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GRE: Graduate Record Examination

The GRE is a college entrance exam required by most graduate schools. Although it is a computer based test, you may, under certain circumstances, use the written format. It lasts up to 3 ¾ hours, is offered almost daily, and may be taken up to 5 times per year (but no more than once per month). The test is composed of 4 sections and created to measure the verbal reasoning, quantitative, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills acquired over a long period of time. The sections include:

  • The Analytical

    This section will be composed of two essays, the Issue and the Argument, each lasting 45 and 30 minutes respectively. Each essay will be graded on a scale of 0-6.
  • The Verbal

    This section will last 30 minutes and contain 30 questions. It will be graded on a 200-800 scale.
  • The Quantitative

    This section is 45 minutes long and contains 30 questions. It is also graded on a 200-800 scale.
  • The Testing Section

    The GRE test may also include sections that are used for research purposes. There are two types of testing sections that may be included on your test. One such section is the pretest. The pretest section, if given, is presented in a verbal or quantitative format. It may appear in any order after the analytical section. It is not identified, so do your best on the entire test. Another type of section that may be encountered is the research. If given, the research section will come at the end of the test, and it will be clearly marked. Because the section is labeled, you do not have to worry about doing well. At that point, you will know that the hard part is over.

The role that the GRE plays in the admission’s process varies greatly from school to school and major to major. Some colleges place great weight on GRE scores due to their strong correlation with graduate school success– although plenty of people adamantly argue this statement. Other schools do not require GRE score submission, believing that ones undergraduate performance takes precedence over a test result. Regardless of its weight, if you plan to apply to a school with GRE requirements, preparing is well worth the effort. Certain schools may use a student’s score to determine both the admission and the eligibility for merit-based financial aid. Thankfully, there is plenty you can do to prepare. The questions on each test resemble each other, and familiarizing yourself with commonly tested material is likely to speed up your problem-solving skills. (This will leave you with spare time for answering difficult problems.)

Sample Questions

To print a PDF version of the GRE overview and practice test questions, click here.

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