Students and graduate admissions must plan ahead for the new GRE.
One of the most stressful days of a high school student’s life is the day he or she takes the SAT.
Another equally stressful moment is when that same student, now with three or more years of undergraduate education under his or her belt, is confronted with another scholastic test – the Graduate Records Exam.
As Carl O’Donnell reports in this week’s edition of The Temple News [“Kaplan increases GRE difficulty,” Page 3], the Educational Testing Service, which administers the test, made heavy revisions to the GRE, effective Aug. 1, 2011, which will make the exam an hour longer to complete, in addition to having more difficult questions.
Those taking the GRE will have to wait until November to receive their scores, which means students who do not take the GRE on the Aug. 1 test date won’t receive results in time to apply for graduate school in Fall 2011.
While news updates and reports, such as Business Week’s Feb. 4 coverage of the GRE changes encourages students to take the current test, this advice is unhelpful because the Feb. 12 late-registration GRE test date has passed.
The sad reality of the exam change is that testing officials did not take into account that normal test score reporting would not resume until the December 2011 test date.
The Temple News encourages students considering graduate school to plan ahead and make all the necessary preparations for the GRE and to register for the test early.
It is understandable ETS and other test-taking companies would like to update tests periodically to reflect nationwide college and university curriculum advancements.
However, by not considering the complex admission processes potential graduate students face, ETS failed its future test-takers. Students unsatisfied with their scores in the fall will have to wait to apply for the 2012-2013 academic year or send scores with which they are not proud of.
Students should be reminded that the GRE is not the end-all, be-all of graduate admissions. Like the SAT is to undergraduate admissions, the GRE is important, but it is not the only component of the graduate admissions application.
The four or more years students spent in college, grades, extracurricular activities, internships and awards will not go unnoticed, and graduate admissions nationwide are aware of the GRE changes. Hopefully, they will take this into account for this year’s admissions process.
Even with the best test preparation, the only thing students can do is put their best foot forward throughout the entire admissions process, from the time they take the GRE and submit essays and transcripts, to the moment they receive decisions in the mail.