Does Your Undergraduate Major Determine Your Success on the GRE?
In August of 2011, the GRE was dramatically changed by Educational Testing Services (ETS), the test creator. Naturally, they wanted to record as much data about "The New GRE" on effectiveness, scoring, and how each student performed in their intended graduate major. The 2011-2013 results could infer many different conclusions on which students performed the best depending on their intended focus of study and if that matched their undergraduate degree. One initial shock is the low scores of journalism/communication majors in the Verbal Reasoning (section on critical thinking ability, reading comprehension and vocabulary) as well as in the Analytical Writing (section with two essay questions on fallacies and open-ended question on positional argument) where we would have expected higher results. While Philosophy ranked highest in these categories, and above average on the third Quantitative (section on algebra, geometry, and data analysis).
Just recently, PhysicsCentral.com posted interesting conclusions about the possible undergraduate-graduate major correlation of a students' rate of success on the GRE. This blog suggested two possible answers to the high scoring majors compared to those majors that are not scoring as expected. First, it states that philosophy courses concentrate on critical thinking, logical reasoning, and writing; making them skilled test takers. This could also contribute to the thought that Philosophy drawls the elite of high school students who could respond well to the GRE, despite their chosen major. Secondly, not all students attending graduate school go for the same major concentration. These students are not as familiar with material that may be included on the GRE causing them to not score as high but, this does not categorize them as less intelligent than those who are familiar with GRE concepts.
Through these assumptions we cannot clearly define why one major ranks high than others or which kind of students test the best. More in-depth research may conclude detailed information regarding these theories. Students who are interested in attending graduate school should study the new format to the GRE, which has slightly mimicked the GMAT in some aspects. ETC Test Prep can show you the latest studying techniques from expert instructors who provide material from previous GRE tests, to best prepare you for testing. Sign up for a GRE test prep course here!
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