Changes in GRE will impact graduates
Published: Thursday, October 25, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 25, 2012 00:10
In high school, the SAT loomed over us as the ultimate test that would decide our futures (or it was believed). As it turns out, the SAT was just the beginning.
Those applying to grad school must complete the GRE, or Graduate Record Examinations. The exam has two parts: the general test and the subject test. Much like the SAT, the general test is broken down into three sections, which are verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing. The subject tests focus on specific disciplines and are available in eight fields of study: literature in English, biology, chemistry, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, computer science, mathematics, physics and psychology.
Most students take the computer-adaptive version of the GRE. For the quantitative and verbal reasoning portion, the exam adapts the level of difficulty of its questions based on if you got a right or wrong response to the previous question.
In August 2011 the GRE revised its general test so that the exam would better reflect the thought process required of students in business and graduate school. The new test lasts four hours, one hour longer that the older version. The scoring methods have also changed. The verbal reasoning and quantitative sections of the exam used to be scored from 200-800 with 10-point increments. Now they are scored from 130-170 on a one-point scale. The GRE score distribution aims to be a bell curve with the average person getting a 150. The writing section has maintained its scoring scale from 0-6, with half-point increments.
Educational Testing Services (ETS), the organization behind the GRE, touts the exam’s new features on its website, such as access to free online preparation software. Other benefits include a new test-taker friendly design, where within a section you can preview and review questions, mark questions to return to later, and change or edit questions. Both business schools and graduate schools accept the GRE, and for those considering more than one degree, it may be used for admissions decisions for master’s, MBA and Ph.D. programs.
Dennis Rouelle, a career counselor in the Department of Career Services, highly recommends that graduating students take the GRE, urging students to “get a practice exam, and [prepare] it until they get it right.”
The results of the GRE are valid for five years, so students who take the exam while still undergraduates can use those scores even if they wait a few years before applying to business or graduate school.