GRE Test Prep
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is an aptitude test that measures students’ basic skills and knowledge, with sections including English and mathematics. It is administered by the Educational Testing Service. Students pursuing a master’s degree usually take the GRE to gain admission to a graduate school, which often use the scores as a key part of their admission decisions.
GRE tests are also administered in seven different subject areas, including biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology; biology; chemistry; English literature; mathematics,; physics; and psychology. Every graduate school dictates its own admission guidelines, so students must make sure to satisfy the individual requirements of their targeted schools. Many schools and departments require applicants to take the GRE general test, although some institutions may waive this requirement.
The GRE includes measurement of a student’s verbal, quantitative, and analytical writing skills, which students are expected to acquire during their pre-college and undergraduate study.
The verbal reasoning part of the test aims to assess students’ ability to read, analyze, and evaluate text. The goal of this measure is to evaluate how well students can synthesize information and analyze sentence components. This section presents passages that students must read answer questions about. A second part presents sentences and groups of sentences that students must read, interpret, and complete.
The quantitative reasoning part of the GRE tests students’ math skills and their ability to reason and solve problems using quantitative methods. The questions posed are a combination of real-life situations and standard equations. Skills tested include basic math processes such as factorization, exponents, roots, absolute values, and decimal representation. Algebra skills that students should have for the exam include simplifying algebraic expressions, working with equations and inequalities, using linear and quadratic equations, and devising equations to solve word problems. Geometry skills tested include the geometry of circles, triangles, and three-dimensional figures, area, perimeter, volume, and angle measurements. Data analysis skills tested include descriptive statistics, interpretation of data in graphs and tables, probability, and random variables.
The analytical writing part of the GRE is designed to evaluate students’ critical thinking and analytical writing ability. Students are presented with a 30-minute task that involves analyzing an issue. An opinion is presented, with instructions to respond to it. Students must evaluate the opinion and devise an argument that either agrees or disagrees with the position. In the 30-minute argument task, students receive an argument with instructions to evaluate its logic. In this piece, students should not write about their opinion on the argument, only whether the position is logical and well-reasoned. Therefore, the analytical writing tasks involve first creating an argument and assuming a position with evidence to support it and then evaluating another person’s argument.
Scoring of the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections begins by tabulating correct answers to produce a raw score. Then, a process is used to standardize the results across variations in specific test editions, and the result is a scaled score. Scoring of the analytical writing section is done by trained readers who evaluate pieces using a six-point holistic scale that considers overall quality. A computerized scoring engine also evaluates the writing for proficiency. If the human and computerized scores are similar, the final score is an average of the two. If the human score and computerized score are vastly different, another human tester performs an evaluation. In this case, the final score is an average of the two human test scores.
Visit the following websites to learn more about the GRE, how to study for it, and its importance:
- About the GRE General Test
- Examining the GRE: Myths, Misuses, and Alternatives
- GRE and Psychology Subject Test Guide
- Six Tips for GRE Success
- What Is the GRE?
- Studies of GRE Reliability
- GRE Information and Grad School Admissions
- What Is the GRE?
- Taking the GRE Guidebook
- What Is the GRE, and Do I Have to Take it?
- What Your GRE Score Mea?s
- The GRE Fact Sheet (PDF)
- Prepping for the GRE
- About the Graduate Record Examination
- Is the GRE Required for Those Wishing to Pursue a Master’s in Healthcare Administration?
- How Do I Prepare for the GRE Exam?
- The GRE Advanced Test in Computer Science (PDF)
- Graduate Record Examination Mathematics Test Practice Book (PDF)
- GMAT vs GRE: Is the GRE Easier Than the GMAT?
- What Is the GMAT, and Do I Have to Take it?
- GRE Practice Tests
- Free GRE Practice Test Options
- GRE Practice Test