The GRE Revised General Test

As interested applicants are likely aware, the Education Testing Service (ETS) is making changes to the GRE.  The test in its current format will be offered until July 31st and starting August 1st only the revised test will be offered.

The good news is that the new test will not negatively impact applicants to SIPA in any way.  As a matter of fact the test should be more friendly to test takers and to the SIPA Admissions Committee.  Here are a few questions people have been asking along with some general notes regarding the new test.  Do note that some of the text below is taken directly from a handout given out by ETS at a recent seminar.

Question:  If I took the GRE previously are my scores still valid?

Answer: GRE scores, no matter the version of the test, are valid for 5 years.  SIPA will accept any GRE test scores that are no more than 5 years old by the date of application.  If you are applying for fall 2012 admission and you took the GRE on January 5, 2007 or after, your scores are valid for fall 2012 admission consideration.

Question:  When reporting my scores to SIPA should I convert old scores to the new scores?

Answer: No, do not convert your scores.  Applicants to SIPA self report test scores on the admission application.  You should report the scores and the associated percentages exactly as they appear on your GRE test report.  If you took the older version of the test and the newer version, report the scores exactly as given to you by ETS.

Question:  Should I report my individual scores from each time I have taken the test, or should I only report my highest scores?

Answer: Applicants should report individual scores from each time the test has been taken.  In other words, if you have taken the test more than once, do not simply take the highest scores achieved and report the scores as one test.  List your full score report history.  If you took the test on January 15th, 2009 and on April 29, 2010 you will be asked to report the full results of each test by date on the admissions application.  Do not attempt to average your scores or take the highest score from each individual test.  When the Committee reviews applications we take the highest scores achieved, we do not average the scores.

Regarding the format of the test, the revised General test should be more friendly to test takers.  For one, the test will allow you to move back and forth between questions, edit or change answers, and skip and return to previous questions.  The questions asked on the test will also more closely reflect the kind of thinking needed to succeed in a graduate program.

For example, in the past antonyms and analogies were part of the test, but this is not really the type of thinking you will utilize at SIPA.  The learning at SIPA is contextual and vocabulary on the old exam was often tested out of context. In the quantitative section more emphasis is going to be placed on real-life scenarios and there will be an on-screen calculator.

In regard to the scoring scale, it is changing from 10 point increments to 1 point increments.  This will make it easier for the Admissions Committee to compare scores.  The new scale makes a small difference in scoring look like small differences, while bigger differences will continue to stand out.

Those that plan on taking the test in the future also have the opportunity to take advantage of free test preparation materials on the ETS web site.  Free software that simulates the test taking experience can be downloaded here. You can also sign up for free alerts regarding the GRE by visiting http://www.takethegre.com/.

And as a general note, SIPA does not use GRE scores as a sole indicator of the ability to succeed in our programs.  We do not have an absolute GRE cutoff nor do we use a mathematical matrix to make admission decisions.  Every applicant, no matter the GRE score, will have their file reviewed by the Committee.  For a full blog entry on this topic please click here.

SIPA will also take the GMAT in place of the GRE.  Just as with the GRE, GMAT scores are to be self reported on the admission application when applying.  We do encourage applicants to list our test code when taking the GRE or GMAT, however we will not look for official test reports until after admission offers are made an enrollment deposit has been paid.  Here are our test codes:

  • GRE Code: 2161 (do not list a department code)
  • GMAT for MIA: QF8-64-56
  • GMAT for MPA: QF8-64-99