Frequently Asked Questions About the ETS® Major Field Tests
- How many forms of each ETS® Major Field Test are available?
Currently, only one form of each Major Field Test is operational at any one point in time, with the exception of the title that is being redesigned. When the new form is introduced, the old form will be available for purchase in paper-and-pencil format for a limited time to aid the transition to the new form.
- How often are test forms updated?
This depends on the field of study. For more rapidly changing subject areas, MFT test forms may be updated as frequently as every three years. For other subject areas, MFT test forms are updated at least every five years.
- Why does ETS regularly update Major Field Test (MFT) forms?
ETS regularly updates MFT test forms to maintain their validity, reliability and fairness. This process ensures that the test specifications and content remain current to the pertinent disciplines and changes in teaching methods.
- What is the process for updating an MFT test form?
When it is time to update an MFT form, ETS conducts a wide-scale curriculum survey of programs across the country to determine what should be covered in that MFT test title. ETS then assembles a committee of experts in the field to review the current test form and collaborate on the creation of the new test form. The new test form goes through an extensive process of editing and content review before it is made available for use.
- How do we know that scores from the new form of an exam can be compared to scores from previous forms?
Total scores from different forms of the same test are made comparable through a statistical process called equating. The MFT equating process uses common questions — or an anchor block — to form a linkage between the previous test form and the new test form. Common-item equating is one of the most accurate methods of ensuring comparability of scores.
- What are the different MFT score types and what do they mean?
MFT test titles might report as many as three different types of scores:
- Total Score is an indicator of performance in the whole of the discipline.
- Subscores represent large subdomains of the discipline and are based on enough test questions to be statistically reliable for both groups and individual students.
- Assessment Indicators are reported at the group level only and are offered whenever there are too few test questions in a subdomain to create statistically reliable subscores.
- Are all of the scores that MFT reports made comparable through the equating process when test forms are updated?
No. Equating requires an anchor block of common questions. Only the Total Score has enough test questions contributing to it to create this anchor block. So the Total Score is comparable from one test form to another, while Subscores and Assessment Indicators may have more limited comparability.
- How soon will score reports be available for a new MFT test form?
This depends on the time it takes to gather a sufficient quantity of data. Score equating cannot begin until the data gathered for the new MFT test form is representative of the population that typically administers that MFT test title. Attaining a representative sample for a new test form may take as little as a few weeks or as long as a few months. ETS offers special promotions to institutions willing to administer new forms of an MFT test title to help expedite score equating. Check with your MFT account representative about these promotions to see if your institution qualifies.
- When will comparative data be available for a new form of an MFT test title?
Comparative data should be representative of the students and institutions that participate in using that MFT test title. Data is gathered until the sample represented by the test takers is representative of the larger test-taking population for that MFT test title. Comparative data is typically published once a year in the fall, but comparative data for a new MFT test title may be withheld until score equating is completed and the comparative data pool is deemed representative of the larger population.
- Can I use the comparative data for the current MFT test form to analyze scores from the new test form?
You may use the current MFT Comparative Data Guide (CDG) to evaluate total scaled scores from the new test form, to determine how your institution did on the new form as compared to the population that took the previous form. This comparison can be made because the total scaled scores are equated from form to form and the new and old test forms are comparable.
However, due to differences in the scaled score distributions between different forms, the total scaled score percentiles in the current Comparative Data Guide should be used with caution. In the interim however, you can use the published comparative data to review how your institution did on their total scaled scores on the new form as compared to those who have taken the previous equated form. Keep in mind that the larger the number of test takers, the more stable the distribution of percentiles will be.
To assist in making the shifts more accurate, the Comparative Data, published in 2013, will now be in single point buckets. The five-point buckets previously used can mask the real magnitude of increases or decreases in percentile ranking. By moving to single point buckets, it allows for more accurate evaluation when a new form is released as it would eliminate some of the variance you see in the initial sample.
- I used the new test form and now my percentile ranking has shifted. Why?
A shift in an institution's percentile ranking may be attributed to one or more factors depending on the type of score (i.e., total scaled score, subscore, assessment indicator). Since total scaled scores are statistically linked through an equating process, shifts in the percentile ranking are more likely due to the sample of students tested and their performance.
