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by Vault Education Editors | December 07, 2009


ETS announced this week that it will roll out an updated GRE in fall 2011. In addition to a new scoring scale (130-170 instead of 200-800), ETS is making a couple of changes to the test. For the most part, this is good news. David Payne, GRE executive director, describes the updated GRE as "much friendlier" for students. Here's a quick rundown of the changes.

The good news:

  • The best news of all: test takers will be able to go back and forth between questions within a section. Now, the GRE is a computer-adaptive test (meaning you'll get harder questions if you're doing well and easier questions if you're doing poorly) and each question has to be answered before you can move on to the next. The new GRE is still a computer-adaptive test, but instead of each question changing based on performance, the harder or easier questions are grouped and each section will adapt to your performance.
  • No more analogies or antonyms. ETS is getting rid of those pesky vocab questions for the new GRE, and replacing them with reading comprehension.
  • Test takers will now be provided calculators for the math section of the test. The theory is that calculators will free them from the burden of doing basic algebra in their heads.
  • ETS is trimming the geometry section of the test and replacing it with extra data analysis questions. (This is actually bad news if you like geometry; but if you dislike geometry or simply prefer data analysis, it's good news.)

The bad news:

  • ETS is adding about 30 minutes to the test. So expect to spend at least four hours at the testing center.

The GRE has become increasing popular in the past year. It is considered one of the most international standardized tests, available in a computer- or paper-based format in more than 230 countries. In 2009, many top business schools agreed to accept the GRE in lieu of the GMAT, in part because the GRE is available in more locations than the GMAT and because the test appeals to a larger variety of prospective students. With the addition of the Personal Potential Index (announced in July 2009), the new GRE is likely to continue this popularity upswing.


Filed Under: Education|Grad School