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GRE is recognized as an entrance test for all MS programs in American Graduate schools. For admission into all graduate academic programs (except for law, business and medicine) in U.S and Canada, you need to get through the Graduate Record Examination. Apart from educational institutions in U.S and Canada, even certain select universities consider GRE test scores across the world including India. Apart from being accepted as an application procedure in U.S and Canada, GRE test scores are also used for evaluating and determining if students qualify for merit-based grants, fellowships, scholarships, teaching and research assistantships.

GRE objective

The purpose of GRE general test is to measure the abilities of candidates in tasks of general academic nature. There are two versions of GRE - graduate program and the admission procedure of the college that decides the type of test you need to qualify. GRE general test is an aptitude test, a tool to select the best-qualified candidates for admission to general graduate programs. The use and weighting scores of GRE differs from other standardized admission tests such as the SAT, LSAT and MCAT. It also varies from school to school, program to program and department to department.

GRE test

The revamped GRE general test structure is effective October 2006. The new GRE general test will include three multiple-choice sections - Quantitative reasoning, Analytical Writing and Verbal section. The essay section is also part of GRE structure but mandatory only for certain select universities. The multiple-choice questions are not related to any specific field of study. If your academic records have been consistently excellent right from primary level of education, getting an exceptional high score in GRE will not be tough.

Analytical writing section: This section examines writing skills and critical thinking ability. It tests whether you are able to communicate complex ideas clearly and effectively, justifying your ideas using standard written English. There are two subsections

  • Present Your Perspective on an Issue - Time duration 45 minutes.

  • Analyze an Argument - Time duration 30 minutes.

The first task involves addressing an issue of general interest. You are required to address the issue from your point of view, provide reasons or justifications where necessary to support your views. The second task involves handling an argument. You are required to critically view the argument and describe the same.

Two trained readers on a 6-point scale will assess the overall quality of the essay. In case, the valuation undertaken by the two readers does not tally and differs just by a point, a third reader will be called in. The primary objective of the test is to examine your critical thinking ability and analytical writing skills rather than evaluating English grammar.

Verbal section: Two 40-minute sections.

With more emphasis on higher cognitive skills, this multiple-choice section typically deals with sentence completions, antonyms, analogies and reading comprehension questions. You can score anything from 200 to 800.

Quantitative reasoning: Two 40-minute sections Aimed at testing basic elementary math skills, you can expect multiple-choice questions in arithmetic, algebra and geometry. The types of questions include quantitative comparisons, problem solving and real-life data interpretation. Students who have maintained a high score in math right from school days with a combination of good logical reasoning can expect to score 760-800 out of 800.

GRE centers

The General Test is computer-based, administered by the Educational Testing Services. The test is administered year-round in any of the certified testing centers. The subject test, on the hand is paper-based and is administered only in the months of April, November and December every year. You need to register for the test after paying the applicable GRE fee ($99 in the US and US Territories, $125 in all other locations).

GRE test results

The official computerized test results are usually submitted within approximately two weeks from the test date. The test results are valid for a period of 5 years.

GRE Prep
  • Allot a minimum of 2 full months as preparation time

  • Improve your vocabulary

  • Avoid spelling mistakes

  • Extensive reading improves reading speed and grasping power

  • Work test papers, review performance, make amendments

  • Adhere to allotted test durations

  • Give importance to answering questions at the beginning

  • Read instructions well as they can vary from earlier GRE papers

  • No negative marks for wrong answers, attempt all questions

  • Make effective use of scratch papers provided at the test center

  • Ensure effective answering, no extra time for checking answers later

GRE Prep