The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a standardized test that is an admissions requirement for most graduate schools in the United States. The GRE is owned and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS). The test was established in 1936 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
According to ETS, the GRE aims to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing, and critical thinking skills that have been acquired over a long period of learning. The content of the GRE consists of certain specific algebra, geometry, arithmetic, and vocabulary. The GRE General Test is offered as a computer-based exam administered at Prometric testing centers. In the graduate school admissions process, the level of emphasis that is placed upon GRE scores varies widely between schools and departments within schools. The importance of a GRE score can range from being a mere admission formality to an important selection factor.
The computer-based GRE General Test consists of six sections. The first section is always the analytical writing section involving separately timed issue and argument tasks. The next five sections consist of two verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative reasoning sections, and either an experimental or research section. These five sections may occur in any order. The experimental section does not count towards the final score but is not distinguished from the scored sections. Unlike the computer adaptive test before August 2011, the GRE General Test is a multistage test, where the examinee’s performance on earlier sections determines the difficulty of subsequent sections. This format allows the examined person to freely move back and forth between questions within each section, and the testing software allows the user to “mark” questions within each section for later review if time remains. The entire testing procedure lasts about 3 hours 45 minutes. One-minute breaks are offered after each section and a 10-minute break after the third section.
The paper-based GRE General Test also consists of six sections. The analytical writing is split up into two sections, one section for each issue and argument task. The next four sections consist of two verbal and two quantitative sections in varying order. There is no experimental section on the paper-based test. This version is only available in areas where the computer-based version is unavailable.
Prospective graduate and business school applicants from all around the world who are interested in pursuing a master’s, MBA, specialized master’s in business, J.D. degree, or doctoral degree take the GRE General Test. Applicants come from varying educational and cultural backgrounds and the GRE General Test provides schools with a common measure for comparing candidates’ qualifications.GRE scores are used by admissions or fellowship panels to supplement your undergraduate records, recommendation letters and other qualifications for graduate-level study.
The Verbal Reasoning section measures your ability to:
- Analyze and draw conclusions from discourse; reason from incomplete data; identify author’s assumptions and/or perspective; understand multiple levels of meaning, such as literal, figurative and author’s intent.
- select important points; distinguish major from minor or relevant points; summarize text; understand the structure of a text.
- understand the meanings of words, sentences and entire texts; understand relationships among words and among concepts.
The Quantitative Reasoning section measures your ability to:
- Understand, interpret and analyze quantitative information.
- Solve problems using mathematical models.
- Apply basic skills and elementary concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis.
The Quantitative Reasoning section includes an on-screen calculator. If you are taking the paper-delivered test, a calculator will be provided at the test center
The Analytical Writing section measures your ability to:
- Articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively.
- Support ideas with relevant reasons and examples.
- Examine claims and accompanying evidence.
- Sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion.
- Control the elements of standard written English
The Analytical Writing section requires you to provide focused responses based on the tasks presented, so you can accurately demonstrate your skill in directly responding to a task.