The GRE Test is Changing, and It Could Be Good For You

A graduate degree can give you a big advantage in your future career, and for many programs, the first step in conquering this goal is taking the GRE. Starting in August, the GRE  revised General Test will replace the current GRE General Test. According to the GRE Web site, this new test will give you a better test experience. How you ask? Well, here is a list of changes:

  • You can edit or change your answers and skip questions within a section — giving you the freedom to use more of your own test-taking strategies
  • An on-screen calculator
  • New types of questions in the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections, many featuring real-life scenarios that reflect the kind of thinking you’ll do in today’s demanding graduate and business school programs

If you’re not entirely familiar, the current GRE does not let you go back and check your answers. Once you submit an answer, you simply move on. If you answer the question correctly, you are given a more difficult question, but if you get it wrong, you are given an easier one. As someone who took the current GRE, these changes sound great. I can’t express how nerve racking it was to click the submit button and then try to guess if you answered it correctly by judging the difficulty of the next question!


Although in a few months everyone will have to take the revised test, people interesting in registering for the test now have an important decision to make. The first step in deciding whether to take the current or revised test is deciding which schools you are most interested in applying to. Different schools have different admissions deadlines, so knowing when your prospective schools need your scores is an important part of making the decision. If you need scores before November, start planning now. You will need to take the current test, and you will want to register early to ensure you get a seat for your preferred date and location. Trust me, locations and dates fill up quickly…especially if people are trying to make a deadline.

If the deadline is after November, you may be eligible to save 50% on registration for the revised GRE. This discount applies if you take the test between August 1 and September 30, 2011. If you take the test during this period, your scores will be sent by mid-November. Registration for the revised test is now open, and if this is something you’re interested in, you must register before August to ensure your 50% discount.

Whichever test you decide to take, make sure you are prepared. Take practice tests for the version you are going to take and go through the GRE review books that give a detailed overview of what to expect in each section, as well as tips and strategies for doing well. My biggest piece of advice is to make sure you study in advance- this is not a test to cram for. That said, don’t try to predict what’s going to be on the test. My biggest mistake was memorizing two different sets of GRE vocabulary words- that’s over 800 words. Much to my chagrin, only 2 of these words were actually on the test. So, know the general format and practice as much as you can, but don’t go into the test thinking that specifics you have memorized will be on there.

Most importantly, make sure you rest a lot the night before the test. Also know that this test is not the sole determining factor for your future. If you do not get the score you hoped for, you can always take it again. This may interfere with the approaching deadline of the revised test, but know that a poor score will not decide your future. Schools look at your highest scores, so try to go into the test as relaxed as possible. Good luck!


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