GRE changes postponed until 2007

By Kim Velsey

Third- and fourth-years dreading the onset of the new GRE format can breathe a little easier. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) announced last week that it will postpone changes until the fall of 2007, a year after the original launch date of October 2006.

The delay will better serve test-takers and graduate institutions as the GRE shifts to a new internet-based version (iBT), according to ETS officials. The iBT delivery platform will allow ETS to open thousands of new testing sites worldwide in the next two years.

“The new launch schedule will enable us to complete the expansion of our internet-based testing operations worldwide,” said Mari Pearlman, senior vice president of ETS’s Higher Education Division, in an ETS press release.

Madeline Hamblin, director of the Office of Graduate Affairs at the University, said that the delay was sensible. “I think it was a good move,” she said. “It would not be wise to start a new test before test centers were set up.”

Hamblin added that the postponement might affect when U of C students will take the GREs.

“Some people who were undecided will probably go with the known thing,” she said.

It is currently possible to take the GREs almost every day of the year, but the new test will only be offered 30 times a year. While this alone might put off test-takers, the additional pressure of an unknown format may encourage many students to take the GREs sooner rather than later.

“Though the year-long delay in the change to the GRE may wreak short-term havoc on aspiring graduate students’ test taking considerations, it’s ultimately a good thing as it gives students additional breathing room and more time to take the current, shorter version of the test…,” said Matt Fidler, GRE program manager for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions, in a press release from Kaplan.