Tag Archive for 'GRE CAT'

The New GRE – Sentence Highlighting


Everyone knows highlighting is a good tool to make study sessions more effective, but now we have to do it on the actual test? What?

One new question type on the new (revised) GRE is called sentence highlighting. That’s not really an “official” name, but it does describe what you have to do to answer the question. Sentence highlighting questions are a new type of question used to assess your reading comprehension abilities.

We’re all familiar with the standard multiple choice reading comprehension question – you’re given a passage (about the most boring topic in the world, usually), pick the correct answer from four or five choices. By this point in your life, whatever your background, you’ve probably had to do what feels like millions of them; if you’ve ever taken a test preparation course like Test Masters, then you also probably know that the basic tenet to answering these questions is “justify your answer with evidence directly from the text!” If you can’t find a sentence in the passage that supports your answer, then it can’t be right.

Well the ETS has decided to take this concept to a literal level – find a sentence in the passage that answers the question and highlight it.

Let’s look at an example:

Recently some scientists have concluded that meteorites found on Earth and long believed to have a Martian origin might actually have been blasted free of Mars’s gravity by the impact on Mars of other meteorites. This conclusion has led to another question: whether meteorite impacts on Earth have similarly driven rocks from this planet to Mars.

According to astronomer S.A. Phinney, kicking a rock hard enough to free it from Earth’s gravity would require a meteorite capable of making a crater more than 60 miles across. Moreover, even if Earth rocks were freed by meteorite impact, Mars’s orbit is much larger than earth’s so Phinney estimates that the probability of these rocks hitting Mars is about one-tenth as great as that of Mars’s rocks hitting Earth. To demonstrate this estimate, Phinney used a computer to calculate where 1,000 hypothetical particles would go if ejected from Earth in random directions. He found that 17 of the 1,000 particles would hit Mars.

Select the sentence that explains how meteorites found on Earth might have come from Mars.

The very first sentence of the passage explains that “meteorites found on Earth…might actually have been blasted free of Mars’s gravity by the impact on Mars of other meteorites.” Therefore, the answer is the first sentence; we would navigate our mouse over to this sentence and click on the sentence (any part of it) to highlight it, and then submit our answer.

Since the GRE is a computerized exam, you don’t actually have to bring a highlighter to the testing center. All you have to do is click on (any part of) the sentence that contains your answer and it will automatically highlight the whole sentence. The whole idea seems somewhat unusual at first, but it really is no different from the reading comprehension questions that you’re used to. Just like with multiple choice questions, you simply need to find the sentence in the passage that directly answers the question – except now you literally have to go and do it!

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Should I Take the New GRE or the Current GRE? 5 Important Things to Consider

'Tis the season to think about graduate school!

Happy holidays to everyone!  I’ve been super busy doing absolutely nothing for the past few days to celebrate the completion of my first graduate school application!  Three more to go!

So the other day during my happy little vacation, I was skimming our blog entries (such devotion!), and I noticed that we were lacking entries about our URL namesake — the new GRE!  So let’s fix that.  Here are five important things to think about when you ask yourself the question, “Should I take the new GRE or the current GRE?”

1. When do you have the most time to study?
This question is of particular importance to current students.  When will you have the most time to prepare for the GRE?  Probably during summer vacation.  Ask yourself whether or not you’ll be able to spend an adequate amount of time studying for the GRE while juggling classes, homework, work, a social life, research, graduate school applications, and whatever else may eat up your schedule during the school year.  I had considered taking the GRE during the school year, but I just couldn’t fit it into my schedule.  For those of you who aren’t in school, the question still applies.  Almost every job has a busy season of some sort.  Don’t try to jam GRE preparation into a stressful time of the year.  I know studying for the GRE during your downtime sounds like a real, well, downer, but just try to remember how important this is!

2. When do you need your score?
Do you need a score before November 2011?  Then you really don’t have much of a choice — scores for the new GRE won’t begin coming out until after November of 2011.  Even though administration of the new test begins in August of 2011, scores from August 2001 – September 2011 tests won’t be sent until after November.  Scores are good for five years.  Kind of a non-sequitur, but it needed to be said somewhere, right?

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The GRE CAT is a Totally Different Animal

lolCAT wishes you good luck

This weekend, I took my first practice computer-adaptive test — man is it a different experience.

As we hopefully all know by now, the computer-adaptive test is the computerized administration of the GRE.  You must answer each question as it comes up; you do not get to skip questions or go backwards.  The computer will choose the next question for you based on the difficulty of the current question and whether you got it right or wrong.

Anyway, the CAT was different.  It wasn’t bad, mind you, just different.  There were some idiosyncrasies that threw me off, but overall, I actually think I like the CAT better than traditional paper-and-pencil tests.

By far the two best things about the CAT were 1) the 45-minute math section and 2) being able to type out the essays.  The math section contains the same number of questions (28), but for some reason the ETS gives you 15 more minutes on the CAT.  It’s a great load off the shoulders when it comes to doing calculations by hand because you don’t have to rush as much.  However — and this is totally a subjective statement — I think some of the math questions on the CAT might be more difficult than they are on the paper tests, so maybe that’s why there was some extra time.

I don’t think I even have to elaborate on why it’s such a boon to be able to type the essay — it was like spending your whole life cooking over a wood-burning fire and then having a microwave handed to you.

A Very Scary GRE Entry


Halloween is rounding the corner, so in the spirit of the evening before All Hallows Day, here are a few things about the GRE that scare me.

1. Reading Passages
Giant blocks of text without equations in them make me a little nervous. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to read long passages about obscure, boring topics in which I have absolutely no interest. Will I understand the passage? Will I understand the questions? Will I be able to stay awake? It’s scary. College certainly hasn’t made me dumber, but it has changed my way of thinking — I’m a little out of shape when it comes to GRE-type critical reading.

2. The Computer-Adaptive Test
I’ve taken a lot of paper-and-pencil tests in my day, but, if memory serves, the GRE will be my first computer-adaptive test. I did take a computerized driver’s license test six years ago, but somehow I don’t think that will help. The idea of not being able to skip or change an answer is pretty intimidating — it flies right in the face of every test taking strategy I’ve ever been taught. Fortunately, the ETS provides practice CATs on their website for us to download and practice with. I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend my Halloween.

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