We have posted few blog posts comparing New GRE vs Old GRE. Also, we had heated discussion on why New GRE Exam will be tough. Today, you are going to learn more reason why New GRE will be Tough Nut to crack.

After reading this blog post, please fell free to form your opinion, but I guess you will fall under one of following category

  • Glad I decided to take GRE in current format
  • I was planning to take New GRE, but looks like I have to take GRE before Aug 1, 2011
  • I still feel that New GRE is the way to go.

Please post your comments and opinion about the reason presented in this blog post abut New GRE.

GRE in 2002

Lets go back to 2002 and recollect what happened to GRE test. I’m sure very few readers here will know what happened to GRE Test in 2002/2003.

New GRE – Tough Nut to Crack

  • Computer Based GRE was not offered due to security breach
  • ETS canceled Computer based GRE in China, Hong Kong and offered Split GRE Test.

ETS Press Release

Princeton, N.J. (Aug. 26, 2002) –An investigation revealing improper sharing of questions from the GRE Computer Science Subject Test by students in China, including Hong Kong, and India has resulted in the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) Board instructing ETS to cancel administration of the test in these countries and limit administration worldwide.

The security breach is similar to one recently announced that forced the temporary suspension of the computer-based GRE General Test in parts of Asia. As a result of this latest breach, which also involved students illegally sharing memorized questions over the Internet, the GRE Board and ETS have announced that:

the November 2002 administration of the GRE Computer Science Test has been cancelled worldwide, the Computer Science Test will only be administered in December 2002, unlike prior years, there will be no April 2003 Computer Science Test administration, worldwide,the GRE Computer Science Test will not be administered in India and China, including Hong Kong, in the 2002-03 testing year.

This According to the ETS, significant numbers of questions from the GRE Computer Science Subject Test have been illegally revealed to test takers in recent months despite students signing an agreement they would not share questions from the test.

“If we continue to offer this test in these countries where our investigation has revealed students immediately post test questions on the Internet, it will threaten the usefulness of the test both for U.S. graduate admission officers and students worldwide,” said Carole Beere, chair of the GRE Board. “From a fairness standpoint, this is the only action that will allow the large proportion of Computer Science examinees in other countries to demonstrate their capabilities for admissions committees.”

In 2002, there were 862 Computer Science test takers in China, including Hong Kong, and 388 in India. The GRE Board is not permanently withdrawing the Computer Science Test in these countries, according to Beere. It is expected that the Computer Science Test will be offered again in China, including Hong Kong, and India in the fall of 2003.

” The GRE Board regrets having to take this action which is absolutely not an indictment of all Chinese and Indian students. Rather, it is a result of the need to protect the integrity and future usefulness of the Computer Science Test against the unethical actions of a minority of test takers in both countries. Applicants to graduate programs in computer science from those countries are urged to highlight their other key credentials like grade point average in relevant courses, work experience, and letters of recommendation.”

Persons who registered to take the Computer Science Test in India or China in the 2002-03 testing year will be sent a full refund of their test fee. Individuals in other areas of the world who registered to take the test in November will have their registrations automatically transferred to the December administration. Those who prefer not to transfer can obtain a full refund of their test fee by contacting ETS using e-mail at http://www.gre.org/email.html or by calling 1-609-771-7670.

Article in CNN

PRINCETON, New Jersey (AP) — Computer-based versions of the Graduate Record Examination will be suspended in four Asian countries after a yearlong investigation uncovered Asian-language Web sites with answers to the test.

Current and past questions from the graduate admissions exam were illegally obtained by test takers and displayed on Web sites based in China and Korea, according to the Educational Testing Service, which administers the test.

The investigation found that the average verbal scores in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea had risen significantly. Test officials attribute the rise to the Web sites, which were written in Chinese and Korean.

“We looked at score changes in 40 countries and noticed a significant rise in only these countries,” said Carole A. Beere, the chairwoman of the GRE board.

Only the paper version of the GRE General Test will be available in the four countries on the next two testing dates: November 23, 2002, and March 15, 2003. The change is expected to affect more than 55,000 students each year.

ETS would not reveal when the answers were posted on the Internet nor when it noticed scores increasing.

