Has the difficulty of the pGRE Test DECREASED over the years?

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minaamq
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:32 am

Has the difficulty of the pGRE Test DECREASED over the years?

Postby minaamq » Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:46 am

I am not sure if this question has been posted before here so here goes.

I've never given the real pGRE test before and next month is gonna be my first (and hopefully last) attempt. So, I was going through the practice tests available on the web. There are a total of 5 tests available currently, that is, 1986, 1992, 1996, 2001 and 2008.
Now the people who have given these tests would have noticed the stark difference in the difficulty between the old (86,92,96) tests and the new (01 and 08) tests. The difficulty has decreased considerably in these tests. 2008 looks like a piece of cake compared to the 90s ones.

Can anyone who has given the actual exam lately be able to tell exactly what difficulty should we expect? Like if you were to compare your actual tests with these practice tests, which one would you say is closest to the real thing?

TakeruK
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Jan 02, 2012 3:05 pm

Re: Has the difficulty of the pGRE Test DECREASED over the years?

Postby TakeruK » Fri Oct 16, 2015 11:34 am

Short answer: 2008.

I took the test in 2009 and 2011. In 2009, the 2008 practice test has not been released yet. So, I was studying from the 86, 92, 96, and 2001 tests. I didn't think to weigh my studying towards the 2001 test so I mostly studied and expected questions like the 1992 and 1996 tests. The 2009 test was very similar to the 2008 test when I received the 2008 example test after registering for the 2011 test. My friends who took the PGRE since 2011 say 2008 is also the most similar.

I would not say the 2008 test is "easier" than the earlier tests, just different. I remember scoring just as poorly on all of the practice tests. However, because the style of the test is quite different, I think the right thing to do is expect the real test to look the most like 2008.

cwr
Posts: 35
Joined: Thu Aug 20, 2015 3:41 am

Re: Has the difficulty of the pGRE Test DECREASED over the years?

Postby cwr » Fri Oct 16, 2015 3:52 pm

As a September 2015 test-taker, TakeruK is spot-on. The exam is much closer to the style/format to the 2008 exam than the older ones.

Also, the statement that easier questions does not necessarily mean easier test is correct and important to remember. A raw score of 50 or 60 on the older exams would be a solid 900+ or 990, but now these scores don't even crack 800. Everything in perspective; you're taking an exam with easier questions, but so is everyone else, so the scaling of the scores will reflect this.

MattM
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 4:55 pm

Re: Has the difficulty of the pGRE Test DECREASED over the years?

Postby MattM » Sat Oct 24, 2015 5:26 pm

The test I took today seemed about as hard as 0877 and a little harder than 0177. I don't think physics is getting any less competitive so I bet the 990 cutoff is going to be >= 85.

Edit: 0177 was the easiest of the practice exams for me.




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