ETS sees huge number of Indian GRE test takers

By Anusha

ETS sees huge number of Indian GRE test takers

In 2013, the number of GRE test takers in India increased by 70 per cent as compared to 2012 as per the figures published by the Educational Testing Service.

GRE, the entrance examination used by many graduate-school programmes, is administered by the Educational Testing Service. The figures from Educational Testing Service reveal that a rise in the number of students from India getting into graduate schools in America may continue. A report published last fall by the Council of Graduate Schools shows a 40 per cent increase in first-time graduate enrollments from India from 2012 to 2013.

The new figures of ETS shows that over 90,000 GRE tests were taken by Indian students last year. In the United States, the number of tests taken rose by 5 percent from the year before, while there was an overall increase of 35 percent in tests taken in Asia.

The company said that, last year the total number of GRE tests taken worldwide was 2nd highest in the 65-year history of the test, at 731,000. The highest number was in 2011, when over 800,000 tests were taken.

Christine Betaneli, a GRE spokeswoman for ETS, said that the company expanded its reach in India last year by organising more visits to campuses and student fairs. It also magnified emphasis on social-media engagement with students from India.

Ms. Betaneli said, "I believe that translated into increased awareness and knowledge. But a 70-percent increase is enormous, and there's probably a lot of factors that go into that jump."

Rahul Choudaha, director of research and strategic development at World Education Services, a non-profit organisation that studies international education trends, said the rise in GRE taking in India could be the result of "pent-up demand" from that country's poor economy in recent years. He also said an increasing number of business schools were making use of the GRE.

As per ETS, over 1,100 business schools accept GRE scores for their M.B.A. Programmes, an 8-percent increase from the previous year. The number of international programmes considering GRE scores rose by nearly 12 percent, compared to 2012.

However, Debra W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools, said she was unclear about exactly what might be driving the increase in graduate enrollments from India, that her group documented in a report in November.

"I don't have any confidence in explanations about this topic," she said. "India has over time been much more difficult to predict than the patterns in most other countries," she added.

When the reports were released in November by the council, Ms. Stewart said she often heard speculation that a devaluation of the Indian currency, the rupee, could explain the increase, but she was skeptical.

"That can work two ways," she said. "People can say the Indian economy is in trouble, and therefore people are escaping and coming to the U.S. in large numbers. Or they could say the Indian economy is in trouble, the currency is down, and therefore they can't financially afford to come to graduate school in the U.S."

Ms. Stewart however noted that Britain which has usually had many Indian students being drawn towards it had recently become less attractive to foreign students because of drops in international-student funding and changes in immigration policies. She said, that might be a factor making the United States more attractive to students from India.

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