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Recently Announced GRE Changes

At the beginning of this month, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) announced GRE changes–the most drastic in the history of the exam–that will be implemented before its release in 2011, according to the New York Times.

Students applying to graduate school in the future will be faced with a slightly different application process than before: a revised, longer version of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).

As taking the GRE is required for the admission into most of the nation’s graduate programs, these changes are likely to effect those of you that are bound for graduate school.

When preparing for the GRE, keep the following impending GRE changes in mind:

1. Time

The first specified GRE change is concerning time. Previously a three-hour exam, the GRE will now be extended to three and a half hours, allowing students more time for completion.

2. Scale

The scoring scale for the old exam is 200 to 800, with ten-point increments. 2011 GRE changes will implement the new scale of 130 to 170, with one-point increments.

3. Content

Though the three sections of the exam of the old GRE format (verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing) will remain intact, there will be revisions made to their content. Antonyms and analogies will be eliminated from the verbal reasoning section. In the quantitative section, an online calculator will be added.

The writing section will have both reading analysis as well as a section that asks for the student’s own personal views. This GRE change is done specifically to gauge a response from the student, rather than a mindless regurgitation of a memorized answer.

4. Order

Probably the most beneficial GRE change for students is the new ability to skip back and forth between questions in each section. This allows students to leave questions unanswered and return to them later on.

This GRE change will enable students to use their time more efficiently and increase the probability that they will answer those questions correctly.

Over 600,000 students take the GRE each year. It will be interesting to see how the implementation of GRE changes in 2011 will affect student performance.

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