The GRE: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

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If you are thinking about going to graduate school, then you need to prepare to take the GRE exam. To help you better understand the GRE, we’ve put together five facts that you need to know.

1.The GRE Is Required For Most Graduate Schools In The United States

The GRE test is created and administered by ETS, the world’s largest private educational testing and measurement organization. ETS develops, administers or scores more than 50 million tests annually in more than 180 countries at more than 9,000 locations internationally.

The GRE is taken by about 675,000 people from 230 countries each year. You can take the GRE once every 21 days, and up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period.

The GRE can take nearly four hours so it’s best to prepare and plan for a long test experience.

The GRE is offered year-round and also on specific dates at certain testing locations. Appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can find test centers, dates and seat availability here

2.The GRE Is A Computer Adaptive Test

Computer Adaptive means that the test is actually an interactive experience dictated by your performance. So for the verbal and quantitative sections, if you score highly on the first section of the exam, you’ll get a harder second section. If you score poorly, then the second section is easier.

Within each section however, the questions are of random difficulty. So within the first or second sections of the exam, the first question is no more likely to be easy or difficult than the last one.

As you can imagine, the harder problems will count more than the easier ones so if you are looking to get a top score you should focus on scoring well on the first section of the exam.

3.The GRE Is Not A Combined Score

The GRE has three subject areas: Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning.

Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning are both graded by machine. The final score is reported on a scale from 130 to 170, with 170 being perfect.

The Analytical Writing test consists of two essays, so it can’t be graded by a machine. For each of the two essays, one human reads it and gives it a score from 0 to 6 in half-point increments.

There is no total combined score for the GRE Revised General Test. Score reports include one score for each of the three sections, Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing.

4.The GRE Does Not Penalize For Guessing

Many standardized tests deduct points when students simply guess. Not the GRE. Questions answered incorrectly are counted the same as questions left unanswered so you are better off guessing than skipping.

For instance, with multiple choice questions if you can eliminate two of the four answers, you’ve just increased your chances of getting the right answer by fifty percent! There are many guides that teach effective strategies for the taking the test and with the right amount of preparation and practice, you can put yourself in great position to guess correctly.

5.Practice and Preparation Makes Perfect

There are multiple ways to prepare for the GRE exam including study guides, practice tests, GRE prep courses, tutoring, and more.

You’ll want to make sure you brush up your high school math skills for the quantitative part of the exam, or reading as much as possible to brush up on your vocabulary. You should also take plenty of practice tests to get you ready and you can find plenty of tests on sites like ETS, Princeton Review, Kaplan and more.

And if you don’t like your score the first time, take it again! Schools have access to all GRE scores for tests you’ve taken in the last five years, but experts claim that many universities only care about the best one.