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GRE Test Format Changes in 2012


The new format is barely 7 months old and hence it is not very well known. The changes in terms of questions per sections have been changed to 20 questions each per 2 verbal and 2 quant sections. It is more dynamic in terms of attempting questions as students may skip questions and the feature of flagging skipped questions allows them to comeback once they are done with the rest of the paper. The question's level of difficultly does not increase as students keep giving correct answers is a major change that has been made from the previous format. There may be an experimental section which means it will go ungraded but it will be unwise for students to guess which one it is. The verbal section will contain 4-5 sentence equivalence questions, 6 sentence completions and for credit all the blanks in a certain line have to be correct. There may be multi-correct answers in sentence equivalence whereas text completion will have one correct answer. In the reading paper 2-3 questions may have 3 answer choices. The quant section may have questions for which all answers have to be selected. In the essay section, the time allotted to Issue task has been reduced to 30 minutes as opposed to 45 minutes in the old format whereas the Argument task is still worth 30 minutes.


Implications of the changes:
  1. Changed Design: the changed design of the paper allows students to flag questions they are unsure about. This may allow them to finish the whole paper and comeback to have a go at the flagged ones without wasting much time looking for them.
  2. Change in Quality: the questions will be more logical and less academic to test the reasoning and readiness of applicants making it more of an aptitude test than any GRE they have given before.
  3. Change in Individual sections: the questions in verbal and will be less towards them remembering antonyms or analogies and more towards common sense. Similarly for the quant section will feature less formula based questions and permission to use calculator will be a huge relief for students. The writing sections are also supposed to be less generic.
  4. Benefits for specialized applicants: GRE subject test in specific areas (like physics, psychology etc) may be opted allowing students with specialization to stand out and emphasize their knowledge thus giving themselves chance of a better outcome.
  5. Changes in scoring pattern: the range of scoring will now be 130-170 with 1 increment point as opposed to a range of 200-800 and 10 increment points. The analytical scale will be 0-6 with 0.5 increments thus making the range smaller and the outcome more competitive.
  6. Results: The students who wish to get results in November must take the test between August and October. For those aiming for results before November, tests must be taken before August.
  7. Pattern: there will be a uniform pattern of testing for every applicant in the world as opposed to split pattern in the old GRE for different regions of the world.
  8. Preparation: there are various kinds of practise papers for students to measure themselves in areas of skill, timing and pressure for the new format in the official site ensuring enough material for ideal preparation.
  9. Funding: fee reduction programme for taking GRE is available to those in need of financial support ensuring GRE isn't a burden on bright applications with limited resources.



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