The Graduate Record Examination abbreviated as GRE, is the gateway to graduate schools in the US and is conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), who also by the way organize the SAT‘s. Students wanting to proceed in Fellowship Programs and Research Programs in Universities also have to take GRE. The scores of GRE highly determine your graduate university and course. GRE tests are conducted round the year.
The GRE test is about 3-½ hours taken entirely on a computer. In other words, this is a computer adaptive test (CAT) and is organized in exclusive computer centers throughout the United States and internationally. The purpose of the GRE test is mainly assess the logical skills, mathematical skills, and fundamental verbal skills of the student. That said, in very few locations you still have the GRE paper based test mainly due to the lack of network facilities.
The GRE test comprises of three sections: Quantitative section (45 minutes), Verbal section (30 minutes) and Analytical section (45 minutes). In addition, there is also an unscored section, which is more of an experimental section. This is designed by the ETS for the future editions of tests and could be in any of the main three sections. Since the experimental section is disguised among the other questions, you are forced to answer those questions even though they do not add up to your final score.
Apart from the sections mentioned above you have one more which is the GRE Subject Test. This is entirely optional and is for students who want to prove their skills in specialized subjects such as Math, Physics, Psychology, Biology, Chemistry, Literature, and Biochemistry. Not all graduate programs demand the GRE Subject Test.
The GRE is conducted in three main different sections:
GRE Verbal Section
You are provided 30 minutes and have 30 questions to complete. The multiple-choice section has questions on analogy, antonyms, reading comprehension and sentence completion. These are designed to assess the ability to read the given passage, infer the message and answer the questions based on the passage, the ability to analyze the relation between the given pair of words, and the ability to understand the sentences.
GRE Quantitative Section
In the Quantitative section you are given 45 minutes to answer 28 questions on Math. The questions are mainly to determine your algebra, volume and area, decimals and fractions, percentages and probability skills. This is an important section and must be targeted since Math always has the advantage of scoring 100% if answered correctly.
GRE Analytical Writing Section
Again you have 45 minutes. But, here you are expected to write two essays. One essay is your analysis based on a given argument and the other is an analysis based on a given issue. This is to distinguish your ability of projecting your ideas with clarity, the ability to present your logic with consistency, and most of all the effective usage of your written
There is an additional experimental section in one of the above three sections, which is not scored, but cannot be avoided as it stays unidentified.
All candidates of all age are welcome to this irrespective of educational back grounds.
GRE scoring is similar to SAT, you can score between 200 and 800 in the verbal and quantitative sections, where as the analytical section is measured on a different scale with score of 0 to 6. The scoring of the verbal and quantitative sections are given in increments of 10. (Meaning your score would be 410 and not 405).
The procedure of registration for your GRE exam is simple. All you have to do is either register online using your credit card (only) or make a call to the test center directly or Prometric Candidate Services Call Center (between Monday and Friday-8 a.m. to 8 p.m.) on any working day and register. Another option is to mail in your registration. Do note that to secure a date of your choice you will need to plan and register at least three months in advance.
Having registered for the GRE, you will be offered study material for the preparation of the GRE test free of cost. Of course, there are various books available in the stores, online and in libraries that are very helpful in preparing for the GRE. Do also take mock tests and online tests to practice and perfect your skills as well as your timing.