GRE Online Vs Offline Test Mode - Know The Difference Between at Home and at Test Centre

By Sristy Sharma Updated On - Jul 04, 2022 06:15 PM

The GRE at Home exam was launched in March 2020 to offer a safer and more convenient option for candidates. Scroll through to learn how the GRE Online and Offline exams differ and identify which of the two works best for you.

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GRE online and offline exams are the two methods by which ETS, the testing authority for the GRE test, conducts the exam. 

GRE scores have become increasingly popular among students who wish to study abroad. The world’s best universities accept GRE scores for admissions to programmes including MS, MBA and other professional programmes. This score is also seen as an eligibility criterion by over 1,300 B-schools across the globe, such as Harvard, MIT, and Stanford, to name a few.

Clearly, GRE offline exam scores are readily accepted by these countries and their universities, however, does GRE General Test at Home also enjoy the same acceptance? Let us find out here while learning more about how the GRE Online and offline exams differ. 

Overview of GRE Online Exam vs GRE Offline

Here is an overview of the differences between GRE online exam (GRE at Home) and GRE offline exam (GRE at Test Centre):

Parameters

GRE Online Exam

GRE Offline Exam

Launched in

March 2020

1936

Test Modes

Computer-based

Computer-based and

Paper-based (not available in India)

Test Centres 

Not applicable

Designated by ETS all over world

Test Dates

Available throughout year

Designated test dates throughout year

Reliability & Security

Moderate to High

Highly reliable and secure

Test Sections

Analytical Writing

Verbal Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning

Unscored or Research Questions

Analytical Writing

Verbal Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning

Unscored or Research Questions

Registration Fees (India)

USD 213

USD 213

Accepting Countries

UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Europe, China, Iran, Singapore, UAE

UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Germany, France, New Zealand, UAE, Poland, Czech 

Invigilator

Individual Online Proctor for each candidate

Designated faculty at test centres, responsible for multiple test-takers

Scores Availability

10-15 days

10-15 days

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Exam Dates for GRE Online Exam vs GRE Offline

Exam dates for GRE online and offline exams are different.

Exam Dates for GRE Online Exam

There are no distinct GRE online exam dates. The test can be attempted at any time and test-takers can attempt the test throughout the year, provided they register for the test well in advance.

The GRE General Test at Home is a home-based test. The preparations and arrangements of ETS are limited to monitoring and controlling, hence it is easier to conduct the GRE online exam on a regular basis.

In simpler words, the GRE at Home exam can be taken seven days a week and as early as 24 hours after registration. 

Exam Dates for GRE Offline Exam

GRE at Test Centre is conducted throughout the year, and exam dates are selected on basis of the availability of test centres.

The GRE offline exam dates can be accessed while registering for the test. Test-takers shall have to check for seat availability on a test date before booking a slot. They can select both test dates and test centres at their convenience.

Eligibility Criteria of GRE Online Exam vs GRE Offline

The eligibility criteria are the same for both GRE online exam and GRE offline exam.

ETS does not have any specific eligibility criteria for GRE test candidates. Yet, the manner in which GRE is accepted by the universities and the general rules of ETS for the test can be summarised as follows:

Academic Requirements: 

  • Student must have a bachelor’s degree to be able to use GRE scores for Master’s application.

  • GPA in a bachelor's degree must satisfy the requirements of the chosen university.

  • GRE scores can be used for application to graduate schools only and not for bachelor's degrees.

Name Requirements:

ETS requires the candidate to fill in their name details exactly as registered in the ID they are submitting for registration. For instance, if any candidate’s name consists of a middle name in submitting Id then they must include the middle name while registering for ETS. 

The discrepancy between names in the ID and GRE form cannot be corrected through any supplemental ID and will lead to the disqualification of the candidate for the exam.

ID Requirements:

ETS requires that the ID registered by the candidate must be presented on the test date. And in both GRE at home and at test centre exams, the ID document must fulfil the following requirements: 

  • The document must be original and in physical format. In the case of the GRE General Test at Home, the photo or scanned copy of the original ID must be submitted and not an electronic or digital version.

  • It must have been issued by the national, state, or provincial government of the country, of citizenship or permanent residence, of the test-taker.

  • It must be recognised as a valid identity document in the country of the test-taker.

  • In case of an expiry date, only a valid ID document must be presented.

  • The name of the candidate displayed must be the same as used at the time of registration.

  • It must include a recent and recognisable photograph.

  • It must include the signature of the candidate, which must match the signature submitted at the time of registration.

Registration for GRE Online Exam vs GRE Offline

The registration process for the GRE at Home exam and at Test Centre exam is not much different, except, that while selecting the mode of exam, candidates need to make a choice most suitable to them. 

