What You Can Expect on the New GRE

The general portion of the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is getting a makeover. Many individuals around the world use this logic and reasoning test to apply for graduate school admission. The Education Insider takes a closer look at what college students can expect on the new GRE.

By Erin Tigro


About the New GRE

The GRE allows graduate school hopefuls to demonstrate their skills in data analysis and interpretation, problem-solving, vocabulary, reading comprehension and analytical writing. Educational Testing Services, the organization that runs the GRE, will begin offering the new version of the general test in August 2011; subject-specific GRE exams will not change with the rollout. The updated general exam includes an additional math and verbal section and will total nearly four hours. Scores will continue to be valid for five years.

Changes to Question Formatting

The new exam looks to contextualize questions better. The essay portion is also very specific in its call for answers. It is intended to make test-takers think on the spot and develop creative answers that directly address the questions asked. Some of the changes introduced on the new GRE include:

  • Open responses and fill-in-the-blanks
  • Multiple correct answers
  • No analogies or antonyms
  • More specific writing prompts

Changes to the Computer-Based Test

Questions on the updated GRE have been modified to make it easier for individuals to navigate through the test. Some of the differences to the computer-based exam include onscreen calculators and highlighting functions. In addition, test-takers will now be able to:

  • View all questions within a section instead of one at a time
  • Skip questions within a section, mark them for re-review and address them later
  • Edit questions within a section
  • Highlight sections of narrative to answer exam questions

Changes to Test Length and Scoring

The latest Graduate Record Examination will be 30 minutes longer than the older version. However, there will be fewer questions on the newer assessment: 130-170 instead of 200-800. Also, scoring will be in 1-point as opposed to 10-point increments, which should make it easier for college admissions departments to more aptly compare students by GRE scores.

Read on for more information about what to expect in graduate school.

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