Passing the Graduate Record Examinations is an important step in applying to graduate school. In fact, most postgraduate programs in the U.S. require a GRE scores to qualify for admission. GRE scores can also be crucial when it comes to awarding teaching and research assistantships as well as merit-based scholarships.
Taking the GRE is no simple task, so we’re here to answer your top GRE questions.
What is the best way to prep for the GRE?
That depends on your learning style, but your study plan should include covering all the test topics and taking practice tests. Quality GRE prep courses, whether online or in-person, will do both of those things.
Before you begin your GRE prep course, think about the type of learning environment that best suites you. Some people prefer to study in a classroom setting while others thrive independently. Regardless, you have to set aside ample to time strategize and act on your study plan.
How long does it take to prepare for the GRE?
Preparing for the GRE usually between 1–3 months, depending on scheduling factors.
If you have just a few hours to study each week, then expect to take more time to prepare. Most graduate school applicants have to fit GRE prep time among their current classes or work and family commitments. So, if you need to take a few months, you’re not alone. Keep in mind that you need to schedule your test date ahead of time as well.
What specifically does the GRE test entail?
If you are taking the GRE revised general test, your test will be separated into three graded sections and fourth ungraded, experimental section:
1. Verbal Skills
The verbal section consists of Text Completion, Sentence Equivalence, and Reading Comprehension.
The GRE tests primarily your vocabulary, understanding of context, and reading comprehension skills. There are two sections for this portion, 20 questions in each.
2. Analytical Writing
The analytical writing portion of the test asks you to write two essays.
The first essay tests your ability to formulate an argument based upon your topic choice. The second asks you to articulate an argument with adequate supporting evidence. For the analytical writing portion, the essays are timed for 30 minutes each.
3. Quantitative Reasoning
This section focuses on math concepts, such as basic algebra, geometry, averages, ratios, number properties, exponents, square roots, and numeric problem solving. There are two problem sets in this section, 20 questions in each set.
4. Experimental Section
The experimental section will be either math or verbal.
This section does not count towards your score. However, there will be no way to tell which section is experimental, because it won’t be labeled as such. Unfortunately, this section could come at the beginning, middle, or end of your test. This makes preparing for the GRE even more important, because this section adds an element of unpredictability.
How is the GRE scored?
Your overall GRE score combines your separate score for each of the three sections.
Both the verbal and quantitative sections are scored in 1-point increments, ranging from 130 (lowest) to 170 (highest). The analytical writing portion is scored in half-point increments, ranging from 0 (lowest) to 6 (highest). Most college programs will state their desired target GRE scores on their websites and applications.
How long is the GRE?
The total time allotted for the GRE is approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes (not including short breaks).
You will have 30 minutes to complete each of the verbal sections, 35 minutes for each of the quantitative reasoning sections, and 30 minutes for each of the timed essays.
How do I schedule my GRE date?
- When scheduling your test date, make sure you plan enough time for your scores to be sent and processed by your institution.
- You need to book your exam appointment through the ETS website, where you will find exact testing locations and times.
- When registering an account on the ETS website, the name you use has to match the exact name printed on your identification documents.
Note: ETS also offers GRE Subject Tests. These test your knowledge in one particular subject, such as chemistry or literature.
While graduate schools don’t commonly require these tests, some competitive programs do. ETS offers these tests only three times a year: in September, October, and April. They are not part of the GRE General Test.
We offer two online courses that have helped students achieve competitive GRE scores. Our GRE Preparation Part I course covers the verbal and analytical writing sections of the exam. In addition, GRE Preparation Part II covers the math sections of the exam.
GRE registration dates are now open. Start prepping for the exam today!