Apr 23, 2019

Changes to GRE could affect students’ futures

Students applying to graduate schools could potentially be affected by the upcoming revisions to the Graduate Record Exam, more commonly known as the GRE.

Graduate programs review a student’s GRE scores to determine his or her readiness for graduate-level work. The GRE General Test has three sections: analytical writing, verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning.

The Education Testing Services website says the changes being made to each section create a “friendlier, more technically advanced” test.

“GRE scores are valid for five years after a student has taken the test,” Linda Lazalde of graduate admissions said.

So for the next four years, there will be two types of scoring that will be observed. There is, however, the chance that certain programs will not recognize the old scores, which may force some students to retake the exam.

The new test places a greater emphasis on data interpretation, real-life scenarios and provide specific responses to showcase their skills in directly responding to questions. The revised GRE will no longer have analogies or antonyms and will instead center on higher cognitive skills.

The revised test has been geared to be more closely aligned with the way students will be learning in their graduate studies. Students are expected to rely less on their memorization skills and more on their ability to comprehend what they are reading.

In addition to the way the test questions will be formed, there will be other changes to the test itself. The scoring system will change from a 10-point increment to a one-point increment. There will also be a way for students to earmark questions that they are unsure of and return to them at a later time.

The revisions could not only impact the students, but the faculty and administrative staffs. It is unclear whether or not those who administer the tests will see a change in the way they give the exam.

“The biggest impact that this campus would have is that we’re computer based,” Linda Ensch, the test coordinator of the GRE, said.

Ensch administers the GRE throughout the year in the lower level of the testing center on campus, in the Family Food and Science building.

The testing center on campus allows students to sign up and “book” slots to take the GRE. If the method to sign up is altered, there is a possibility that students will sign up for an already full testing session. The testing center will not know how they are affected until the change takes affect.

Students should continue to turn to their professors for guidance of ways to prepare for their future schooling. The faculty will not be changing any of their daily routine.

“What we do is teach discipline-standard curriculum,” English department chair Lisa Weston said. “We prepare people for how graduate studies in English are conducted.”

Free preparation tests have been available since July 2010. Students will be able to register for the revised GRE test on March 15. The revised version will take effect on Aug. 1.

The next available test offered at Fresno State is on April 9. Students should register by March 4.

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