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WHAT IS GRE EXAM?

The Education Testing Service conducts the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) throughout the year. It is a standardized test that most universities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada need admission to graduate school programs.

The exam lasts for three hours and forty-five minutes, and students have the option to take a paper-based or computer-based exam. Top universities such as Stanford, Harvard, Princeton, Yale, UCLA, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and others accept GRE exam scores for economics, English, Computer Science, Physics, and other subjects.

The GRE exam quickly gains popularity among students because of its versatility; it enables students to apply to various fields instead of limiting them to the business domain. You should know about the various sections in the exam, such as data analysis, etc. to score well.

It is a very important step in the graduate school or business school application process. Overall it is a duration of around 3 hours and 45 minutes so roughly 4 hours.

GRE tests you on three different skills such as:

  • Verbal reasoning skills
  • Analytical writing skills and
  • Quantitative reasoning skills

    There are six sections in GRE Subject Test:

    • Chemistry
    • Biology
    • English
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology

    GRE General Test is for 3 hours 45 minutes whereas GRE Subject Test is for 2 hours 50 minutes. GRE General Test is for 3 hours 45 minutes whereas GRE Subject Test is for 2 hours 50 minutes

GRE Eligibility

The GRE exam does not have any specific eligibility requirements. The exam is open to graduates and undergraduates pursuing science, arts, commerce, engineering, medicine, and law courses. There is no minimum qualification, age or work experience required for taking the GRE exam. However, an applicant must have some legal document for identity verification (a passport for Indian applicants) to register. The GRE Exams are one of the main eligibility criteria to get admission in all the graduate schools.

Why take the GRE?

1. Required for admission to prestigious grad schools

The most obvious reason to take this exam is that it is a prerequisite for admission to a competitive graduate programme. Consider taking the GRE early if you know you’ll be applying to graduate school for a master’s degree or a PhD within the next five years. After that, you can focus solely on your application and won’t have to spend an extra 2-3 months studying for the exam, which is especially important when you’re coping with the stress of the lengthy application process.

2. To enhance your application

GRE scores can also be regarded as an effective indicator of your academic prowess in quantitative and verbal abilities. The score will come in handy when you’re trying to compensate for a weakness in your profile. This could be anything from a mediocre undergraduate GPA to unsatisfactory letters of recommendation. GRE scores are an excellent way to demonstrate to admissions officers that you have unique talents to offer, and you will be a great addition to the student cohort. While a high GRE score does not ensure admission, it might help compensate for any weaknesses in other areas of your application.

3. Offers flexibility

The most important aspect of attempting the GRE is that it does not limit your options, unlike the GMAT exam. You can go for an MBA or any other specialised masters degree that you like. It gives you the flexibility of changing your preferred course without going through the hassle of taking a separate competitive exam in that case. Additionally, the test scores are valid for five years, and you have the option of sending your best scores to grad school, regardless of how many times you’ve taken the test. Thus, you always have room for improvement if you choose to take the GRE.

4. More affordable than GMAT

Let’s be honest, sometimes it all comes down to the cost of the competitive exam. While it is not a major deciding factor, it definitely plays a crucial role if you have to attempt the exam more than once. Going for a masters degree is very expensive, so students intend to save every little bit of money they can understandably. If your selected university accepts both GRE and GMAT results, choosing the more affordable choice is a no-brainer.

5. It helps you gauge your potential

Applying for grad school means that you are signing up for tedious assignments and rigorous coursework that requires exceptional dedication on your part. Taking the GRE in advance can help you assess your analytical and quantitative reasoning capabilities. It gives you a true picture of where you currently stand so that you can accordingly take additional help to be fully prepared before you begin pursuing your master’s degree. This will build your self-confidence and help you be at par with your peers.

