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What is the Graduate Record Examinations GRE Test? Do You Need It?

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Nadine

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Are you interested in pursuing graduate studies abroad? Meeting admission criteria would be crucial in that case. One requirement often includes taking exams like the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). However, what's the GRE for? 

 

The GRE is a standardized test facilitating admission to your preferred university and advancing your career. Whether aiming for a Master’s or PhD, the GRE for international students boosts your application's strength, showcasing your abilities and easing admission.

 

It's not just for the US or Canada; the GRE is accepted worldwide, including in the UK and Germany. And test centers? They're everywhere, with over 1,000 globally!

 

What's the GRE exam?

Established in 1936 by the Carnegie Foundation for Advancement of Teaching (CFAT) and now managed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the GRE assesses quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and analytical writing, valid for five years. What sets it apart? Flexibility. You can take the test multiple times and choose which scores you want to send with your application.

 

Diverse and inclusive, the GRE welcomes applicants worldwide, regardless of gender, nationality, or background. It's also committed to equal representation and supports test takers with disabilities or health needs, covering over 1,200 business schools worldwide.

 

Where can you take the GRE exam?

To register for the GRE, you must first create an account with the Educational Testing Service (ETS) online. Then, choose either the GRE General or GRE Subject Test. The exam is accessible online and at over 1,000 test centers.

 

It's not just popular in the US; it's taken by thousands of international students across 160+ countries. The test is available all the time for retaking in most locations worldwide, except for students in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, or Korea, who can only take it up to three times per month.

 

There is also a GRE home test, which mirrors the official test in test centers, with no format or duration differences. The only distinction is that you use your own computer or laptop and are monitored by a human proctor on ProctorU. Home tests are available seven days a week, with slots as early as 24 hours after registration.

 

The typical expense for the GRE exam varies slightly depending on your region. For most areas worldwide, the total cost is $205. However, there are exceptions. In India, it's $213, while in China and Australia, it's $231. Nigeria sees a fee of $226, and in Turkey, it's slightly higher at $255.

 

What is the GRE test struture?

The user-friendly and highly adaptable test is primarily computer-based and allows you to skip questions, revisit and modify answers during the test, and even select the order in which you tackle questions. Here's a breakdown of the GRE test:

 

Analytical Writing:

This section evaluates your ability to construct compelling arguments, analyze claims, and express complex ideas clearly. It is comprised of two separately timed tasks: analyzing an Issue and analyzing an argument, providing an opportunity to demonstrate your English writing proficiency. Both tasks are allotted 60 minutes in total, with 30 minutes per task.

 

Verbal Reasoning:

This section includes two sub-sections, each containing 20 questions. Its aim is to gauge your ability to extract essential information from texts, comprehend word meanings, sentences, and overall text coherence, while also identifying relationships among them.

 

The emphasis lies on comprehending multiple layers of meaning to grasp the author's intent. Within the Verbal Reasoning section, you'll encounter three question types: Text completion, reading comprehension, and sentence equivalence. Each sub-section has a duration of 30 minutes, totaling 60 minutes for the entire section.

 

Quantitative Reasoning:

The quantitative reasoning segment assesses a student's capacity to interpret and analyze quantitative data. It also evaluates proficiency in algebra, geometry, data analysis, and problem-solving using mathematical models.

 

During the exam, you'll have access to an on-screen calculator. This segment comprises four subsections: Quantitative comparison questions, multiple-choice questions with single or multiple answers, numeric entry questions, and data interpretation sets. Data may be presented in tables, graphs, or other formats. The Quantitative Reasoning section spans 70 minutes, with each subsection allotted 35 minutes individually.

 

The GRE Subject Tests

These tests emphasize your expertise in a particular subject area, offering you the opportunity to distinguish yourself among applicants and secure admission to your desired graduate school. Additionally, they provide a valuable gauge of your qualifications and areas for improvement.

 

Prospective graduate school students with an undergraduate major and extensive background in English literature, chemistry, biology, psychology, physics, or mathematics are eligible to participate in a subject test.

 

Upon completing your GRE exam, you'll receive your GRE Score Report containing essential details such as contact information, date of birth, gender, test dates, intended graduate major, your scores alongside percentile ranks, and a comprehensive list of authorized score recipients or fellowship sponsors.

 

Moreover, official score reports are sent to your chosen institutions, including your personal information, intended graduate major, and your selected section scores. 

 

The GRE scoring breakdown

  • Verbal Reasoning: Scores range from 130 to 170 points, in 1-point increments.
  • Quantitative Reasoning: Scores range from 130 to 170 points, in 1-point increments.
  • Analytical Writing: Scores range from 0 to 6 points, in half-point increments. 

 

A section with no answers provided will be reported as a No Score (NS).

 

Wondering what constitutes good GRE scores? The answer depends on the university you're applying to, as standards vary across institutions. Elite schools like MIT, Columbia, or UPenn typically have higher expectations. To gauge what's considered good, look into the average GRE scores of your target universities and strive to meet or exceed them.

 

Generally, good scores align with the averages. The mean GRE score for quantitative reasoning stands at 153.39, for verbal reasoning it's 150.37, and for analytical writing, it's 3.58. A score of 318 and above is solid, while 329 and higher is deemed excellent. Scoring below 292 is typically below average for most graduate programs.

 

Why Take the GRE?

For international students, the GRE offers fairness and validity in its development, scoring, and administration. It welcomes all applicants and reflects tasks found in graduate curricula and real-world business scenarios. Additionally, it provides ample resources to aid test-takers before and after the exam.

 

Are you ready to get your GRE and study abroad? Whether you want to get a master's or doctoral degree overseas, Educatly is available to assist. Join Educatly today and enhance your profile to access tailored program recommendations and discover various available options.

 

If you prefer personalized assistance, you can schedule a consultation free of charge with one of our educational advisors. They will offer you a complimentary consultation and guide you through the steps of accessing high-quality educational options.

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