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GRE FAQ

GRE General Test vs Subject Test - Urbanpro

Frequently asked questions about GRE 

1) What is GRE?

GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a standardised test that assesses the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing and critical thinking skills of candidates who want to apply to graduate schools or business schools in various countries, including the US to pursue Masters of Science (MS), MBA, MEM or doctoral degree.

2) Who owns GRE?

The GRE is owned and administered by the Educational Testing System (ETS) since 1949. ETS is a private non-profit organisation and world’s most substantial educational testing and assessment system.

3) Who accepts GRE scores?

GRE is accepted by over thousands of graduate programs around the world, for masters and doctoral degrees. More than 1,100 business schools, including the top-ranked MBA programs around the world recognize GRE. Currently, about 19 law schools in the US accept GRE scores, the best among them being Harvard, Columbia, Georgetown, and Northwestern.

4) Can GRE makeup for GPA?

GRE score has been used as a supplement for the undergraduate score by graduate and B-schools and thereby help you apply for higher studies. If you have a weak GPA or little work experience, a high GRE general test score may still allow you to be accepted by a graduate school.

5) How long is the GRE?

GRE computer-based test takes about 3 hours 45 minutes and consists of three sections-

  • Verbal reasoning – Consists of two parts containing 20 questions each that take about 60 minutes to complete.

  • Quantitative reasoning –  Consists of two parts containing 20 questions each that take about 70 minutes to complete.

  • Analytical writing – Consists of one section with two tasks:  Analyse an issue and Analyse an argument. Each task takes about 30 minutes to complete.

  • GRE computer-based test also has an unscored section that might take about 35 minutes.

GRE paper-based test takes about 3 hours 30 minutes and consists of three sections-

  • Verbal reasoning – Consists of two parts containing 25 questions that take about 70 minutes to complete.

  • Quantitative reasoning –  Consists of two parts containing 25 questions each that take about 80 minutes to complete.

  • Analytical writing – Consists of one section with two tasks: Analyse an issue and Analyse an argument. Each task takes about 30 minutes to complete.

And you will have a 10-minute break between the test.

6) Can GRE be cancelled or postponed?

You can postpone your test dates or cancel your registration at least four days before the test date. You can do it either online or over the phone. For both of these processes, you will need to provide the confirmation number that you have received via email after you registered. If you cancel your exam four days before the test date, you will receive a 50% refund, but if you cancel less than four days, there is no refund. You can also postpone prior confirmed GRE date four days before the private test day by paying Rs.3,437. Postponing can be done by calling the right Regional Registration Center.

7) What is the GRE registration number and where to find it?

You will receive a seven-digit number after you register for the test. It’s called the GRE registration number. Each time you take the GRE test, you will get a new GRE registration number. It is also known as ETS ID, but it is not the same as the GRE confirmation number. You will also find your GRE registration number listed on the score report. If you are still not able to find the GRE registration number, you can call ETS, and they will be able to help you after verifying your identity.

8) What is the cost for GRE exam in India?

The GRE exam fee varies from country to country.  In India, the registration fee for GRE general test 2018 is Rs.14,091(approx) and for the GRE subject test, 2018 is Rs.10,311 (approx).

9) Is GRE subject test necessary?

GRE subject test showcases your understanding and familiarity with the subjects. It also helps to highlight your knowledge and skill level of a particular subject and make your application stand out from the rest of them. You can take the GRE subject test in addition to the GRE general test. The subject tests being offered currently are Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology. You need to have a strong educational background in your respective field of study to appear for this test.

10) Which GRE test do I take?

If you want to apply to graduate or business schools, take GRE general test. This test examines how a candidate will respond to situations faced in the business world. If you have a weak GPA or little work experience, you can use your high GRE general test score as a supplement as many graduate and B-schools accept it.

If you want to highlight your knowledge and skill level in a particular subject take GRE subject test. This test assesses your experience in a specific field of study and also makes your application stand out from the rest of them. You need to have a strong educational background in your respective field of study to appear for the test.

11) Why GRE has an experimental section?

Educational testing system (ETS) has specific standards to prepare the question paper for the exam. Since the level of difficulty has to be the same for everyone, they use the experimental section concept to decide the difficulty level of a question. These questions will be given to candidates in the future examinations.

12) When is the best time to give GRE?

The computer-based GRE test is offered throughout the year at Prometric test centres. Hence you can take the GRE test once every 21 days, up to five times within a 12-month period. And the GRE subject test is conducted thrice a year: September, October and April. These tests are scheduled on first come first serve basis, so make sure you take the test well in advance before universities start with their admission process.

13) How many break time will I get in-between the GRE tests?

