how to prepare for GRE

things to know before appearing for GRE exam


Registration Process


mode of test


GRE Exam Syllabus


Average Scores


register on eTS website

The registration process for GRE is pretty straightforward. First, create an account on the ETS website. To register online, go to “My GRE Home” page, select “Register”, and then “Find Test Centers.” Note that ETS administers the GRE at Prometric test centers. Pay the registration fee for the exam, which is $205, and there you are! You’ll receive a confirmation email from ETS regarding your test date and time.

At a later stage, if you want to change the test center, or reschedule your test, it can cost you an extra $50. ETS offers fee reductions to students who prove their financial hardship.

For cancellation, ETS asks that you cancel your exam at least 4 days in advance so you can get a partial refund.


How is the GRE test conducted?

ETS administers the GRE in 2 ways. There is a Paper-delivered test with a total test of 3 hours and 30 minutes and a Computer-delivered test with a total time of 3 hours and 45 minutes. Paper-delivered tests are rare and are conducted only thrice a year. But you can register for the computer-delivered tests at any time of the year. The computer-delivered test is section-adaptive. This means that the computer selects the next section of your exam based on your performance in the previous section.

The GRE exam, also known as the General Test, lasts for the average duration of 3 hours 40 minutes. It is divided into 3 main sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Section, and Quantitative Reasoning. Apart from these, there is also one Unscored and Research section, which ETS does not count in the actual GRE score. This section is variable in nature, ie, it can either be quantitative or verbal.

It’s common for students to scratch their heads and wonder what GRE is. For starters, it’s a broad-based assessment of a student’s aptitude. The exam measures a student’s skills in essay evaluation, critical thinking, analytical writing, and problem-solving. More importantly, the test assesses how you manage time and the way you work under stress. This is why it’s globally accepted as a good measure of a student’s aptitude and readiness for a graduate-level program. Consequently, more than half a million students take the test every year before applying.

The exam comprises of three main sections: Analytical Writing, Verbal Section, and Quantitative Reasoning. The Quantitative and Verbal sections are graded on a scale of 130-170 each, whereas analytical writing scores range between 0-6. Some colleges require additional test sections to be taken with the GRE test, but they’re not graded in the final score of the test. So, your GRE test score will be out of 340 marks, and it’ll stay valid for 5 years.


GRE exam syllabus

Each section of the GRE will challenge your reasoning and problem-solving skills differently. Let’s look at them one by one.

Analytical Writing
This section examines your ability to interpret and express your thoughts on complex issues and arguments.
  1. The first task is “Analyze an Issue”, where you will be given an opinion on a topic of general interest. Once you’ve understood the pros and cons of the opinion, things become easy. All you have to do is support your argument well.
  2. The second task is to “Analyze an Argument”. Here, you’ll have to look at the two sides of an argument. Then, you’ll have to a side and strengthen your argument accordingly.

Verbal Section
 In these sections, you are asked to understand the written-content and answer queries accordingly.
  1. You’ll encounter 10 Reading Comprehension questions which will assess your ability to read and understand a passage.
  2. There will be 6 Text Completion and 4 Sentence Equivalent questions. These questions test your vocabulary and your ability to understand the context of a sentence.

Quantitative Reasoning
This section analyzes your problem-solving skills and basic mathematical concepts such as Algebra, Geometry, Data analysis, etc.
  1. In this section, you’ll encounter 7-8 Quantitative Comparison questions, which will test your problem-solving speed.
  2. The second kind of questions you’ll encounter are Problem Solving questions. Here, you have to correctly understand the context and gather the needed data. It assesses your ability to think laterally.

The importance of your GRE score varies depending on the institution and degree program. Some programs may consider your test score to be a critical determinant for your admission while others may only consider it a formality. But most institutions have their own formula for incorporating your GRE test scores in their selection process.


Average Scores

The average GRE scores are:

  1. Verbal and Quantitative sections – 150-155 (Range 130-170)
  2. Analytical section – 3.5 (Range 0-6)

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