6. Free preparation resources are available

Another benefit of taking the GRE is that you will have access to free preparation resources compiled by the test makers themselves. This will help you familiarise yourself with the different sections of the exam before taking the actual exam. In addition, you can take two GRE general practice tests, and you’ll immediately be able to access your results. This will give you an insight into the type of questions that are asked in the exam so that you can prepare accordingly.

GRE exam dates

Students can book their preferred slot based on availability and their regional test center location, as the GRE exam is conducted every 21 days. There are no fixed dates to take the exam, giving students the flexibility to schedule the exam according to their application deadlines. However, it is suggested that they take the exam at least two to three months before the deadline to have enough time to retake it if necessary. Due to the Pandemic, the number of tests held at the center has decreased; students can check the official website for the latest GRE exam dates and seat availability.

Best time to take GRE

Even though GRE Exam scores are valid for five years, it is always good to schedule the exam according to the university’s due dates. Most universities around the world have two intakes: spring and fall. If the candidate targets the fall intake, it is ideal for taking the GRE Exam in June or earlier. If the candidate is targeting a spring intake, they can take the GRE by December so that there is ample time to focus on developing a good application. Most applicants expect to take the GRE Exam three to four months before the application process begins, so it’s good to register 2-3 months ahead of time to get your preferred test date and location.

GRE exam centers in India

GRE Exam is held in all major Indian cities, including Mumbai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, Ahmedabad, New Delhi, Allahabad, Cochin, Coimbatore, Dehradun, Gandhinagar, Gurgaon, Gwalior, Indore, Nasik, Vijayawada, Vadodara, Trivandrum, and Mysore. Applicants can see what dates are available in their preferred location and the mode of examination by entering the city’s name or pin code. 

GRE registration

Registering for this exam is a simple process; you have to create an online account on the GRE registration homepage as the first step. After that, you can choose your test date and location and confirm your personal information. To validate your registration, you must make a $213 payment as the final step. For the GRE General Test, candidates can also enrol through phone, mail, fax, or online. Registration for the GRE Subjective test is available online or by mail. 

How to Register for GRE?

The registration process for the GRE examination is straightforward. There are seven simple steps to register:

  1. Visit the official website of ETS.
  • Visit the ETS’s official website, conduct the GRE examination, and have an official website where all the updates regarding the GRE are given. When you open the ETS website, you will have to select the grey ETS account option.
  1. Create an account
  • After the first step, you will create an account. As with any other website, you need to create an account if you have not created it earlier. You will then click on the “Create an Account” button on the website.
  1. Fill up personal information.
  • The third step will include giving your personal information. The website will redirect the page to a form where you will have to fill up personal details. The details will be fundamental, like your Name, Address, E-mail, Gender etc.
  1. Username and Password
  • The fourth step will be to set up a username and a strong password for your account. Make sure to keep a solid and new password that you do not use for any other account. There will also be a security question. Then, you will receive an e-mail on your registered e-mail id, and you will have to verify it.
  1. Registration for the appointment
  • The fifth step is to book yourself an appointment by registering yourself. After completing the basic login steps, a home page will open up for you in which a button saying “Register/Find Test Centres, Dates” needs to be selected. You will have to select that button for the registration process.
  1. Fill up the GRE form.
  • The sixth step is to fill in your options about the GRE. You will then see a new form in which you will have to fill up test type, test centre, date etc., as per your own choice.
  1. Payment of GRE fees
  • The last and final step is how to pay for GRE in India. After verifying all your details, you need to pay the GRE fees through different payment option like debit card, credit card, PayPal etc.

GRE Cancellation Fee

If an applicant decides to cancel their GRE test, they will not receive a full refund. However, they will be eligible to receive 50% of the fee if they cancel at least four days before the exam. If the candidates choose to reschedule instead, they can pay an additional fee of $50. In addition, if you cannot sit for the exam due to illness, you may be eligible for an exam waiver that allows you to retake the exam later at no extra expense.

