Graduate test to be shelved this summer

Applicants must write earlier or await tougher test in fall

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

From July 31 to Sept. 10, The Graduate Record Examination, a test required for students wishing to enter several graduate programs, won’t be available. Anyone who intended to take the test must reconsider their plans if they wish to avoid taking the new, more difficult version of the test at a later date.

“There will be no administrations of the exam in August through mid-September,” said Russell Schaffer, the senior communications manager of Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, an exam preparation company.

The new version of the GRE will be nearly twice as long as the current version. The current test takes roughly two and a half hours to complete; the revised version should take approximately four hours and will feature a new format containing questions with varying difficulty levels.

The test’s official website states, “The GRE general test measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills that have been acquired over a long period of time and that are not related to any specific field of study.”

The GRE is administered by the Educational Testing Service, which is run out of Berkeley and Princeton. Students must pay $160 to take the test, and there is a $40 rescheduling fee. The GRE is offered in computer-based or paper-based formats, and must be taken at a regulated test centre.

According to the ETS, “The scores provide common measures for comparing the qualifications of applicants and aid in evaluating grades and recommendations.”

High GRE scores are needed to gain admission to most universities’ graduate programs. A high test score also helps students gain access to grants, fellowships and research and teaching positions.

Schaffer estimates 500,000 students take the GRE annually and said test dates earlier in the season will fill up rapidly with the reduction in examination dates this year.

Students applying to graduate school should also consider taking the GRE subject test, which measures knowledge in several specific programs: biochemistry, cell, and molecular biology, biology, chemistry, English literature, math, physics and psychology. This test costs $150, and also must be taken at a test centre.

Anyone interested in more information about the GRE can visit

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