The GRE is unlike any test that most test-takers have ever seen. Not only is the GRE computer-based, but it also adapts to your performance as you progress throughout the sections – the better you do, the more difficult the test gets (and vice versa). The GRE algorithm isn’t quite as smart as the Matrix, but it does allow the test to get a lot of information about you using a relatively small number of questions.
For an introduction to how the GRE measures and adjusts to user performance, check out this video from Kaplan Executive Director Lee Weiss, on how the GRE Multi-Stage Test (or MST) works. You’ll learn:
- How the difficulty level of the Verbal and Quantitative sections changes based on your demonstrated skill level.
As a GRE instructor and tutor, I’ve heard lots of “theories” about how the new GRE is scored. Because the scoring formula is not terribly well-defined by ETS, it’s completely normal for people to have questions or concerns about how their final GRE scaled score is calculated.
First of all, the test is no longer a Computer Adaptive Test, or CAT, which was the format of the test from 1992 through August 2011.
- One of the frustrating aspects of the Computer Adaptive Test was that whenever you were presented with a question, you had to answer it before moving on. This was because of the adaptive nature of the test; since the next question in a section relied on your performance of the questions that came before it, there was no opportunity to skip a question.
- Another frustrating element of the CAT was the apparent disconnect between “raw scores” and