Changes to the Graduate Record Examination originally set to take effect this fall have been postponed for a year and will not appear on tests until October 2007, the Educational Testing Service announced Wednesday.
The delay will allow the service to expand access to its Internet-based testing, ETS officials said, and it will give test-takers and graduate schools more time to adapt to the changes. The planned changes will make the exam longer, while some sections will be changed, and the test will be administered on the Internet.
Graduate School Dean Jon Butler said the delay in changes to the exam will probably not affect students much, since information and test-taking advice for the existing version of the exam are widely available.
“It’s regrettable that ETS has changed its plans, but students have always responded well to changes in the past,” Butler said. “The testing advice that’s been given previously will probably do them well, at least for another year.”
The Graduate School’s reliance on the GRE varies from department to department, Butler said, with humanities departments tending to use the GRE less than those in quantitative disciplines such as economics.
According to the ETS Web site, the revised test will be about four hours long, up from the current two-and-a-half hours, and it will include a greater emphasis on analytic writing. The verbal sections of the test will feature expanded critical reading sections and new sentence equivalence questions, while analogies and antonyms will be removed. Word problems and data interpretation questions will be expanded in the quantitative sections, while the emphasis on geometry will be reduced.
Usha Chilukuri ’07, who said plans to attend graduate school for history, said she had not followed the changes to the GRE closely because she is confident she will be able to prepare for the exam.
“I think it’s kind of like the LSATs in that you can prepare for it, so I’m not that worried about it,” she said.
Matt Fidler, GRE program manager for a test preparation company Kaplan said in a press release that while the delay “may wreak short-term havoc” on aspiring graduate students’ test-taking plans, it will give students greater opportunity to take the existing exam, which is substantially shorter.
“Once the new test is implemented, it will be longer and more challenging for some, so we are still recommending that students who can adequately prepare for the test take it before it changes,” he said.
The new exam will be offered 30 times per year. The current exam is offered on a daily basis at computer-based testing centers.