Starting in the fall of 2007, the Educational Testing Service will introduce some changes to the GRE general test.
Physics departments need to be aware of these changes, says Ted Hodapp, APS Director of Education, so they can advise students who may be preparing for this test, and so they understand what the the scores mean when considering applications to their graduate programs. Many faculty members are involved with admissions to their graduate programs, and almost all graduate programs require applicants to take the GRE general and subject tests. The physics subject test will remain unchanged.
In the new general test, both the verbal and quantitative sections will focus more on the skills necessary for success in graduate school. The verbal reasoning section of the new test will place less emphasis on vocabulary and more emphasis on skills related to graduate work, such as complex reasoning. There will be more reading passages. The new quantitative reasoning section will have fewer geometry questions and more questions related to “real-life” scenarios. The new analytical writing measure will use more focused prompts to reduce the possibility of reliance on memorized materials.
ETS will also change the way the test is administered. The GRE general test had been a computer-based adaptive test, which presented questions to the test taker according to performance on previous questions. Starting in the fall of 2007, the GRE will be a linear test, with all test takers receiving the same questions. The test will be administered on computer on approximately 30 days per year, and starting times will be staggered across time zones to address security concerns.
The new test will have a new scoring scale, and scores on the new test cannot be compared directly with scores on the old version, though ETS will issue a concordance table that will help users understand the relationship between old and new scores.
More information about the revised GRE can be found at www.ets.org/gre.
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