All about the special handling GRE exam fees

The GRE exam fee, which the student pays during the registration process, does not include some other charges. There are some special handling fees which are to be paid in certain situations. If the student for any reason wants to change the centre of the test, then a separate charge of U.S. $50, which is approximately INR 3,600. If the registered exam is not given on the day appointed and the student needs to reschedule the examination, an extra charge of U.S. $50, which is approximately INR 3,600, is to be paid. There are also test material available by ETS on their website. The candidates wanting the test materials can purchase, and the fees range between the U.S. $20- the U.S. $72, which is approximately INR 1,400 – INR 5,200.

Can the GRE exam fee be reduced?

Many students wish to give the GRE exam but somehow lack the financial requirement for the exam. To help the students, ETS offered a GRE exam fee reduction voucher. This voucher helps in reducing the fees by 50%. The condition for this voucher is that you can use this voucher for one GRE General Test and/or one GRE Subject Test. The students opting for the voucher also get access to test materials for free, which is usually U.S. $100, which is approximately INR 7,300.

But to get the reduction voucher for the GRE exam fee, the students need to be eligible. The eligibility criteria to get the fee reduction voucher are as follows:

  • You must be a citizen of the U.S. or a resident alien
  • If in case you are unemployed, then you must be 18 years of age or above. You must be unemployed at the moment or six months back. You will also be asked to provide unemployment proof in which you have to submit an Unemployment Benefits Statement for the last 90 days.
  • If you are an unenrolled college student, you need to have a SAR, which will help in showing that you have a status of self-supporting and a maximum contribution of U.S. $3000.
  • In case of a college senior, you are required to have a FAFSA Student Aid Report, which reflects the contribution of your parents of a maximum U.S. $2500.Therefore, if you are self-supporting, then the maximum contribution needs to be US$3000.

GRE Score

On the GRE General Test, three scores are reported:

  • Scores for Quantitative Reasoning are presented on a range of 130 to 170, with 1 point increments.
  • Scores for Verbal Reasoning are presented on a range of 130 to 170, with 1 point increments.
  • The Scores for Analytical Writing is graded on a scale of 0 to 6, with half-point increments between 0 and 6.

The total number of correct answers given and the difficulty level of each segment are reflected in their Quantitative and Verbal reasoning scores.

Each essay question is used to determine the score for the analytical writing measure (2 essay questions in total). A skilled reader and a computerized tool are developed by ETS that can recognize essay qualities related to writing proficiency score your Analytical Writing portion.

GRE Subject Test Scores

The subject test is graded on a range of 200 to 990 points, with 10-point increments. It’s worth noting that the separate test scales only cover a fraction of the 200-900 point range.  Any subject test’s actual range is smaller, ranging from 20 to 99 in one-point increments.

Psychology

200-990, in 10-points increments.

Subscores: 20-99, in one-point increment.

Chemistry

200-990, in 10-points increments.

Literature in English

200-990, in 10-points increments.

Physics

200-990, in 10-points increments.

Subscores: 20-99, in one-point increment.

Mathematics

200-990, in 10-points increments.

Biology

200-990 score scale, in 10-points increments.

Subscores: 20-99, in one-point increment.

 

GRE Total Marks

The GRE total marks are calculated only based on your Quantitative and Verbal Reasoning section. The maximum GRE score for both the quantitative and verbal reasoning portions is 170, while the lowest GRE score for both sections is 130. As a result, the greatest GRE score you can achieve is 340, while the lowest GRE score you can get is 260.

The subject test has a GRE total marks distribution ranging from 200 to 990. Sub scores are also reported on a 20-99 score scale, with one-point increments, for Physics, Biology, and Psychology examinations.

However, unlike the SAT and ACT, combining section scores into a single GRE total mark is uncommon. So instead, when submitting your GRE results, you’d publish your three-part scores separately.

