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Cancellation of GRE® Scores by ETS

ETS strives to report scores that accurately reflect the performance of every test taker. Accordingly, ETS's standards and procedures for administering tests have two primary goals:

  • giving test takers equivalent opportunities to demonstrate their abilities
  • preventing any test takers from gaining an unfair advantage over others

To promote these objectives, ETS reserves the right to cancel any test score, whether or not it has already been reported, and to take such other actions as ETS deems appropriate, including banning the test taker from taking any future ETS test and referring the matter to law enforcement authorities, when, in ETS's judgment:

  • a testing irregularity occurs
  • there is an apparent discrepancy in a test taker's identification
  • the test taker may have engaged in misconduct, including without limitation having someone else take the test for him/her, obtaining improper access to test questions or answers, disclosing test questions or answers to third parties, plagiarism, or copying or communication
  • the score is invalid for another reason

ETS reserves the right to share any and all information in its possession about a test taker and the terms and conditions of test taking with (a) any entity which ETS recognizes as an authorized user of test scores, including without limitation any entity to which ETS reports test scores at the test taker's request, and (b) any government agency with responsibility for administration or enforcement of U.S. criminal and/or immigration laws. When ETS cancels a test score that has already been reported, it notifies score recipients that the score has been canceled and may also explain why the score has been canceled. We will provide a copy of the cancellation letter the test taker received to recipients of the test taker's scores.

"Testing irregularities" refers to problems with the administration of a test. Testing irregularities may result from actions of test takers, test center personnel, ETS, or from natural or man-made causes. When testing irregularities occur, they may affect an individual or groups of test takers. Such problems include, without limitation, administrative errors (such as improper timing, improper seating, defective materials [e.g., improper test forms], and defective equipment); improper access to test content; and other disruptions of test administrations (such as natural disasters or other emergencies). When testing irregularities occur, ETS may decline to score the test or cancel the test score. When, in ETS's judgment it is appropriate to do so, ETS gives affected test takers the opportunity to take the test again as soon as possible without charge.

When, in ETS's judgment or the judgment of at home proctors or test center administrators, there is a discrepancy in a test taker's identification, the test taker may be dismissed from the test session. In addition, ETS may decline to score the test or cancel the test scores if the photos or other biometric samples from test day cannot be validated or if ETS has evidence that the test taker did not appear for the test. ETS will also cancel scores, ban the test taker from taking any future ETS test and notify score recipients of the cancellation if anomalies are detected after scores have been reported.

When ETS, at home proctors or test center administrators find that there is misconduct in connection with a test, the test taker may be dismissed from the test session or ETS may decline to score the test or may cancel the test score. ETS also reserves the right to ban a test taker from taking any future ETS test. Misconduct includes, but is not limited to, noncompliance with Test Center Procedures and Regulations. Test takers whose scores are cancelled forfeit their test fees and must pay to take the entire GRE test again at a future administration. No record of score cancellations, or the reason for cancellation, will appear on the test taker's future score reports sent to colleges, universities and/or fellowship sponsors.

ETS may also cancel scores if, in its judgment, there is substantial evidence that they are invalid for any other reason. Substantial evidence means evidence that is sufficient to persuade a reasonable person; the substantial evidence standard is lower (i.e., requires less proof) than the reasonable doubt, clear and convincing, and preponderance of the evidence standards. Evidence of invalid scores may include, without limitation, discrepant handwriting, unusual answer patterns and inconsistent performance on different parts of the test. Before canceling scores pursuant to this paragraph, ETS notifies the test taker in writing about its concerns, gives the test taker an opportunity to submit information that addresses ETS's concerns, considers any such information submitted and offers the test taker a choice of options. The options may include voluntary score cancellation, a free retest or arbitration in accordance with ETS's standard Arbitration Agreement. For more detailed information, see Why and How ETS Questions GRE® Test Scores.

Note: The arbitration option is available only to test takers who test in the United States and U.S. Territories.

Essay responses on the Analytical Writing section are reviewed by ETS essay-similarity-detection software and by experienced essay raters during the scoring process. In light of the high value placed on independent intellectual activity within graduate schools and universities, the test taker's response should represent his or her original work. ETS reserves the right to cancel test scores of any test taker when an essay response includes any of the following:

  • text that is unusually similar to that found in one or more other GRE essay responses
  • quoting or paraphrasing, without attribution, language that appears in any published or unpublished sources, including sources from the internet and/or sources provided by any third party
  • unacknowledged use of work that has been produced through collaboration with others without citation of the contribution of others
  • essays submitted as work of the test taker that appear to have been borrowed in whole or in part from elsewhere or prepared by another person

When one or more of the above circumstances occurs, ETS may conclude, in its professional judgment, that the essay response does not reflect the independent writing skills that this test seeks to measure. When ETS reaches that conclusion, it cancels the Analytical Writing score and, because Analytical Writing scores are an integral part of the test as a whole, scores for the GRE® General Test are canceled as well.

Contact the ETS Office of Testing Integrity

For additional security questions or concerns, please contact the ETS Office of Testing Integrity:

1-800-750-6991 (United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Canada)
1-609-406-5430 (all other locations)

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