GRE

STRUCTURE

The exam consists of four sections. The first section is a writing section, while the other three are multiple-choice style. One of the multiple choice style exams will test verbal skills, another will test quantitative skills and a third exam will be an experimental section that is not included in the reported score. Test takers do not know which of the three multiple-choice sections is the experimental section. The entire test procedure takes about 4 hours.[6]

Verbal section

One graded multiple-choice section is always a verbal section, consisting of analogies, antonyms, sentence completions, and reading comprehension passages. Multiple-choice response sections are graded on a scale of 200-800, in 10-point increments. This section primarily tests vocabulary, and average scores in this section are substantially lower than those in the quantitative section.[7] In a typical examination, this section may consist of 30 questions, and 30 minutes may be allotted to complete the section.[8] This is usually composed of 8-10 questions about antonyms, 6-8 analogy questions, 5-7 sentence completions and 6-10 reading comprehension questions (based on 2-4 passages). [9]

Quantitative section

The analytical writing section consists of two different essays, an "issue task" and an "argument task". The writing section is graded on a scale of 0-6, in half-point increments. The essays are written on a computer using a word processing program specifically designed by ETS. The program allows only basic computer functions and does not contain a spell-checker or other advanced features. Each essay is scored by at least two readers on a six-point holistic scale. If the two scores are within one point, the average of the scores is taken. If the two scores differ by more than a point, a third reader examines the response.

Issue task

The test taker will be able to choose between two topics upon which to write an essay. The time allowed for this essay is 45 minutes.[12] Issue topics are selected from a pool of questions. [13]

Argument task

The test taker will be given an "argument" and will be asked to write an essay that critiques the argument. Test takers are asked to consider the argument's logic and to make suggestions about how to improve the logic of the argument. The time allotted for this essay is 30 minutes.[14] Arguments are selected from a pool of topics. [15]

Experimental section

The experimental section, which can be either a verbal, quantitative, or analytical writing task, contains new questions that ETS is considering for future use. Although the experimental section does not count toward the test-taker's score, it is unidentified and appears identical to the real (scored) part of the test. As test takers have no clear way of knowing which section is experimental, they are forced to complete this section. This section does not appear on all GRE examinations.[16]

If the experimental section appears as an analytical writing question (essay), if an "issue" type question is presented, a choice between two topics will not be given. This coupled with the fact that the true analytical writing section is the first test given can help the test-taker to deduce which is the experimental section and the taker can thus lower the importance of that section.

 

 

 

 
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