GRE to undergo reformat

The Graduate Record Exam will undergo major changes that will go into effect next October, including a time extension and one universal test offered to all who take it, according to the Educational Testing Service.The GRE is a standardized test that half a million prospective graduate students take each year and is required for admission to graduate programs ranging from English to music theory at TCU, according to TCU’s graduate bulletin.

The new test will be advantageous to students, said Chuck Dunning, the associate director of University Career Services.

“There will be advantages in terms of competitiveness in taking the new test,” Dunning said. “There are a lot more options than for the old one.”

The current version of the GRE is two and a half hours long and is a computer-based test, where questions are tailored to the responses of the test taker, according to the ETS Web site. If a student answers a question correctly, the next question gets harder, while if the question was answered incorrectly the next one is easier.

The test currently includes two writing sections, one verbal reasoning section, and one quantitative reasoning section.

The new test will be four hours long, and will include two sections of each subject, according to the ETS Web site. It will have less emphasis on vocabulary, posing no analogy of antonym questions and the quantitative reasoning sections will include less geometry based questions and more real life math problems.

Also, the new test will not be administered over a computer, and will include more rigorous questions, said Ben Barron, vice president of graduate programs at Kaplan Test Preparation and Admissions.

Kaplan is urging students to take the current test if they are able, Barron said. He also said that Kaplan plans to change its classes over the summer to prepare students to take the new test.

Bonnie Melhart, associate provost of graduate studies, said the GRE is useful because it shows if the student has had proper preparation for graduate school. She said ETS has improved the test for next year to meet current needs.

“I think writing skills tested by the new essay part are much better predictors than whether or not the applicant can complete word analogies,” Melhart said.

Senior Lindsey James took the GRE this fall and doesn’t plan to retake it, but said she thinks the new test sounds better.

“I would have rather taken a test without all the vocabulary words,” James said. “No normal student knows the words they asked on the test.”

Dunning said the changes to the test are meant to make it more accurate and reliable.

“It sounds like it’s going to be tougher,” Dunning said. “But I don’t think their goal is getting less people into graduate school.”