By Jessica Lewis, News Editor
After July 31, graduating students taking the GRE (Graduate Record Exam) will face an exam that is longer and noticeably modified. Lee Weiss, director of graduate programs at Kaplan Test Prep, responded to an email about the changes and said these changes were modeled to attract acceptance from more business programs that currently prefer the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test).
The new GRE will replace a 200 to 800 point score/10 point increment scale with a 130 to 170 point score/1 point increment. Additionally, the new test is estimated to last an hour longer than the current GRE—"so this is increasingly a test of endurance," Weiss said.
Students who recall the SAT update in 2005, which removed analogies from the reading comprehension section, will notice a trend in the GRE's decision to remove its analogy questions as well. An update to the GRE will also feature a ‘"strengthen/weaken" question type, already found on the GMAT, which asks the test-taker to identify a strength or weakness in an argument's claims.
"In recent years, the GRE has successfully convinced many business schools that the GRE can be a viable alternative to the GMAT for admissions," Weiss said, indicating why the GRE took an interest in the GMAT's question-types. "To persuade more business schools to accept the GRE, the test-maker [ETS, Exam Testing Services—an organization that administers many common examinations] is making the GRE more like the GMAT."
Perhaps the most drastic change to the GRE is a reorganization of its adaptive question format. While the previous exam supplies more difficult questions based on each question answered correctly, the new exam gets more challenging based on performance in an entire section. Test-takers can now mark and skip questions within a section to revisit them later, as well as change other answers. Weiss warns against the dangers of such freedom, however.
"Cognition studies tell us that your first answer is often correct—this new format will have lots of test-takers second-guessing themselves," he said.
Registration is now open for the new GRE, to be administered on and after August 1. Students should note that the updated exam could be taken once every 60 days and up to five times in a year. Weiss says that a preview of the new test can be found at testchange.com or kaplanpracticetest.com. Blog posts by teachers and advisors about the new GRE are also recommended by Weiss, and can be found at KaplanGRE.com/blog.