Preparing for the GRE

The GRE is also known as the Graduate Record Examination. It is a standardized entrance exam used by many graduate schools. Your results indicate how likely you are to be admitted and to succeed in graduate-level studies.

The Graduate Record Examination is a standardized exam or tool that is used to as a screening or entry tool for graduate students. The admissions committees and offices at various graduate schools and programs use the scores of potential students to determine whether they meet the criteria to get into the program, and also as a predictor of how they will perform in the graduate program that they get admitted into. Each GRE exam Section has a possible score between 200 and 800 points.

The exam has consists of three graded sections: Verbal Section: 30 questions to be completed in 30 minutes, Quantitative (Mathematics) Section: 28 questions to be completed in 45 minutes, Analytical (Logic) Section: 35 questions to be completed in 60 minutes. In addition, the exam requires students to take an additional testing section which is not scored.

Get to Know the Graduate Record Examination
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About the Graduate Record Exam

The exam is generally administered by computer, but you have the option of taking the test on paper if you live in an area where computer administration is unavailable.

The Analytical Writing section tests your ability to think critically and write analytically. It does not test specific content knowledge from any particular subject.

The Verbal section tests your ability to comprehend and analyze reading passages on a variety of subjects in the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. You will also be tasked with showing how well you understand the relationships between words and concepts.

The Quantitative section tests your basic mathematical skills and your ability to solve problems. Material covers arithmetic, geometry, algebra, and data analysis.

Each of the two essays in the Analytical Writing section is scored on a scale of 1 to 6. The two scores are then averaged together. The Verbal and Quantitative sections are scored on a scale of 200-800.

Need-to-Know Tips & Strategies

Prepare with a Practice Test
Practice tests are an ideal way to begin your preparation. They’re affordable and will give you instant results to see how you might score if the test were today. You’ll learn your strengths and weakness, and be able to develop a personalized study plan. Try prepping with Peterson’s practice tests for the GRE.

Get to know your test
You won’t get any extra time to read the directions during the exam, so make sure you’re familiar with them before you take it.

Relax the night before the test
Don’t cram. Studying at the last minute will only stress you out. Go to a movie or hang out with a friend—anything to get your mind off of the test!

Keep in mind that many words have more than one meaning. If no choice seems to have the opposite meaning, think of other meanings for the question word.

Because the questions are so short, use analogies as a time saver. If you can do them quickly (and correctly!) you will have more time to spend on the lengthier reading comprehension questions. If you are having trouble determining the relationship of the first pair of words, try examining them in reverse order. But remember, you must then look at the answer choices the same way!

Sentence completion
Don’t look at the choices until you’ve read the sentence and tried to guess what the missing word or words should be. Then scan the answers, looking for the one that means the same as your guess.

Reading comprehension
Read the questions first; that way, you’ll quickly recognize important information when you read the passage.

Multiple-choice math
If the answer choices are close together, like 267, 369, 270, 272, and 273, you will need a fairly precise answer. If, however, they are far apart, like 110, 282, 468, 687, and 792, feel free to work with approximate numbers. You’ll probably come up with an answer that is close enough to pick the right answer.

Quantitative comparison
If both columns of a quantitative comparison contain the same variable, like x, try plugging in a few values for the unknown.

Analytical Writing
Concentrate on the elements on which you’ll be scored: your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. Grammar and mechanics are not emphasized.

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