The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is needed for admission to the US graduate schools. The GRE scores are also accepted by a number of educational institutes in several countries worldwide for admission to their graduate programs. The exam designed and conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS) tests the verbal reasoning, analytical writing and quantitative reasoning skills of students seeking admission to graduate or business schools.
The aim of the standardized test is to check the general academic ability of a student, regardless of the area of specialization at the undergraduate level. Engineering, science and mathematics departments of the graduate schools focus primarily on the score of the applicant in quantitative reasoning, whereas the liberal arts departments of the graduate schools are more interested on the performance of the applicants in the verbal reasoning section of GRE.
In addition to the GRE general tests, GRE subject tests are offered in computer science, physics, chemistry, mathematics, biochemistry, biology, cell and molecular biology, psychology and literature in English.
Preparation for GRE Exam
GRE Test Centers
GRE is held in more than 700 test centers worldwide. The exam is primarily computer-based. Paper-based tests are available in few test centers. The general test can be taken up to five times in a year. You can apply for retests only after canceling your previous test score.
Content of GRE General Test
The verbal reasoning section covers reading comprehension, completion of texts and sentence equivalence. The quantitative reasoning section covers topics on arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis. The mathematics and statistics topics are of high school level.
Your knowledge of calculus, trigonometry and higher-level mathematics will not be measured in the GRE general test. The analytical writing section focuses on analytical writing and critical analysis. This section includes two tasks, each of 30 minutes duration on analysis of an issue and analysis of an argument.
The fee for the GRE revised General Test is US$175. Additional fees are charged for special handling requests such as late registration fee and standby testing charge for paper-based tests, rescheduling fee and fee for changing test center.
GRE General Test Preparation
To help applicants prepare for the computer-based test, the free PowerPrep II software can be downloaded from the ETS website. Two full-length practice tests are included in the software.
If you have registered for the paper-based test, you can use the practice book for the test. In addition, sample questions covering all the three sections can be downloaded from the ETS website.
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Scores of GRE General Test
Performance in verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning are each measured on a 130 to 170 score scale with one point increments. Performance in analytical writing is measured on 0 to 6 score with ½ point increment.
GRE Subject Tests
In addition to the standardized general test, graduate schools take into account the subject scores of applicants while seeking admission to any of the eight disciplines in which the GRE subject tests are conducted. The tests are held worldwide thrice a year in April, October and November. The fee for the GRE subject test is US$150. A Subject Test Practice book is issued free of cost after registering for the test. It contains detail information about the pattern of the test and the scoring system.