SO what is new about the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General Test, to be held on August 1, 2011.
Antonym and analogies questions have been knocked out, so no more questions that test vocabulary out of context. The focus is on Reading. The questions gauge your ability to interpret, evaluate and reason from what you have read. So no more mugging!
There are more Reading Comprehension questions on the test and new answer formats such as selecting multiple correct answer choices instead of just one, or highlighting a sentence within a reading passage to answer the question.
While you are still expected to know basic math such as algebra, arithmetic, geometry, more emphasis is on data interpretation and real-life scenarios, less on computation. This section evaluates how you apply elementary mathematical concepts in solving problems.
Not much has changed in this section except that you will be expected to provide more focused responses to the tasks presented. But you will still write two essays, one where you examine a logical argument, and the other where you express your views on a critical issue.
Test structure and length
The Test is about three hours and 45 minutes, including short breaks. The Analytical Writing section will be first, while the other five sections may appear in any order. You will get a 10-minute break after the third section; and a 1-minute break between the other test sections.
One Analytical Writing section with two separately timed writing tasks: ‘Analyse an Issue’ task and one ‘Analyse an Argument’ task, 30 minutes per task
Two Verbal Reasoning sections,
20 questions per section, 30 mins per section Two Quantitative Reasoning sections, 20 questions per section, 35 mins per section One un-scored section, typically a Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning section that may appear at any point in the test An identified research section that is not scored may also be included in the computer-based GRE revised General Test at any point.
Changes to paper-based test
The paper-based test will reflect all the changes of the computer-based test; the only new question type not included in the paper-based test is Highlighting an Answer Within a Reading Passage. Also, you will now enter your answers in a test book, rather than a separate answer sheet and you will be provided an ETS calculator to use during the Quantitative Reasoning section.
Choosing between the tests
Start by selecting which schools you want to apply to and then find out by when they want your scores. Different schools have different deadlines. If you need scores before November 2011, then take the current test and remember, the scores of the current test will be valid for the next five years. If you don’t need scores until after November 2011, taking the GRE revised General Test is advisable.
(with inputs from Manya Group, a leading trainer for GRE/ GMAT)