Student studying virtually and telling us about Coronavirus' impact on tests

Coronavirus’ impact on tests like GRE, GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL

Last Updated on March 12, 2021 by iSchoolConnect

It feels like the Coronavirus pandemic has put the world on pause and Coronavirus’ impact on tests worldwide is immense. With all exams getting canceled or postponed, organizations like ETS have found new ways to conduct at-home tests.

Standardized entrance exams such as GRE, GMAT, TOEFL, IELTS, etc. are important qualifying parts of a student’s admission profile. A few million students across the globe appear for these exams on a daily basis. However, the scary events happening globally indicate that the Coronavirus’ impact on tests worldwide is also drastic. Due to Coronavirus, governments have enacted strict laws that have led to these exams being either postponed or canceled altogether.

To find a new way around that, organizations such as the GMAC(conducts the GMAT exam) and ETS (conducts the TOEFL and GRE exams), and British Council (conducts IELTS) have come up with unique technologies that will help students take these tests at-home. Here’s the latest news about entrance exams for current and prospective study abroad applicants:


In light of the recent events, the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has come up with a temporary testing solution. They are conducting the ‘Interim GMAT™ Exam’ which will allow students to take their exams from home. You can book your slots for this MBA-qualifying test from April 20, 2020 until June 15, 2020. GMAC will monitor the global conditions regarding COVID-19 after that and add more slots if need be. GMAT Online will be available in all countries except Mainland China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, and Slovenia.

Despite the increase of Coronavirus’ impact on tests like GMAT, GMAC is all set to help students on every front. Along with the GMAT Online exam, GMAC plans on reopening several test centers worldwide. They will be taking care to maintain all safety and health measures, of course, and GMAC stated, “The health and safety of candidates and our staff are of the utmost importance to GMAC, and we are actively working with testing centers to respond to this very difficult situation.” You can find out if your region falls under this category here.

What will be the GMAT Online exam pattern?

The format of this temporary GMAT exam will be different than the usual GMAT syllabus. The exam will have the Quantitative, Verbal, and Integrated Reasoning sections. However, it will not have the Analytical Writing Analysis which requires an essay assessment by an authority. The time and questions allotted for each section are as follows:

  • Quant – 31 questions / 62 minutes
  • Verbal – 36 questions / 65 minutes
  • IR – 12 questions / 30 minutes  

In an unexpected yet welcome move, GMAC has also allowed students to use physical whiteboards along with virtual ones during the GMAT Online test. This use of physical whiteboards will only be allowed to candidates with registrations after June 11, 2020.

The requirements for the physical whiteboard are as follows:

  • 1 erasable whiteboard with dimensions not more than 12 inches x 20 inches (30 centimetres x 50 centimetres)
  • 1 dry erase marker
  • 1 dry marker eraser 

There are some strict protocols set in place to monitor this online GMAT exam and remote proctors will be used to manage test integrity. You can register for the new GMAT Online right here.

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) : GRE and TOEFL

ETS is the testing institution behind top entrance exams such as the Graduate Record Examination(GRE) and Test of English as a Foreign Language(TOEFL), among others. Students around the globe who want to study abroad take these exams but due to COVID-19, they have been postponed or suspended in many countries. However, ETS came up with a very clever solution for that.

Taking your GRE or TOEFL exams in the confines of your own home might sound weird but it’s happening folks! Slowly and surely ETS is organizing ‘at-home’ GRE and TOEFL tests for students in Coronavirus affected countries worldwide. These ‘at-home tests’ will be administered and monitored by live human remote representatives and the online registration opened on Monday, March 23, 2020.

Where are the ‘At-home’ GRE and TOEFL tests available?

The GRE computer-delivered test and TOEFL iBT can be taken at home in all the countries they were available in, except Mainland China and Iran. ETS declared that they are constantly working towards bringing these tests in Iran and Mainland China while also ensuring that they run smoothly in all countries worldwide.

To check if you’re eligible for the following test, you can simply go on the official website and follow the dictated procedure.


Just like ETS and GMAC, IELTS is online now folks! In all countries that are drastically affected by COVID-19, the IELTS exam was completely suspended. In answer to that, the IELTS Indicator test was developed.

The IELTS Indicator is the online test that assesses a student’s English language skills. This test will be held online in selective locations worldwide once a week, at scheduled times. It will still analyze all the 4 sections: Reading, Listening, Writing, and Speaking. The bookings for this will open on 22 April 2020.

Make sure you know all your facts before you book the exam though. As the official IELTS website states, “As IELTS Indicator provides an indicative score only, it is not accepted by all organisations. Before you book, be sure to check with your university or educational institution.”.

You can register for the new IELTS Indicator right here.

The world is severely suffering from the consequences of the COVID-19 and we all have to contribute what we can to help others. In fact, educational institutions are certainly doing their part to help students. Top universities and business schools like INSEAD, are easing their admissions requirements and fees and allowing students to apply without a GMAT, GRE, or TOEFL score. Given that INSEAD ranks 3rd worldwide and has strict student requirements, I’d have to say that this is a big deal.

Legitimate information is rare in these tough times. Therefore, to help you along, we at iSchoolConnect strive to provide authentic information at all times.

Check out this blog about How to stay safe from Coronavirus to get more info on Coronavirus’ impact on tests and other aspects of studying abroad. You can also contact us at iSchoolConnect regarding any further questions about studying abroad. Stay safe folks!

Rashmi Kango

A writer by day and a reader by night, Rashmi is a quirky cog, in the wheel that is iSchoolConnect. She spends her days writing intriguing and informative articles about all things Higher-Ed.

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1 thought on “Coronavirus’ impact on tests like GRE, GMAT, IELTS, TOEFL”

  1. I have no idea about these exams. I not even choose, which universities to study in abroad. Am doing my final semester ( 6th sem)…. 🙄..

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