GRE Test Preparation Guide & Useful Resources

GRE Preparation Guide

What Is The GRE Test?

As the majority of college students hear about GRE testing requirements, they instantly think about what it means and why it matters for them as they start or continue with their education. GRE stands for the Graduate Record Examination, which is a bit alike to most standard tests that aim to evaluate the reasoning, logic, and analytical skills of the test taker in terms of reading, writing, basic perception of information, and mathematics. Thankfully, this exam does not require specific knowledge in any subject, which means that you will not have to face any advanced exam questions to enter an average college course that requires GRE test results. The benefit of GRE testing, however, is letting the universities compose an estimate regarding how good a particular student is for starting with a chosen program. It is mostly estimated with the help of various problem-solving tasks and critical thinking, which is not too hard to pass once you are learning to understand what this test stands for.

Why Should Students Take the GRE Test?

Even though taking or passing the GRE testing is not obligatory, it is still popular and required by some colleges when a student wants to enter the graduate school program or plans to continue with one's education. The only exception that would not require GRE relates to various Law or Nursing schools where a different set of skills and testing are required. Of course, your GPA level, recommendations, some high-school transition documents, and any extra activities will be counted in as the GPA scores will be calculated by considering all this information. It is safe to say that if you achieve some success with your GRE testing, you will have high chances of getting accepted into a competitive college program and will be able to mention the fact in your CV, which is a great pathway towards a successful career.

How Early Should I Get Ready For GRE Testing?

Although your situation may differ if you are not only planning to enter college, it is recommended to start your GRE preparation approximately one year before making your final choice in terms of an educational institution and the course. A reason for such a significant time gap is being able to take the exam again if it will be necessary. Currently, the test results remain valid for five years. As a rule, GRE tests are taken at one of over thousand test-taking locations not only in the United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom but in over 160 countries all over the world, which also makes it important for international exchange students. You can turn to your college campus of choice or approach one of the independent test centers if you have not decided on your college choice yet.

Learning The GRE Details

As we have already mentioned in our GRE guide, you will always encounter three diverse parts of testing, which are: verbal reasoning or logic aspect, the analytical writing, and the quantitative reasoning section, which is also known as the mathematical part. For your convenience, you can take a GRE test on paper in writing or with the help of a computer, which will simplify some things for you.

If you do it in writing on paper, it will be around 3 hours and 30 minutes and will include six sections. You will have to start with two sections that stand for analytical writing, which will be 30 minutes for each. Taking a short ten-minute break, you continue with two sections (35 minutes) that relate to verbal reasoning. Alternatively, you can take two tests of quantitative reasoning, which will be 40 minutes for each part.

If you choose to pass GRE with the help of a computer, it will also include six sections and will be 3 hours and 45 minutes. It will be the same with a ten-minute-long break after the third section. You start with analytical writing with the only difference is that you have both verbal reasoning and quantitative tests lasting for 35 minutes each.

  • Quantitative Reasoning Test.

In simple terms, it is the testing of the basic calculation and mathematical skills like the general concepts and a person's ability to create theoretical models and apply them to various real-world challenges. The test will include world problems solutions (28.6%), Geometry (14.3%), Statistics (9.5%), Data Interpretation (9.5%), Algebra (19%), and Fractions (19%).

  • Verbal Reasoning Test.

The purpose here is to test your skills in terms of information synthesis based on written bits of text and understanding verbal relationship between words and concepts. You will have to identify each component in a sentence and prove that you understand the related logic. The test includes three categories that include 50% of the verbal reasoning, 25% of text completion, and 25% of reading comprehension, which will stand for your ability to summarize a piece of writing and find the most crucial arguments.

  • Analytic Writing Test.

Although it is often considered the most challenging, it tests student's ability to think critically, show strategic analysis skills, and a basic understanding of the arguments being made. You must be capable of building, explaining, and supporting some complex arguments and statements. It tests your logic, independence, confidence, and ability to respond to controversial and unclear sentences. The vocabulary, grammar, spelling, and accuracy matter for this test!

Understanding Your GRE Scores

As we finally come up with GRE scores, it is vital to understand that each section is scored differently, which means that you will have three results once you pass the tests.

To break it down in simple terms, we have this:

  • Verbal Reasoning. It can receive from 130 to 170 points.
  • Quantitative Reasoning. You can earn from 130 to 170 points as well.
  • Analytical Writing. It ranges from 0 to 6, which is evaluated in half-point increments.

