Hundreds of Israelis Will Be Forced to Retake GREs After Questions Leaked on Facebook

Same tests, often taken by grads applying for medical school, were given two days earlier in Cyprus.

Israeli med students.
Alon Ron

The results of the April GRE (graduate-school admission) exam in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology were canceled after it turned out that parts of the test were leaked on Facebook before they were administered in Israel. These two tests are often taken by students seeking to study medicine.

Educational Testing Service, the international nonprofit that administers the exams, has not yet issued a statement to the all those who took the tests, but a number asked ETS about the matter on Monday after they did not receive their test scores on time. ETS informed them that the Israeli tests had been disqualified. They were promised that a new date for the tests would be set soon.

The GRE is for students applying for graduate school after completing, or while completing, a bachelor’s degree, and the same standardized exams are administered all over the world by ETS. The biochemistry, cell and molecular biology test is required in Israel by the two medical schools, at Tel Aviv University and Bar-Ilan University’s Safed campus. Normally Israelis attend a seven-year medical school program directly and not after finishing a bachelor’s degree. Estimates are that some 600 students were affected by the disqualification of the test.

It seems ETS found out about the leaked tests from complaints made by students. The suspicion is that a student who took the test in Cyprus, two days before the test date in Israel, shared a number of the exam questions in a Facebook group. The Israeli students are not suspected of playing any part in the leak.

A student whose test scores were canceled told Haaretz yesterday, “We studied for the test for three months. We spent tens of thousands of shekels and lost precious months of work in order to prepare for it. They are offering us solutions that for many, who are still studying for their degrees, are simply impossible. I made a year of preparations for this date in April and I cannot give up everything in the middle to prepare for another date, and it is not even clear when it will be.”

Prof. Yaron Oz, rector of Tel Aviv University, said that in light of ETS’s decision, the admissions process will be changed accordingly based on the new test dates. “The university is prepared and will make every effort to meet the admissions schedule,” Oz said.

Bar-Ilan University said: “The test scores are used by the medical schools of Tel Aviv and Bar-Ilan universities as part of their admissions process for the four-year medical school program. In light of the decision by ETS, which is of course accepted by the universities, the admissions procedures will be according to the new test dates.”

ETS has not yet responded to Haaretz’s questions.