New Graduate School Test

University Testing

Since last fall, many graduate school applicants have been faced with yet another ETS-designed testing hurdle. The GRE Writing Assessment -- costing $50 in the U.S. and $60 overseas -- is a marketing response to critics who noted that the entirely multiple-choice GRE General and Subject tests failed to measure one of the most important skills needed in academia.


The new exam consists of a 45-minute "Present Your Perspective on an Issue" essay and a 30-minute "Analyze an Argument" task. Administered on computer at the same Sylvan Learning Center facilities as the computer-based GRE General test, the writing samples will be scored by university faculty around the country.


ETS hopes to encourage graduate school admissions committees to require the test of all applicants. But they have not yet explained how essays written on an unfamiliar testing center computer in response to artificial prompts have more meaning than the graded undergraduate course papers that students can now submit.