Starting Aug. 1, the GRE will be asking harder and more complex questions.
Three years of course work in English has prepared Temple student Mark Inchoco for his much anticipated ascent to graduate school. Now, in his junior year, Inchoco faces the possibility that his preparation will have been in vain.
In order to apply for graduate programs, Inchoco is required to take a test known as the Graduate Records Exam. Starting Aug. 1, a heavily revised version of this pivotal exam will be employed – much to the chagrin of undergraduates, such as Inchoco.
Like many students, Inchoco said if he is forced to take the new GRE, he fears his test scores may be significantly poorer.
The new exam will take up to an hour longer to complete and will involve more complex questions, especially in the quantitative sections, according to a press release from Kaplan, Inc.
Potential graduate students can expect the quantitative sections to require open-ended responses instead of the traditional multiple-choice format. This will put greater emphasis on mathematical concepts while lightening the load of geometric formulas.
On-screen calculators are being provided to test takers, which may imply the test’s increased complexity.
But Inchoco said the elimination of analogy-based questions might make the verbal component less ominous.
Instead of analogies, students will have to prepare for context-based questions that emphasize reasoning skills over breadth of vocabulary.
Along with facing a more difficult test, taking the new version of the GRE would mean Inchoco will receive his test result later than he would have otherwise.
The Educational Testing Service, the group responsible for administering the test, will not release this year’s new GRE scores until November. In turn, some students may receive their GRE scores too late to apply for graduate school in Fall 2011.
Like most students planning on applying to graduate school next year, Inchoco’s timing is not ideal.
If he manages to secure one of the remaining time slots reserved for the old version of the GRE, he’ll find himself rushed into taking the test much sooner than he anticipated.
Students must take the test before July to take the current version of the GRE and receive scores before November.
Inchoco said he feels there is adequate time to study, so long as he can find a convenient time slot to take the old test. If he can not, he will have to take it in March, which will coincide with all of his spring semester coursework.
“My mission is absolutely to take the old GRE,” Inchoco said. “I’d rather take something difficult that I’m familiar with than something difficult that I’m unfamiliar with.”
Still, there is no guarantee Inchoco will be able to take the old GRE at all. With students scrambling to take the old test, he may find himself out of luck when applying to take it.
Even if this test hampers his ability to get into graduate school, Inchoco said he believes there are options for him outside academia.
“There’s a guy down the hall who never even went to college. He’s one of the foremost writers in American science fiction. After teaching creative writing classes all over the country, he took a position here [at Temple] in the late ‘90s, and he’s been here ever since,” Inchoco said, pointing toward an unadorned office door 10 feet away from the lounge where he was seated in Anderson Hall.
Referring to Samuel R. Delany, a professor and a novelist, Inchoco said Delany’s pathway to success assures him there are options besides pursuing a doctoral degree.
“Devoting my life to academia sounds lofty and is really quite important, but I could also write a novel, write an article or write poetry,” Inchoco said.
Carl O’Donnell can be reached at email@example.com.