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What’s with the NEW GRE?

August 8, 2012 / Posted by in Blog

Written by Alexa Kallianiotes
Edited by Stacy Padula

The GRE was revised in August 2011. The new format still measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing, but there have been edits made to in order to make design more online-compatible and to provide the test-taker with more useful results. Below are some of the most significant changes:

The first upgrade is the new and improved design. It permits test-takers to switch back and forth in a particular section in order to change answers. In this new format, one can mark a question to go back to it and make changes. The aim was to create a more traditional (on paper) test-taking experience.

The test material has also been improved. The subjects presented on the GRE more accurately evaluate the abilities of the student necessary for graduate and business programs. Here is a break-down of the subject matter as posted on ets.org:

Content on the GRE revised General Test
The skills measured on the GRE revised General Test include the test-taker’s ability to:

Verbal Reasoning
• Analyze and draw conclusions from discourse; reason from incomplete data; identify author’s assumptions and/or perspective; understand multiple levels of meaning such as literal, figurative and author’s intent.
• Select important points; distinguish major from minor or relevant points; summarize text; understand the structure of a text.
• Understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts; understand relationships among words and among concepts.

Quantitative Reasoning
• Understand quantitative information.
• Interpret and analyze quantitative information.
• Solve problems using mathematical models.
• Apply basic mathematical skills and elementary mathematical concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, probability, and statistics.

Analytical Writing
• Articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively.
• Examine claims and accompanying evidence.
• Support ideas with relevant reasons and examples.
• Sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion.
• Control the elements of standard written English.

Of all the sections, the most changes have been made to the Verbal Reasoning section. In this new GRE exam there will be more complex reasoning. The GRE no longer includes antonyms or analogies. There are no vocabulary out of context questions.

In the Quantitative Reasoning section, the new format allows the use of a calculator to avoid small mistakes. The new design places more emphasis on the reasoning ability of the test-taker than on mathematical calculations. This section now focuses more on data interpretation and real life scenarios.

There have not been any major edits to the Analytical Writing section, but there are expectations for more detailed responses and less generalizations.

Another very apparent change to the GRE is the new scoring scale. Due to new changes in the verbal and quantitative sections, the new range will be between 130 and 170 score scale with increments of 1 point instead of the earlier 200 to 800 scale with 10 points increments. The scale for the analytical section is unchanged as 0 to 6 with 0.5 increments. The new test scale is designed to give enough opportunity to students to demonstrate their reasoning skills, irrespective of their background.

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