For subscores and assessment indicators, whenever an MFT test form is refreshed, data from the new test form cannot be combined with data from the preceding test form. This means that whenever a new MFT test form is published, the accumulation of data begins all over again. During this period of time, there will be fewer institutions and students represented by the comparative data, and so this new data may not yet be fully representative of the composition of the MFT test-taking population. Until comparative data is again accumulated for more institutions and students, you may see unexpected changes in percentile rankings for your institution from the year before. Until this reference group becomes stabilized by the addition of test-taker data from more institutions, please keep in mind that aberrances in percentile rankings across versions of the test may not be as much a reflection of your program's performance as it is a reflection of the changing make-up of the reference group.
- Online Testing
- Does online testing involve more work for the institution and its staff than paper-and-pencil testing?
Not necessarily more work, but different work. The Major Field Tests online process consists of a hierarchy of users at the institution: an Institution Administrator, a Department Administrator for each test subject and a Proctor Administrator who must be present when exams are administered. When ETS establishes a Major Field Tests online account, it is creating only an Institution Administrator account. The Institution/Department Administrator Manual walks the Institution Administrator through the simple process of establishing the other roles.
- Can the online version of the Major Field Tests be administered off-campus for my distance learning students?
The Major Field Tests must be administered in a proctored environment to ensure the integrity of the test results. For the MFT for Bachelor’s Degree in Business and the MFT for MBA, the online versions can be administered at Prometric® test centers throughout the U.S. Learn more about off-campus testing.
- Are test preparation materials available for review or purchase?
Test preparation materials are not available, but sample questions can be found for each of the Major Field Tests in the Sample Questions section.
- What should an institution do if a test administration is interrupted and Major Field Tests Online Customer Support is closed?
If the proctor cannot troubleshoot the problem using the manual, the test can be resumed when Major Field Tests Online Technical Support reopens, Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. ET. You can contact Technical Support at 1-800-514-8491. The student will resume the exam at the last unanswered question with the exact time remaining when the interruption occurred.
- What are administrators actually purchasing when they order an online exam?
In the absence of actual test booklets, institutions are instead purchasing the access rights to the exam. The purchasing institution receives permission to use the exam a certain number of times. The access rights to the exam are referred to as authorization codes. The authorization code is a random password that permits one student access to the exam and cannot be reused. So an institution that needs to administer 40 exams must order 40 authorization codes.
- How can we verify the number of online exams available for our use?
Click the "Inventory" folder in your Major Field Tests online account to view your current inventory and purchase more tests if needed.
- How can we rectify ordering errors with online tests — for example, when an order is short or over?
If you ordered online tests but the system generated fewer or more codes than were ordered, please contact Major Field Tests Online Technical Support at
If you ordered too few exams because of a key entry error, just order more exams using the same Major Field Tests Online ordering system and the same purchase order or credit card.
If an institution orders too many exams because of a key entry error or because it could not confirm how many exams were needed before ordering, the additional exams are not wasted. Just as with the paper-and-pencil testing, the tests for online exams can be retained indefinitely and used for future administrations.
It is better to order too few than too many exams because Major Field Tests Online makes it easy to order additional exams but does not offer refunds for unused authorization codes.
- Off-Campus Testing — Information for Institutions
- Why should I consider using off-campus testing?
- Off-campus testing allows you to reach a broader range of your students, primarily those who are not geographically near your campus testing center. Now you can assess your entire population with the same test and the same level of security to provide you with the most reliable and valid data available to do your analysis.
- Is there a fee for utilizing off-campus testing centers?
- Yes. There will be an additional fee per student to participate. See the pricing and ordering page for details.
- Do I have to test everyone off-campus?
- No. When setting up a cohort for testing, you can choose which students you would like to test on-campus or off-campus.
- How do I test students who require testing accommodations?
- Students requiring testing accommodations will need to test on campus. Make arrangements for administering the MFT in the same way you would make arrangements for administering other important local tests.
- How does the process work for off-campus testing?
- When you set up your testing cohort, you will identify those students you would like to test at an off-campus test session. Once identified, they will receive an email directing them how to sign up at a center near them. After the test has been completed, you will be able to view results and run reports as you do today.
- What should students bring on test day?