This”Every year we’d get someone from China who had high verbal scores on the GRE then had little or no knowledge of English when he got to the classroom,” added Howard Lijestrand, graduate adviser at the University of Texas.

Bob Schaeffer of Fair Test, which monitors standardized testing, is pleased the computer version of test will be suspended in the four countries. But he said it is only a matter of time before U.S. applicants find out about the Web sites.

The GRE is taken annually by more than 400,000 applicants to graduate programs in the arts, humanities, sciences and engineering.


GRE in 2010/2011

Still GRE  in China, Hong Kong are Paper Based Test + Analytical Writing is Computer Based.

  • In Paper based GRE format, ETS can frame new questions every time GRE Test is offered.

Now, lets reverse engineer the GRE Test process and reasons given by ETS to cancel computer based GRE Test.

  • Students post GRE test questions in forums and websites after taking the test.
  • Students from China had high Verbal Score with little or no knowledge of English
  • Which implies students were able to use the questions posted to improve their score.

Above scenarios suggests the following can be true

  • ETS restricts students from taking GRE more than once per month
  • So, we can assume same questions might be repeated within the calendar month (or even after that)
  • Without questions being repeated in GRE test,  questions posted in websites will not help improve Verbal scores.

Types of GRE Verbal questions

Lets continue to reverse engineer the process.

GRE Exam is multiple choice based exam.. So, its easy to post GRE Verbal Words, synonyms and antonyms. When you complete GRE, its should be possible to remember atleast few verbal words and questions types.

When multiple test takers post questions they remember, then its possible to form a huge database of questions. Other test takers can read those questions, which would result in high Verbal Score.

How can someone remember Reading Comprehension passage and post them?

Why New GRE will be Tough

Did you understand the logic applied to high verbal scores so far?

This is what ETS has to say about New GRE Verbal Section

  • Antonyms and analogies have been removed from the test, so there are no questions that test vocabulary out of context.
  • New Text Completion questions test your ability to interpret, evaluate and reason from what you’ve read. Text Completion questions test this ability by omitting crucial words from short passages, requiring you to fill them in by selecting words or phrases.
  • New Sentence Equivalence questions test your ability to reach a conclusion about how a sentence should be completed while focusing on the meaning of the whole sentence.
  • There are more Reading Comprehension questions on the test, including new types of questions, such as selecting multiple correct answer choices instead of just one, or highlighting a sentence within a reading passage to answer the question.

Essentially, ETS have eliminated the way to share and post questions from Verbal section.

Key to above questions types is MORE Reading Comprehension questions.

Is it possible to post an entire RC passage in a forum? It doesn’t matter if the website is in Chinese or any other languages.

Over period of time, one can collect verbal words that will be appear within RC’s and other question types. Since the question types will be reasoning based, its tough nut to crack New GRE question types.

You might go to forum, collect all the words, but words have different meaning based on context they are used.

Final Thoughts

Now, you have read one more reason why New GRE will be tough.  This information might not sound logical and some  of you might agree to it 100%. Even if you agree or don’t agree, please share your thoughts about the reverse engineered logic to why New GRE will Tough compared to current format.


  1. Leah on December 3, 2011 at 2:12 AM

    I have taken the 2 formats of GRE. On the revised one I did MUCH better. I am not a good standardized exams taker, and I do really bad on this type of exams. However, I felt that the revised GRE is more convenient for 2 main reasons. It is no longer question adaptive, but it is section adaptive, and there are no analogies and antonyms to guess anymore.

  2. shenanyginz on October 30, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    I started studying back in August and still I don’t have a handle on it. Not just because the material is damn near impossible (though I will admit I’m better in math than verbal mainly because of the reading comprehension) but because the material seems to change from publisher to publisher. I started with Kaplan though I didn’t realize I could start with ETS’s free online resources and then did some practice on greguide.com and the material was ridiculous. Things I’d never seen before after 3 months of studying. I’m also frustrated by how some of the books that offer the most practice seem to have errors abound!

    The program I’m trying to get into (THANK GOD) doesn’t require GRE scores but I’d still like to take it. I hope that when the scores are released ETS and/or Graduate Programs will adjust accordingly.

