Explore the GRE General
Created and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the Graduate Record Examination (GRE*) General Test is designed to provide graduate schools with common measures for comparing the qualifications of applicants. The exam measures verbal, quantitative, and analytical reasoning skills that have been developed over a long period of time. ETS data shows that scores on the GRE General Test consistently predict graduate school students' grades and performance.
More Than a Formality
Your GRE score is more than a formality in the admissions process. No matter where you apply, your score can have a huge impact on the strength of your application. In fact, a high score can benefit you in several ways. Most importantly (and obviously), it increases the likelihood of getting into the graduate program you want.
In addition to an admission criterion, schools often use scores to determine eligibility for merit-based grants and fellowships, as well as teaching and research assistantships. Many programs, especially those at large state schools, establish cutoff points for GRE scores to limit the application pool, while others use GRE scores to directly determine how much financial support you receive. Investing time and effort in preparing for the GRE today can help you get into the grad school of your choice and can greatly increase your chances of getting financial aid.
GRE: Under the Microscope
The GRE is divided into three scored sections and one - possibly two - unscored sections.
- One 30-minute section with 30 questions.
- Question types include: Analogies, sentence completion, antonyms, and reading comprehension.
- Tests vocabulary, verbal reasoning skills, and the ability to read with understanding and insight.
- One 45-minute section with 28 questions.
- Question types include: Problem solving, quantitative comparison, and graph problems.
- Tests basic mathematical skills, ability to understand mathematical concepts, and quantitative reasoning skills.
- One 60-minute section with 35 questions.
- Question types include: Logical reasoning and logic games.
- Tests ability to understand and analyze arguments and to understand and draw logical conclusions.
The Experimental Section
In addition to the three scored sections, there may be one experimental section that looks like one of the scored sections; but does not count toward your score.
ETS uses the experimental section to pre-test the questions that will show up on the scored sections of future GREs. It looks just like one of the scored sections, so you won't be able to identify it. The main thing for you to understand, however, is that the experimental section is unscored. Look at it as your chance to be a guinea pig.
The Research Section
Sometimes there's a fifth section called the "research section." It also does not count toward your score. And it's optional; so there's no reason for you to complete it.
Don't Forget the Breaks
Finally, you should be aware that there is a one-minute break between each section and a ten-minute break somewhere in the midpoint of the test.
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