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GRE Preparation 2018 : All You Need to know about GRE

To succeed in the GRE test, one must put in the necessary efforts. Dedicated study plans, high-quality resource materials and understanding the exam pattern are the key ingredients. In this particular section, we provide 6 best tips to GRE aspirants, that will help them stay focused & goal-oriented.

Why should you take up GRE?

You might wonder, what next after completing your UG degree programme? In today’s world, we are given a wide array of option and also the freedom to choose from these options, so if you are someone who wants to continue studying further, then GRE might be the answer.

  • Did you know approximately 2,00,000 Indian students moved abroad in the year 2014 to pursue higher education, more than 50% of students took admission in the US?

With all these facts and figures, you will ultimately ask yourself, what next? Most of us have spent 3 to 4 years trying to finish our coursework, project work while also battling internal exams, external exam, vivas and assignments. One might assume that after all that hard work they will have a little sigh of relief, but in today’s competitive world we know that might not always be the case. Students are often left to ponder about the future, with nearly endless options to choose from it becomes quite a tricky task to narrow down on just one career option. If you have made up your mind to pursue higher education, then GRE can help, and here’s how.

As we know GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination; It is a standardised test that is required to be taken by the candidates applying 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 largest private non-profit organisation. GRE test is needed to get admission in graduate courses in specific universities abroad. If you have decided to go overseas for further studies, you might have already started to plan for the GRE Test.

Why are GRE scores useful?

The intent behind a student taking the GRE is quite easy, to get into grad school or to secure a merit-based fellowship for grad school GRE scores are required. The GRE is a common grad school admissions requirement for both master’s programs (including Master of Arts, Master of Science, and even some Master of Fine Arts programs) and PhD programs.

Did you know that GRE is unbiased?

Students from different cultural, regional and academic backgrounds apply to various graduate schools. The GRE, therefore, becomes a fair test to select students of the same level. Even students who do not have high college GPA can still aim to do exceptionally well in the GRE.

  • There are other things to keep in mind that although GRE is mandated, some of the universities might have additional evaluation and tests, that you will be required to clear before getting accepted.

GRE for GRAD school

Thousands of universities, graduate schools and departments around the world accept GRE scores, for graduate course places and graduate fellowship programs. For some programs, GRE scores are a requirement, and for others they’re optional. Even if they are optional, one must keep in mind that a high score can only boost your overall application, and can give you precedence over other candidates.

Did you know leading universities now accept GRE scores for MBA?

A cause of celebration for most students and all the more reason to take GRE. Due to this latest trend, more top colleges are now accepting the GRE score, and there has been a steady increase in the number of applicants submitting the GRE score in place of the GMAT score. This change has allowed MS aspirants to keep their options open, as they need not worry about appearing for GMAT as well. MBA program in the USA are accepting GRE scores, here are some top universities that now allow GRE scores.

Harvard Business School

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Wharton School

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Columbia Business School

Move over LSAT, GRE to the rescue

As there are many competitive exams, it becomes difficult for students to make this decision. By taking one standardised test such as GRE, students may save their time and money from taking another admissions test.

  • The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) is known to be one of the most ambitious exams, and for decades, the LSAT has been the only admissions test accepted by U.S. law schools which often posed a hurdle for the aspiring law student, but that is not the case anymore. Cornell Law School, Harvard Law School amongst other top universities, have accustomed to this change and has broadened the applicant pool.

  • An added advantage of taking the GRE test is that GRE scores are valid for five years, and there is no hurry for students to start packing their bags right away. It is advised that students must take their time, research various programs and also prepare a college application.

  • The application could consist of transcripts, letters of recommendation among other things. Do not rush into this process as it is very crucial “to get one’s affairs in order”.

These are the multiple reasons why students must take up GRE, time and time again this exam has proven beneficial by providing opportunities for students to go overseas. Students have the opportunity to explore different programs and also be independent in a foreign land which has its perks.

GRE 2018 exam pattern

Want to know a secret on how to ace the GRE 2018 exam? For that, all you must do is familiarise yourself with the test pattern. If a test-taker is aware of the current exam pattern, it becomes easy for them to avoid any confusion during their preparation time. Students can structure their study plan, revision plan and set a realistic goal once they know what they are getting into. This section primarily focuses on helping out GRE aspirants to reach their full potential by updating their knowledge about the current GRE 2018 exam pattern.

So here is what you should know?

The ETS GRE (revised) General Test evaluates the test taker’s overall knowledge and skills in three primary segments—analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning.

  • The GRE test scores indicate the candidate’s ability for taking up graduate studies in various disciplines.

  • What is more intriguing about this test is that it tries adapting to the performance of students based on previous quantitative/ verbal ability sections. During the test, students are allowed to skip questions within an article, go back and change answers.

  • From this what we understand is that GRE test provides flexibility to the test-takers to choose which questions within a section they want to answer first.

The GRE test pattern has three sections- Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.

  • The total duration of the GRE 2018 is 3 hours 40 minutes.

  • Besides the main academic sections, there are two other variable sections, and a 10-minute break is given after the third (Quantitative Reasoning) section during the GRE test 2018.

  • The two variable sections are unscored and the research section, which does not count toward the actual GRE 2018 score.

  • The GRE test pattern 2018 includes six GRE subject tests. They are Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics and Psychology.

