The GRE is under construction, with its revamped test ready for future grad and MBA students in August or September of 2011, says Inside Higher Ed.
The Educational Testing Service (ETS) has had test-altering plans since 2005 but the 2007 launch was delayed due to technical difficulties.
The changes are meant to increase the GRE’s competitive edge when up against the GMAT, the test of choice for most MBA prospects. The GRE is a viable option for some B-school admission requirements and the ETS would like to see that option more widely taken advantage of, reports the New York Times, who also picked up this story.
Some of the specific changes to the GRE include:
- The grading scale will range from 130 to 170, rather than from the current 200 to 800.
- The test will be lengthened from 3 hours to 3.5 hours.
- The order of test questions will be scrambled every 2 hours, for increased security.
- The test will allow for test-takers to skip a question and return to it later.
- The verbal section will no longer contain questions on analogies and antonyms.
- The quantitative section will now provide an online calculator. Also its geometry component will be cut down and data analysis questions will be added.
The first point, of the deflated grading scale, will be to the test-takers advantage, says David Payne, VP and COO of ETS. With the current, larger range, he explains, a 10 point difference is seen as a major setback for the lower scoring test. The new system, however, will condense those 10 points into just 1 or 2, showing the more accurate representation of the significance (or lack thereof) of such a difference.
The ability to skip around from question to question within each section, he continues to explain, is meant to make the test-taking experience more natural and more comfortable.
Payne also describes a non-cognitive optional addition to the GRE, the Personal Potential Index, in which applicants are able to showcase more of their humanity, personality, and interests.
In short, says Payne, the new GRE will be “much friendlier.”
One more thing regarding the GRE-GMAT debate: Not all B-schools accept the GRE as of now, but student experience shows, according to Inside Higher Ed, that the GMAT’s math section is more challenging than that of the GRE. MBA-bound students who have strong verbal skills, therefore, are starting to lean towards the GRE—that is, if their business school of choice accepts it.
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