Changes that would make the Graduate Record Exam more difficult have been pushed back until October 2007, a year later than originally planned, the Educational Testing Service announced last week.
The GRE serves as a standard evaluation for most graduate school applicants, except those bound for law, medical and MBA programs.
The announcement comes as a relief to anxious juniors and seniors dreading the exam’s new format.
The new is an hour and a half longer. It will go from about two and a half hours to nearly four hours.
The new test will also focus more on analytical questions, and limit the window when students can take the exam to about 30 national dates.
The transition proved logistically difficult for the testing service, said Matt Fidler, GRE program manger for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions.
About 400,000 people take the GRE in the United States every year.
“The changes were of a large magnitude,” Fidler said. “Logistically, they were unable to nail down the testing changes.”
LSA senior Al Duncan, who received a perfect score on all three portions of the test, said he would have performed more poorly on the test’s new format, judging from a set of sample questions.
For example, he said multiple-choice questions with several correct answers – all of which the student has to identify to get the question right – would make it more difficult.
Coordinating the peak volumes of test-takers that would come with the decreased number of sites and dates was the primary challenge for the testing service, Fidler said.
Under the current system, most students take the test as walk-ins, an option that is slated for elimination in 2007.
Because questions will no longer be recycled from test to test to avoid cheating, each exam will also take much longer to prepare, Fidler added.
Fidler recommends that students take the test before the changes.
He said the delay is positive for both students and companies like Kaplan that work to prepare students for the exam.
“(It is) an extra year to get the kinks out and provide a smooth transition,” he said.