Due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, study-abroad aspirants are worried about their future plans. However, candidates are still willing to opt for studying abroad. In a recent survey of 2,000+ students from Africa, Asia, and Australasia by QS, 61% of respondents said their plans to study abroad were not affected as yet by COVID-19. Leverage Edu and Yocket also conducted similar surveys with Indian students. According to their findings, despite the Coronavirus pandemic, 91% and 70% of Indian students respectively still want to go ahead with their overseas education plans in the next 6 -10 months. GMAC also reported similar findings.
However, several aspirants, especially Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 applicants, are facing problems with the study abroad exams – standardized tests (GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, etc.) and English language proficiency tests (IELTS, TOEFL, etc.). In this article, we will look at the updates on IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, and AP Exams during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Updates on IELTS, TOEFL, GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT and AP Exams Amid COVID-19 Crisis
[Updated on April 20, 2020]
The IELTS (International English Language Testing System) has been a paper-based English test for almost 30 years. Now, it’s available in an online mode – IELTS Indicator and IELTS Computer-Derived Test.
IELTS Indicator (Online IELTS At-Home)
Developed by British Council, IDP: IELTS Australia and Cambridge Assessment English, IELTS Indicator will be an interim test for students who want to continue with their applications at study destinations that require evidence English language proficiency.
IELTS Indicator will assess the student’s English language skills in Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking. Students can take the test online from their homes. The test will launch in countries where IELTS testing has been suspended, with registrations opening from April 22. Candidates need to make sure that they have the required equipment and set up.
- The IELTS Indicator test uses official IELTS test questions and is marked using IELTS test criteria by qualified IELTS examiners
- The IELTS Indicator test is available in countries where IELTS testing has been suspended due to Coronavirus restrictions
IELTS Computer-Derived Test (Not available during Lockdown)
Although you can appear for IELTS from a computer, you cannot appear for the test from your home. You need to travel to a physical place (with the limited crowd).
List of Exam Centers in India for IELTS Computer-Based Test
British Council IELTS
Exam Format of Computer-Derived IELTS
The questioning pattern, format, level of difficulty and scoring remains the same as paper-based IELTS. You’ll be taking Listening, Reading, and Writing test on a computer. But instead of writing your answers on paper, you will type them on a computer. The Speaking test will continue to be taken face-to-face by a certified IELTS examiner in a quiet room.
In the computer-delivered Listening test, the timings are slightly different from the paper-based test:
- You are given some time to read your questions before you start any part of the Listening test
- You have two minutes to review your answers after finishing the Listening test
- The duration of the Listening test is approx. 30 – 36 minutes
What’s new with computer-delivered IELTS?
- You can now highlight text and make notes
- Save time by copying and pasting directly from your text and notes
- You can easily browse forward and backward through your questions
- To help keep track of the word count, use the automatic word counter for the Writing test
Registration Links for Computer-Derived IELTS
ETS has launched an at-home testing solution for the TOEFL iBT® test for students who have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19). Monitoring of the test will be conducted using live remote proctors by ProctorU®, the leading proctoring solution for online testing.
The TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition test is now available worldwide except Iran and mainland China from April 2.
The test is identical in content, format, on-screen experience and scoring to the TOEFL iBT test taken at a test center. It is monitored online by a trained human proctor from start to finish to maintain test security. Read more about the eligibility of the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition Test.
Postponements and Rescheduling of TOEFL
Due to concern for the health and safety of students and staff, and in compliance with local and national government directives, TOEFL® test centers have been closed in some locations for limited periods of time.
To assist test-takers during this time, ETS is waiving all rescheduling fees. If your TOEFL iBT test appointment is postponed, you will be notified by email and your test will be rescheduled in your account.
Like TOEFL, ETS has also launched an at-home testing solution for the GRE General Test for students who have been affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19). It’s been available worldwide except Iran and mainland China since April 2.
Currently, it’s not available for test-takers in India, at least till April 11, 2020.
ETS has also waived off the rescheduling fees for GRE as well.
Online GMAT™ at-home Exam Available from April 20
This interim GMAT exam will provide a comparable structure, number of items, and scoring as delivered in test centers. The Quant, Verbal and IR sections (no AWA section) will have the same number of items and the same time for completion. This will allow GMAC to maintain the same score scale for both the Section Scores and Total Score.
The check-in and security protocols will be modified to accommodate online delivery and remote proctors will be used to manage test integrity.
The alternative test is available worldwide except Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Slovenia, and mainland China. In light of the current unprecedented situation, this interim solution will be offered at a lower price point than the standard GMAT exam to support our test takers and schools during this difficult time.
On the main Reschedule Your GMAT Exam page, select your new date and time. Confirm your new date and time on the page – Confirm New Exam Appointment Details.
No Payment is required to reschedule the GMAT.
GRE At-Home vs GMAT At-Home
Please note that several universities are now offering the GRE/GMAT waiver as well due to the COVID-19 situation. So, please check with the individual universities before you make a decision. However, my personal recommendation would be to appear for the interim (at-home) options in order to improve your admission chances.
Standardized Tests for Undergraduate Admissions (SAT, ACT & AP Exams)
SAT and SAT Subject Tests
Exams of May 2 and Jun 6 have been canceled. The next scheduled dates for SAT and SAT Subject tests in 2020 are Aug 29, Oct 3, Nov 7, and Dec 5. Please be advised that the Nov 7 date is not available for international students. Click here for more details.
The April 4 exam has been canceled. It has been rescheduled to June 13, but that might get canceled as well.
For international students, ACT has rescheduled its 3 and 4 April international test dates to 12 and 13 June.
The in-person exams (May 4 – 15) has been canceled.
The in-person AP exams have been replaced with 45-minute at-home exams. These exams will count for college credits as well.
All questions on the shortened AP exam will be free-response ones, requiring thought and analysis. No multiple-choice questions. The College Board is spending significant money on anti-plagiarism programs to check millions of exam pages.
These AP exams can be taken at home on PC, Laptop, Tablet or Smartphone. Pictures of handwritten work can also be uploaded.
Some students may want to take the exam sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh. Other students may want more time to practice. For each AP subject, there will be 2 different testing dates.
The full exam schedule, specific free-response question types that will be on each AP Exam, and additional testing details are available from April 3.
More Colleges are now Making Standardized Tests Optional for Fall 2021 Admissions
US colleges are dropping the SAT or ACT for admissions, they are waiving fees and they are extending deadlines.
At least 17 colleges have dropped the SAT or ACT in recent weeks for one or two admissions cycles (Fall 2021 and Spring 2022), specifically citing the impact of COVID-19.
In fact, Tufts University is introducing a test-optional admissions policy for all undergraduate applicants for a 3-year period, beginning with applicants who apply for the Fall 2021 semester.
Starting with our next admissions cycle, first-year and transfer applicants have a choice about whether or not to submit SAT or ACT scores to be considered for undergraduate admission to Tufts.
A few top colleges that are implementing test-optional policies are as follows:
- Boston University
- Tufts University
- University of Oregon
- Oregon State University
- Scripps College
- University of the Cumberlands
- Case Western Reserve University
Featured Image Source: Peterson’s