, and simulated with the official practice test. We can obtain this official practice test for free after registering GRE. We can use the practice test to be familiar with the screen display and questions.
The test day
- On the D day we log in to our dashboard on the ETS web (https://www.ets.org/gre).
- On the dashboard, there will be a test link displayed along with the test time timer. When it is about to start, click the link from the browser that has the ProctorU add-on. When we click the link, the ProctorU add-on will automatically activate. The proctor/supervisor will contact and guide us remotely to prepare our computer, including logging us into the ETS secure browser to start the exam.
- During the exam we are only allowed to bring writing instruments that can be erased, such as a small whiteboard or paper covered with plastic with an erasable marker.
- Proctor will check the table and all corners of the room by asking us to move the camera. It includes where the room’s door is, space outside, and where our cellphones are placed. Make sure there is only one door, and it is always visible in the camera (behind us). Yesterday I needed to move the table before testing because the door was in front of the table.
- The test will last almost 4 hours, so make sure the chair and table are comfortable. In the middle of the test, we are able to take a 10 minute break.
- The Proctor / Supervisor will continue to monitor via the camera even though we can’t see it. If there are problems, directly chat the supervisor via the available chatbox or talk straight. I think that’s also possible.
- At the end of the test we will be asked to fill in some additional data, such as which university we are from and which university we want to send the GRE test results to.
- At the end of the test, we will also be able to see our temporary scores for the verbal and quant tests.
After the test day
- Officially the announcement of GRE results takes about 10-15 days, but yesterday I got it pretty fast in about 8-9 days. The test results will be also automatically sent directly to the university which we have entered at the end of the test.