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What are the changes in the GRE (General Test) from August 1, 2011?

ETS / GRE is introducing significant changes to the format of the GRE General Test from August 1, 2011. The following changes to the GRE General Test will be implemented in the New GRE. The changes are detailed under the following heads:
  1. Test Administration Changes
  2. New GRE's AWA Section
  3. New GRE's Verbal Reasoning Section
  4. New GRE's Quantitative Reasoning Section
  5. New GRE's brand new scoring scale

1. Test Administration Changes

  • Adaptive Test to a Non-Adaptive Test within a section
    The revised Verbal and Quantitative sections are changing from an adaptive test format, where the questions presented to each examinee vary according to his or her performance, to a non adaptive format.

    New "mark and review" feature makes it possible to tag a question, skip it and return to it later, and edit answers within a section.

    However, the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures are section-level adaptive. This means the computer selects the second section of a measure based on your performance on the first. Within each section, all questions contribute equally to the final score.

  • New answer formats
    1. tasks such as numeric entry and highlighting a sentence in a passage to answer a question
    2. more than one correct choice
    3. some questions without answer options

  • Shifting emphasis on what is tested
    1. Less reliance on out of context vocabulary - more emphasis on reading, and no antonyms or analogies
    2. Higher emphasis on Data Interpretation
    3. Introduction of an on-screen calculator to make calculations faster

2. The New AWA Section

The AWA section in the New GRE is not witnessing a dramatic change. You will still write two essays, one where you evaluate a logical argument (Analysis of an Argument), and the other where you express your views on a critical issue (Analysis of an Issue).

From a test administration point of view, the critical change is that for each essay task, you will be given one topic rather than a choice of topics.

3. The New Verbal Reasoning Section

There are NO Antonyms and Analogies questions. The new format lays more emphasis on Reading. The following question types are tested in the New GRE's verbal reasoning section.

a. Text Completion Questions
Text Completion questions include a passage composed of one to five sentences with one to three blanks. There are three answer choices per blank, or five answer choices if there is a single blank. There is a single correct answer, consisting of one choice for each blank. You receive no credit for partially correct answers.

A sample text completion question is given below:

In dozens of interviews over three weeks in this rapidly aging suburb of Denver, people talked about a collision of interests, and perhaps even more crucial, of ___________. On one side are younger voters who are championing cuts in spending; on the other, older ones who want to retain the services they ________ getting when they retired.

Blank (1) Blank (2)
hoped for
counted on
depended on

Answer : generations and counted on

b. Sentence Equivalence Questions
Sentence Equivalence questions consist of a single sentence, one blank, and six answer choices. These questions require you to select two of the answer choices. You receive no credit for partially correct answers.

A sample sentence equivalence question is given below:

Early signs of a strong recovery __________ amid external shocks, and a long waiting game ensued as economists watched for hints of a Fed response while the economy slowly deteriorated.
  1. Accentuated
  2. Brightened
  3. Enervated
  4. Fizzled
  5. Suffocated
  6. Weakened
Answer: D and F

c. Reading Comprehension Questions
There are three types of Reading Comprehension questions:
  1. Multiple-choice Questions Select One Answer Choice
    These are the traditional multiple-choice questions with five answer choices of which you must select one.

  2. Multiple-choice Questions Select One or More Answer Choices
    These provide three answer choices and ask you to select all that are correct; one, two or all three of the answer choices may be correct. To gain credit for these questions, you must select all the correct answers, and only those; there is no credit for partially correct answers.

  3. Select-in-Passage
    The question asks you to click on the sentence in the passage that meets a certain description. To answer the question, you choose one of the sentences and click on it; clicking anywhere on a sentence will highlight it.
Reading comprehension passages are drawn from the physical sciences, the biological sciences, the social sciences, the arts and humanities, and everyday topics, and are based on material found in books and periodicals, both academic and non-academic. The passages range in length from one paragraph to four or five paragraphs.

4. The New Quantitative Reasoning Section

The revised Quantitative Reasoning section contains four types of questions:
  1. Multiple-choice Questions Select One Answer Choice
  2. Multiple-choice Questions Select One or More Answer Choices
  3. Numeric Entry Questions
  4. Quantitative Comparison Questions
i. Multiple-choice Questions Select One Answer Choice
These questions are the traditional multiple-choice questions that ask you to select only one answer choice from a list of five choices.

Sample Question : 180 vehicles were parked in a parking lot for two and four wheelers. If the attendant counted 640 wheels (not counting spare wheels), how many of the vehicles parked were two wheelers?
  1. 120
  2. 140
  3. 60
  4. 90
  5. 40
Answer : E

ii. Multiple-choice Questions Select One or More Answer Choices
These questions are new to the GRE. These questions ask you to select one or more answer choices from a list of choices. A question may or may not specify the number of choices to select.

Sample Question : For which of the following equations will 'y' be non-negative for all positive 'x'?
  1. y = x2 - 7x + 10
  2. 3x - 7y + 14 = 0
  3. x2 + y2 - 4y = 0
  4. 2y = 2x2 + 5x - 3
  5. 5x + 3y - 18 = 0
  6. y = x2 - x + 1
Answer : B, C, and F

iii. Numeric Entry Questions
You will be asked to either enter the answer as an integer or as a decimal in a single answer box. If the answer is a fraction, you will be asked to enter the values in two separate boxes one for the numerator and one for the denominator.

Sample Question : What is the x-coordinate of the point at which the line 3x - 7y + 12 = 0 intercepts the x-axis?
Answer : -4

iv. Quantitative Comparison Question
This question type has been carried forward from the old GRE format. There is no change here. Questions of this type ask you to compare two quantities Quantity A and Quantity B and then determine which of four statements describes the comparison.

  1. Quantity A is greater
  2. Quantity B is greater
  3. The two quantities are equal
  4. The relationship cannot be determined from the information given
Quantity A Quantity B
Area of a circle whose circumference is 12 Area of a square whose perimeter is 12
Answer : A

5. Changes to the Verbal and Quantitative Score Scale

  • Verbal Reasoning scores will be reported on a new 130 170 score scale, in 1-point increments (versus 200 800 in 10-point increments).

  • Quantitative Reasoning scores will be reported on a new 130 170 score scale, in 1-point increments (versus 200 800 in 10-point increments).

  • Analytical Writing scores will continue to be reported on the same 0 6 score level, in half-point increments.

Source : The GRE official site
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  3. How do I register for the GRE test? Do, I need a Passport to take the test? How long is the score valid?   New Revised GRE General Test

  4. What is the syllabus for GRE CBT General test? What skills does the New GRE aim to test?   New Revised GRE General Test


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