Standby Testing

Forum for the GRE subject test in mathematics.
mdornbos
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:11 am

Standby Testing

Postby mdornbos » Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:55 am

I was wondering if anyone knew how standy testing works? I did not register for the November test but want to take it. I filled out the form, have the fees, and plan on getting to the test center early. Do they usually plan for standbys, or should I not even waste my time showing up this Saturday?

tempt
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:23 pm

Re: Standby Testing

Postby tempt » Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:30 pm

I took standby testing last year.

I called ETS several times the preceding 2 weeks (to get different customer support people). I tried to get an estimate of which location near my home would have the highest probability of a successful standby. They won't guarantee anything for you, but they will tell you which location has the most sign-ups. The logic being: the more people taking the exam (mathematics or other subjects), the more likely they will have extra materials.

So I went to the testing center very early (literally, 5am). Out of 100 or so test takers, there were 5 standby's. The other standby people showed up about 1-2 hours before the exam. The idea is that it's first-come-first-serve, but the center was so disorganized I don't think there would have been any justice on that rule.

Anyway, 30 minutes before the exam the proctor arrived and proudly announced "no standby's!". The 5 of us were pissed so we just waited around anyway. She tried to force us to leave, but we didn't. Anyway, after 100 people filed into the testing room, we just waited in the doorway and she finally let us in.

What a shitty day.

owlpride
Posts: 204
Joined: Fri Jan 29, 2010 2:01 am

Re: Standby Testing

Postby owlpride » Thu Nov 11, 2010 6:16 pm

The logic being: the more people taking the exam (mathematics or other subjects), the more likely they will have extra materials.

This might fire back in some areas. The biggest test center here ran out of seats well before the registration deadline. If I had to try my luck as a standby, I would try one of the smaller centers who accepted registrations right up to the deadline. They may or may not have extra booklets, but at least they have seats.

Glad that it worked out for you!

Chapel
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 11:25 pm

Re: Standby Testing

Postby Chapel » Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:11 pm

When I took the test in October, they asked roughly every 15 minutes if anyone was stand by. Basic you go to a test center and hope for the best.

tempt
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:23 pm

Re: Standby Testing

Postby tempt » Thu Nov 11, 2010 8:28 pm

owlpride wrote:
The logic being: the more people taking the exam (mathematics or other subjects), the more likely they will have extra materials.

This might fire back in some areas. The biggest test center here ran out of seats well before the registration deadline. If I had to try my luck as a standby, I would try one of the smaller centers who accepted registrations right up to the deadline. They may or may not have extra booklets, but at least they have seats.

Glad that it worked out for you!


Yup. The reason the proctor didn't want to take standby's is because there were so many registered test takers (i.e. they were overbooked). All test takers (across subjects) were in the same lecture hall, and apparently they didn't have extra seats so the proctor just didn't want to deal with us. Once everyone was seated though, the proctor saw that there were plenty of no-shows, so she had no choice but to take us in.

On the other hand, I've heard of at least one case where a comp-sci test-taker went as a standby but had to leave because no one registered for the CS test at that location, so ETS didn't mail CS booklets at all.

I really don't know how they handle extra booklets -- both times I took the math test there was at least one extra packet (which includes like 5 booklets or so?). I wonder if extras are still sent when just 1 or 2 people are registered for a given subject.

Either way, if you go as a standby, nothing is guaranteed. Some people are lucky, others aren't. My guess is that the majority of standby's are able to take it, though.

p-adic
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:42 pm

Re: Standby Testing

Postby p-adic » Fri Mar 27, 2015 6:59 pm

Hi, a couple questions about this:

(1) How do you know where to report to? The testing centers list the university, but not the building or room number where the test is being held.

(2) I see the registration form, which includes standby stuff. It has a mailing address on it. Is that just for non-standby test takers who don't register online for whatever reason? I assume I would just fill it out, check the standby box, and include my credit card info on the form? Then give it to the person proctoring the test?




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