The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) has long been a crucial step for individuals aspiring to pursue graduate-level education designed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS). Over the years, it has undergone several changes to adapt to the evolving needs of both test-takers and educational institutions. The bottom line is if you are looking to attend graduate or business school, you will need to take the GRE.
This is a good news. That means irrespective of how well you did in school, whether you went to a top college, have an exceptional GPA, or published papers in international journals, you can get into the graduate school of your dreams if you take the GRE. In this blog post, we’ll explore the transition from the old GRE to the GRE new format, the significant changes in the syllabus, the shifts in test preparation strategies, and how to convert scores from the old format to the new format.
You can learn more about the GRE exam, its syllabus, eligibility, registration, and important topics in our blog here.
GRE Old Pattern vs. GRE New Pattern
Before delving into the details of the GRE pattern change, let’s briefly outline the key differences between the old and new patterns of the exam.
GRE Old Pattern
- The old GRE had three main sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical writing.
- The Verbal Reasoning section included Antonyms, Analogies, Sentence Completions, and Reading Comprehension. (20 questions/per section, 30 minutes/per section)
- The Quantitative Reasoning section assessed mathematical and problem-solving skills. (20 questions/per section, 35 minutes/ per section)
- The Analytical Writing section comprised two essays: an Issue and Argument Task. (30 minutes/per task)
- The scoring scale ranged from 130 to 170 for both Verbal and Quantitative sections, with 1-point increments.
GRE New Pattern
- The GRE new format consists of three main sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, and Analytical Writing.
- The Verbal Reasoning section now emphasises reading comprehension, sentence equivalence, and text completion. Two Sections (27 questions/per section, 41 minutes/per section)
- The Quantitative Reasoning section evaluates quantitative reasoning, data interpretation, and mathematical skills. Two sections (27 questions/ per section, 47 minutes/per section)
- The Analytical Writing section now features only one essay: Issue Task. (1 essay/ 30 minutes)
- The scoring scale remains the same as the old pattern, ranging from 130 to 170, with 1-point increments for Verbal and Quantitative sections. The Analytical Writing section is scored on a scale of 0 to 6 in half-point increments.
Major Changes in the Syllabus of the GRE New Format
The most significant change in the GRE’s syllabus occurred in the Verbal Reasoning section. The removal of Antonyms and Analogies, known for testing vocabulary memorisation, was a notable shift. Instead, the new pattern focuses on assessing your ability to understand complex texts, sentence structure, and vocabulary in context through reading comprehension, text completion, and sentence equivalence questions.
In the Quantitative Reasoning section, the emphasis on data interpretation and real-world problem-solving has increased. The questions in this section often require you to analyse and interpret data from various sources, making it more practical and relevant to graduate-level studies.
Analytical Writing consists of only one Issue Task assessing your ability to critically analyse and construct well-reasoned arguments.
Score Conversion: Old Format to GRE New Format
If you’ve taken the old GRE and want to understand how your scores would compare in the new format, you should use the concordance table. ETS (Educational Testing Service), the organisation that administers the GRE, provides a concordance table to help with score conversion. This table allows admissions committees and institutions equate scores from both patterns.
Keep in mind that while the score conversion can provide an approximate comparison, it’s essential to remember that the two patterns assess different skills. Admissions committees are aware of this and take it into account when evaluating applicants.
Learn about the scores you require to get into top universities in our blog on GRE scores here.
The GRE has evolved over the years to the changing demands of graduate education and skills required for academic success. Understanding the differences between the old pattern and GRE new pattern and adapting your preparation can help you transition smoothly. Ultimately, the GRE remains a crucial step on your journey to higher education, and staying informed and well-prepared is the key to success in this endeavour.