GRE (Graduate Record Examination)

The Graduate Record Examination, which is abbreviated as GRE, can be defined as a standardized test, which includes the admission requirement for the graduate schools in the United States principally, and some other English speaking countries. The GRE - Graduate Record Examination has been created as well as is being administered by the Educational Testing Service (popular as ETS). This exam primarily focuses on testing the abstract thinking skills of the students. The areas that are covered include vocabulary, math and analytical writing.

Graduate Record Examination is a computer-based exam. The test is conducted by the select qualified testing centers in different parts of the world. However, those places (like Juneau, Alaska etc.) which still lack the proper technological requirements, are allowed paper-based exams. During the process of graduate school admissions, the emphasis level upon the GRE scores varies between schools. It can also vary between the several departments within the same school. If the GRE score is nothing more than a mere formality in some of the schools, there are many schools where this score is regarded the most important selection factor.

GRE Criticism

Critics have often argued that the GRE system of admission is too rigid as it only emphasizes on the factor that how well a student fares in a standardized test taking procedure. The ETS responded to this and introduced changes since the November of 2007.

GRE Pattern

The GRE - Graduate Record Examination comprises 2 separate tests. These include the General Test and the Subject Test in psychology.The General Test is divided into three parts


  • Verbal
  • Quantitative
  • Analytical writing

  • The scores of verbal and the quantitative tests each are between 200-800. A scale of 0 - 6 is used to keep the scores of the analytical writing test which are incremented by 1/2 –point. The Subject Test checks the student's knowledge in psychological concepts required for graduate study, which also has a score between 200-800.
  • For admission to graduate school, the scores on the verbal and quantitative sections (excluding the Subject Test), matter the most. For admission to doctoral programs, it is important to score at least 550 on each test. Master's programs are comparatively less competitive, so, scoring between 450-500 on each of the tests can be considered just fine. A score above 450 is expected for entry in any of the colleges.
  • Registration is compulsory for taking the GRE. There are separate testing sites in each state. For the General test, you should register well ahead of time to get your choice of dates for the test. For the Subject Test, you will need to register in an advance of at least six weeks.
  • Online registration can be done. Registration by mail is also another way. You need to fill up the registration form in the GRE Information and Registration Bulletin. The registration bulletin can be obtained from GRE- Online or by writing to: GRE, CN 6000, Princeton, NJ 08541-6000. Master's programs are comparatively less competitive, so, scoring between 450-500 on each of the tests can be considered just fine. A score above 450 is expected for entry in any of the colleges.
GRE Preparation:
  • To ensure a higher grade in GRE, it is very important to prepare yourself thoroughly.
  • Get hold of review books and plan a systematic method of study, which will help you in brushing your skills in areas of vocabulary, analogies, reading comprehension, geometry and algebra.
  • Cramming is no way to crack a GRE - Graduate Record Examination, all you need is time. It is advisable to start your preparation much before your registration.
  • Planning the General Test in November is a wise decision, which will ensure your scores will be available well on time to meet any deadline during the admissions. Again, if you lose out, on the first trial, you will have sufficient time to re-take the test in December.