GRE ScoreSelect: What the New Policy Means for Test Takers

If you’re not familiar with the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), the GRE is a standardized test often required for graduate school acceptance. Like the SAT, it has verbal, math, and written sections. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, a new policy regarding the GRE has been introduced.

The new policy, ScoreSelect, allows for students to be able to choose what test scores they want sent to colleges. Previously, a student could take the GRE three times, and all three scores for all sections would automatically be sent to potential colleges. With the new policy, a student could take the GRE three times, and then choose the highest score for each of the sections to be sent to colleges. ScoreSelect will be available for test takers starting in July of 2012. According to ETS (Educational Testing Service), this will allow students to take the test more confidently.

There are mixed feelings regarding ScoreSelect. While some believe this will reduce stress for test-takers, others believe that if students can choose to submit only their highest scores after taking the test multiple times, colleges will just hike up the minimum GRE score for acceptance, making acceptance into graduate school even harder.

While ScoreSelect will be made available for those who wish to use it, students may also continue to use the old system that sends all test scores to all colleges, or just the most recent test scores to all colleges.

What does this new policy mean for test takers? The following is a list of pros and cons for ScoreSelect:

Pros:

  • Students will likely be less stressed on test day, which may allow them to perform better.
  • Taking the test multiple times will increase your familiarity with the test’s structure.
  • Students may feel more in control of their graduate application by having the ability to choose what scores are being sent.
  • Students may feel the higher scores are the more accurate readings of their abilities.

Cons: 

  • Students will likely be less stressed on test day, which for some students, may allow them to perform poorly.
  • Students may be less inclined to spend time studying for the GREs if they assume they can have do-overs.
  • With the ability to pick only the highest scores, students are more likely to take the test more often, which means more money is being spent on it.
  • College admissions boards will no longer have a gray area in which they could argue a lower-than-average score was due to a bad test day. Potential colleges will view GRE scores as your highest ability.

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Original Post Date: April 30th, 2012

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