It also means Koreans will be able to take the computer-based form of the GRE, which will make it possible to take the test on 24 days per year, up from the current two days.
The GRE is a private, standardized test often required by graduate or business schools in the United States and 78 other countries.
The GRE is divided into two parts – the GRE General Test and GRE Subject Tests. The GRE General Test, which measures students’ general ability for graduate level work, has three parts – verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and critical thinking.
The revised GRE General Test will feature the same parts but different test formats and question types.
For the verbal reasoning section, ETS is getting rid of antonym and analogy questions. They are adding text completion questions and sentence equivalence questions which are fill in and complete the sentence question. They are also including more reading comprehension questions.
For the quantitative reasoning section, ETS will test the same basic math concepts but in the context of real life scenarios, unlike the current test.
In the revised quantitative reasoning section, test takers will be able to use an on-screen calculator.
When testing analytical writing, the revised GRE will require more focused responses than the generalized-answer questions on the current test.
The ETS says the revised GRE will give students advantages the current test doesn’t.
“Overall, the changes should be beneficial for students,” said Ahn Sul-hee, the publicist for ETS Korea. “The current GRE General Test was criticized for lacking linkage to practical use in actual classes. But the revised GRE will be more practical for classes at graduate schools.”
However, students do not completely welcome the revised questions.
“In the revised GRE, analogy and antonym questions will not appear anymore, which used to be one of the areas Korean students were the most confident in because analogy and antonym question are mostly memorization-based,” said Choi Bo-ae (Life Science, 03), who just took the GRE and is preparing for graduate school.
The revised GRE will also give Korean test takers more chances each year to take the test.
Currently, the GRE is only available twice a year through a paper-based test. The computer-based test, which was first introduced in 2006, is not available in China, Taiwan and Korea. It will become available after the GRE revisions.
The computer based test was first introduced to Korea in October 1999. However in 2002, ETS discovered cheatings involving out flowing question and announced to withdraw computer-based tests from 2003 according to Ahn.
The paper-based test allows only about 1,000 students to register per, according to the Fulbright Korean-American Education Commission, which supervises the critical thinking section of the GRE in Korea.
Students who are not able to get a spot to take the paper-based test in Korea often travel to Japan, where the computer based test is already available.
Since Japan is using Computer Based Test, they have exams all year around but test takers are only allowed take the test only once a month. It is practice among the students to take the test once at the end of the month and one more at the beginning.
Students say the trip means extra pressure on top of other economic, psychological and time burdens.
“Aside from the test fee, the trip costs around 1,500,000 won each time,” said Choi, who took the GRE in Japan last October and November since she couldn’t find available test seats in Korea. “The flight is energy consuming, and I feel even more pressure since I sacrificed a lot to take the test there.”
After Korean students can take the GRE computer-based test, ETS plans to offer two computer-based exams per month.
“I took my exams at Japan and it was time and cost consuming,” said Kim Soo-jin (Social Studies, 4) who recently took GRE from Japan. “But now, revised GRE procedures will make test taking way easier for students.”
The test timing will also be longer from 130 minutes in current GRE General Test and 150 minutes in the revised GRE General Test.
Total score will change as well. The current GRE General Test is scored out of 800 points but the total score of the revised GRE General Test is 170 points.
Registration for the revised GRE will be available from May 2011, and Aug. 1 will be the first day the revised GRE General Test is offered. For students who plan to take the revised GRE General Test from Aug.1 to Sept. 30, 2011, ETS is providing a 50 percent fee reduction.