Jul 4, 2011

New GRE: Changes in the GRE 2011 and What they mean for Test-takers

The only thing permanent in life is change. There's no reason to be intimidated or fear the unknown when it comes to the new GRE 2011 pattern. Instead of giving in to fear, stay cool. Once you go through this post you will come to realize that this new GRE 2011 pattern being adopted can be a blessing in disguise to you. How? This is because the revised GRE is only restructured in a way to help students perform better. In this post, rather than offering you a copy-paste job of what the ETS site says, I will focus on what the changes actually mean for you the test-taker. 

  • Multi Stage Test Design: This new way of testing will enable you to answer only those questions you are confident about and come back later to attempt the harder questions or those you aren't too sure about. Thus it gives the test taker more chances to score better. That said however, it is always better to answer as many questions as possible correctly to get the highest score. To do this, you need to know the key concepts of every topic that is likely to be touched upon in the GRE. Only then can you be confident that an unknown concept would not be tested. For this reason it is better a good deal of time revising high school math concepts if you are hazy. Those who aren't too comfortable with complex worded passages should prepare well in advance for the verbal section. 

  • New GRE Scoring Scale: The 9 points increments will be compressed into 1 point increments. This means that your result will be mapped between 130 and170 instead of the conventional 200-800 scale. Don’t let these figures confuse you as it is in no way going to affect your chances of getting the answers right in the test. ETS is  only using a smaller scale to represent your score.

  • No more analogy and antonyms!! This will come as a relief to those of you who dread the ultra long hours of memorizing that would otherwise be needed to complete these arduous tasks. That means no more flash cards to memorize the extensive 3500 words list from the Barron’s. However, this does not mean that things are going to be easy for the test taker. It is still strongly advisable to be proficient in knowing all the connotations of as many important words as possible. The importance of reading comprehension has increased and there is a sentence equivalence section wherein you must be extra careful about choosing the best suited pair of words that convey the same meaning when replaced in the respective sentences. Preparation can be aided with the use of books that focus on the verbal section of the GRE better. 
  • May I help you? Don't worry, I'm not offering to help you cheat. This is just the online calculator you will have with you while answering the maths section. This may be devised by ETS because more often, due to pressure, students are prone to arriving at the wrong answers in an examination even if they had devised the right method to solve the problem. With the new pattern you are at lesser risk of arriving at the wrong answers. Here again the student is benefited because of the new system. 

Thus you can now see that the new GRE isn't some monster waiting to swallow you up, but has been designed to more accurately test students thinking skills as naturally as possible. To perform well in the GRE, first understand the test methodology adopted and then practice more in the areas where you notice you are weak. You can do this by getting the best GRE study guides like the "Cracking the New GRE 2012" by Princeton Review and Kaplan's New GRE 2011-2012 Premier Book with CD-ROM

Here is the review of Cracking the New GRE 2012 by Princeton Review and the Review of Kaplan's New GRE 2011-2012 Premier Book with CD-ROM.

Summing up, the new GRE's verbal section demands quite a bit of reading and understanding of nuances and the quantitative section now focuses more on logic and data interpretation than mere number crunching at high speeds.