- Students will receive an email with information on how to register for a test session and a link to test-taker information on the MFT website. This information will include ID requirements, what to expect on test day and what to bring to the test center.
- Are students able to re-schedule or cancel a test session?
- As long as the student reschedules or cancels within five days, there will be no penalty to the institution. See change or cancel your off-campus test registration on the policies and procedures page.
- What happens if one of my students is absent from the test appointment or leaves in the middle of the test?
- If the student is absent from the appointment, the session fee will be forfeited, but the test will remain in your inventory for future use. If the student leaves at any time during the testing session, the session and test will be forfeited.
- What if a test taker cancels his/her testing appointment?
- In order to avoid forfeiting the test fee, the test taker must cancel his/her registration no later than five days prior to the test date. If a test taker cancels within this time period, the test session will be returned to your inventory for future use.
- When will scores be available?
- Scores will be accessible via the Internet immediately after test administration. Additionally, student scores will display on screen upon completion of the test and they will receive a printed copy of the score report at the test center.
- What security measures are taken at off-campus test centers?
- Students may be photographed and fingerprinted as confirmation of their identity. At some testing centers, the use of electronic detection scanning devices (e.g., hand-held detectors/wands) has also been implemented. Failure to comply with these security measures will result in student dismissal from the test and forfeiture of the test fees.
- Off-Campus Testing — Information for Test Takers
- What are ETS Major Field Tests?
- The ETS Major Field Tests are comprehensive undergraduate and MBA outcomes assessments designed to measure the critical knowledge and understanding obtained by students in a major field of study.
- Why Take a Major Field Test?
- Institutions use the Major Field Tests to measure students’ mastery of their chosen field of study, assess the effectiveness of major programs of study and improve curricula and student learning outcomes.
- Can I test off-campus?
- If you are eligible to test off-campus, you will be notified by your institution.
- How will I know if I am eligible?
- Your institution will decide if they want you to take the test. If you are identified as eligible to test off-campus, you will be sent an email with instructions for how to register.
- Do I have to pay for my test session?
- No payment will be required during registration. All payment arrangements were made directly with your institution.
- I need testing accommodations, what do I do?
- If you have a disability or health-related needs that require testing accommodations, contact your institution to discuss your options and schedule an on-campus testing session.
- What should I bring with me on test day?
- You need to bring valid and acceptable ID documents and your confirmation email.
- What should I know about ID requirements?
- Valid and acceptable identification with your name, signature and photograph is required for admission to a test. ID requirements are strictly enforced. View a list of acceptable ID documents.
- What security measures are taken at test centers?
- You may be photographed and fingerprinted as confirmation of your identity. At some testing centers, the use of electronic detection scanning devices (e.g., hand-held detectors/wands) has also been implemented. Failure to comply with these security measures will result in dismissal from the test and forfeiture of your institution’s test fees.
- What if I need to reschedule my test?
If you need to change your exam date or time, you must do so by five days before your test date or the exam fee paid by your institution will be forfeited. For example, the deadline to reschedule a Friday appointment is Monday.
You can reschedule or cancel online at www.prometric.com. The website is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To reschedule or cancel, you will be asked to provide your appointment confirmation number and the name under which the appointment was scheduled. Your confirmation number can be found in the confirmation email that you received from Prometric, after you scheduled your appointment. If you need your confirmation number, but cannot locate your confirmation email, contact your institution for assistance with obtaining your confirmation number.
- Where can I find test preparation materials?
- The Major Field Tests are intended to measure what you have learned over a course of study — not what you have learned in the days leading up to the test. A quick review of the test content descriptions and sample questions available at MFT for Bachelor’s Degree in Business and MFT for Master of Business (MBA) Degree will help you get familiar with the areas covered by the test and the types of questions you can expect.
- When will my scores be available?
- Your individual score will display on screen upon completion of the test and you will receive a printed copy of the score report at the test center. In addition your institution will receive your scores as soon as you have completed testing.
- Questions about Major Field Tests?
- For more information about the Major Field Tests, or if you have questions regarding testing, contact your institution.
For more information about how the Major Field Tests can help your program, call 1-800-745-0269 or contact an ETS Advisor. ETS Advisors are available Monday through Friday from 8–4:30 p.m. ET.