What is the purpose of reporting GRE section results separately? It’s usually because most graduate schools are more interested in one section score than the others, and they want to see which one you earned quickly. In addition, grad school programs are more specialized than undergraduate programs, and those reviewing your GRE total marks are usually only interested in the component that most closely ties to the subject matter of your programs.

How long is GRE Score valid for?

GRE score validity basically means what duration as in the calendar year, GRE scores are valid for? So the answer is just  a one liner; GRE score validity is 5 years. But there is little more to it than it seems, otherwise this article is just a waste of time isn’t it?

GRE score validity being 5 years does not mean that if you score a good GRE exam score, you are set for a 5 years of duration. Even if it is valid for 5 years, there are certain schools and institutes which will ask for a score not older than 2 or 3 years. The standard and prestigious aspect of a school or institute can not be questioned on the basis of required academic or experiential necessities.

So in order to secure your application you need to be steady on your steps. In a way it benefits you. Otherwise one can take a GRE test and rest easy for 5 years. Pressure only keeps you on your toes so if you are not being pushed especially in your student years you may not get what you desire.

GRE Test Syllabus

The latest GRE syllabus is different for the general and subjective test. The General Test assesses a candidate’s GRE verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing sections skills. Therefore, you should have great analytical writing skills to do well in your GRE Exams. In comparison, the GRE Subjective Test assesses a candidate’s expertise in eight particular fields. Thus, possessing analytical writing skills becomes very important.  

GRE exam test syllabus

GRE Pattern

The GRE question pattern is divided into three sections:

  • Verbal reasoning
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • GRE Analytical writing sections

GRE Verbal reasoning:

The GRE verbal reasoning section tests the candidate’s understanding of the given text and their ability to deconstruct and identify different perspectives. GRE Verbal Reasoning test is divided into two sections consisting of 20 questions each and a maximum time limit of thirty minutes for each section. This section consists of questions related to idioms, sentence equivalence, text completion, and parallelism. Thus, making it very important to prepare for the GRE Verbal reasoning test. 

GRE Quantitative reasoning:

GRE Quantitative reasoning segment tests the candidate’s ability to comprehend quantitative data analysis and is divided into two sections with a time limit of thirty-five minutes. The data analysis section should be done with patience as it will dictate how well you will do in your test. In the GRE quantitative reasoning section, candidates have to solve complex problems with the help of mathematical concepts. The Computer-based tests have on-screen calculators that enable the candidates to solve numerical problems quickly and with ease. The GRE quantitative reasoning test requires a lot of practice and needs to be prepared by the candidate who wants to do well. GRE quantitative reasoning might be a bit harder as, unlike other sections, GRE quantitative reasoning tests the reasoning capabilities of a person.

 GRE Analytical writing sections:

The analytical writing sections segment tests the candidate’s ability to interpret and evaluate complex texts. Analytical writing sections consist of two separately timed tasks where candidates have to analyze an issue and an argument with 30 minutes allotted for each task. It also targets data analysis in its writing sections, the data analysis an important part of analytical writing and should be done very carefully. As data analysis is going to dictate how well you are going to score in your exams. You should also possess great analytical writing skills to do well in this section, as the analytical writing skills dictate your capability to score and perform in the test. Hence, making it very important to prepare for the analytical writing sections to gain all the experience to develop all the analytical writing skills. Possessing analytical writing skills will surely cut down the hassle while going through this section.

GRE vs GMAT

The GMAT exam is for applicants who choose to undertake management programs at prestigious business schools worldwide. Most schools accept both GMAT and GRE Exams, but certain business schools still prefer the former. The GRE is for students who want to obtain a master’s degree from abroad, regardless of their field of study. Taking the GRE opens up a world of possibilities for students, allowing them to choose various master’s programs, including MBA programs.

GRE vs CAT

The GRE Exam is an international level test used to gain admission to prestigious master’s programmes worldwide, including reputed business schools. On the other hand, the Common Admission Test is a graduate school level entrance exam aimed at candidates seeking admission to India’s top business schools such as IIM, ISB, and Xaviers. However, foreign universities do not recognise CAT, and only a few Indian universities consider the GRE.

