GRE To Change Significantly Next September
Administators planning a complete overhaul of test
December 4, 2006 9:36 PM
With the Graduate Record Examinations doubling in length in September of 2007, test takers can expect their preparation will have to increase as well.
All aspects of the test are going to change, from content and grading to frequency of administration and degree of difficulty.
�The current test takes two and a half hours,� said Susan Kaplan, director of the Graduates Program at Kaplan Test Prep. �Next September it will go for over four hours. This will require more stamina for the test taker.�
According to the Educational Testing Service, a nonprofit organization that develops, administers and scores many standardized tests including the GRE, the new test will be a more accurate predictor of a student�s success in graduate school.
As the test stands now, it adapts to the performance of the test takers, meaning if they are doing well, they will be asked more difficult questions. Starting next September, however, the questions will be set before the test and will not change based on performance.
�There will still be comprehensive questions,� said Kaplan, �but there won�t be an adaptive variety of levels.�
There have also been secrecy issues associated with the GRE, because some questions are used more than once.
Kaplan said there have been problems with test takers posting the questions on the Internet after taking the test. The new format will use new questions every time.
The content of the questions asked on the GRE will also be changing.
�The content will focus on higher cognitive and reasoning skills,� said Kaplan. �In the verbal section there will be less emphasis on vocabulary, and more on critical reading and complex sentence completion.�
Both the quantitative and analytical writing sections will be shifting in content as well.
�The quantitative section will focus less on geometry and more on data interpretation and word problems,� said Kaplan. �The analytical writing section will now focus on critical thinking and more specific essays.�
Another change is that graduate schools will be able to see an applicant�s analytical essay written during the GRE.
They are also decreasing the frequency in which the test will be administered.
�Now the test is administered every day,� said Kaplan. �Starting in September it will only be administered 30 times per year, at most.�
She cited the rising cost of administering the test for this change.
As of right now, Kaplan said there will be no increase in the cost of the GRE, however she said the cost will most likely go up in the near future.
The scoring of the GRE is going to change significantly as well.
The test is currently scored from 200 to 800, but starting in September, it will be scored from 130 to 170.
Lowering the score range from 600 to 40 will allow schools to more efficiently compare test scores. A table will be released to compare the old and new test scores.
Kaplan�s advice to students planning on taking the GRE: �Take it before it changes.�
This is advice that most students are taking to heart when they hear about the upcoming changes to the GRE.
Another student, Vlad Ciupitu, 25, worried that the new schedule would affect him economically.
�As it is, the GRE is being administered on a daily basis, so I can take it on my day off,� Ciupitu said. �I already have to put in extra hours to pay for the test, and now there is a chance that I will have to miss out on wages and have to pay a higher fee.�
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