Is Online Testing Here to Stay?

Last updated: Jan 17, 2023

The shift to remote learning, fueled by the pandemic, isn’t going away. With it, online testing has become more prevalent. Most admissions tests have transitioned to offering online testing options.


You may wonder: Is it better to take a test online if given a choice?


The answer to that is, it depends. However, there is no doubt that online testing is here to stay.


Which Admissions Tests Have Gone Online?

Most undergraduate and graduate admissions tests now provide online options. However, where you should take the test can depend on various factors.


Can You Take the SAT Online?

Soon. The College Board announced in January 2022 that the SAT will be delivered digitally internationally beginning in 2023 and in the U.S. in 2024.


According to Priscilla Rodriguez, vice president of college readiness assessments at the College Board, the new digital SAT has some notable improvements.


“We’re not simply putting the current SAT on a digital platform—we’re taking full advantage of what delivering an assessment digitally makes possible. With input from educators and students, we are adapting to ensure we continue to meet their evolving needs.”


This pivot to digital should benefit students. In the pilot of the digital SAT in the U.S., 80 percent of students found it less stressful.


Unlike other tests, the digital SAT will still have to be taken in school or at a testing center, and not at home.

A student taking a test online.

Can You Take the ACT Online?

Yes. Students can now take the ACT online at home if they meet specific technical requirements.


However, according to U.S. News & World Report, there are several factors that students should consider before deciding whether or not to take the test online or in person. The paper-based ACT might be better for students who don’t want the physical strain of staring at a computer screen for long periods of time. However, the digital version might help students who struggle with time management, as it has an on-screen timer.


If you’re unsure what’s better for you, you can always take a paper and an online version to see which one you feel more comfortable with.


Can You Take the GRE Online?

Yes. The GRE General Test at home allows test takers to take the test in the comfort of their own homes. According to the ETS website, the test is identical to the test taken at a test center, and is taken on your own computer at home or in another secure location. All tests are monitored by a human proctor, and test appointments are available any time of day, any day of the week. GRE Subject Tests are not available for remote test-taking, and the at-home GRE is not currently available in mainland China or Iran.


While initially launched in 2020 due to the pandemic, ETS has stated that the GRE General Test at home is here to stay. Taking the GRE at home can be a great convenience if you meet the technical requirements needed and have a distraction-free testing environment at home.


Can You Take the GMAT Online?

Yes. The GMAT online exam provides a remote proctored solution for students looking to take the GMAT in their own environment. The GMAT online exam is open to all test takers, and you can take it up to two times. You can retake the in-person exam up to five times in any 12-month period.


Can You Take the LSAT Online?

Yes. According to the Law School Admission Council (LSAC), the LSAT is administered using live remote proctoring. You can take the LSAT at home or in another quiet, private, well-lit space. Like other at-home online tests, test takers must meet a variety of technological requirements. You can request assistance if you don’t have the right equipment or resources.

A student wearing a headset taking an online test.

The Pros of Online Testing

Online testing provides many benefits. At-home online tests offer the convenience and comfort of taking a test in your own home using the computer you’re accustomed to. In most cases, taking an online test also allows you to receive your scores faster. And, as waves and variants of COVID-19 have been unpredictable, taking a test at home can provide peace of mind.


The Cons of Online Testing

There are some potential downsides to online testing. Many online tests require remote proctoring, which can feel unsettling at first as someone is watching you take the test. There has also been a lot of controversy surrounding online proctoring and privacy concerns. On the other hand, there have also been concerns about increased cheating in online testing environments.


For the test taker, having the right technology set-up and a distraction-free environment is vital for successful online testing at home. If you don’t have either of those, then taking an online test may be more difficult than going to a testing center.


How to Effectively Prepare for Online Tests

If you plan on taking a test online, preparing for it with an online course and digital study materials can help you get in the right mindset. Taking online practice tests, for example, can help you get used to taking tests in a virtual environment.


USF offers a variety of courses that provide the skills you need to succeed on admissions tests, including the ACT, GMAT, GRE, LSAT, SAT and more. Led by expert instructors, our online courses provide a variety of resources that will ensure you achieve the highest possible test scores.


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