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By Alicia A. Caldwell
Arizona Daily Wildcat
September 10, 1997

GRE, GMAT enter the computer-age

Two of the four graduate school entrance exams are now being offered in a computerized format this fall.

For students planning to take the Graduate Record Exam in the next year, there is now a choice between the traditional paper and pencil exam and the new Computer Adaptive Test.

However, students planning to take the Graduate Management Admission Test no longer have the option of the written exam.

Alex Dorotik, director of the Princeton Review in Tucson said at the present time the Law School Admissions Test and the Medical College Admission Test are available only in the paper and pencil versions. And there are no plans to change that status in the near future.

Only two more written exams are planned for the GRE - the Nov. 1 and April 4, 1998 sittings. All tests following that date will be taken on computer, said Andrea Wilson, a spokeswoman for Kaplan Educational Center.

"This (CAT) is a completely new format, but the question types are the same," said Robert Luvy, national director of Graduate programs for Kaplan Educational Centers.

The feature that distinguishes the computerized exam from the paper and pencil exam is its ability to provide a new question based on the previous answer, she said.

Dorotik said this means the program selects a slightly harder question when a student answers a question correctly. When they answer incorrectly, the next question is slightly easier.

Dorotik said this new scoring system will benefit the students in a way the paper and pencil exam could not.

"The CAT scoring engine (the computer scoring program) tends to be more friendly to lower-and middle-score students, where as the paper and pencil tended to be more friendly to high-score students," Dorotik said.

The Kaplan Testing Center and Princeton Review test preparation centers provide on-site software for students to prepare for the new computerized format.

Both test preparation centers offer classes that specifically prepare students for either test. The classes offered through Kaplan are available at a cost of $795 for the GRE course and $895 for GMAT. The courses last about eight weeks, with classes meeting once a week.

The Princeton Review's GRE course costs $695 and runs for six weeks, with classes meeting twice a week. The GMAT course is offered for $795 for five weeks, with classes meeting twice a week. Both courses also offer full-length practice exams during the courses.

Luvy said the new test will provide the convenience of not taking the exam in a large, crowded room and the benefit of receiving test scores much faster. The student's score is available on the computer immediately, and a hard copy is received from the CAT within two weeks, due to the computer processing of the exam. The results from the pencil and paper exam take about six weeks.

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