New GRE offers more precise scoring, user-friendly design

Staci Poston, Managing Editor

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE), an admissions test that opens the door for advanced degrees in graduate and business schools, launched its new revised General Test on Monday, Aug. 1 with new questions, an updated scoring scale and a more user-friendly design.

The launch of the new test marks the most significant change in the 60-year history of the GRE. In honor of the revision, the General Test is being offered at half price until Friday, Sept. 30.

Senior biology major Harrison Taylor signed up and took the test on Aug. 1.

“I wanted to take it earlier, but I was studying for the revised GRE, and that was the very first day that they had it available to take,” Taylor said.

The computer-based GRE test, which is the most common to take, consists of five sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning, Analytical Writing, an unscored section and a research section.

The new test format allows takers to skip questions within a section and return to them later. The new test also includes the ability to change or edit answers, and it incorporates new types of questions that are meant to reflect real-life situations that could occur in graduate or business school.

Another new feature of the revised test is the on-screen calculator. Whereas before only scratch paper was offered, now an on-screen calculator is available for use during the Quantitative Reasoning section. Those who take the paper-based test will be provided a calculator at the test center.

Taylor said that he liked the addition of the calculator.

“Being able to use a calculator was very helpful,” Taylor said. “It seemed more efficient than doing scratch work on paper. It made the test easier for me.”

The new Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning score scales range from 130 to 170 in one-point increments, whereas the old scales ranged from 200 to 800 in 10-point increments. The new scale was designed to offer easier comparison between candidates’ scores. The score scale for Analytical Writing did not change; the scale still ranges from zero to six in half-point increments.

Though he won’t receive his scores in the mail until November, Taylor said that he was offered an estimation of his scores according to the old scale upon completing the test.

“I’m glad I got the estimated score,” Taylor said. “Since I’ve taken the test in the old format, I know that I improved.”

GRE scores are valid for five years, so those who tested before the revised test launched but within the five-year timeframe still have valid scores.

More information about the GRE is available at