In both the GRE general test and GRE subject test, you will get only one 10 minute break after the third section.

14) Who grades GRE essays?

A qualified reader and an e-rater evaluate the essays in the computer-based GRE analytical writing. For the paper-based GRE analytical section, essays are marked by two different human examiners, and an average of both the score is offered to the candidates. If the scores from two different examiners differ by more than one point, then the marking procedure is taken over by a third examiner.

15) What is score select in GRE?

The score select option of GRE allows you to take the test up to five times within the 12-month period. It also gives you a chance to select the best score of the session, which you can then forward it to B-schools or graduate colleges.

16) Is there negative marking in GRE?

No, there is no negative marking in GRE. So it is advisable to attempt all the questions even if you do not know the answer.

17) How is GRE marked?

In the GRE general test, the verbal and quantitative section is marked on the scale of 130 to 170 with one-point increment, and the analytical writing is marked from 0 to 6 score level with half-point increment. The GRE subject test is marked on a scale of 200 – 990, with 10 point increments, and subscores for the biology and psychology tests are marked on a level of 20 – 99 score scale, with one-point increment.

18) Which GRE score is good?

For a good GRE test score, your verbal scores must be within 158 – 162. And your quant scores must be within 159 – 164, with a total score ranging from 317 – 327. It is also highly recommended that you have 4.5 in the analytical writing section.

19) When do I get my GRE results?

If you have taken up computer-based GRE test, except for the analytical writing section, you can know your unofficial scores for the verbal and quantitative section at the end of the test. The actual scores for GRE general test will be out within 10 – 15 days and for the GRE subject test, the results will be out within five weeks after you take the test.

20) How to register for GRE?

You can register for GRE general test via online, phone, mail and fax and for the GRE subject test, you can register online or through the mail. To register you need to create an official account in the ETS website and select preferred centres and test dates.

21) Are GRE tests hard?

The GRE is intended to help graduate schools determine which applicants will be eligible for their exceptional academic program. Gre is credited as one of the most competitive exams in the world.

One of the more difficult aspects of the GRE is its vocabulary, apart from that it requires substantial math knowledge. The time factor is also an added pressure while taking the test.

  • You will get 30 minutes to write each essay and an average of one minute and 30 seconds to answer each verbal question and one minute and 45 seconds to answer each math question.

  • How complicated is the GRE test depends in part on how well you do. The GRE is a Multi-Stage Test, meaning that it adapts to your performance.

  • If you do medium well in Quantitative section, your second Quantitative section will also be medium difficulty.

  • If you don’t get many questions correct, then your second Quant section will be much more comfortable.

  • If you do well in the first section, you will find your second Quant section is much more robust, including questions designed to differentiate the 95th percentile test taker from the 98th percentile test taker.

22) Can GRE be taken online?

It is a common misconception amongst the test takers that GRE can be taken online, although many GRE practice tests can be taken online, the actual exam itself is conducted in an official testing centre.

  • Students are not allowed to take the GRE online from home, they can take the test on a computer in an authorised testing centre which ensures the integrity of the test conducted.

  • In fact, most students choose to take the GRE via computer rather than the traditional paper test.

  • Both the computer-based exam and the paper-delivered test take over three hours to complete.

23) Can GRE test be rescheduled?

You can reschedule your test registration one of two ways -

To reschedule online (computer-based test)

  • Go to the ETS homepage
  • Click on GRE under Tests and Products
  • Sign in
  • Click on Register for GRE test
  • Click on GRE general test
  • Click on “Reschedule or Cancel an Exam” link
  • Enter “Confirmation/Tracking Number” and the first four letters of your last name in     the respective fields and click “Next.”
  • Reschedule either by selecting a particular date or by choosing a 3 month period option.
  • Make the payment of $50
  • You should now receive a confirmation email, with the updated test date.

To reschedule by fax or mail (For paper-based test)

If sending your request by mail or fax, be sure to include your name, date of birth, address, registration number, test date, preferred test centre and new test date.

  • You must also include the US$50 rescheduling fee. Requests sent by mail must be received no later than four full days (not including the day of your test or the day of your request) prior to your scheduled test date.

  • You must reschedule your GRE Subject Test no later than four days before your test date or your test fee will be forfeited.

  • Testing fees and registrations are not exchangeable between the GRE subject tests and GRE general test.

24) Can GRE be used for MBA?

Business schools worldwide are using GRE scores as part of their admissions process for MBA, these scores can be accepted to get into any graduate business programs. Top universities such as Harvard Business School Stanford Graduate School of Business and Wharton School amongst other prestigious universities now accept GRE scores.

