GRE – Graduate Records Examination

Graduate Records Examination

Are you planning on going to a graduate school? Then you will probably need to take the GRE test i.e Graduate Record Exam test. GRE is the most commonly required admission test for graduate schools.

Just more like the SAT and ACT exams, the GRE exam is an assessment that tests your critical thinking, verbal reasoning, analytical writing and quantitative reasoning skills. The tests are developed by experts over the course of many years. Some schools might likely also require you to take one or more GRE Subject Tests.

The aim of each GRE test is to help graduate schools decide if you have got the right skills and abilities for their program.

Structure of the GRE exam

The GRE test is subdivided into three main parts. We have the Analytical Writing section which is always presented first. The remaining two parts are the Verbal and Quantitative sections and they may appear in any order and may consist of an unscored and research sections with questions that would be considered for use in future tests. Your answers on these would not or affect your final score, but since you won’t know which questions are the real ones and which aren’t, then you should handle every portion of the test with high priority.

You can take the GRE test on paper or computer-based. GRE testing time will be different depending on which version of the test you take and the presence of the unscored research sections but you should plan to set aside three hours at least.

If you end up taking the paper-based test version of the GRE, you would be spending more time at the test centre. The paper-based test has two verbal and two quantitative reasoning sections and similar to the CBT version, the paper-based GRE examination may also contain an unscored section.

Most GRE takers take the computer-based version of the test, meaning that for the verbal and quantitative portions, the test increases the difficulty level of its questions each time you submit an answer. The GRE exam starts out with questions of average difficulty. Each time you enter an answer, the computer records it immediately, compares it with your previous responses and then presents a question suited to your level. If your answers are correct then the questions become more difficult. An incorrect answer results in the next question being less difficult.

The analytical writing section of GRE

The first part of the Analytical Writing section, you would read a paragraph on a general problem and then handle that topic as you deem fit for the next forty-five minutes. Your effectiveness to support your viewpoints with sound reasoning and examples are key points to completing this section well.

Just like the first essay question, the second essay of the GRE writing section would inquire you to read and then review an argument. You would have just 30 minutes to complete this essay and would need to consider the reasoning presented in the argument and then examine if the argument is a good one or not. You do not need to agree or disagree with the statement all you need to do is analyze the essay and convey your reasoning clearly through your written response.

The writing section is not computer-based like the rest of the GRE test. You might use a computer to complete it, but it won’t be marked by computers. For this section, your scores are marked by real examiners and not computers.

The Verbal section

The verbal section is similar to other exams you’ve taken. The Verbal section of the GRE test consists of things like sentence completions, antonyms and reading comprehension questions. The purpose of this section is to test your ability to form conclusions from written materials, know relationships between concepts and words, and to also know relationships between different parts of sentences.

If you write the computer-based GRE test, you will be expected to answer 30 questions within 30 minutes timing. On the paper-based version of the test, there are two sections each 30 minutes long and each with 38 questions.

The Quantitative section

The Quantitative section of the GRE exam tests your ability to solve high school level maths. If you’re a bit rusty in maths, then you have to start honing your skills in geometry, arithmetic, algebra, and data analysis. The quantitative section of the exam aims to test your skill at solving a variety of different maths problems, as well as test your ability to use quantitative reasoning.

For the computer-based version, you would need to answer 28 questions in just 45 minutes. But with the paper version, you would have two segments with 30 questions and 30 minutes to complete each segment.



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