Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Many questions as GRE format goes for revamp

The new format for the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), a standardised test required for admission to US universities, has led to apprehensions among city students. Geeta Garg, who wants to do PhD in Economics from a US university, said she is worried as no one knows what the new format will be like. “I am also a bit wary of the Analytical Writing section,” she said.

The new format was introduced on Monday and is the first major revamp in the exam structure since October 2002. The GRE consists of sections on Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing.

“Earlier, we were given four topics to choose from to write the two essays in Analytical Writing, now there will be only two topics and I will have to write on them, limiting my freedom,” said Geeta, who works as a research officer with the National Transport Development Policy Committee (NTDPC).

The new format makes the test the longer, and the GRE now lasts four hours. In Verbal Reasoning, there will be “less reliance on vocabulary and more emphasis on reading”. Antonyms and analogies will no longer figure in the test. “This means less memorisation and more usage focus,” said an education advisor with the United States-India Educational Foundation. He added there will be more questions on Reading and Comprehension.

New navigation features, including the ability to edit or change answers and skip questions and go back to them later, within a section, will also be added to the test. In Quantitative Reasoning, there will be “Filling in a number or providing more than one response when asked”. Shaifali Singh, another GRE aspirant, said, “This could be tricky because if we miss even one correct answer, our response will be deemed incorrect.”

An on-screen calculator will be available under the new format. The advisor said the changes are friendly to the test-taker, but will require more concentration. Book stores have also started getting GRE study material based on the new format. “New course material for the re-designed test has starting coming in. In fact, in the past one month, we have sold some 50-60 books on the revised GRE,” said an employee of the Jain Book Agency in Connaught Place area of New Delhi.

Source: The Indian Express, August 2, 2011
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