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Looking to take the GRE in 2011?

Be mindful that the format and point system will be changing by this time next year.

According to The New York Times, the test will be revamped and even extended in length, with a new grading scale of 130 to 170.  The Educational Testing Service (“ETS”), which administers the GRE, claims the changes are the “largest revisions” in the GRE history.

So, what’s going to change?

While the exam will continue to include verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing – all three sections are being revamped.  In terms of the changes within each section, here is a breakdown of what to expect:

  • VERBAL: The verbal section will eliminate all questions on antonyms and analogies.
  • QUANTITATIVE: While there are several minor changes, there is an advantage to the quantitative section: an online calculator!
  • ANALYTICAL WRITING: While this section will still have two parts, including a question for logical analysis and personal opinion. The questions themselves will be more focused, ultimately allowing the raters to know the answer itself wasn’t memorized, but was actually written in response to the question.

The GRE is unique in that it’s “computer adaptive.”  What does that mean?  Well, when you answer one question correctly the test will then take you to a more difficult question.  Should you answer a question incorrectly, the test will take you to an easier question.  The new GRE. in 2011 will be three and a half hours in length.

Why the changes? It seems the G.R.E. is trying to keep up a presence with the GMAT, an increasingly popular test for graduate admission and business schools, in particular.  While there were announcements as early as 2005 to update the test and lengthen it to four hours, those plans were soon cancelled due to delays in setting up Internet-based test centers.  The plans were then cancelled altogether in 2007.

At this present time, the Internet version of the GRE lasts three hours, whereas the paper-based version lasts three hours and forty-five minutes.  According to the New York Times, over 600,000 students take the GRE annually.