Want to take the GRE but don’t know where to begin? Look no further; presenting a comprehensive guide detailing all that you need to know about the test along with Pedagoge Baba’s tips, tricks and hacks to achieve that score you have been dreaming of!
What is the GRE?
Graduate Record Examination, commonly referred to as the GRE, is the most popular standardized test accepted by various Graduate and Business Schools across the world. It is conducted by Educational Testing Services (ETS); world’s largest non-profit educational testing organization based in the United States.
Why would you take it?
If you are planning to pursue a Master’s Degree, MBA or PhD outside India (especially in North America and Europe), you are more than likely going to take the GRE. In addition to the GRE General Test, there are several GRE subject tests that assess an applicant’s knowledge in his/her respective field which might be needed depending on the course of study desired.
The GRE costs $205 worldwide. GRE Subject specific tests cost $150 worldwide.
GRE scores are valid for 5 years from the test date. The official scores are e-mailed to the applicant within 10-15 days after taking the test.
ETS requires you to submit an original, valid identity which includes your name, photograph and signature. The primary acceptable ID is your valid passport. Additionally, you need to fulfill the requirements of the individual institutions you are applying for.
The GRE is offered in both computerized and paper-based format. The computerized format is available in 1,000 test centers in more than 160 countries and is conducted in most major cities in India. The computerized format is more convenient, popular and widely preferred.
The best part about the GRE is the flexibility it offers in terms of when you want to take it. You can write it every 21 days with a cap of 5 times within any continuous 12- month period. You can directly send your scores to the institution of your choice (4 free of cost).
The paper based test is only offered up to 3 times a year in areas where computer-delivered testing is not available. You can register for a paper-delivered test online or by mail.
GRE has different sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning and an unscored section which can either be Quantitative Reasoning or Verbal Reasoning.
- Analytical Writing — Tests your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. There are two tasks under this section: Analyse the Issue and Analyse the Argument.
- Verbal Reasoning — Tests your ability to comprehend and evaluate passages and answer questions based on them. Additionally, it tests your vocabulary and ability to understand the relationship between words and phrases. Types of question you can expect are reading comprehension, text completion, sentence equivalence etc.
- Quantitative Reasoning — Tests your problem-solving ability using basic concepts of arithmetic, geometry, algebra, data interpretation, quantity comparison etc.
The Analytical Writing section will always be first followed by the Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning. The unscored section may appear in any order. Hence you should treat each section with equal importance.
The test is section adaptive (computerized format only), which means the difficulty increases if you’re getting correct answers and the other way around.
Total time: ~4 hours
Verbal: 130-170; in 1-point increments
Quantitative: 130-170; in 1-point increments
A.W.A: 0-6; in half-point increments
Combined Total: 260-340
For registration and more information visit: www.ets.org
Pedagoge Baba’s advice:
- It can get difficult to book test dates around the peak season (August-December). Hence plan and book the test date in advance. You can visit www.ets.org to register and book test dates. Remember, the test scores are valid for 5 years.
- ETS Official Guide to revised General test is your Bible, every other study material should be secondary.
- It is imperative you put an adequate effort in the verbal section, most Indian students find the quantitative section easy. A way to achieve that is reading quality material like the New Yorker, The Economist, Wall Street Journal etc. This not only increases your reading speed and your ability to comprehend complex sentence structure but also helps in expanding your vocabulary.
- Look at the flashcard application by Magoosh. Furthermore, try using some of the obscure vocabulary in your daily life because knowing the contextual meaning is more important than just mugging up a bunch of words. Additionally, you can use Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis to improve your vocabulary.
- While it is good to be confident; especially if you are good in quantitative, it is essential you give yourself at least 3-4 months if you are aiming at a high score.
- Practice Practice practice! Take as many full-length practice tests as you can; time yourself and make sure you take the two practice tests available on the ETS software for free. Those are the closest you can get to your actual GRE score estimate.
- Most importantly, don’t get disappointed if you don’t get the score you want in your first attempt. You have the option of taking the test again; so make sure you plan well in advance so that you have time to appear for another attempt and still make it to your dream university.