Students face more difficult GRE in the future

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a common test that many college students take before applying for graduate school to advance their careers.

For many college students, continuing on to graduate school is a necessary step for their career goals. One step towards graduate school is the GRE General Test, which will undergo several changes starting in August. The changes to the exam are designed to reflect the types of critical thinking necessary in graduate programs.

According to Educational Testing Service, the company that administers the GRE, the revised test will now include a test-taker friendly format on the computer including an on-screen calculator, new types of questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections and a new score scale designed to make it easier for schools to interpret students’ scores. In addition, the test will now be one hour longer compared to the current time limit of two hours and 50 minutes.

To encourage prospective graduate students to take the revised GRE when it is first initiated, students will be offered a discount of 50 percent, reducing the increased cost of $160 to $80. For some students, this is a small factor calming concerns about these changes.

“The discount would be incentive for me to take the GRE in August, but some of the changes make me feel like taking it in July,” said UNA senior Melissa Thorne.

While the revised GRE question and essay prompts will be more focused and specific than the current GRE, features will be added to the computer-based test. Test takers will be able to review answers, mark questions to skip and review later, and change and edit questions before submission all within one section of the test. While these features will be useful, the questions and essays may make it more difficult for test takers to prepare.

The Center for Advising and Academic Retention Services (CAARS) at UNA is preparing to help students considering the revised GRE test. While a GRE workshop is not currently in place, the center is looking into adding something in the future, said Kenda Rusevlyan, the testing coordinator and an academic adviser with CAARS. In the past, students have been able to utilize subject-specific tutoring, such as mathematics, to help them prepare for certain sections of the GRE.

“Because we do not offer the GRE on campus, we would have a lot of flexibility in what we could offer students such as study workshops, tutoring, etc.,” said Rusevlyan. “With the CLEP and MAT, we’re limited on what we can offer since we cannot be the test administrator and tell you how to do well on the test. This would not be the case with the GRE.”

Student interest is needed to help the center in determining what would be the most beneficial to potential graduate students in helping them prepare for the GRE. Students considering taking the current or revised GRE who are interested in on-campus help can contact CAARS through the UNA homepage or through the tab on Angel.