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Everything You Need To Know About The GRE Exam: Pattern, GRE Fees, Question Types And More

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Learning all that you can about the test should really be the rite of passage when starting your GRE preparation. We know that a simple google search can answer a lot of your questions, but in this blog, we want to surprise you with details you didn’t know you needed. Let’s end your constant search for GRE-related questions once and for all, shall we?

IN THIS BLOG:

  1. What is GRE?
  2. Types of GRE exam
  3. Who can take the GRE?
  4. How much is the GRE fee in India?
  5. When can you take the GRE?
  6. Rescheduling GRE
  7. GRE Exam Pattern
  8. How is GRE scored?
  9. What is a good GRE score?

What is GRE?

Top universities in the world do not have their individual entrance exams; instead, they accept standardised test scores and use them in the shortlisting process. GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, is one such standardised test that is most widely used for grad school admissions in the US and Canada.

The GRE exam is also an admission requirement for top master’s, MBA and doctoral degree programs in various other countries such as the UK, Europe, Singapore and Australia.

Types of GRE exams

The ETS conducts two types of GRE exams – The GRE General test, which is used as the primary criteria for your admission into any master’s program. And the GRE Subject Tests, which are taken by students choosing to specialise in Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology.

A quick reminder, in this blog, we are going into the details of the GRE General test.

Take a free 35-minute GRE Diagnostic Test to find out exactly how ready you are today!

Who can take the GRE?

That’s an easy one! Anyone can take the GRE. ETS has specified no age limit or minimum qualification to take the GRE. In total honesty, there will be a range of eligibility criteria set by the universities that accept GRE scores, but for taking the test, there are no minimum eligibility criteria.

But that’s a problem for another blog, so let’s move on!

How much is the GRE fee in India?

The GRE exam fee in India is a little on the expensive side. The test is priced at $213, which roughly translates to 17,500 Indian Rupees. Yes, we think it’s a bit much too, but all the more reason to sit prepared, don’t you think?

When can you take the GRE?

Unlike GATE or CAT, there are no specific dates announced for the GRE. You can practically take the test whenever you feel most prepared throughout the year. There is also no lifetime limit on the number of times you can take the GRE exam, but you can only take five attempts within any continuous rolling 12-month period.

And if you have to retake the GRE exam due to any circumstances, you will have to wait for a minimum of 21 days before you can take your next attempt.

This is just ETS’s way of saying that you should take some time to really outdo your last score, and we agree!

Rescheduling GRE

In India, all major post-graduate exams seem to go the extra mile to make testing a difficult experience for students, don’t they? They are mostly held annually and allow very little to absolutely no wiggle room for test takers’ personal contingencies.

Thankfully that’s not the case with GRE or for most international standardised tests for that matter. In the event that you cannot attend an already scheduled GRE exam, you have the flexibility to change the date, time and location of your GRE exam.

Please remember to reschedule or cancel your test appointment a minimum of 4 days before the exam. Rescheduling GRE will cost you $50.

GRE Exam Pattern

The structure of the GRE is divided into three sections, and these are

The Verbal Reasoning section of the GRE tests your logical interpretation of the English language through Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence questions.

Does this mean you don’t need to sit for IELTS? We never said that.

Next up is the GRE Quantitative Reasoning section. Also known as the other dreaded section of the GRE. In this section, you are expected to apply your conceptual understanding to solve problems using mathematical models.

In other words, the section throws moderate to difficult-level maths problems at you on arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis.

The next section is called Analytical Writing. This section doesn’t assess specific content knowledge rather, it tests your analytical writing skills through different tasks.

These writing tasks test your ability to articulate and evaluate complex ideas while simultaneously judging your ability to sustain a focused and coherent discussion.

Does this mean you don’t need to sit for IELTS? We don’t know why we keep bringing this up, and NO.

One careful derivation of your months-long GRE preparation would be the fact that GRE would be a whole lot easier without the ticking timer on the top. And we agree, it’s also true for most tests, but we are getting off-topic.

So GRE is time-bound, and the entire duration of the test is 3 hours and 45 minutes with a 10-minute break after the third section to, you know, breathe.

The breakdown of the duration of the test and sections looks something like this:

SECTION QUESTIONS TIME IN MINUTES
Analytical Writing 2 Tasks 30 (Per Task)
Verbal Reasoning 2 Sections (20 Questions Each) 30 (Each Section)
Quantitative Reasoning 2 Sections (20 Questions Each) 35 (Each Section)
Unscored Varies Varies
Research Varies Varies

 

Before you freak out the Unscored and the Research sections are, as the name overly suggests, unscored and for research purposes only. ETS conducts these tests purely for research purposes. So consequently, your responses to these sections are not counted towards your overall GRE score.

Now, as per the order of the sections, the Analytical Writing section will always be first. The Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and unidentified/unscored sections can appear in any order.

How is the GRE scored?

The highest possible score on the GRE is 340, and the Quantitative and Verbal Sections make up 170 points each.

The Analytical Writing Section, however, is scored on an independent scale where you can get a score from 0 to 6, with 6 being the highest and 0 being “cue the tears”.

Let’s now get to the next obvious question, shall we?

What is a good GRE score?

“Good” is a very subjective term so instead of going there, let’s check out what some of the top grad schools in the world are expecting from you… No pressure!

Given below is a list of top grad schools along with their average sectional GRE scores:

University accepting GRE Scores Verbal Quantitative Writing
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 158 159 5.3
Stanford University 159 158 4.8
University of California, Berkeley 153 – 156 167 4.5
The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) 155 167 5.0
University of Virginia 163 166 4.5
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor 160 167 5.0
University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill 158 160 4.5
Georgia Institute of Technology 158 167 4.3
University of California – San Diego 162 160 5.5
University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign 155 165 4.0
University of Wisconsin – Madison 163 163 4.5
University of Washington 156 167 4.0
Pennsylvania State University 150 165 3.0
University of Florida (UFL) 154 165 3.0
The University of Texas, Austin 155 165 4.0
Ohio State University 156 165 4.0
California Institute of Technology 160 157 5.0
Duke University 160 160 4.5
The University of Chicago 158 167 4.0
Northwestern University 160 160 5.0
Washington University in St. Louis 161 160 5.0
Johns Hopkins University 163 164 4.8
Rice University 160 167 5.0
Emory University 153 163 4.0-6.0
University of Notre Dame 165 165 5.3
Vanderbilt University 157 166 4.8
Johns Hopkins University 159 162 4.2

 

Well, we covered a lot in this blog don’t you think? But nothing can truly tell you more about the test in 3 hours than taking a GRE sample test. And we have a free one linked right here.

 

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