“Starting on Aug. 1, 2011, test takers will be greeted with a new version of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test, the gateway assessment for many graduate programs across the country. And in June 2012, prospective business school applicants will face a modified Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Here’s what to expect:”
What follows are the thoughts of one of our Toronto GRE tutors. After having read this post, you might want to participate in our GRE poll: Will the Revised GRE be harder?
“So, is the revised GRE easier or harder than the “old” GRE?
And how will this be reflected in your score?
And how is your score on the new GRE going to be compared to the scores of other applicants who wrote the “old” GRE? (Remember that GRE results are valid for 5 years.)
First, consider the measuring stick.
The “old” GRE has a score scale of 200 to 800. When the GRE was first developed it was probably intended that the means and medians would be around 500 with a normal (bell curve) distribution of scores. At present the median for the Verbal section is about 450 (yes, that is low) and for the Quantitative section it is about 610 (yes, that is high).
Both the Verbal and Quantitative sections of the revised GRE will have a score scale from 130 to 170. I would expect that the revised GRE results which are due to be first released in mid-November will have Verbal and Quantitative medians to be about 150 – right in the middle of the scale.
So how can you compare old and new results? Well, the same way Verbal and Quantitative scores should be viewed when you are looking at the scores required by the schools you are applying to.
You’ve heard “it’s not the heat it’s the humidity?” For the GRE it’s not your score it’s your percentile ranking – how does your score compare with all of the other test writers.
View all scores old and new, verbal and quantitative as percentiles for purposes of comparison.
That said how will you fare on the test? As I said in my last posting the revised GRE test is more test-taker friendly. But it will probably be for the vast majority of test-takers. While some may do better on one version than on the other, most test-takers will probably stay in relatively the same position on the curve – i.e. same percentile ranking.
So remember, it’s not your score it’s your percentile.
“A new test-taker friendly design for the computer-based test that lets you edit or change your answers, skip questions and more, all within a section — giving you the freedom to use more of your own test-taking strategies. Another new feature: an on-screen calculator
New types of questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections, many featuring real-life scenarios that reflect the kind of thinking you’ll do in today’s demanding graduate and business school programs.”
Educational Testing Service (ETS)
No doubt the majority of test-takers will find the new GRE to be more test-taker friendly.
Gone from the GRE Verbal Section are Antonyms and Analogies, two question types that were not at the top of the list for many GRE test-takers. Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions will be added to the new test and Reading Comprehension questions kept from the existing GRE.
There will be no more questions that test vocabulary out of context and there will be a greater emphasis on critical reading and reasoning, long a mainstay of our preparation courses.
On the Quantitative side of things there are only additions, no subtractions. Two new question types, Multiple Answer and Numeric Entry, have been added. The multiple-choice questions for Problem Solving and Data Analysis remain.
Some have opined that the Quantitative Section of the new GRE will be a more challenging section since ETS has been pushing to have the GRE accepted in lieu of the GMAT for business school applicants. Having prepared both GMAT and GRE test-takers we are well positioned to prepare you to meet that challenge.
– two AWA writing exercises (Issue Analysis and Argument Analysis) – each of which is 30 minutes. These will be administered first and will be reported on a 0 – 6 scale
– two GRE Verbal Reasoning sections – the verbal score will be reported on a 130 – 170 scale
– two GRE Math sections – the math score will be reported on a 130 – 170 scale
– one additional section. This additional section will either be an “unidentified” experimental section or an “identified” research section. If the section is “identified” it will be last.
Section Adaptive – Math and Verbal Sections
Although the content of the individual sections will not be computer adaptive (making it different from the GMAT which is Computer Adaptive), the second section of each of the Verbal and Math sections will be based on your performance on the first section. This is what is meant by “section adaptive”.
All in all the Revised GRE looks it will be a very interesting test!
When the existence of “Next Generation GMAT” was announced, the blogosphere lit up. The rationale was probably best captured in the following comment to a blog post:
“Thanks for an interesting article. I note the following paragraphs:
“The GMAT was created in 1953 by nine business schools as their personal test to evaluate and admit the best students for their programmes. Five decades of research and continuous improvement have proven the GMAT to be the most reliable indicator of academic success in graduate management education. Today, it is used by almost 5,000 programmes in 1,900 schools.
In 2008, more than 250,000 prospective business students took the GMAT exam in more than 90 countries. The reach and stature of this computer-adaptive exam reflect its ability to help quality schools find the students around the world who are the best match for their programmes and for the demands of the marketplace. The process of continually reviewing and revising the exam is a rigorous one. An international panel thoroughly studies each potential new question before it is pilot tested with candidates who represent the diversity of the GMAT test taking pool. Questions are carefully screened to ensure they are bias-free.” Continue reading →