More on the Coming Changes to the GRE

Much has been made of Educational Testing Service’s announcement that it will introduce significant changes to the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) test in 2011. With the market for grad school-related standardized testing heating up as GMAC and ETS butt heads, these changes are sure to be closely watched.

Interestingly, ETS planned a big change to the GRE in 2007, but later canceled its plans, blaming computer problems for the aborted effort. Clearly, with the stakes being raised as ETS and GMAC (the people behind the GMAT) battle fort he hearts and minds of admissions officers, competition has brought out the best in ETS.

The big changes to the test include (adapted from Inside Higher Ed):
  • People who take the new version of the GRE on the computer will be able to skip questions and come back to them later, and revisit answers before submitting an entire section. While test takers will surely like this, it’s hard to envision there being much of a computer-adaptive component to the test with this model.
  • The scoring range for each section will change from 200-800 (with score increments of 10 points), to a scale of 130-170, with score increments of one point.
  • The section of antonyms and analogies in the verbal section will be removed, with more reading comprehension added. We think this reflects ETS’ push to make the GRE more like the GMAT in what skills it tests.
  • The geometry section in the quantitative section will shrink, with additional questions being added related to data analysis. This is another push to test more of the skills that the GMAT also tests.
  • A calculator will be provided, to shift the emphasis from how quickly someone can calculate a number to that person’s actual analytical and problem-solving abilities.
  • The time of the exam will increase from around 3 hours to 3 hours, 45 minutes.

If you’re applying to business school and are wondering which test you should take, our advice remains the same: We agree with GMAC that the GMAT is still the most proven measure of the skills an MBA applicant needs to succeed in the classroom. If you’re thinking about grad degrees and general and are only somewhat interested in earning an MBA, then perhaps the GRE is the better place to start. If you’re sure that a top-tier MBA is what you want, however, the GMAT is still your best bet.

For more GMAT prep assistance, take a look at the free resources available at Veritas Prep, including our free practice GMAT. If you’re ready to start working on your own 700+ score on the GMAT, give us a call at (800) 925-7737!

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