It must be noted that if you decide to take your exam with the help of computer tests, your scores will be taken from the total amount of questions that have been answered without a mistake. Of course, it will depend on the difficulty of questions that you have passed. When you are taking the paper test, your score will only contain those questions that have been answered rightfully.

Another good point that comes along with the computer test is being able to see your GRE results once you are done with verbal and quantitative reasoning aspects. Your analytical writing score will take about two weeks to get checked, which is normal. Your paper (written) test, however, will be ready in terms of scores in about six weeks via the mail parcel with the complete GRE results document. It will be a detailed report that will explain how well you have done when compared to the other people who also took the test. You will be able to check your results online as well once they are ready.

What Should I Do With My GRE Test Results Once I Receive Them?

It is not often told by the GRE manuals, yet you have a great chance to send four score reports to your colleges or universities of choice without any payments. It can be done online or via their relevant admission committee. You can choose to send your recent score or approach the one that has been taken five or four years ago. It will not be revealed to any college as to how many times you have taken the GRE test, which is why it is not recommended to send several test results. Remember that you cannot pick a separate section because it always comes together and should be related to the same test. As a rule, your university will be able to choose your best results if you decide to send more than one report.

Preparing For The GRE & Useful Resources

While there may be various strategies that each student implements to succeed and get rid of stress and anxiety, we want to suggest some ideas:

  • Be ready to know what to expect. It will help you to start writing without an initial shock.
  • Brainstorm several high-school subjects. You can focus on Math, English (grammar), basic rules, and argumentation.
  • Brush up your vocabulary skills by reading some challenging books or writing some things down.
  • Take several practice tests (see our GRE study tools below).
  • Start preparing early by taking different tests and paying at least 30 minutes a day to get ready.
  • Test yourself with the time periods by learning how to adjust your resources and not being dependent on time.
  • Address your weaknesses. For example, if you are not very good at mathematics, try to improve your knowledge a little bit!
  • Try writing a coherent essay by giving yourself only 30 minutes. Start with an outline and composing some essays on several topics.

Most importantly, do not be nervous and try to be yourself when you are dealing with writing and comprehension. Sometimes things are much simpler than what you expect them to be. Take several free tests and try to make things go automatic as you think without stress and anxiety!

Here is the list of helpful GRE resources:

  1. Prepare for Your GRE General Test. The list of low-cost tools to help you get ready. It also has basic tips.
  2. KAP Home Test GRE. Learn about how you can take your GRE test at home due to special conditions and the Covid-19 situation.
  3. GRE Study Guide. It helps to understand what strategies to choose for every section of the GRE.
  4. Powerprep II. It is a great test system that helps you test your skills free of charge.
  5. Practice ETS Book. It has a great simulation that is administered by the people that host the GRE system. It has test-taking strategies and various guides that help you understand what helps you to score better.
  6. Magoosh's GRE Vocabulary Flashcards. It has over 1200 various GRE vocabulary tests. It has both app and desktop versions that will help you train your verbal skills.
  7. Manhattan GRE Test. It has everything exactly the same way as during the real GRE test. It is free and lets you practice as much as you require.
  8. Updated Practice GRE Exam. What makes this test tool different is that it comes with good explanations. It does not require any downloads or registering.
  9. Free Quizlet GRE Flashcards. It is made by your fellow students, which is a great way to test your knowledge and share your ideas as well.
  10. Free McGraw-Hill Testing. It has great problem-solving videos that explain what it means in practice.
  11. Khan Academy Assistance. You can train your skills in logic, strategic thinking, Maths, and many other ways. Just let them know that you need to pass the GRE.
  12. Free GRE Practice Tests. It has over 1000 free questions and section-specific strategies to choose from.

Make sure to try at least one of these GRE study guide resources to test your knowledge before you take an actual test. It will help you to see what every GRE section means. Knowing what you have to pass is already half of the task done!

Why Should You Take Your GRE Test Seriously?

One of the vital reasons why the GRE test must not be ignored is increasing your chances of getting admitted and mentioning your results in your resume since this exam is recognized in more than 160 countries. Nevertheless, once you pass the GRE test, do not hurry to think about the best course and seek ones that prefer seeing good GRE scores as a reason to accept you. Most importantly, even if you fail your GRE, you can take this test again within sixty days. Regardless of your academic strengths and weaknesses, take time to read our GRE guide, get ready by training your logic and writing skills, boost your brain by reading more, and you will definitely succeed!

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