GRE scraps plans

After spending four years and $12 million
on research, the Educational Testing
Service (ETS) announced earlier this month
that it has abandoned plans to introduce a
revamped Graduate Record Exam this fall,
according to an ETS press release. The GRE
is an exam given worldwide to potential
graduate students, as a way for universities
to decide whether they are ready for
advanced studies.

According to ETS, the GRE’s new format
planned to make sure that each exam
had unique content, as opposed to the current
practice of administering exams with
similarities to former tests. This change was
proposed after questions that appeared on
older exams began to appear on Web sites,
enabling students to find out what was
being asked beforehand.

While most students already take the
current version of the GRE on a computer,
ETS officials said they had hoped to switch
to a more secure Internet-based system that
would eventually expand the number of
sites where the test could be taken.

ETS also planned substantive changes,
such as eliminating antonym and analogy
questions, emphasizing more critical reading,
and lengthening the exam from two and
a half hours to four. Furthermore, the exam
would have been offered 35 times per year,
whereas currently, students are free to
schedule the test at almost any time.

“The cancellation is generally good
news for students, as the new exam was
going to be longer and more challenging,”
said Susan Kaplan, director of graduate programs
at Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions
in an interview with the New York Times.

Even though it has scrapped these
changes, ETS officials said the company is
still considering an increase in the price of
the exam. Although it had been previously
announced that the cost would rise, ETS has
yet to say by how much. The current exam
costs $130 for students in the United States
and $160 internationally.

Approximately 550,000 to 600,000
graduate applicants that take the GRE annually–
St. John’s University junior, James
Frier, is one of them. “I believe that I have
extensively prepared by thoroughly studying
exam books,” Frier said. “The GRE’s
are like the SAT’s on a college level and I
feel no need to be nervous, whether they
change the exam or not.”