What are GRE's

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by stb, Mar 4, 2001.

  1. stb

    stb New Member

    Until I found this forum I never heard of GRE's.

    What are they and where can I find more information, study guides, costs, etc.
  2. The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is usually a requirement for students applying to graduate school. Some colleges use GRE to assess learning at the undergraduate level and award credit.

    See http://www.gre.org/ for more info on the GRE.

    Kristin Evenson Hirst
    [email protected]
  3. brunetmj

    brunetmj New Member

    The GRE as mentioned above is a national standardized test used as an assessment tool
    by graduate schools for admission. It is similar to the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) used in High Schools to allow Colleges another assessment tool to determine a students ability to do undergraduate work.
    Practice tests and books are available in most book stores as well as online book stores such as amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

    The reason for this requirement is as follows. (At least as I understand it)

    If I received a Bachelors degree from dumbcollge university with straight A's and your Bachelors degree is from smartpeoples college with straight B's how would a graduate school know which are really the better grades? This standardized test supposedly will end this controversy.

  4. brunetmj

    brunetmj New Member

    I just wanted to add a warning about GRE's in the event you decide to take one.
    If you sign up for one and then later on you change your mind and decide not to go they record this as NO SHOW and it remains on your permanent record. There may be a proper procedure for cancellation unknown to me but if there is i suggest following it.

  5. Roger Habeck

    Roger Habeck New Member

    One additional note, in addition to the general GRE exams that are used as previously stated, there are a number of GRE subject exams. These subject exams are accepted by some schools (Charter Oak, Excelsior) for credit. For example, I earned 18 credits toward my degree at Charter Oak with a GRE in History. In effect, Charter Oak awarded me the credits for the classes I would have had to have taken to learn as much about the subject as I had done. In recent years some GRE subject exams have been eliminated (the History for one.) However, if you can pass one of the remaining subject exams you can get as much as (it think) 30 credits if your score is high enough. I belive that Excelsior is the most liberal in awarding these credits.
  6. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Standardized tests like the GRE are extremely coachable, so you might want to consider taking prep courses (if there are ones availble for the Subject Exams you want to take---I haven't looked). Exams like the Subject Exams are even more coachable than the SAT I or GRE General because fewer students take them. They just don't change much over time. They can't; ETS puts a lot of stock in correlating past tests with new ones. They can't validate new test questions without including them in current tests. The questions don't count, of course. Fewer test takers means fewer opportunites to validate, which means less change.

    If you can't find coaching classes on the specific Subject Exams you want, consider a general coaching class. You'll learn a lot about how stupid the whole process is, and a lot about the ETS mentality (critical if you want to excel at the mundane, which is what ETS is best at). I highly recommend The Princeton Review, and suggest you stay away from Kaplan. Kaplan's test prep courses are lame (they buy into the ETS mentality too much; Princeton teaches you how to beat the test).

    Rich Douglas, Ph.D. (Candidate)
    Centro de Estudios Universitarios
    Monterrey, NL, Mexico
  7. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    ETS no longer calls the SAT the "Scholastic Aptitude Test." They haven't for many years now. They realized that "aptitude" is something they can't even define, much less measure. They changed it to the Scholastic Assessment Test for a few years, then gave up and changed it to the SAT. In their words, "SAT" doesn't stand for anything. In my words, it stands for screwing up the admissions process beyond repair, which is why it should be dropped.

    Also, the SAT isn't designed to "allow Colleges another assessment tool to determine a students ability to do undergraduate work." Rather, it is a predictor of a student's performance (grades) in his/her first year of college. That's it. And it does a horrible job at that little task.

    The correlation between SAT scores and freshman grades is right around .37. This means it isn't a particularly robust predictor. In fact, the best predictor of college grades is (are)........grades in high school! No kidding. A much better correlation there. So why do colleges still insist on the SAT when it does such a poor job of the one thing it purports to do? Because if they dropped it, they would look like they're not serious about academics. Still about 90% of colleges and universities in the U.S. are not competitive. They admit all qualified students who apply. Also, the colleges don't have to pay for the privilege of receiving SAT scores on applicants. That is borne by the students and their families. If the colleges were forced to pay for it all, they'd drop it like a hot potato!

    I realize this is off-topic, but I got mad. I'll stop now.

    Rich Douglas, Ph.D. (Candidate)
    Centro de Esudios Universitarios
    Monterrey, NL, Mexico
  8. brunetmj

    brunetmj New Member


    Thanks for the correction. I just bought two
    SAT books for my 16 year old nephew. I should have read the titles..
    I believe that I have the same feelings about these tests as you do. However there are colleges where they (GRE's and SAT's) continue to be important because of competition in these schools for few openings. This I believe is unfortunate.
  9. hworth

    hworth Member

    I only disagree with one part of your post, Rich. My undergraduate college, Bowdoin College in Maine, has not required the SAT for 30 years. It is consistently listed as one of the top ten liberal arts colleges in the country, so the reason colleges haven't dropped the SAT is not about appearing 'serious' about academics. My impression is that colleges require SATs to make the admissions process easier. Most competitive schools have a minimum class-rank/gpa/SAT mix, and, if you don't make the cut-off, the admissions folks don't even open your file.

  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Ah, but we're talking about the same thing. Bowdoin's abandonment of the SAT was (and remains) a celebrated thing. (See "None of the Above" by David Owen) Why? Because it was unique. They took a bold step and risked being labeled "not serious about academic standards" when they did it, knowing fully well it was the right thing to do.

    Yes, the SAT makes admissions decisions easier. But not more accurate. In fact, they take away from them. Why should a kid who works hard for 4 years in high school to get good grades have all of that riding on a poorly written, highly flawed, racist, sexist, "classist" test that favors the rich?

    David Hapgood makes a similar argument against what he called "Diplomaism" in a book by the same name. In it, he describes employers' increasing reliance on academic credentials to weed through potential job candidates. It's fast and easy, just like the SAT. Of course, you miss a lot of good people when you take these shortcuts.

    If the SAT is a poor predictor of freshman success (and by ETS's own numbers, it is), why include it in a decision with more accurate measures? It only serves to muddy the waters. College admissions officials are much more likely to downgrade an applicant whose test scores are not as impressive as his grades, than they are to upgrade one who's grades aren't good but his test scores are great. No one wins in this scenario. Except the not-for-profit (but highly profitable) ETS.

    Rich Douglas

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