Test-takers need to follow the following step to register for the GRE exam:

Step 1: Candidates need to register as new user by filling in personal details and setting up a password. They will be required to allow communicating permissions to ETS.

Step 2: After they have created their login credentials, candidates can choose the mode of the exam they would like to register for.

Step 3: Candidates will have to choose the test date and fill in any other required information for the GRE Online Exam.

OR

For GRE at Test Centre Exam, choice of the test date, centre and any other required information has to be made.

Step 4: The final step will be to process the payment through a protected online portal. With this, the registration shall be complete.

Exam Pattern of GRE Online Exam vs GRE Offline

The exam pattern of the GRE online exam and GRE offline exam is identical. In the case of the GRE at Home exam, an online Proctor is assigned for the candidate for invigilation. This proctor will maintain a continuous connection with the candidate throughout the exam and will also check if the eligibility criteria have been met or not.

The exam pattern of GRE at Home and GRE at Test Centre can be summarised as follows:

Section

Time Allotted (in minutes)

Description

Analytical Writing

60

(30 minutes per task)

1 section with 2 tasks

One ‘Analyse an Issue’ task and one ‘Analyse an Argument’ task

Always the first section

Verbal Reasoning

60

(30 minutes per section)

2 sections

20 questions per section

Order not decided

Quantitative Reasoning

70

(35 minutes per section)

2 sections

20 questions per section

Order not decided

Research

variable

Replacement of unscored section

At the end of test

Questions asked for ETS research purposes

Unscored

variable

May or may not be asked

Score not included in final GRE scores

Order not decided

Questions are tested for future for benchmark purposes

Syllabus of GRE Online Exam vs GRE Offline Exam Fees 

There is no change or difference in the syllabus of GRE at Home and GRE at Test Centre. Both the test modes use tasks and questions to test the skills and aptitude of test-takers in three main areas:

Section

Tasks

Analytical Writing

An Analyze an Issue task

An Analyze an Argument task

Verbal Reasoning

Reading Comprehension

Text Completion

Sentence Equivalence

Quantitative Reasoning

Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry and Data Analysis

GRE Online Exam vs GRE Offline Exam Fees

The exam fees for GRE at Home and at Test Centre exam are the same. However, ETS charges a fee of USD 50 for changing the test centre chosen originally. This fee is only applicable to GRE offline test-takers availing of the service.

There are several types of charges asked for the different services provided by ETS to GRE test-takers. Here is the applicable GRE exam fee structure in India for both GRE online and offline exams:

Types of GRE Exam Fee

Amount in USD

GRE Registration Fee

213

GRE Rescheduling Fee

50

GRE Test Centre Change Fee

50

GRE Score Review Fee - Analytical Writing

60

GRE Score Reinstatement Fee

50

Score Submission for GRE Online Exam vs GRE Offline Exam

GRE test-takers can choose to directly submit their score through ETS to chosen institutions. ETS does not charge any fee for sending scores to up to four institutions. Candidates can choose to send their GRE scores via:

  • Online,

  • Mail, or

  • Fax.

Any additional score report beyond four institutions shall be sent at a fee of USD 27 or INR 2,130 (approximately).

Requirements for GRE Online vs GRE Offline Exam

GRE offline and GRE online tests are conducted in different manners and as a result, the requirements to attempt each of them also differ. 

GRE Online Exam 

The candidate will require the following to attempt the GRE at Home test:

  • A computer or laptop with an approved and licensed operating system. The approved operating systems are Windows version 8 or 10, and Mac OSX 10.5 or higher.

  • The browser must be either Chrome or Firefox.

  • Only single screens are allowed.

  • ETS secure test browser must be downloaded. After running the file and successfully installing it a ProctorU Equipment Check must be conducted.

  • An internal or external speaker must be configured with the system to hear the proctor. Headphones and earphones are not allowed.

  • An internal or external microphone must be configured to communicate with the proctor.

  • A built-in or external camera with a 360-degree view is required to be connected to the system.

  • The test cannot be taken in a park or any other public area. 

  • The room must be lockable and only the test taker must be present in the room.

  • The system must be placed on a desk or tabletop, and the room must be visible to the proctor. The tabletop must be cleared of any additional equipment or things such as a tumbler, watch, notes, etc.

  • Semi-formal clothing must be worn during the exam. Face masks, jewellery, and non-religious headgear are not allowed.

  • Ears must be visible during the exam.

  • Small desktop whiteboard or paper sheet within sheet protector are allowed, provided the marker used is erasable. Pencils and pens are not allowed.

GRE Offline Exam

To attempt GRE offline exam successfully, the following eligibility requirements must be met:

  • Arrive at the test centre at least twenty minutes before the scheduled start time.

  • Arrive in semi-formal clothing.

  • Face masks, jewellery, and non-religious headgear are not allowed.