25) How can GRE help?

GRE is a quite popular standardised test which is required to be taken up by anybody who wishes to pursue their graduate studies abroad.

  • It tests a candidate’s skills in Verbal Reasoning, Analytical Writing and Quantitative Reasoning domains.

  • It allows candidates to apply for higher education in top universities.

  • Profiles with high GRE scores are inclined towards getting a scholarship.

The GRE General Test is the only admissions test that is accepted by thousands of graduate and business programs worldwide, including most top-ranked M.B.A. programs. Scores are also valid for five years, test takers are given some time frame to figure out which program they want to apply for.

26) Is GRE required for grad school?

The GRE score is primarily used as a filter. A high score does not guarantee you a seat in all the top universities, but a low score will prevent your application from being reviewed.

  • Every admissions committee is going to place different emphasis on GRE scores based on how accurately they believe the GRE predicts the intellectual potential of each test takers.

  • Regardless, a good GRE exam score is usually going to help you get into the grad school. A non-competitive GRE score won’t necessarily keep you out of most grad schools. It will just make it harder to get in.

  • Many programs don’t require the GRE in a range of disciplines, including Master’s, PhD, and MPH programs.

  • There are also programs that allow you to waive the GRE requirement under certain circumstances, top universities such as Purdue University where there is no requirement for GRE when applying to M.S. and PhD in Computer Science programs at this university.

27) Can GRE be used for law school?

About top 20 law schools in America have now adopted the GRE as a valid exam for admissions purposes, candidates can use GRE General Test scores when applying to law school.GRE has provided opportunities while applying to law schools. For example following universities now accept GRE scores.

  • Florida State University College of Law

  • George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School

  • Georgetown University Law Center

  • Harvard Law School

  • John Marshall Law School

  • Massachusetts School of Law at Andover

  • Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law

  • Pace University Elisabeth Haub School of Law

  • St. John’s University School of Law

  • Texas A&M University School of Law

  • University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

  • The University of California, Los Angeles School of Law

  • The University of Hawai’i at Manoa William S. Richardson School of Law

  • University of Pennsylvania Law School

  • The University of Southern California, Gould School of Law

  • Wake Forest University School of Law

  • Washington University School of Law

  • Boston University School of Law

  • Brigham Young University J. Reuben Clark Law School

  • Brooklyn Law School

  • Chicago-Kent College of Law

  • Columbia Law School (beginning in September 2018)

  • Cornell Law School

28) What does GRE mean?

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination; It is a standardised test that is required to be taken by the candidates apply to graduate schools or business schools in various countries, especially the US to pursue a Masters of Science (MS), MBA, MEM or doctoral degree. The GRE is conducted by the Educational testing system (ETS) since 1949. ETS is a private non-profit organisation.

GRE assesses the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing and critical thinking skills of candidates. GRE consists of two test: GRE general test and GRE subject test. The test is for about three hours 40 minutes and has six sections. A 10-minute break is given after the third section of the examination.

29) Who takes the GRE test?

Each year, Applicants come from varying educational and cultural backgrounds apply for the GRE test.

  • The tests provide a standard measure for comparing candidates’ qualifications.

  • Prospective graduate and business school applicants from around the world take a GRE test.

  • For more than 60 years, GRE scores have been used by admission or fellowship panels to supplement undergraduate records, recommendation letters and other requirements for graduate-level study.

30) Who conducts the GRE exam?

GRE is conducted by Educational Testing Service (ETS). http://www.ets.org

  • The primary purpose of the exam is to measure the critical thinking skill that one has acquired over his/her educational career.

  • Grad schools take this as a criterion for university admissions because it gives them an idea of the candidates reasoning abilities regardless of the subject that the students are opting for.

31) What is the eligibility for GRE?

There is no age limit specified for taking the GRE. Neither is there any defined academic eligibility for taking the test.

  • Students can register for the test irrespective of age and qualifications.

  • The test taker also needs to hold a valid passport to take the GRE.

32) What are the GRE exam requirements?

All test takers must bring valid and acceptable identification each time they report to a test centre. It is mandatory to ensure that the ID documents are up-to-date and available on the day of the test.

  • All ID documents must include your name, photograph and signature to be acceptable. A requirement for the GRE exam is a valid passport.

  • An original document is accepted, photocopied documents are not acceptable.

  • Expired documents  are not acceptable

  • If the first and last name on your ID does not exactly match the name on your registration (excluding accents), you will not be permitted to test, and your test fee will not be refunded.

33) What is online GRE slot booking?

Register your Account:

  • To register, go to the ETS website and click on ‘Create My GRE account’.