GRE vs GATE

The cost of pursuing a masters’ degree can be extremely high, depending on the program’s country of choice and duration. However, a good GRE Exam score coupled with a solid academic record will help you get various scholarships to ease the financial pressure of pursuing further studies. Here are two types of scholarships that you can avail yourself through a high GRE scoreThe Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering (GATE) test is designed to assess prospective master’s students’ knowledge of fundamental engineering subjects. The exam score is valid for three years and is only accepted by Indian universities for candidates focusing on pursuing their masters from a reputed Indian University. Both GRE and GATE have advantages and disadvantages, but the GRE would undoubtedly provide you with more exposure to international universities. If you want to work in the public sector and study at an Indian university, GATE is the better choice. 

GRE Scholarships

The cost of pursuing a masters’ degree can be extremely high, depending on the program’s country of choice and duration. A good GRE score coupled with a solid academic record will help you get various scholarships to ease the financial pressure of pursuing further studies. Here are two types of scholarships that you can avail through a high GRE score:

1. School-based scholarships

Universities directly offer school-based scholarships to prospective students. The university considers the GRE score of the applicant, their past academic performance and the English language proficiency test score.

2. Organization-based scholarship

Scholarships offered by particular organizations have more stringent eligibility criteria like race, gender and ethnicity. Candidates who qualify for organization-based scholarships can direct their funds to any university as long as they fulfil the eligibility requirements.

Conclusion

Owing to the competitive nature of the GRE test, students must take a structured approach to study for it. You can kickstart your preparation by enrolling for one of the many online courses available and taking several practice tests before the exam to familiarise yourself with the format. We hope that this blog helped resolve all of your GRE questions and making your GRE preparation hassle-free. We would love to know how you did on the GRE, so let us know in the comments section. Best of luck!

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How can I prepare for the GRE?

To prepare for GRE, one should practice as much as possible. Mock exam papers are available online, and the candidate should practice as many mock exams as possible. Also, test material is available on the ETS website, consisting of material ranging from US $20- the US $72, which is approximately INR 1,400 – INR 5,200.

How is the scoring done for the GRE subject test?

The attained score of the candidate will depend on the number of questions you answer correctly. Questions you answer incorrectly or leave or more than one option is selected will be counted as incorrect. There is no deduction in marks for incorrect answers. Equating is a process that will convert the raw scores into scaled scores.

What is GRE score validity?

The GRE General Test score is valid for a total of 5 years from the date of administration. That is to say, for example, scores of the GRE test taken in June 2020 will be valid and accepted till June 2025

What are good GRE scores for my goals?

GRE scores are necessary for admission into postgraduate programs. However, here, it is recommended to choose the right program that aligns with your eventual goals. The GRE score for different programs is different. Some highly demanding programs require excellent GRE scores Likewise, other programs can accept students with even average scores. Further, it would be best to look into the information available regarding the program on their website for more clarity.

How important are my GRE scores in terms of my entire application?

GRE scores are a measurable indicator of an applicant’s academic abilities. Moreover, GRE scores are required when applicants are applying for a masters program from an International University. The importance of GRE scores is inferred from the fact that many universities sometimes look into sectional scores specifically to evaluate the applicant based on a program. Therefore the GRE scores are critical since they convince the admissions committee of your capabilities of the subject. On the other hand, other application information like the essay questions, LOR, resume also plays a vital role during the selection process.

What kind of study materials are given by ETS if we purchase them separately?

ETS provides the students with free test materials which can be easily accessible. Still, suppose you want to purchase other material. In that case, it will consist of POWERPLUS online, which contains three practice tests, The Official Guide to the GRE General Test, Third Edition, Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions, Official GRE Value Combo (eBook Only), Official GRE Super Power Pack, ScoreItNow Online Writing Practice.

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