The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) General Test is a standardized test for undergrads and a prerequisite for admission into a variety of Masters degree programs. It is conducted by the Educational Testing Service(ETS) and can be given on any working day throughout the year. ETS has affiliated testing centres all over the world to conduct the exam. You can visit the ETS website at this link for more information.
GRE scores are accepted by a large number of colleges in the United States and Canada, but some universities do not require you to give the GRE. For example, Purdue University Computer Science Program does not include the GRE as a prerequisite for the application process. But if you are considering applying to many colleges for masters or doctoral degrees, giving the GRE is a must for you. GRE General Test scores are valid for 3 to 5 years depending upon the Universities you are applying to, so it is advisable that you decide which field you want to pursue your Masters in and select some of the colleges you want to study at.
The GRE General Test assesses the basic skills needed for a student to join a business school or a graduate school i.e. Analytical Writing, Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. These are tested through the following 3 sections: Quants Section, Verbal Section and Analytical Writing Assessment(AWA) Section. The syllabus for each of the following is given below:
The GRE General Test begins with the AWA Section where you have to write 2 essays based on the given issue and argument. 30 minutes are given to read the issue/argument and write an essay based on it. These essays are graded on a scale from 1-6 and the average score is rounded off to give the AWA Score.
The AWA section is followed by 2 Quant Sections, 2 Verbal Sections and 1 Experimental Section which can be either Quant or Verbal. The Experimental Section is not scored and not revealed during the test as it used to improve the pool questions used by ETS for students appearing for the exam all over the world. Since you end up solving either 3 Quants sections or 3 Verbal sections, you know that one of those was experimental. These 5 sections have a section-wise adaptive difficulty i.e. if you perform well in a Quants section, the next Quants section will be slightly more difficult. Also, a Quants section is followed by a Verbal section and vice-versa.
Each Quants section has 20 questions and 35 minutes are given to solve them. Whereas each verbal section has 20 questions but only 30 minutes are given to solve them. You cannot go back to a previous section while answering the questions but you can browse through all the questions of your current section. Once the time limit for a section is over, all the questions are submitted automatically.
The GRE score is a relative grading score on a scale from 260 to 340. Yes, you cannot get less than 260 on the GRE. ETS uses a complex algorithm to compute the Quants and Verbal scores wherein each question is graded based on its difficulty. Which means getting a very simple question wrong affects your score a lot but getting a complex question wrong will not have much of an impact on your score.
|Test||Number of Test Takers||Mean||Standard Deviation|
|Verbal Reasoning Measure||1,727,225||150.5||8.43|
|Quantitative Reasoning Measure||1,730,288||152.80||9.13|
|Analytical Writing Measure||1,722,231||3.50||0.87|
From the above table, it is clear that the Quants section of the GRE is slightly easier than the Verbal section. But at the same time, a higher deviation rate shows that the scoring scale is the broadest of all sections, hence showing more bipolarity in scores in this section. Which means you’re more likely to score either much better or much worse than you would in a different section. For students from Science background, the Quants section is even easier.
From the table 1B in the article it is clear that more people get a 165+ score in the Quants section than in the Verbal section.
Based on my experience of the GRE I advise everyone to:
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