GRE in a new avatar

FORMAT CHANGE

GRE in a new avatar

The GRE® (Graduate Record Examinations) is required for admissions to MS, MA, MArch and Doctorate programmes in the US. Apart from them a few schools in UK and Germany also accept GRE® scores. It is conducted throughout the year and its score is valid for five years.

The GRE® is undergoing a major revision from August 1, 2011. The rationale behind this change is to feature a new, test-taker friendly design, that is essentially about how the test is administered and to introduce new question types and content that is more closely aligned to the kind of thinking students need to do in today’s demanding graduate and business school programmes. Also, more management schools might start accepting GRE®. Hence GRE® is becoming more reasoning and application based, somewhat similar to the GMAT®

The revised GRE® will now be a multi-stage adaptive test. There will be two verbal and two quantitative sections instead of one verbal and quantitative section each, as it is currently being done. The difficulty level in the second part will be decided on the basis of your performance in the first part. For example, if you perform better in the first verbal section, you might get questions of higher difficulty level in the second one. Also, students can move back and forth in a section. That is, a student can review and change his answers. This means that the test will not be adaptive at each question and questions won’t be dynamically selected as they are now. The testing time will be nearly four hours, with small (optional) breaks provided in between.

The Verbal Reasoning section of the new GRE® will not test you on Analogies, Antonyms, and Sentence Completion. Instead, this section will consist of Text Completion, Sentence Equivalence and Reading Comprehension (both short and long passages). However, good vocabulary is still important to do well in this section. Also, there are different question types — some questions might have multiple correct options, while some might require you to select a line from the passage as the answer (no option will be given).

The Quantitative Reasoning section of the new GRE® will lay emphasis on data interpretation and real-life scenarios. It will include multiple-choice questions which include some that have more than one correct answer, requiring you to select all the correct answers from the choices provided. It will also include Numeric Entry questions, require you to enter your answer in a box instead of selecting an answer from a list.
However, the fundamentals remain the same. It is just the question patterns that have changed.

Also, the scoring pattern for Verbal Reasoning as well as Quantitative Reasoning has changed. Instead of a score range of 200-800 with 10 point increments, you will now receive scores in the range of 130-170 with 1 point increment.

The analytical writing ability (AWA) will be similar to the current GRE® but only one topic (no option) will be provided to the student for each essay. Time allowed for each essay will be 30 minutes, and each essay will be rated out of 6, as it is done in the current format.

If you're targeting the Fall 2011 intake and need to send your scores by November 2011, you should take the current GRE®.  This stance is based on the fact that test takers who take the GRE® revised General Test between August and mid-November will receive their score reports throughout November — instead of the regular 10-15 day reporting period.  
Also, the revised GRE® does not allow for easy retakes — you can retake the exam only once every 60 days after the revised GRE® is implemented. As a Fall 2011 applicant, you might risk your application deadlines by waiting to retake the test after a couple of months, after you get your score report, just in case you need a higher score.

(The writer is Product Head, IMS Learning Resources Pvt. Ltd)   

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