Yesterday, UMBC hosted the Summer Horizons Program for about 100 undergraduates who are conducting summer research at NASA, UMBC, NSF, University of Maryland College Park, and other locations. One of the top items that the students identified in the evaluations as new information that they didn’t know prior to coming to the program was about the GRE … the NEW, REVISED GRE. One comment stood out … “I didn’t know the GRE was changing!!!!!!” Yes, the GRE is changing. If you want to take the current GRE, you’ll have to do it by July 31. The new GRE administration begins on August 1. There are many changes, but don’t worry, the GRE website has a wealth of information, including some extensive explanations and sample questions. Some of the highlights include the following:
- You can go back to previous questions and change your answers.
- No analogies and no antonyms
- An on-screen calculator has been added.
- There are new kinds of fill in the blank questions. You’ll see text completion questions for the verbal reasoning section and numeric entry questions for quantitative reasoning (math) section.
- The test is longer, 3 hours and 45 minutes.
- The analytical writing section is largely the same, except that both essays sections are now 30 minutes.
- The scoring range is different. You’re no longer scored in 10 point increments between 200-800. The score range will now be from 130-170, in 1 point increments. Analytical Writing sections (essays) are scored in the same way, on a 0-6 scale.
I was trained as a GRE Educator by ETS in Princeton several years ago, and I’ve been giving GRE talks at schools and conferences for years, so I am very familiar with the current test. However, I’m pleased to post that the GRE website has provided much more information online for this new exam. The exam may be changing, but test takers are not at a loss. For example, the “Math Review” document has been expanded, and there is a “Math Conventions” guide to give testers basic rules like “all problems use real numbers” or “base 10 is used at all times.” This document helps testers to reduce assumptions that can accompany anxiety and affect performance. On our Summer Horizons Resources page, beneath the short funding information section, we’ve outlined (in bullet form) the math skills that you need to know for the exam. A new version of the preparation software, Power Prep II, has also been launched. It’s important to practice using the software because the GRE is computerized exam. Paper exams are only given in locations in the world where computer technology isn’t available, so most of the readers of this post will be taking the computerized version. Many students today are taking exams using Blackboard or another brand of classroom management software, so testing online won’t be a new concept. Regardless of your familiarity with that modality, all test takers should practice with Power Prep II.
In conclusion, yes, the test is changing. The key is to use your resources. Study and use the preparation materials on the website; utilize all of the resources. You should know that site inside and out. You can do well! Most of the questions have content from high school and the first two years of college. The questions are based on reasoning, so you made need to get used to the questioning style to shift your thought process into reasoning mode, but you can do it. Good luck to all of the new graduate school applicants!
[The 2011 Summer Horizons Program was co-sponsored by PROMISE: Maryland’s Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professoriate (AGEP), an NSF funded program, and the UMBC Meyerhoff Graduate Fellows Program, an NIH funded program. Find more seminars for graduate students through PROMISE at http://promisesuccessseminars.wordpress.com/ Find PROMISE on Twitter @PROMISE_AGEP]