2020 has been a very difficult year for testing. From canceled tests to closed test centers to failed launches of overhyped test-at-home software, we’ve seen some spectacular failures in the testing world. However, the GRE has been largely untouched by these controversies. This is likely due to its lower public profile in addition to the fact that it’s already in a digital format. We here at Inspirica learned some lessons about the successes of the GRE administrations this year that will help shape our GRE overview 2021. That said, there were also some significant changes to the GRE in 2020. It’s also worth looking at them in greater detail for our predictions.
We’ll examine these changes, talk about why they happened and what they meant for test takers, and talk about an overview of the GRE in 2021. Next year is shaping up to be just as different for test taking as this year was, so I hope this GRE overview 2021 helps you consider the best way for you to prep for the GRE in the coming months.
What Happened to the GRE in 2020?
To understand our GRE overview 2021, we have to understand what the GRE was like in 2020. Just like the college entrance exams, ETS was forced to close testing centers in the spring and summer of 2020. This meant something slightly different for the GRE, though. Since the test is administered at digital testing sites, and because not nearly as many people take the GRE (2 million, as compared to the SAT’s 8 million), it was an easier obstacle to overcome. The GRE was able to resume testing in test centers as soon as they could come up with safety guidelines.
However, the digital nature of the test allowed ETS to come up with something new: at-home testing. The 2020 GRE at home had a bit of a rocky launch, but many people have successfully tested at home with this new software. ETS seems happy with the results. We have no reason to believe that scores from testing at home will be very different from scores received in testing centers (not yet, at least).
Towards the end of the year, test centers began to re-open, especially overseas. Though they have new safety procedures in place for students testing in person, and can’t test as many students as before, more and more students are testing in-person again. Again, the digital nature of the test allows centers to be clean and safe. Compare this success to a paper-based test like the LSAT, which struggles to adapt.
What Will the GRE in 2021 Be Like?
ETS learned from the successes and failures of the test-at-home launch in the summer of 2020. While there were initial concerns about fairness, those seem to have passed. We will have to wait for the whole year’s worth of data to make any definitive decision, but right now it looks like there are no major objections to testing at home.
What’s more, we know that the test-at-home approach is here to stay. With a few months of good results under their belts, ETS is only going to expand their test-at-home capabilities. As test centers reopen in many places around the world, in-person testing is viable, too. That means the GRE will continue to pursue both in-person testing and at-home testing in 2021.
This leaves most students with an important choice: where should I take the GRE in 2021? For now, the answer seems to be “wherever you’ll test best”. If the silence and structure of a test center helps you focus, then check your local test center listings for options. If you test better in the comfort and flexibility of your own home, then that’s the place you should test.
Either way, you should figure out now where you’ll test. We’ll use your decision after reading our GRE overview 2021 information to build your prep plan for either environment. If you haven’t started yet, but would like to, consider finding a tutor you like and getting started today!