The Graduate Record Exam or GRE is a standardized exam produced by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) organization, to judge one’s suitability to attend graduate school – except it turned out to be rather pointless. Since 2018, a very large percent of universities have abandoned the GRE.

ETS says it is concerned about universities doing away with the GRE requirement, which isn’t surprising given the company’s financial incentives.

Source: The GRE is no longer useful in evaluating students for graduate school

I took the GRE in about 1980. The test consisted of the Verbal Reasoning section, the Quantitative Reasoning section, and a then brand-new “Analytical Reasoning” section.  This was the first time the Analytical Reasoning test was given.

My recollection is I scored 90th percentile in the Verbal section and 96th percentile in the Quantitative section – but just 27th percentile in the new Analytical Reasoning exam. Separately, I scored 96th percentile in the Computer Science subject GRE exam (the CS exam was discontinued more than a dozen years ago and is no longer given.)

I was devastated and chose not to apply to grad school, thinking I had failed the exam.

Several years later, I looked at retaking the GRE. In the information booklet was a small footnote, noting that ETS instructed universities to ignore the Analytical Reasoning scores the year I had taken the exam as they had determined there were serious problems with the test.  ETS NEVER NOTIFIED THE STUDENTS. We had no way of knowing the scores were thrown out because ETS didn’t care enough to notify students.

As a consequence, many of us made decisions based on erroneous data – decisions that impacted the rest of our lives. 

I will never forgive the incompetents at ETS for the harm they caused. Fortunately, standardized admission tests are being thrown out at most schools today, and the ETS monopoly – and much of their fraudulent business – is ending.

The harm caused by ETS is immense. I will never forget nor forgive the idiots who work there.

(I went back to school as an adult, earning an MBA at age 41, and an MS in software engineering at age 54. Unfortunately, the ROI on grad degrees earned over about age 30 to 35 is typically negative considering costs, lost earnings, and fewer remaining work years. Plus the grad school experience is not the same when you are a mature adult with family responsibilities, and a significant age gap between the bulk of students.)

By EdwardM