Would-be Grad students face longer and revised GRE?

Certification: Admission Tests GRE - Graduate Record Examination


GRE test stands for Graduate Record Examinations and is one of the most widely accepted examination required for admission in various colleges or business schools in United States of America. Educational Testing Service (ETS) created the exam in 1949 and is also the regulatory force behind the same. GRE has undergone various structural changes throughout the course of time. The very recent development occurred on August 1st, 2011. GRE revised general test has been identified for being structurally better and it changes the overall experience for the test-taker. The revised test costs $195 worldwide and charges extra for special handling requests such as late registration fee, standby testing fee, rescheduling fee and fee for changing the test center. There are also many rebates offered for test-takers under certain circumstances. One could visit the official website for various information and registration for the test could also be done online. The official website for GRE is www.ets.org/gre.

Structural Changes

  • The major structural change brought by the revised version is the non-adaptive nature of the exam. Prior to August 2011, the exam was adaptive in nature, which meant that the questions changed based on the answers of the previous questions. Such a method subjected the test to various criticisms, as difficulty of questions is subjective in nature and may differ from person to person.
  • The revised GRE gives the test-taker ability to change answers, skip questions and mark answers for review. The overall performance of the test-taker determines whether the next section would be easier or difficult.
  • GRE revised exam tests the applicant for six different sections, which could be broadly classified into three major categories namely Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.
  • The time factor has also been modified. The GRE test prior to August 2011 gave an applicant approximately 3 hours as completion time. On the other hand the revised GRE exam gives an applicant approximately 3 hours 45 minutes for completion of the test.
  • Analytical Writing is the first section of the examination and other sections may follow in any order. The unscored section may also come in any order therefore an applicant can never be sure which section is marked and which is unmarked.
  • A research section may also take place of the unscored section. The following section may also lack order therefore making it tough to track it.

Scoring Changes

  • The scoring method for the revised GRE is also very different from the prior exam.
  • The score scale has changed from 200 – 800 range to 130 – 170 range. The following has been done for Verbal Reasoning as well as Quantitative Reasoning.
  • Analytical writing has the score scale of 0 – 6 in both the exams.
  • In the 130 – 170 range the scale increase by 1 point each whereas in 200 – 800 range the scale increase by 10 points each.
  • There is a half point increment in the 0 – 6 scale of analytical writing.

Score Reporting

The score reporting policies adopted by the GRE Board is done after careful review and analysis. The policies are developed keeping in mind the interests of test-takers and it aims at providing them with various options on how to report their scores to the chosen schools and universities. Some of the policies adopted by the GRE board include:

  • The current policy adopted by the board states that the scores are valid for five years. The following is applicable to the cases prior to the 2014 – 2015 testing year.
  • The policy also states that absences are not reported.
  • The percentile recorded is in reference to the performance of the current group. It does not take depend upon when the score were actually recorded.
  • Score Select Option provided by the GRE revised test is a new and improved way of reporting scores to the schools and universities. The following gives various options to the test taker such as one could report the most recent score, report all the scores ever achieved or send the scores of any one or all of the tests taken.
  • Such improved way of reporting scores provides a new experience to the applicant therefore proving to be an advantage.

Conclusion

The dilemma of whether to take the new and revised GRE is faced by every student interested in enrolling for the exam. The changes included in the revised GRE are both advantageous and disadvantageous as they may have increased the overall time of the exam but the introduction of non-adaptive test provides great benefits. There also have been various speculations on which sections have been made easier or more difficult than the last time. Many believe that sections such as reading comprehension and vocabulary are relatively easier in verbal whereas sentence completion and multiple answer questions are harder. The same way computation and content are easier in quantitative and numeric entry and multiple answer questions are harder. One cannot easily decide whether the revised GRE is a blessing for the potential test-takers or a necessary evil but most of the policies and changes undertaken are done so keeping in mind the interests of the test-takers. Allowing an on-screen calculator during the examination is another advantage that is provided by the revised GRE which was not available earlier. The only issue that many of the potential applicants face is the revised and increased time of the examination. Such long length proves to be fatal especially because it is difficult for many to hold their concentration for so long. In order to overcome such problems breaks are also a part of the curriculum, applicants can utilize the ten-minute break provided after the third section. Therefore the revised GRE has proved its worth time and over again and as it is one of the most recognized examination one should not shy away from the opportunity but go prepared for the examination.


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