What’s The GRE: Everything You Need To Know

What’s The GRE: Everything You Need To Know

Depending on your school, you might need to present your GRE score during the application process. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a special test that graduate students undertake to demonstrate their level of knowledge in different skills. It allows the school you’re applying to assess your reasoning and ability to go through a thorough graduate program.

Through the GRE and other academic records such as undergraduate grade point average (GPA) and a personal statement, business schools can sift through thousands of applications and end up with what they need. The GRE is a standardized test required for admission to many US, Canadian, and Australian universities. 

While some schools are making the test optional, your school of choice might still have it mandatory. So, what does this test entail?

Who needs the GRE test?

The GRE test is not only a requirement for business schools but also for different fields of study like Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics, Literature, and Psychology. The different skills that this test evaluates are essential for determining a student’s performance in certain fields. The test has questions requiring a wide range of knowledge, heavily leaning on your critical thinking and command of English. 

Besides, some schools place the GRE as an admission requirement for Ph.D. students. So, you want to recheck your school admission process.

Structure of the GRE test

The GRE is divided into three main sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. Depending on your school, each section has a score requirement.

  1. Analytical writing

 This section questions your critical thinking and writing abilities. It presents two questions, each of which requires a good command of English, critical thinking, and a reasoned response to issues. You will hence need to write essays to defend your stance as instructed by the question. The marking of this section is in half-point increments with a score range of 0-6.

  1. Verbal reasoning 

This is where good readers and critical thinkers thrive. The section presents a comprehension that requires you to be hawk-eyed for what the examiner is trying to put across. The test taker will also need to read between the lines for any errors as they analyze the complexity of the sentences, clauses, and vocabulary. Without understanding the context, this may be a hard section to pass. The score ranges from 130 to 170.

  1. Quantitative reasoning

In this section, your math and problem-solving skills will be put to the test. You will find questions on algebra, arithmetic, geometry, and data interpretation. 

More about the GRE test

Besides the above-discussed sections, your GRE may have a bonus section, testing either your verbal reasoning or quantitative reasoning. However, your score in this section won’t exactly influence your overall score. The section won’t go unscored, either. 

While some remote communities can still access the on-paper test, most students do it online using a computer. Unlike other tests, the GRE allows you to start handling simple questions and leave the hard ones for later. You can keep track of your time because the program has a timer. You’ll also have an on-screen calculator to tackle the quantitative section.

Test duration

The GRE lasts for about 3 hours and 45 minutes. However, you want to slot 4 hours to 4 and ½ hours because of the in-between breaks. After every section, you will have a one-minute break, and a 10-minute break after completing the third section. 

To get a rough idea of your results, you will receive unofficial results at the end of the test. However, official results will be released about 10 to 15 days after the day of the test, remaining valid for up to 5 years.

Globally, there are about 160 test centers for the GRE. Click this link to find the nearest test center. Since the test has an online program, many more countries have it. However, the test is not available in a few countries like Taiwan, China, North Korea, Cuba, etc. Hence, it is offered on paper in February and November every year. In countries where the test is available, it is offered throughout the year.

How much is the GRE fee?

The fee varies with country, ranging from $205 to $255. The test costs $230 in Australia, $227 in the USA, $213 in India, $226 in Nigeria, $231.30 in China, and $255 in Turkey.

The registration has a 50% allowance for applicants with financial constraints. However, to qualify for this amount, you will need to be unemployed and an unenrolled college graduate. 

You might face additional charges if you submit a late registration, reschedule your exam, or change the testing center. The three circumstances have different amounts attached to them, depending on your country.

If you don’t meet your school’s minimum score requirements, you can retake the test after 21 days. You have a maximum of 5 retakes in 365 days.

What is a good GRE score?

The average score for the GRE is 150.8. You need to have score a of 150 in the verbal reasoning section and 152 in the quantitative section. However, some schools have higher or lower score requirements. So, contact the school you’re applying to to know how much emphasis it places on it.

Ask about the following:

Will the school look at your per-section scores?

The school might be concerned more about your maths skills while others focus on your verbal skills. Others might just look at your average score, not minding your sectional scores. 

What is the school’s cutoff GRE score?

Getting the school’s cutoff score will help you place a target. Instead of risking attaining the cutoff, you will know how much effort to put in so you can be safe with your results.

Is your score usable in the future?

In some schools, your score will be used in applications for scholarships or course placements. In this case, you will want to score the highest possible rather than merely attaining the cutoff.

Does the school mind multiple scores?

Your school could be interested in your first GRE score and put in as much effort as you can to pass. However, you may be lucky to apply to a school that puts less emphasis on the first score. So, you have the option of taking a few retakes and using your highest score to apply.

When and how to receive your test results

Right after the test, you will receive unofficial scores for the verbal and math sections. You will have to wait for the official results from the Educational Testing Service to know your score in the essay section. In 15 days. you will receive an email notification saying that full GRE results have been released to your ETS account.

The paper-based GRE results will be released to your account 5 weeks after the date of the exam.

GRE tests have often been considered hard, but with the right amount of effort, you can register a good score. Take into consideration how much your school values the test to know how far you can go with the preparation. However, remember that while the GRE could mean a lot to your application process, a lot more can define your abilities.

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