Even as the new GRE launches today, a new Kaplan Test Prep survey* of top graduate programs finds that nearly a third of top graduate schools (30%) feel inadequately informed about the new test – translating to some ambiguity about comparative score evaluation.
While the vast majority (83%) will give equal consideration to applicants regardless of whether they submit GRE scores from the old test or the new one, a remaining 12% say applicants who submit a score from the old exam (valid for five years) have an admissions advantage, while 5% say applicants who submit a score from the new GRE have an advantage.
The GRE is taken by approximately 700,000 aspiring graduate school students annually.
“Future GRE takers, graduate schools and we here at Kaplan will be keen to hear from those taking the exam this month to learn about their experiences.”
“Given that the new GRE is now first-time test takers’ only option, graduate programs will likely work diligently to better understand the new exam and how it can help them evaluate applicants,” said Liza Weale, executive director of pre-business and pre-graduate programs, Kaplan Test Prep. “Future GRE takers, graduate schools and we here at Kaplan will be keen to hear from those taking the exam this month to learn about their experiences.”
Among the exam’s changes, the biggest in its 60+ year history:
- The new exam is about an hour longer than the old exam – 4 hours compared to 3 hours.
- The new GRE’s format is adaptive at the section level: the better a test taker performs in one section, the more difficult the next section will be. This new format also now allows test takers to skip questions within a section and come back to them.
- The new scoring scale of 130 to 170 points, in one-point increments, replaces a 200 to 800 point scoring scale, in ten-point increments.
- The Verbal section does not include antonym and analogy questions, but instead includes in-context questions that test reasoning skills, in addition to vocabulary.
- The new exam contains content similar to that on the GMAT – the primary admissions exam for business schools – like new strengthen/weaken reading comprehension question types.
- In recent years, the test maker has had success in convincing more MBA programs to accept the GRE.
“While test takers will find some of the new GRE’s features to be plusses, overall Kaplan Test Prep believes the exam’s more complex question types and increase in length will make it more challenging,” added Weale. “While most test takers will find the new GRE more difficult than the old one, they can still achieve a high score if they prepare thoroughly for it. Applicants should also keep in mind that a strong GRE score is not only one of the most important admissions factors, but also an important tool in securing a strong financial aid package. “
Other survey results from Kaplan Test Prep’s 2011 survey of graduate school admissions officers:
- Showing Students the Money: 68% of admissions officers said that compared to last year, the amount of financial aid they were able to provide students increased.
- Not Looking for Friends: 65% of admissions officers said it’s inappropriate for applicants to reach out to them using social media mediums like Facebook.
- What You Post Can Hurt You: 29% of admissions officers permitted to visit applicants’ social networking pages, have discovered something that made them reject the applicant.
- Applicants Know the Importance of Being Earnest: Only 6% of admissions officers said it’s common for them to discover that an applicant has been dishonest on his or her application.
For more information about Kaplan Test Prep’s 2011 survey of graduate school admissions officers and the new GRE, please contact Russell Schaffer at [email protected] or 212.453.7538. For a host of resources for journalists, please visit Kaplan’s online pressroom at http://press.kaptest.com and follow on Twitter: @KapTestNews.
*The 2011 survey was conducted by phone in May 2011 of 123 of the top 200 graduate programs – as designated by U.S. News & World Report – in education, engineering, psychology and public administration.
About Kaplan Test Prep
Kaplan Test Prep (www.kaptest.com), a division of Kaplan, Inc., is a premier provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. Established in 1938, Kaplan is the world leader in the test prep industry. With a comprehensive menu of online offerings and a complete array of books, Kaplan offers preparation for more than 90 standardized tests, including entrance exams for secondary school, college and graduate school, as well as professional licensing exams. Kaplan also provides private tutoring and graduate admissions consulting services.