  3. lola on October 26, 2011 at 3:08 AM

    you never know unless you try it..its not a matter of easy or tough…if ur prepared..its easy..if not..its tough..all depends on how u prepare

  4. Beta Female on September 5, 2011 at 11:17 PM

    I don’t understand why so many articles say that the new GRE would be tough. I think it will be easier. Blind analogies were always such a pain in the ass and it is much easier to infer the definitions of words in context rather than memorize words. Since memorizing words is so useless anyway, it is better that we are tested on our ability to figure out meaning, which is what life actually requires of us. Also, the math seems the same. The reading comprehension is weird, but I don’t remember it being hugely different from the other version of the test, which I also took. I anticipate doing better on the revised test.

  5. Ranga on July 21, 2011 at 9:21 AM

    I think the NEW GRE is a true measure of a person’s vocab. In the old GRE, anyone who is good at mugging up 2000 words without really understanding their correct usage can score in antonyms and analogies. The new GRE will seem tougher for students who survived and succeeded in academics by the mug-up way rather than ‘understanding-the-fundamentals’ way. There is no escape from improving your vocabulary and learning new words for preparing for the new GRE, but test-takers who have been voracious readers for a long time might have an edge over those guys whose reading involves nothing more than newspaper headlines, emails and facebook updates.

  6. Irfan on June 14, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    Hi friends,

    Does anyone have ecopies of new GRE books?

    -Barron’s new GRE
    -ETS official Guide
    -McGraw Hill’s new GRE

    • HSB on June 14, 2011 at 11:31 AM

      We don’t allow posting link to copyrighted materials in the blog.

  7. farhan on April 13, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    dear frnds i m going to give new GRE and from last 2 months i m learning words and i am quiet successful
    should i stop doin dat
    i mean i hav heard dat it is useless for new GRE
    plz reply

  8. Aviral on March 8, 2011 at 8:50 AM

    I think I agree with HSB on this point. I gave the GRE back in October and scored a healthy score of 1440( Q-790, V-650) and the most difficult section according to me in the Verbal section was the RC, no matter how much you practice those, there were ought to be some mistakes. And as soon as you memorize the words, the analogies and antonyms become very easy to crack.

    I have advised all my friends to take the OLD gre and the same goes for everyone.

  9. krishna kanth on March 6, 2011 at 5:39 AM



    for starters new GRE is like <<< to older GRE.

    its gonna be like a piece of cake~u dont have to memorize stuff…all u have to do is understand … so all those idiots will encyclopediac memory will get kicked out..which is good for normal ppl like us.

    and for those who say ~u still need to be aware of many words to understand whts in the RP~ @[email protected]

    if u feel tht way,… read eng newspaper daily n watch lots of eng movies n tv series~ tht may help u !_!

  10. Prem Raj Prasain on March 4, 2011 at 8:06 AM

    For Conceptual Students New GRE will be better and this a way of getting intelligent student kicking out memorization.

  11. suman on March 4, 2011 at 5:38 AM

    well the patterns of new gre has been changed it is good that they will be asking new text completion questions which will test thest interprting ability and its evaluation…i don"t know how tough it would be in other sections……lets see….and hope for the best..

  12. Tapan on March 4, 2011 at 1:37 AM

    i am giving new gre in sept…so what should be my strategy .. HSB please help me

  13. karthik.s on March 3, 2011 at 8:26 PM

    guys!! GRE is meant to test the logic n that's the reason we have quants, verbal n awa. even fr the newer version we need to know the meanings of the works. how can we understand the clear meaning of the passage unless we know the meanings of the words n also all the options will have a similar meaning n we need to apply the logic to choose the best fit. Even for the sentsnce completion we need to understand the meanings. so WE NEED TO LEARN THE MEANINGS. ETS is conducting GRE n TOEFL for two different purposes. GRE tests the logic n vocabulary stuff of the student. TOEFL just tests the communication skills of the student. Even American students write GRE n remember that their grip over vocabulary stuff is much higher when compared to other countries.

  14. munmi on March 3, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    i dn't think gre revised will be tough..cuz we don't hve to mugg upp wordss..for God's sake…n analogies part also removed which is also quite relieving…but more of RC means the candidate shud hve reading skills…as in speed, accuracy and getting the gist of the passage in no less than 2-3 minutes….quite convincing ….but i dn't understand why ETS has formulated dis pattern…i mean why a change…is dat to ensure less enrollment of students to good US universities or is it dat dey r keen to experiment with dis new theory….