  • Each subject has a different test pattern. The GRE 2018 Subject Tests are offered in the paper-based format.

  • Candidates can take the test worldwide three times in a year in September, October and April.

The GRE 2018 Subject test is 2 hours and 50 minutes duration.

GRE General (computerised) 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

General Test Scoring Methodology


Score Scale

Verbal Reasoning

130 - 170 scale, in 1 point increments

Quantitative Reasoning

130 - 170 scale, in 1 point increments

Analytical Writing

0-6 score level, in half-point increments

Why is verbal reasoning required?

The verbal reasoning segment measures the test-takers capacity to read and understand any form of written material. Three types of questions have been devised:

(i) Reading comprehension

(ii) Text completion

(iii) Sentence Equivalence.

  • To be able to comprehend texts in graduate school, a student will be required to identify the relationships between parts of a sentence, and associations between words and concepts.
  • The verbal reasoning segment tests whether the test-taker has the talent and ability necessary.

Why is quantitative reasoning required?

The primary objective of the GRE quantitative segment is to assess the test takers grasp of the basic math concepts of algebra, arithmetic, geometry, and data analysis. The questions on mathematics and statistics are of a high-school level. It tests a candidate’s ability to recall all the basic concepts that they have learnt over the years.

The quantitative reasoning measure of the GRE general test assesses-

  • Basic mathematical skills.
  • Understanding of elementary mathematical concepts.
  • Ability to reason quantitatively and to solve problems in the most efficient way possible.

In quantitative reasoning, the questions can be in the form of

  • Multiple-choice questions with one correct answer.
  • Multiple-choice questions with one or more correct answers.
  • Numeric entry (computation) questions.
  • Data Interpretation.

Important note to all test takers: Candidates taking the computer-based test are provided with on-screen calculators, and those taking the paper-based test are provided handheld calculators.

Why is analytical writing required?

The analytical writing measures your critical thinking and analytical writing skills. It assesses your ability to articulate and support complex ideas, construct and evaluate arguments.

It does not assess specific content knowledge. GRE analytical writing is not about brilliant writing skills. You need to have sufficient writing skills. As long as you follow all the guidelines and you address the essay question adequately, you’ll be fine. The key is to be a competent writer, not a storyteller.

The writing ability of a candidate is assessed based on the following sub-points -

  • Flow or style of writing.
  • The technique of paraphrasing or splitting the article.
  • Mood and tone of the writing.
  • Grammatical and verbal English skill.
  • Thinking and analysing capability.

Understanding the GRE 2018 exam pattern is very crucial for test takers, this allows them to have a better perspective, which in turn is proven to be beneficial while attempting GRE.

6 best tips for GRE preparation

Most GRE test takers aspire to get the dream score of 330 and above, but very few achieve this target. There is no shortcut to success, GRE aspirants must have an understanding of the exam pattern and as well have the necessary time management skills. Top universities such as Harvard, Stanford among others prestigious universities accept GRE score. Each year lakhs of students appear for this competitive exam, so you need to stay motivated and sharp as a tack. If you want to succeed and score above 310, here are 6 best-shared practices that will help you.

GRE 2018 study plan

A study plan is mandatory for any test takers, as it allows you to plan a schedule which will help you stay focused and develop a strategy that best suits you. A lot of students take hundreds of practice tests online, without any plan which is proven to be a waste of time. But if a student has developed a study plan, then they can address their weak points and device a plan accordingly to tackle their weaknesses.

Know what you are getting into

When studying for GRE, don’t just plunge right into studying. Instead, make sure you know what the exam is all about. Understanding any exam pattern has its advantage, as it helps a candidate to prepare a better study plan. When a student is aware of the exam pattern, then they can select a section that is challenging, you should also be able to split your GRE prep time more equally. GRE test pattern has three sections- Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning.
  • The total duration of the GRE 2018 is 3 hours 40 minutes.

Books are your best friend

The number of books available for GRE preparation is just too vast in number. It entirely depends on the students to decide which books they want to opt for. It is best to use the power of the internet for the greater good, GRE aspirants need to check the authenticity of the book by reading reviews and also getting adequate feedbacks from previous year test takers before investing in any GRE books. The most frequently used books are -- the original books of ETS, Princeton Review and Barron’s.

Flashcards can help

Every GRE aspirant knows the importance of vocabulary in the exam, but they tend to be confused about how to prepare for it. Well, a simple tip is -- use flashcards. Flashcards are not only prevalent but also more interactive medium to enhance your vocabulary. Also, reading all kinds of newspapers, journals, books and online content impact a candidate’s vocabulary to a great extent.

Practice tests are important

Once you have successfully completed your preparation for GRE, it is best to put your effort to the test. There are several tests readily available online, it is best to take these tests as they give you a clear idea as to where you stand. These practice tests help the GRE aspirant to assess the status of their exam preparation and plan likewise.

Always aim higher

It is a little-known fact that students only strive for a GRE score of 300, but that is not the correct approach. Higher the GRE score, higher are chances of your application to be selected. This is the simple analogy used by most universities. So aspirants need to ensure that there is no backlog when it comes to their preparation and must be sincerely dedicated to achieving the GRE score of 310 and above. Apart from this, candidates must be aware of their steady improvement, and this is only possible if you know how to target your weaknesses and work towards correcting them.


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