The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is one of the most important items on the checklist for students who want to pursue higher studies in countries such as the United States, Canada, Australia, Singapore and many more. Conducted by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the GRE general test is a computer-adaptive, standardized examination to measure a student’s analytical writing skills, verbal reasoning skills and quantitative reasoning skills. Moreover, there are additional GRE subject tests which can be taken if deemed as a part of the admission requirements.
Having said that, here are the answers to some of the commonly asked questions about the GRE:
WHO CAN WRITE THE GRE?
The exam is mainly conducted for admission into graduate level and doctoral programs. There is no age limit for taking up the GRE.
WHY SHOULD I WRITE THE GRE?
The GRE is intended to measure the abilities of all graduates in tasks of general academic nature, regardless of their fields of specialization. The importance of GRE scores vary significantly not only from school to school, but from department to department, and from program to program. A competitive score can improve your chances in getting into the school of your choice.
WHEN AND WHERE CAN I TAKE THE GRE?
The exam is conducted throughout the year on almost all days. It is advisable to register for the exam a month or two prior so that you get a seat. The popular form of the GRE is the computer-based test administered at Prometric Testing Centers in more than 160 countries. Appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. In Tamil Nadu, there are centers in Chennai and Coimbatore. Aspirants can find their nearest test centers at the following link:
HOW DO I PREPARE FOR THE GRE?
- First of all download the ETS-Powerprep 2 software from https://www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/prepare/powerprep2 and take practice Test 1 before starting so that you know where you stand. This is an accurate diagnostic measure as the ETS people are the creators of your actual exam.
- Based on the results of the diagnostic test, make a decision whether you want to study on your own or join classes offered by organizations such as The Princeton Review, Manhattan Prep, Kaplan Test Prep, Magoosh Test Prep, etc. Some of them have coaching centers while others online training. Visit the websites and their plans to choose the one most suited for you based on time and cost.
- On the other hand, if you are confident of doing preparing on your own, there are abundant free and quality resources available on the Internet.
- Start with the official ETS Quants book that gives you an overall view of the topics that are likely to appear. It includes the basic contents and the formulae needed, as well as practice questions with detailed explanations.
- This Manhattan 5lb book is highly recommended. This book covers everything that you has ever appeared in GRE or will appear.
- The official ETS Verbal Reasoning Book contains practice questions of varying difficulty.
- The Magoosh App - Verbal Flashcards is extremely popular and highly recommended.
- Magoosh Vocabulary Builder - Test your knowledge gained from the flash cards in this vocab quiz App!
- Prep4GRE App - for both Quants and Verbal questions and mini-tests.
- The Official ETS guide provides a brief overview on the GRE’s AWA section.
- Go through the sample issue and argument essays and the pool of essay topics on the ETS website.
- Crunchprep’s The Advanced Guide to GRE Analytical Writing provides a few useful strategies on how to approach the GRE essays.
- After studying, take a few full length tests at regular intervals. The more the number of tests you take, the more you become accustomed to time management, strategies of skipping and answering, stress management and most importantly conquering fear. Some popular and recommended tests include:
- ETS-Powerprep 2 Practice Test-1! See the improvement.
- Manhattan Free GRE Practice Test – https://www.manhattanprep.com/gre/store/online-resources/free-gre-practice-test/
- CrunchPrep GRE - Online GRE Prep with Practice Questions and Tests - Their free practice test on a 5-day trail signup is quite similar to the original GRE as far as the questions are concerned!
- 2 days before your test, take ETS-Powerprep 2 Practice Test-2! This is perhaps one of the most accurate indicators of your score on the actual test. It comprises real questions from earlier GRE tests.
- In case if you feel you need to take more practice tests, prep companies offer paid tests that can be useful.
- Write essays as well when you are taking the practice tests. Do them as if each one of them is your real test.
- Maintain a record of your scores so you keep track of your progress.
- Write only one test per day. Go through the mistakes you made, and assess your strengths and weaknesses.
- On the penultimate day, revise some of the important concepts. Refresh the “MOST COMMONLY USED WORDS” from Magoosh flashcards.
- Get a good night’s sleep!
WHAT NEXT AFTER THE GRE?
- Writing an English Proficiency Test – TOEFL/IELTS depending upon the University’s requirements.
- Writing a Statement of Purpose: Graduate schools usually require an essay outlining your interests and reasons behind pursuing graduate studies.
- Getting letters of recommendations: You might be asked to provide letters of recommendations (usually three) from either your professors or others whom you may have worked with in the past.
- Completing the online application process.
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