As you may be aware, ETS, creator of the GRE General Test is revising the format of the test from Aug-Sep 2011. The GRE revised General Test is designed to be even more closely aligned with the skills needed in today’s demanding graduate and business school programs, and to help you make more informed admissions decisions.
The GRE revised General Test is aimed to be a friendlier, more technically advanced test that’s been updated to provide you with even more reliable results.
The revised test features a new score scale that reports the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures on a 130 – 170 score scale, in 1-point increments (vs. 200 – 800 in 10-point increments). Compressing the reporting metric means producing scores that won’t exaggerate small performance differences between examinees.
The new score scale for the GRE revised General Test is as follows:
* Verbal Reasoning scores will be reported on a new 130–170 score scale, in 1-point increments (versus 200–800 in 10-point increments).
* Quantitative Reasoning scores will be reported on a new 130–170 score scale, in 1-point increments (versus 200–800 in 10-point increments).
* Analytical Writing scores will continue to be reported on the same 0–6 score scale, in half-point increments.
What Is Changing in Test Structure and Length?
The overall testing time for the GRE revised General Test is approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes, plus short breaks for the test taker. There are six sections to the revised test:
* One Analytical Writing section with two separately timed writing tasks
* Two Verbal Reasoning sections
* Two Quantitative Reasoning sections
* One unscored section, typically a Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning section, that may appear at any point in the test
Here’s a breakdown of the timing and tasks for each test section:
1a. Analytical Writing section comprising an “Analyze an Issue” task. The duration of the task is 30 minutes
1b. Analytical Writing section comprising an “Analyze an Argument” task. The duration of the task is 30 minutes.
2. Verbal Reasoning (2 sections). Approximately 20 questions per section. The duration is 30 minutes per section.
3. Quantitative Reasoning (2 sections). Approximately 20 questions per section. The duration is 30 minutes per section.
4. There is an Unscored* section. The number of questions varies and the time duration varies.
5. There is a Research** section. The number of questions varies and the time duration varies.
*An unidentified unscored section that does not count toward a score may be included and may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section.
**An identified research section may be included in place of the unscored section. The research section will always appear at the end of the test. Questions in this section are included for the purpose of ETS research and will not count toward the test taker’s score.
There is a 10-minute break following the third section, and a 1-minute break between the other test sections.
What Is Changing for the Test Taker?
Now, test takers find more real-life scenarios, less reliance on memorization, the freedom to take advantage of their own personal test-taking style and strategies, even an on-screen calculator for help with the Quantitative Reasoning measure.
Here are the changes that provide test takers with a better experience:
* New questions that better reflect the skills they need for graduate and business school
* New response formats, including computer-enabled tasks such as numeric entry answers
* Less reliance on vocabulary knowledge out of context, and more emphasis on reading
* New preview and review capabilities within a section
* New “mark and review” feature to tag questions, so they can skip what they don’t know and return later
* New ability to change/edit answers
* New on-screen calculator* for the Quantitative Reasoning measure
Students, who are currently preparing for the GRE, have nothing to worry about — scores will be valid for five years. Nevertheless, the optimal strategy for test-takers will be to prepare for three to four months, and take the test before the format changes.