Plan For Longer GREs Gets Axed

+ More

Education reporter Alex Kingsbury reports:

Students concerned about plans to drastically revamp the Graduate Record Exam this year have nothing to worry about after all. Test administrators have nixed plans for a longer, more analytical test, which was to have started with students sitting for the GRE in September.

The GRE is required for admission to many of the country's graduate school programs. Students sit for the exam at a network of testing centers around the world, and ETS, the nonprofit organization that administers the test, says the new test would have required students to take the exam on one of 35 testing days, a concentration that ETS says its facilities could not handle.

"We had concerns about the capacity demands for having to serve up to 20,000 students per day worldwide," says David Payne, executive director of the GRE Program at ETS.

The new test would have been an hour and a half longer, and the verbal section would have featured different questions designed to test students' analytical skills. Payne said that some elements of the canceled test will be gradually incorporated into the GRE in coming years, including abandoning analogy and antonym sections.

The GRE features an "adaptive model," which means that students are asked different questions based on how they answer each question. The new exam was designed to ask all students the same question, a so-called "linear model." Payne says ETS has abandoned plans to switch to that linear model in the future.

Both the April 9 issue of U.S.News & World Report and the 2008 edition of America's Best Graduate Schools were published before ETS's announcement and contain articles anticipating the aborted debut of the new GRE.