GRE Planning a Makeover

Competition between the GMAT and Graduate Record Exam (GRE) will surely intensify by 2011, when the graduate school entrance test gets revamped, somewhat longer, and graded on a new scale of 130 to 170, the New York Times reported this past weekend.

The announcement came at the annual meeting on Friday of the Council of Graduate Schools, where the Educational Testing Service, which administers the GRE, called the changes the largest revisions in the history of the test.

The exam will feature revised sections on verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing, but “The biggest difference is that the prompts the students will receive will be more focused, meaning that our human raters will know unambiguously that the answer was written in response to the question, not memorized,” David G. Payne, who heads the GRE program for ETS, told the Times.

Neill Seltzer, who is in charge of  GRE for Princeton Review,  said he saw the changes mostly as an marketing effort to compete with the GMAT for admission to business schools. (In 2006, ETS lost the contract for administering the GMAT to Pearson and since then, has launched an aggressive marketing campaign swaying b-schools to accept the GRE as an alternative admissions test.)

Inside Higher Ed is reporting that changes to the exam will not explicitly drive up the GRE’s cost, but ETS is planning a review of pricing next year that could result in an increase before the new version is offered.

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