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Author Topic: Revised GREs eliminating analogies
LetterRip
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quote:
Coming in August 2011
What Is Changing About the Test Questions
New Questions That Better Reflect the Kind of Thinking You'll Do In Graduate or Business School

The GRE® General Test measures the skills you need to succeed in graduate or business school, regardless of your field of study. The GRE® revised General Test more closely aligns with the types of skills that are required to meet today's demanding graduate and business school expectations.

Here's a look at what is changing on the three test sections — Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing.
Verbal Reasoning: No More Antonyms and Analogies. More Focus on Reading.

The GRE revised General Test places a greater emphasis on higher-level cognitive skills. Featuring new types of questions, the Verbal Reasoning section of the revised test more closely reflects the kind of thinking you'll do in graduate or business school, and better measures your ability to understand what you read and how you apply your reasoning skills.

Here's what is new for the Verbal Reasoning section:

* Antonyms and analogies have been removed from the test, so there are no questions that test vocabulary out of context.
* New Text Completion questions test your ability to interpret, evaluate and reason from what you've read. Text Completion questions test this ability by omitting crucial words from short passages, requiring you to fill them in by selecting words or phrases.
* New Sentence Equivalence questions test your ability to reach a conclusion about how a sentence should be completed while focusing on the meaning of the whole sentence.
* There are more Reading Comprehension questions on the test, including new types of questions, such as selecting multiple correct answer choices instead of just one, or highlighting a sentence within a reading passage to answer the question.

http://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/about/content

So we should see scores change significantly, with probably far less ability to boost your score through studying I suspect.

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Chael
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Multiple correct answer choices?

Finally!

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TomDavidson
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quote:
the Verbal Reasoning section of the revised test more closely reflects the kind of thinking you'll do in graduate or business school
*shudder* Or lack thereof. I was just thinking that what most MBA programs need is more illiterates.
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Clark
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quote:
The GRE® General Test measures the skills you need to succeed in graduate or business school, regardless of your field of study.
I took the GRE in 2006, and left completely baffled as to how a test on vocabulary and high school math was supposed to judge my ability to succeed in a graduate program in physics. It was the least useful standardized test I have ever taken in my life. Just about any change should be a step in the right direction.
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OpsanusTau
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Well, it's not really intended to be a "test on vocabulary and high school math", so that's probably your confusion.

It's intended to be a test of verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and facility with written communication.

A test of vocabulary and high school math would look quite a bit different.

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Clark
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No, my point is that it looked exactly like a test of vocabulary and high school math. Whether it intended to or not, that's what it tested. I firmly believe that I would have scored just as high on the math section out of high school as I did out of college. As for the "verbal reasoning" I remember it as a vocabulary test for all intents and purposes.

The math section was not remotely hard enough to challenge anyone who is going in to any math-intensive field. (I got a perfect score on the math, but then again, so did 7% of the test takers that year.) So, either you're going into a program where math is important, and the test is too easy to measure anything meaningful, or you're going into a program where math is not important, in which case the test of a little value.

The "verbal reasoning" portion was, in my memory, a vocabulary test. This is supported by the primary method that students use for "studying" for that section: they walk around with flashcards full of big words that are rarely used, trying to add 300 words to their vocabulary in hopes that some of them show up on the test. I'm not sure how strong of a correlation there is between large vocabularies and graduate school success.

The writing portion, the one that is subjectively graded, is actually the most useful part of the test. There is virtually no field of study where writing is not important.

The GRE subject test that I took (Physics) was a great test. 3 hours of challenging questions that covered the entire scope of an undergraduate physics program. Even the brightest students were challenged and the test clearly evaluates an important factor in determining readiness for graduate study. (Certainly not the only one, which is why schools ask for transcripts, referrals and essays.) If I were tasked with evaluating prospective student, unless their GRE score was exceptionally high or low, I wouldn't pay any attention to them at all.

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OpsanusTau
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*sigh*

The verbal portion is not just, or not even primarily, a vocabulary test. Although it does involve words, there's a difference.
Only some of the kinds of sections are even possible to describe as being like a vocabulary test; and even in those sections, knowing pattern of word construction and usage is more important to success than memorizing some extra words with their dictionary definition.
And that totally ignores the sections that are obviously about reading comprehension and understanding of the logic of grammar.

With regard to the math section, I think it's funny and telling that you think it's either too easy (for the Real Math People) or pointless (because nobody else needs to have functional quantitative reasoning skills). You're probably right that it's so easy as to be meaningless for people who are interested in math-heavy fields. And for a graduate degree in something like poetry, it might not be immediately critical - so it's nice that the results are reported separately, so that graduate schools have the option of deciding how much they care.
But there are many fields for which a solid grasp of the kind of quantitative reasoning tested by the GRE is pretty useful. I'm sure you can think of some, too.

