|Beginning Nov. 1, AU students taking the GRE could face one of two new question types not previously included on the test, according to the Educational Testing Service’s Web site.
There are two new question types: numeric entry and text completion. For numeric entry questions, test takers complete a math problem and answer using a fill-in-the-blank format rather than a set of multiple-choice answers. The text completion questions will have a question with multiple blanks, and test takers must choose the correct word from a list provided for each blank.
Students will not be awarded partial credit for correctly answering only some of the blanks in a text completion question, according to ETS’ Web site.
Test takers may encounter a numeric entry question, a text completion question or neither. No test will have both types of new questions, according to the Web site.
Although the new question types will appear beginning Nov. 1, they will not be scored until ETS collects enough data, according to Jennifer Kedrowski, GRE program manager at Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions.
Nick Reksten, a graduate of the School of International Service who plans to apply to graduate school for the fall 2008 term, said he will now take the test at the end of October to avoid the changes.
“[The new questions] probably do a better job of actually measuring skill levels, so I suppose that from the point of view of someone not having to take the test, they’d be a good thing,” he said. “From my point of view, though, that makes the test harder, which is bad.”
Kaplan is unsure if ETS will announce when the new test questions will count toward test takers’ scores, so test takers should treat the questions as if they are scored, Kedrowski said.
ETS also advises test takers to treat all questions as if they will be scored, according to the company’s Web site.
The new test types were enacted as part of a gradual, larger change to the exam, according to the ETS Web site.
“The addition of new question types is part of the first phase of improvements endorsed by graduate school educators that the GRE program has been planning,” according to the Web site. “Previous plans for launching an entirely new test all at once were dropped in favor of introducing new question types and improvements gradually.”
Due to the changing nature of the test, Kaplan advises potential test takers to take the GRE before November.
“If you take it sooner, you’ll avoid these new changes that are going to roll out,” Kedrowski said.
Scores are valid for five years; if a student takes the test as an undergraduate and then works for a year or two before applying to graduate school, the scores will still be valid, Kedrowski said.
Despite the changes, the Career Center is not planning on changing its advising, said John Charles, an adviser for first-year graduate students in SIS.
Graduate school advising at the Career Center is more general, such as deciding where to apply or test prep options, he said.
“We don’t get that specific as far as question types,” he said.
A practice test is being offered Sept. 22 at 10 a.m. at Catholic University. Anyone interested can sign up at http://www.kaptest.com/newgre.
The GRE is required for admission to most graduate schools. There are a general test and specific subject tests. The test takes up to three hours if taken on computer or up to three hours and 45 minutes if taken on paper. The registration fee is $140, according to ETS’ Web site.||
GRE TESTING SITES
Unlike the SATs or ACTs, seemingly offered at every high school, the GREs are only available at a few locations. Luckily for AU students, there are several locations in D.C. and nearby in Virginia and Maryland. Local test sites are:
- Howard University, 6th and Bryant streets, D.C.
- Prometric Test Center, Suite 204, 1660 L St., N.W., D.C.
- Prometric Test Center, 8120 Woodmont Ave., Bethesda, Md.
- Educational Testing Services at the University of Maryland, 2101 Shoemaker Building, College Park, Md.
- Thompson Prometric Test Center, 4401 Ford Ave., Alexandria, Va.
- Thompson Prometric Test Center, 2810 Old Lee Highway, Fairfax, Va.