Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized computer-based test (cbt) needed as a pre-requisite for admission into many graduate schools (masters and doctoral degrees) around the world, especially in the US. The test started in 1949 and is administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
The test aims to great a level playing field for all students intending to further their education. So regardless of your field of specialization, getting a great score in the GRE test is one sure way to get admission to further your education.
Basically the test measures student’s ability to think abstractly. The focus is on creating a meeting point between formal education and real-life experiences and how it’s practical application.
Schools that accept the GRE test scores for admission purposes
The complete list of schools and colleges in the US and around the world that accept the test scores can be found here with their ETS code numbers.
While the list of schools that accept the scores for admission into their MBA programs can be found here. Note that some of the most prestigious universities in the world are on the list.
Registration process and checklist
Registration is done online on the official site. Before you go further with the process, you need to create an ETS Account; this simply means providing your personal details like your real name and email address on the ETS website.
It is important to use to use your real name when creating the account and that it matches the name on the ID card you would use as a means of identification on the test day.
After creating the ETS account, you can now proceed to register for the test on the website.
There are various types of fees related to the GRE tests for both the tests and administrative purposes.
Generally, those living in China would pay $220.70 for the Standardized test. Students from other areas of the world pay $207 for the same test.
Details of other fees like late registration, test preparation, rescheduling and so on can be found here. Most of these fees though are small administrative fees that are not more than the $53 charged for rescheduling test for students based in China. It should be noted that some of the fees are optional.
Structure of the test
The tests are divided into three sections
This section would test your ability to read and understand whole passages and draws critical conclusions from the texts.
Typically, there are 20 questions in this section to be completed in 30 minutes.
The section would access your ability to work with numbers. In other words, your knowledge of basic maths would be tested here.
Generally, there are 20 questions in this section to be completed in 35 minutes.
Analytical writing section
This section tests your ability to write and reason logically with words. The are two sub-divisions
Issue task – you would be required to write a well-structured and reasoned essay on a selected topic.
Argument task – you would be required to write a critical easy on a given argument. The argument is based on a series of facts leading to a conclusion. Your critique should either be in support or against the argument with examples based on your experiences in life.
Test centers and dates
There are over 1000 test centers based in about 160 countries around the world. You can check the full details of test centers closest to your location and dates here.
The CBT is scheduled all year round so you can pick a date convenient to you.
But for those who have no access to CBT for one reason or the other, a Paper-delivered test can be scheduled. The Paper-delivered test is offered about three times a year.
How the test is used for admission in various schools vary from one school to the next. Most MBA programs and postgraduate programs in Economics require very high test scores. On the other hand, programs in liberal arts may only require good scores in the verbal section of the test.
Programs in the sciences, mathematics and engineering programs place more focus on high scores in the quantitative section.
One good thing about the GRE test is that you can take as many times as you want until you get the desired score for your particular program. Also, you can take the test at any time, even when you are yet to apply or be accepted for a post-graduate program. Each GRE test is valid for a period of five years.
And finally, there are resources such as study aids on the ETS websites to help you prepare for the test. Some of them might only be available for a token fee.