GRE Scores: What They Tell and Why They Are a Bit Kookie

  Forget the old 200-800 scale of GRE grades that held for decades and even now serves as SAT test grade scale. The revised GRE (now about 5 years old) has scores in math and verbal with a range between the uninteresting bounds of 130-170, maybe deliberately innocuous numbers that were chosen to avoid all previous associations with any grade scores anywhere! A 150 in math and in verbal was scaled to be the national average, also called the 50th percentile, meaning it would be the score just above that of the bottom half of all test takers. But there has always been “percentile creep” on the ETS tests, meaning that over time the same test grade means a lower percentile than used to, i.e., the same grade has fewer people scoring below it, thereby losing some of its value as a grade.

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Gender and the GRE

Both GRE and SAT have been well shown to underpredict the performance of females in college and university. That is, females of the same scholastic abilities as males score lower than males well beyond chance on these tests. Studies of the predictability of graduate school grades from GRE scores reveal that women who have been out of school for a while are underpredicted for grad school success by their GRE scores. Such findings have been annoying data that the test maker underplays. Read more

The Left and Right Brain in Testing

In my online GRE Prep course I want all students to appreciate the synergistic work their two hemispheres do. This gives more versitility to them as they test. Here is a summary: all of us have two major brain processors that work differently according to Nobel-prize-nominated research. We have a linear, rule-based, detail-oriented brain (usually […]