  15. Tanay on March 3, 2011 at 7:14 AM

    Instead of saying that New GRE is hard, say "Older GRE version is/was Easy..!"

    Anyways.. Now in many cities Dates/Seats are not available for old GRE.

    (At least in June/July.!) Giving GRE before these months means Examination without proper preparation.

    (A question to HSB: Why some students are so confident here abt new GRE.?!!)

  16. ANSHUL SHARMA on March 3, 2011 at 2:38 AM

    In the current competitive world era, all such malpractice or foulplay should be inhibited. I affirmatively accept and welcome the new generation GRE exam. I don't feel older or newer version will hardly matters much to the hard working student world over. All of us know its time and memory game where some tricks and tactic works. Ofcourse vocabulary have greater role to play but still, we all can work harder than before. Thats It!!!!

    "Books are wonderfull man creation ever made, can be opened number of times and at any time of life. All we need is will to learn and grab the knowledge with true heart"

    ALL THE BEST TO ALL OF YOU!!!!!!!! FOR GRE 2011………

  17. Anshul Sharma on March 3, 2011 at 2:27 AM

    In the current competitive world era, such malpracticing or foulplay should inhibited. I, affirmatively accept and welcome the new reverse engineered logic why New GRE exam will be more tough to crack down than last version. GRE is competitive exam and thereafter it matters a lot to take up admissions in various top universities in USA.

    Regrading New GRE, it might be tough or may not be. All depends upon life long learning we that so far. GRE prepartion is just revision for all what we have learnd in the past. More over need some tactics to solve and recall at short time.

    GRE is all memory games irrespect of older or newer version….

    "Memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.”

    Looking Forward to crack it sooner with high colours

    • Skawsari on July 17, 2011 at 3:12 PM

      well said

  18. eslam on March 3, 2011 at 12:28 AM

    please don`t change GRE test to new form , it will be so tough

  19. rajnikant on March 2, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    Starting problem……… can crack it – extensive practice needed.

  20. reza on March 2, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    it depends. Those who can't memorize the exact meaning but read and understand passage well new system will be beneficial for them and memorizing is really should not be the judgment basis.I think ETS should functionalize this new system earlier.

    • krishna kanth on March 6, 2011 at 5:29 AM


      m very glad they made GRE dis way 😀

  21. suman on March 2, 2011 at 10:47 AM


    Doesn't the tatkaal procedure grant u a passport within 10 days max?

    And about GRE dates in b'lore, there is one open in june, 12 in may, and more than 12 dates open in march and april.

    Just want to know what ur issue is, also because a friend of mine is planning to get his passport in tatkaal.


    I get your point. Your logic about why they're changing the pattern makes complete sense to me. The thing is, they're changing it to make it a fair game, may not be make it harder too. I'm sure you didn't intend to discourage anyone and I think this is pretty good research.

    What I feel is that people who are "already/actually good at english".. or look forward to developing their reading skills, taking their time get better.. will crack the GRE verbal section no matter which pattern. Also, such people usually prefer sentence completions and RC's to completely vocab-based antonyms and analogies, thats why they have an opinion that it'll be easier.

    Yet, I'd say one catch is the "multiple answers in RC's"… As far as I've noticed, the RC options seem to be very close to each other, making it hard to choose.. And with multiple answers, you'll tend to choose the wrong ones too.

    But for the rest who really rely on barron's vocab and on practising previous qns..and usually find RC's very difficult to comprehend…they might prefer the present pattern.

  22. VINACH on March 2, 2011 at 8:56 AM

    Dear Friends,

    Can you please tell how the pattern of GRE will be from Aug 1,2011 i.e the newer GRE?

  23. Sanjeev on March 2, 2011 at 7:53 AM

    The new GRE has diff scoring pattern..can anyone tell me if my current score of 1410 be equally credited in front of new scores…any bias by university whatsoever..can it happen ?