Anyways - I am not a huge fan of the GRE. It seems to me that it serves in large part as a sort of extra hurdle to keep down the application numbers, and it is really not an unpleasant and difficult enough process to be great at that.

But your criticisms don't seem particularly apt to me. And I, too, took it pretty recently.

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Clark
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I suppose I should have paid better attention while taking the test so as to better criticize it later on.

You are correct that the verbal portion has many questions that cover things like reading comprehension and grammar. The changes they are making do look like improvements. One specific type of question they mention eliminating is antonyms, which were straight vocabulary questions.

I suppose my broader point here is that I don't feel that this test (or possibly any test) can measure the things they are trying to measure better than other resources already at a schools disposal. I recall the test to be about 3 hours long. An hour each for the verbal, math and writing sections. So, they have somewhere around 60 questions to attempt to measure my understanding of grammar, reading comprehension, vocabulary, etc. OR they can notice that during my 4 years in college I took a freshman English class, as well as a technical writing course. I spent hundreds of hours studying these subjects and then I got grades in those courses. Pay attention to that! In the case of fields of study where those skills are more important, there will be MORE classes to look at. Any English/Humanities/History/Social Science type degree will have required many classes that rely heavily on reading comprehension and writing skills.

Much the same can be said of the math section, except in this case, the range of knowledge between the top and bottom students of quantitative reasoning is much broader than it is for the verbal section. I am curious what exactly my opinion on the topic tells. (And whether this applies only to myself, or also to the "Real Math People" too.) For those not going into a math intensive field, the test is of little value; if someone has particularly bad quantitative reasoning skills, should they be kept out of a graduate program in European History? This is absolutely not the same thing as declaring that they don't need to have functional quantitative reasoning skills. While the skill is valuable for life, I don't think it is germane to the graduate application process for many people.

I agree that the GRE seems to be some sort of hoop to jump through (or hurdle to clear) but I'm not sure what it's purpose is. For me, the test took up an afternoon of my time, $160 and I can't point to anything that it indicates that wouldn't be readily apparent otherwise.

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LetterRip
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GREs have never covered grammar.

quote:
One specific type of question they mention eliminating is antonyms, which were straight vocabulary questions.
While analogies required vocabulary, the ability to get the analogy correct required reasoning skills.

quote:
I suppose my broader point here is that I don't feel that this test (or possibly any test) can measure the things they are trying to measure better than other resources already at a schools disposal.
The GRE measures raw abilities, the meaning of school grades varies dramatically between schools.

quote:
For those not going into a math intensive field, the test is of little value; if someone has particularly bad quantitative reasoning skills, should they be kept out of a graduate program in European History?
The reasoning questions are designed such that they are easy enough that the require very little math skill, just good reasoning abilities.

The math questions are no where nearly challenging enough that a person going into a math intensive program that they give adequate information.

quote:
I agree that the GRE seems to be some sort of hoop to jump through (or hurdle to clear) but I'm not sure what it's purpose is. For me, the test took up an afternoon of my time, $160 and I can't point to anything that it indicates that wouldn't be readily apparent otherwise.
They are meant to be an objective measure of your raw abilities, as opposed to a subjective measure of your abilities that are received by your grades and particular courses.
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OpsanusTau
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quote:
For those not going into a math intensive field, the test is of little value; if someone has particularly bad quantitative reasoning skills, should they be kept out of a graduate program in European History?
Oh, really.
Like there aren't any fields other than "math intensive" and "European History" (although quantitative reasoning skills can be useful in historical analysis too, obviously).
Really those questions aren't about math for most people. Maybe if you are a person who spends a lot of time doing math, you would just solve the problems really fast? I don't know, because I'm not that person. The way to get a good score on the quantitative section for the rest of us is not to solve the problems - that's basically impossible in the time given. The way is to pick the correct answers from a group of potential answers, without solving the problem. If it were really a test of math, test-takers would be required to show and submit work so an actual evaluation of the mathematical operations performed could be made.

Lots and lots of fields require functional quantitative reasoning. Mine, for example; any biomedical field, actually. Social sciences, geography, any of the urban planning related fields. Natural resources. Ecology. Business, law. Yes, even history. Art history too - and obviously studio art.
I have trouble thinking of a field for which it wouldn't be useful.

Just as I have a hard time thinking of a field in which facility with figuring out what words mean, and what people mean by using them in sentences and paragraphs, would not be useful. The verbal reasoning is intended to test ability at understanding language.

And then obviously the writing test is supposed to assess ability at using language.

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