  • This registration requires verification from your email address. To log in, go to www.ets.org, click on GRE, click on login.

  • Second, test takers will need to fill in some background information about themselves, academics, grade, admission term, among others.

  • Third, click on register for a new test and follow the steps.

Plan your Test Date:

  • Book a test date that best suits you.

  • Candidates can retake the test after 15 days from the day that they have taken their test.

Select test centres:

  • Once the candidate has selected a test date, then he/she subsequently will have to choose the test centre.

  • Candidate must enter their respective location, the ETS website will show the nearest available test centres.

Proceed to payment:

  • To complete the slot booking process, candidates have to complete payment for the GRE exam fee through any of the payment modes available.

  • The standard method of payment is through credit/debit card. The registration fee to take the GRE is $205.

34) Which GRE should one take for engineering?

If a candidate is applying for MS in any of the universities abroad, GRE general exam is more than enough. But a candidate can appear for the GRE Subject Tests, this written exam aims at understanding the knowledge and skill of the candidate in a particular subject. For example, if a candidate wants to apply for chemical engineering, then he/she can opt to write chemistry subject test. It adds an added advantage while applying to any of the universities.

35) Who takes the GRE subject test?

The GRE subject tests measure achievement in a particular field of study and help departments evaluate applicants’ readiness for graduate school. These subject tests are developed by committees of examiners with expertise in specific disciplines, each GRE Subject Test measures content taught in undergraduate programs that are important for graduate study in that discipline. In total, 7 GRE Subject Tests are available. These are:

  • Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology

  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Literature in English

  • Mathematics

  • Physics

  • Psychology

36) What is the GRE exam pattern?

Understanding the pattern is essential for any exam and GRE is no exception.

Knowing the pattern of the test can give a candidate a clear picture of how to go about the exam.

GRE general test assesses 3 Sections:

  • Verbal reasoning

  • Quantitative reasoning

  • Analytical writing

GRE General (computerized) test Format -

Analytical Writing

2 Tasks

1 Hour

Verbal Reasoning

2 sections (20 questions each)

1 Hour

Quantitative Reasoning

2 sections (20 questions each)

1 hour 10 minutes

GRE General (paper-based) test Format -

Analytical Writing

2 Tasks

1 Hour

Verbal Reasoning

2 sections (20 questions each)

1 hour 10 minutes

Quantitative Reasoning

2 sections (20 questions each)

1 hour 20 minutes

37) What is GRE quant syllabus?

The primary objective of the GRE quantitative segment is to assess test-takers grasp of the basic math concepts such as algebra, arithmetic, geometry, and data analysis, and problem-solving skills.

The questions on mathematics and statics are high-school level.

Four types of questions can be found as part of quantitative reasoning:

  • a quantitative comparison

  • multiple-choice with one correct answer;

  • multiple-choice with one or more correct answers;

  • and numeric entry (computation) questions.

  • There are various topics under each of the main concepts.

  • Maths Formulas List

  • Number properties

  • Order of operations

  • Percentage

  • Ratio and proportion

  • Profit and loss

  • Simple and compound interest

  • Speed, distance and time

  • Permutation & combination

  • Linear equations

  • Quadratic equations

  • Sets Theory

  • Statistics: Average, Median, Mode, Range, Standard deviation

  • Powers and roots

  • Probability

  • Pipes, cisterns, work, time

  • Lines and angles

  • Triangles

  • Polygon

  • Quadrilateral

  • Circles

  • Co-ordinate geometry

  • Volume and surface area

38) How can the GRE verbal tips help?

There are 3 types of questions under verbal reasoning -

  • Reading Comprehension

  • Text Completion

  • Sentence Equivalence

For the Reading Comprehension :

a)Pay extra attention when reading the first and last paragraph of the passages. They usually have more answers and facts tucked in.
b) While reading the passages try to take notes or jot the keywords. This makes it time-saving as you don’t have to hunt for answers repeatedly.
c) Its recommended reading the questions before going on to the passages. This will help you to find out answers easily from the passage.

For the Text Completion:

a) When doing text completion in GRE, try to visualise the image behind the sentence. This will help you to pick your answer. Then you can opt for the right form of grammar.
b) Break the long sentence and try understanding every part of it. This will enable you to get your answers faster.
c) If there is more than one blank, fill in the latter one and then fill the first blank.

Tips for sentence equivalence :

a) Mentally fill in the blanks, and use synonyms from the given options to complete the sentences.
b) Guesswork is the last option to opt for in sentence equivalence questions of GRE.
c) Sentence equivalence of GRE might have more than one right answer. Check, how many answers you have been asked for and answer accordingly.

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