Students given new dates, but anxieties abound over admission deadlines for universities abroad

It was a difficult week for students who were to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), a standard test for many postgraduate and research courses abroad.

The students, who had opted for dates in January, were informed just a few days before the test that it had been cancelled and rescheduled.

In a fix

This has put many students in a tight spot. R. Madhusudhan, a fourth-year engineering student said he received a mail on Tuesday, three days before his test, stating that his exam had been rescheduled to February 25. “The venue has also been changed to Gurgaon,” he said.

Confirming the issue, Prometric India, the firm that conducts the test here, and a subsidiary of Educational Testing Service (ETS) that monitors GRE internationally, said it had asked aspirants to wait for further communication about the new dates.

Prometric officials said GRE testing in Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Trivandrum had been affected, while the centres in Allahabad, Gurgaon and Hyderabad are continuing with scheduled testing. Students who had been affected by the re-scheduling and who did not want to wait could choose to do their test from one of these centres, an official said.

While students said ETS officials were prompt in replying to all their online queries, Prometric officials said they were looking into the problem. A source said there was a technical glitch that had led to the problem, and it was expected to be resolved by January 25. Everonn Systems, the firm that operates the test, remained unavailable for comment.

“Student will not be charged any extra fee for rescheduling the test,” said a Prometric official. He added that details of the new schedules would be put up soon.

However, students are disappointed and frustrated. “You prepare for six months with a date in mind. When it gets rescheduled, you get very de-motivated,” said B. Anshul, a postgraduate student of IIT-Madras. “I did not go to my hometown Patna, because my exam was here. Now I am waiting to hear from Prometric to make plans,” he said.

“Some of us received mails that our dates have been cancelled. Then a day later, we received another mail saying the exam was on schedule. There was a lot of confusion, particularly among those whose venue-cities had been changed,” said G. Bhaskar, an engineering student.

Students point out that their biggest worry is the availability of dates after the issues are resolved.

“All top universities had their last date in December. It is already late, and the cancellation has only aggravated the problem,” said Jai Lakshmi, a computer science student. Among the affected are those who have not been placed in campus recruitments and the ones who were placed in companies last year, but have not yet received joining letters.

“I got recruited by a firm in 2011. I took my GRE date in January because I expected the company to send me the joining letter by at least December 2012, but they did not. Now that my GRE is cancelled, I am likely to miss my admission too,” said Rupa Kathirvel, an electrical engineering student.

Resolution soon

Anand Kannan, managing director, GREedge.com, however said the students must refrain from getting worked up. Advising students to take the GRE as early as possible to avoid last minute problems, he said, “The new GRE pattern was introduced in May 2011 and has been working fine since now. ETS is a very credible institution and the glitch is expected to be fixed soon.”

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