The GRE has, over the years, become almost synonymous with Graduate Education in the USA, and we demystify this important examination through a series of posts. This first post talks about seven key things to know about the GRE through questions that we have seen cropping up in the minds of the GRE aspirants whom we have guided and coached over the years.
What is the GRE?
The Graduate Record Examination is a usually computer based test that is a standard admissions requirement for graduate programs across the USA, and tests verbal, quantitative and analytical skills.
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Who accepts GRE scores?
Most graduate programs in the USA (Master’s and PhD programs) have a mandatory GRE requirement. Certain schools in other countries use the GRE as well, and the list is dynamic and keeps changing. You can find an up to date list on the ETS website. Almost all business schools in the US now accept a GRE score instead of a GMAT score, and an increasing number worldwide have started this practice.
What are the sections within the GRE?
There are two verbal sections that each have 20 questions and give you 30 minutes to solve them. There are two quantitative sections, which have the same number of questions, and are to be completed in 35 minutes each. There is also an analytical writing section, which contains two essays – testing how well you can write about an issue or structure an argument.
There are also three-hour-long subject GRE tests in seven disciplines of study; many Master’s and PhD programs require you to give the relevant subject GRE.
Is the GRE really as hard as everyone says it is?
The GRE is hard, but not even close to very hard, let alone impossible. It requires months of dedicated study and practice with the help of experts, but the good news is that, if you follow the right coaching regimen and start well in advance, you cannot help but score well. To sum up, it’s really easy if you know how. We have deep experience in coaching different kinds of students for the GRE, including those who have problems with verbal or quant; we are confident we can help you.
What is the maximum score on the GRE?
The highest mark you can get (Quant and Verbal combined) is 340 / 340, and the lowest is 260 / 340, with every integer score in between 260 and 340 being a possible final score. On either essay, you are scored on a 6 point scale.
When should I take the GRE?
You should ideally choose a GRE date between three and six months before the date you will need to apply. Increasing numbers of students are taking the GRE well before their application date – sometimes a little more than a year before they graduate – so that they can capitalize on the greater time to study in their pre-final year, and use the fact that GRE scores are typically valid for five years.
How do I prepare for the GRE?
First, you need to find a coach. The GRE is one of the tougher competitive exams for higher education, and you will maximize your chances of success if you find someone who has helped others succeed at it. Ideally find a reputed institute whose impact analysis you can find online – for example, Jamboree has a great track record at preparing motivated individuals for the GRE, and we have many GRE coaching programs, one of which is sure to fit your unique situation.