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The New GRE – In the Media

The new GRE is definitely making headlines. Now, the august New York Times has chimed in. In a two-page article, the Times interviews a Ms. Piacentino, Program Director of the GRE. The article also gives us a quick overview of the changes to come, and provides a set of questions covering different concepts and levels of difficulty.

If you already have a copy of The Official Guide to the Revised General Test, then most of these questions are redundant. Still, there are a few interesting tidbits. Apparently, ETS justifies multiple answer questions by saying ‘”not every problem in life has one solution”. I hope ETS doesn’t abuse that logic in subsequent revisions to the GRE…The answer choices are A – Z. Select all, none, or any, because, hey, life is complicated.

The article also states that the Revised GRE’s 130 – 170 scale, marked in increments of one, gives a more precise measurement than the current scale of 200 – 800, marked in increments of 10. Now schools can see small differences, the logic goes, giving us a greater range of point values on this scale than on the current scale.

Doing the math, we can see this is not true. On the new GRE scale, there is a total of 41 different scores, starting with 130 and ending at 170. With the current GRE scale, you can have 61 different possible points. Yes, I know, I’m being picayune…but it’s always nice to be able to correct such a venerable publication.

Equally interesting are the omissions. While there will be no Antonym section to plague test takers, the Times only notes that Analogies will be cut, citing that they are too easy to memorize (I’m assuming they mean the vocabulary words, not the analogies themselves).

Overall, the article is a worthwhile read. Yet, I would have liked the Times to impute a little more opinion on the matter. Has the new GRE been dumbed down? Will it really be better at predicting graduate school performance? Should you take the new GRE before it changes? If you want the answers to those questions, well, I always know a good source: Magoosh.

By the way, students who use Magoosh GRE improve their scores by an average of 8 points on the new scale (150 points on the old scale.) Click here to learn more.

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