  • Covering of ears with hair is not allowed.

  • Do not carry any pens, pencils, or sheets of paper.

Pros and Cons of GRE Online Exam vs GRE Offline

Clearly, both the exam modes, GRE online exam and GRE offline exam, have their own sets of pros and cons. Here is a comparison of the pros and cons of both GRE at Home and GRE at Test Centre:

Pros of GRE at Home vs GRE at Test Centre

GRE at Home

GRE at Test Centre

Mistakes in the test environment can be easily rectified.

No need to set up a test-appropriate environment.

No problem with seat availability and could be registered even 24 hours before the test.

No need to deal with complex configuration and app downloads

The test process is easier due to a familiar environment and equipment.

The technical glitches during the exam are handled by testing authorities.

Cons of GRE at Home vs GRE at Test Centre

GRE at Home

GRE at Test Centre

The need to ensure that all configurations and apps are properly working.

Early registration is required to book desired slots.

All the technical and network glitches are test takers' responsibility.

Commuting to the test centre on time can be problematic as per the local traffic situation.

ETS has designed both, GRE Online and GRE offline exams, to cater to the unique requirements of each candidate. Given that both exams are almost similar in terms of the exam pattern, fees and syllabus, taking either of the two would not make much of a difference. That said, students must make sure that the university accepts GRE at Home scores for admission to Master’s programmes. 

In case you still have doubts about which mode works best for you, you can write to us at abroad@collegedekho.com.

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FAQs

Do GRE at Home and GRE at Test Centre have the same exam pattern?

Yes, GRE at Home and GRE at Test Centre have the same pattern. The only difference between the two is that the GRE General Test at Home needs to be taken using your own device, while the GRE General Test at a test centre requires you to attempt the test on a computer provided at the test centre. 

Can I register for GRE at Home 24 hours before the test date?

Yes, you can register for GRE at Home 24 hours before the test date. The GRE online exam is conducted all around the year, seven days a week. So, candidates can pick a GRE exam date at their convenience. However, they must note that this is applicable only to the GRE at Home exam. 

What are the requirements of the GRE Offline exam?

The basic requirements of the GRE offline exam are to own a proper system, such as a computer, laptop, or notepad, to attempt the exam. The GRE at Home exam is a computer-based test, and it is important to have a system to attempt the test. Additionally, the candidate is required to ensure proper network, and configuration of microphone, speakers, and webcam with the system.

Are GRE online exam test dates different from GRE offline exam?

Yes, the GRE online exam test dates are different from that of the GRE offline exam. Although both modes are conducted throughout the year, the GRE General Test at Test Centre is conducted on selected dates and time slots, as more preparation is required to set up the test environment. On the other hand, the GRE General Test at Home can be attempted on all days and at any time throughout the year.

What is the difference between GRE computer based test and GRE paper based test?

The GRE computer based test is conducted on a computer while GRE paper-based test is conducted in pen and paper format. While the computer-based GRE is available throughout the year, the paper-based test is offered three times a year. The total testing time for GRE PBT is around three hours and 30 minutes, whereas the same for GRE computer-based test is three hours and 45 minutes.

How can I book a slot for GRE online exam?

You can book a slot for GRE online exam by logging in as a registered user on ETS’ official website and clicking on the option ‘Register for GRE’. You will have to select the test mode as GRE online exam. It must be taken care that the name and signature you use to register for the test match those visible on your submitted identification document.

Can I reschedule GRE online exam?

Yes, you can reschedule your GRE online exam just like GRE offline exam. You can log in to your registered ETS account and choose to reschedule your GRE exam. You will have to end the transaction with a rescheduling fee of USD 50. In the case of the GRE offline exam, if you change the test centre as well, then an additional fee of USD 50 has to be paid.

Is the cancellation process of GRE home-based test the same as GRE offline exam?

Yes, the cancellation process of GRE home-based test is the same as GRE offline exam. Test takers have to log in to their ETS account and request the cancellation of the slot. If the cancellation is done in less than four days from the day of registration, half the registration fee is refunded. Hence, if an Indian candidate cancels the registration within four days they will get a refund of USD 106.50.

Is the manner, in which GRE at Home test is conducted, different from GRE offline exam?

Yes, the manner of conducting GRE at Home test is different from GRE offline exam. Although it is a computer-based test as well, ETS assigns an individual Proctor for GRE at Home test-takers. This proctor maintains contact online with the test-taker throughout the test and guides them through the exam.

How many attempts are available for a GRE offline exam?

Test-takers can attempt GRE offline exam once every 21 days up to five times a year. The year here refers to a period of 365 days from the first attempt. The test dates are spread throughout the year and are frequent. The condition persists even in cases where the candidate has cancelled their previous scores.

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