ETS: GRE Scores Can be Cancelled


ETS reserves the right to cancel the GRE scores if found any irregularities in taking the GRE exam. ETS strives to report scores that accurately reflect each test taker’s performance. Therefore, ETS’s standards and procedures for administering tests have two primary goals:

  • Allowing test takers equivalent opportunities to demonstrate their abilities
  • Prohibiting anyone from acquiring an unfair advantage over the others who take the test

To further promote these objectives, ETS reserves the right to cancel any test score, whether or not it has already been reported, and to take whatever actions it deems appropriate, including forbidding the test taker from taking any further ETS tests and reporting the matter to law enforcement authorities, if, any in ETS’s judgement:

  • A testing irregularity occurs
  • There is a discrepancy in the identification of a test taker
  • The test taker may have been fooled by having someone else take the rest of the test for him/her, acquiring improper access to test questions or answers, exposing test questions or answers to third parties, plagiarism, or copying or communication.
  • The score is invalid for another reason


Testing Irregularities

Problems with the administration of a test are referred to as “testing irregularities.” Testing irregularities can be caused by test takers’ actions, test center personnel’s actions, ETS’s actions, or natural or man-made causes. When testing irregularities arise, they can affect a single person or a group of people taking the test. Administrative errors (such as inappropriate timing, improper seating, defective materials [e.g., improper test forms], and defective equipment), improper access to test content, and other test administration disruptions are examples of such problems (such as natural disasters or other emergencies).

ETS Action: When testing irregularities occur, ETS reserves the right to cancel to score the test or to cancel the score. When ETS deems it acceptable, affected test takers are given the opportunity to retake the test as soon as feasible and without charge.


Identification Discrepancies

When there is a discrepancy in a test taker’s identification, in ETS’s judgment or in the judgment of at-home proctors or test center administrators, if the pictures or other biometric samples from test day cannot be validated, or if ETS has proof that the test taker did not appear for the test.

ETS Action: The test taker could be removed from the session. If irregularities are discovered after the exam has been scored, ETS may decline to score the test or cancel the test scores, ban the test taker from taking any future ETS test, and notify score recipients of the cancellation.



When ETS, at-home proctors, or test center administrators discover that a test has been affected by misconduct; misconduct includes, but is not limited to, noncompliance with Test Center Procedures and Regulations.

ETS Action: ETS may decline to score the test or cancel the test score if the test taker is expelled from the session. ETS also has the right to prevent a test taker from taking any other ETS test in the future. Test takers who have their scores cancelled forfeit their test fees and must pay to take the complete GRE exam at a later date. The test taker’s future score reports sent to colleges, universities, and/or fellowship sponsors will not include a record of score cancellations or the reason for cancellation.

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Invalid Scores

When there is substantial evidence that the scores are invalid for any reason. Substantial evidence is evidence that is adequate to persuade a reasonable person; it is less stringent than the reasonable doubt, clear and convincing, and preponderance of the evidence standards (i.e., it requires less proof). Discrepant handwriting, strange answer patterns, and uneven performance on different parts of the test are all examples of
invalid scores.

ETS Action: Before cancelling scores, ETS tells the test taker in writing of its concerns, allows the test taker to provide material that addresses ETS’s problems, considers any such information submitted, and provides the test taker with a choice of options. Optional score cancellation or a free retest may be available.



During the scoring process, ETS essay-similarity-detection software and experienced essay raters analyse essay responses on the Analytical Writing section.

When an essay response contains any of the following, ETS reserves the right to cancel a test taker’s score:

  • Text that appears to be unusually similar to one or more other GRE essay responses
  • Quoting or paraphrasing text from any published or unpublished source, including internet sources and/or sources provided by any third party, without attribution
  • Unacknowledged use of work created through collaboration with others without attribution of others’ contributions
  • Writings submitted as the test taker’s work that appear to have been plagiarized in whole or in part or prepared by someone else

ETS Action: When one or more of the aforementioned circumstances occur, ETS may determine, in its best opinion, that the essay response does not reflect the independent writing skills that this test is designed to measure. When ETS reaches this conclusion, the Analytical Writing score is cancelled, as are results for the GRE General Test because Analytical Writing scores are an integral part of the test as a whole.

Source: https://www.ets.org/gre/institutions/admissions/policies/cancellation


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