GRE Testing

GRE Testing continued

It is not just your calculation abilities but also your estimation, reasoning, analysis and interpretation skills that are required to attempt this section well.

The Analytical Writing section of GRE consists of two questions. In each question an essay has to be written by the student. The first question is based on analysis of an issue. Here two topics will be given out of which you will have to choose one. You have to present your own viewpoint on the issue given. The topic given here will be a debatable one and you have to present your views about the claim in the question statement. You have to support your ideas with suitable reasons and examples. Your abilities to think critically, reason and present your viewpoint convincingly are the criteria for judgement in this question. The second type of question is analysis of an argument. Here a viewpoint is given and you have to criticize it. Here you don't have any choice and have to compulsorily discuss the given topic. You have to analyze the concepts of the writer and comment on his sense of logic and reasoning. In this question it is not necessary that you give your own viewpoint, but you have to analyze the author's ideas in a logical manner. This section gives an insight into your reasoning abilities as well as your writing skills. The essay should be properly structured with apt use of logic and grammar.

GRE also includes the testing of subjects, but this is optional. If the college admission authorities intend to scan students for admission to a master's course then they use the criterion of subject tests. If you want to pursue a specific subject then you must take the subject test. You stand a better chance of selection. In fact it is possible that some colleges make it compulsory for the candidates to take subject tests. The subject tests offered in GRE are Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology. Many students skip the subject tests but it is better to check with the colleges for their requirements.

GRE testing is now done through a computer in most centers across the world. This new format is called the computer adaptive test. As the name suggests, the test is adaptive in structure. The authorities slot out questions in three according to the difficulty level. If a response given by you is wrong then the next question selected by the computer is easier and vice-versa. Throughout the test the computer keeps adjusting the next question based on the previous response. This makes it easier for you to attempt the maximum number of questions correctly. Each question has a different value, in terms of marks, according to its difficulty level. So the final score depends on the number of questions correctly answered as well as the difficulty level of the questions. This method of testing is easier for the ETS to administer and the calculation of the result is also easier. Moreover this test can be administered on a large number of days, throughout the year. There is lesser preparation required for the authorities and tampering is nearly impossible.

GRE suffers from a few drawbacks. Many critics believe that it does not test aspects of a person's personality like the vocal skills, personality traits, confidence, creative talent etc. Also the testing proves to be a poor predictor of the graduation scores of students, though ETS claims otherwise. Nonetheless the importance of testing is ample and can not be questioned.

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