If you’re thinking about applying to a graduate program, then you’ll probably have heard of the graduate record examination (GRE).
It’s important to find out as soon as possible whether your graduate program requires applicants to submit GRE scores for admission.
Not only will this give you a better idea of the school’s requirements, but it will also help you pin down your test date and register for the exam.
GRE Test – What is it?
This is a standardized test that is an admissions requirement for most Graduate Schools. The GRE is owned and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) who created it in 1949.
Much like the SAT and ACT, the GRE aims to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills that have been acquired over a long period of learning.
The content of the GRE consists of certain specific algebra, geometry, arithmetic, and vocabulary. The GRE General Test is offered as a computer-based exam administered at Prometric testing centers.
The purpose of each GRE examination, of course, is to help graduate schools decide if you’ve got the right stuff for their program.
What Does The Examination Entail?
There are seven sections to the GRE Test:
- Two Verbal Sections (38 questions and 30 min each)
- Two Quantitative Sections (30 questions and 30 min each)
- Two Analytical Sections (25 questions and 30 min each)
- One Experimental Section (30 min)
The Experimental section is not scored, nor is it identified in the exam booklet. It may be of a verbal, quantitative, or analytical nature.
There are some important facts to remember when taking the GRE General Test.
First, each question is worth the same number of points, no matter how hard or easy it is.
Second, in each section except the reading comprehension questions (in the Verbal Section), the questions tend to go from easy to difficult. Therefore, it is foolhardy to spend too much time on early questions when you know that later ones will probably take even longer.
You have somewhere around one minute or less to answer each question (on the average), so budget your time effectively.
Finally, when in doubt, guess. Do not leave a question unanswered. There are no penalties on the General Test for wrong answers.
When is the GRE Exam Offered?
The GRE is offered almost every day of the year. (Not on Sundays or national holidays, though! If you have a full-time job, Saturday is probably your best bet.)
However, there’s a big caveat to that: seats at test centers fill up fast on GRE test dates, so it may not be available to you every day of the year.
That’s why you should register for the exam as soon as you know you want to take it, bearing in mind deadlines for the programs to which you’re applying.
If you’re taking the paper-based exam (rare, but it still happens), it’s so important to schedule your test date as soon as you know you’ll be taking the GRE. Why? Because there are only three GRE test dates a year FOR PAPER-BASED TESTS.
You can take it in September, October, or April—but that’s it.
GRE Vs GMAT Which One Should You Choose?
If you are planning to apply to business schools, you might be wondering which entrance exam is better for you – GRE or GMAT?
In recent years, some business schools have begun to accept the GRE as a replacement for the GMAT. (To clarify, no schools accept the GMAT instead of the GRE, so that test remains exclusively for business-school candidates.) Both tests have Verbal and Quantitative sections.
So why might you prefer to take the GRE exam?
Well, if you’re very strong in verbal skills but weaker on math, the GRE is probably your better bet. GMAT math is much harder than GRE math.
If you’re stronger in math than verbal, you still might want to consider taking the GRE, depending on your skill set. GMAT verbal isn’t necessarily easier than GRE verbal, but it is more focused on grammar and identifying errors than the GRE is. So if you’re strong in math and vocabulary, the GRE still might be the way to go.
Finally, if you’re strong in math and better at grammar than vocabulary, the GMAT is probably a good test for you.
However, it really doesn’t matter what test you’ll do better. Your choice of the exam must be dependent on your target program whether it will accept the scores or not.
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