  24. pratik upadhyay on March 2, 2011 at 7:46 AM

    your logic is correct and does apply only to those candidates who use the conventional methods of preparation ( i.e start 3 months before, eat barrons for breakfast, and mug up other assorted wordlists.).

    however the new pattern is a relief for the people actually good at english,as it eliminates the need for rote memorization and in a way makes the exam a fair fight.



    ps: this is only my humble observation and no offence is meant to anybody

  25. aman on March 2, 2011 at 6:41 AM

    Buck up yur ideas man !!!

    I really do not find any big deal with the new GRE pattern. It hardly matters what the pattern is , if one is prepared with the stuff he has , he/she can easily crack the so called hard nut and also that pattern would be applied for every one so doesnt make any difference .

    But if one wants to demoralise himself thn what anybody can possibly do!!!!

    • Husam on March 2, 2011 at 7:21 AM


      Totally agree ..

      • madan on March 3, 2011 at 5:01 PM

        i agree with u ….

        and its almost for sure ..

  26. Vanan on March 2, 2011 at 6:32 AM

    New GRE is 100% easy to crack.. It will become true after Aug'2011.

  27. Vanan on March 2, 2011 at 6:30 AM

    Hi HSB,

    Do you mean to say students need to mug up and pass the GRE? Surely, that is not the reason for which the GRE is conducted. RC passages are bound to increase the reasoning skills of a student. Please stop demotivating students. After Aug 2011, you can no longer stick on to the current pattern. You MUST favor the new pattern which is damn easier! I'm going to take only the new revised pattern of GRE! The Current GRE is inappropriate and tough to crack not the revised one!

    • HSB on March 2, 2011 at 6:39 AM

      There is nothing to demotivate students here. From August 1, 2011 no one has an option. If New GRE is tough or easy cannot be argued.
      If you get low score in current format, take GRE in new format.
      Make hay while the sun shines.

  28. kaeser on March 2, 2011 at 6:26 AM

    Although your reasoning seems correct, your suggestion seems unethical to me. With the current system, i have seen very mediocre students get high marks with only raw memorization power and luck with MCQ. To me that was inappropriate. If as you say, the new system would ensure qualified students will come out as winners and the ones that are not will be filtered out, the new system is definitely better for the deserving ones. My suggestion for those who are competent enough, is to definitely try the new system.

    • HSB on March 2, 2011 at 6:29 AM

      Argument here is not about which GRE format is better.

    • karthik.s on March 2, 2011 at 10:35 AM

      Hi kaeser n Vanan! Well GRE test is meant to test the grip of the student over the vocabulary n for that one need to learn the meanings at any cost either by memorization or by other techniques. How the well can a student understand the reading comprehension unless he knows the meanings of the words, n also the logic behind the questions. GRE test is meant to test the vocubulary my dear! Ur so called medicore students might be bad at communicating english but if they at gud at memorizing the meanings they might hav an edge, but they can be caught in the reading comprehensions. Do not just blame on luck. People who r gud at communicating in english (writing, listening, reading n speaking) will shine well in TOEFL n people who are gud at eng vocubulary and basic english grammar can also shine in GRE.

  29. deepak sp on March 2, 2011 at 4:40 AM


    I couldn't get my passport even after I applied in tatkaal scheme till now. I checked the dates they are all booked in Bangalore so I cannot take the old GRE I must take new GRE. what should I do now?? I MUST take the new one, no other way. I have to face the new one. The one who has nuts can do it or else just drop the dream of studying in USA.

    • Xyz on March 2, 2011 at 6:23 AM

      Try to book ur GRE in other centers . .

      • Jay on March 2, 2011 at 11:28 PM

        I quite concur with HSB, the current format of GRE is easier. He was only referring to the verbal section but there is more to say about the quantitative as well. The mere fact that the use of a calculator will be allowed should tell us all that it means more advanced calculations would be tested.

        Furthermore, although the new GRE format gives more time but considering that they are scrapping ''good old antonyms and analogies'' where it was easy to just know the answer or not……….. the new format has more comprehension which means more time spent as well, not to mention the multiple choice answers which can easily defragment your score………

        Whatever the case, the most important thing is this…………….. NO MATTER THE FORMAT, IF YOU WORK HARD, YOU WILL DEFINITELY PASS EXCELLENTLY… PERIOD ! ! ! ! !

        Please don't crucify HSB, he's only trying to elaborate on this issue to bring about better understanding of the system.

        Thanks HSB.


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