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It’s Not Over Yet: Changes to the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) Are Here

Although you thought or maybe hoped that the ACT/SAT was the last standardized test you would have to take in your scholastic career, you may be wrong.   If you have graduated or are currently in college and plan on getting an advanced degree you are probably aware that many graduate schools have an entrance exam requirement. For most majors in psychology, sociology or criminal justice that test would be the Graduate Record Exam or the GRE.  Other versions are more discipline specific such as the LSAT for law school, the GMAT for business, and the MCAT for medical school.  While the GRE general test has been a graduate school admissions hoop for many years, recent changes to the exam attempt to update the format and make it more relevant to the increased rigor of graduate school.

If you have not researched the GRE here are a few things you may want to be prepared for:

Length:  The new GRE will take a bit longer to complete: about 3 hours and 45 minutes.  Most people take it in its computer-generated format where you will be able to skip over questions and come back to them later, as well as edit your answers. 

Sections:  The new GRE retains three areas or sections – Verbal, Quantitative, and Analytical. 

  • The verbal section looks to assess higher-level verbal skills and will ask about context based reading comprehension rather that analogy or antonym questions. There are also sentence equivalence questions.
  • The quantitative section will increase it emphasis on everyday type problems and with some of the questions you will enter your answer directly rather that multiple choice.  Interpretation of data is also a skill that will be assessed. There is an on-line calculator available.
  • In the Analytical section you will write two essays.  One of the essays asks you to evaluate a logical argument and the second one is seeking your response to a current or critical issue.  Scoring of the essays will be based on the ability to provide focused responses to the required task.  

Scoring:  Scoring of the new GRE has changed to better match with percentile scores. The new range will be from 130-170 in Verbal and Quantitative sections with a scale of 0-6 in the Analytical Writing section.  In the old GRE combined verbal and quantitative scores of 1000 was seen as the minimal guideline for gradute school, the new range might be somewhere around 298-300 verbal and quantitative combined.

You can be sure that advanced preparation will be critical for your success when taking the GRE. There are many commercial programs that you can avail yourself of and sometimes splitting the cost of materials with a fellow graduate school seeker can save you money.   You can find more specific information about the GRE including registration options, question previews, and formatting at the following link

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Earl Bland is a clinical psychologist, Professor of Psychology and Chair of the MNU Behavioral Sciences Department.


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Guest Friday, 01 August 2014

About This Blog

OhBehave is the outreach blog of the MNU Behavioral Sciences Department. In matters related to Psychology, Sociology, and Criminal Justice you will find information and updates geared to keep students and professionals abreast of the latest research, professional developments, and important trends in each field. As we seek a life of purpose, the material presented in this blog is meant to enhance and deepen our understanding of people and our world so that we may intentionally reflect the grace and peace of our creator.