A Step Towards Higher Education: GRE

We live in those times when the world has become a global village. The world is no more restricted. Businesses establish offices in different countries, numerous collaborations are formed between the home-grown and overseas companies, people now go to the foreign lands for treatment, jobs, and needless to say, education.

So what is the first step towards education in a foreign university? It is GRE- Graduate Record Examination. Every year there are scores of students who appear for it. Here’s a quick guide towards GRE :

What is GRE and who all take it?

GRE stands for Graduate Record Examination. It is conducted by the ETS (Educational Testing Services). It is one of the primary criteria based on which foreign universities give admission. Besides the GRE score, universities also require an English proficiency test (TOEFL or IELTS) and they check the whole academic record of a student. The main emphasis is on undergraduate/graduate percentage and the activities done in your college days like academic research, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.

Students wanting to pursue studies for Master’s, MBA or Doctoral degree need to take the GRE for getting admissions in the universities of US and a few universities of Canada, UK and Germany. There is a list of colleges which accept GRE on its official website.

When should GRE be taken?

GRE can be taken all year round for five times a year with 21 calendar days gap between two successive tests. Mostly, engineering students take GRE during their third or fourth year in March and August because these are the times when they are not occupied with other curriculum work like exams, projects etc. Appearing for GRE in March is considered a better option since it leaves you with enough time to prepare further and appear later, after the semester exams, in case you are not happy with your scores.

What is the exam pattern?

The GRE changed its examination pattern after August 2011. Prior to that, it was a question-based computer-adaptive test which means that the level of difficulty of the next question would depend on the answer you give in the present question. But now it has become a section-based computer-adaptive test. The level of next section would depend on the performance in the present section. Here is the exam pattern of GRE-

1. Analytical writing essay 1- 30 min. 2. Analytical writing essay 2- 30 min. 3. Quantitative section  (35 min.) or Verbal section  (30 min.) 4. Quantitative section  (35 min.) or Verbal section  (30 min.) 5. Quantitative section  (35 min.) or Verbal section  (30 min.) 6. Quantitative section  (35 min.) or Verbal section  (30 min.) 7. Quantitative section  (35 min.) or Verbal section  (30 min.)

The two essays are scored on the scale of 1-6 with half point increment and always appear first in the examination. The verbal reasoning and quantitative ability sections are marked on a scale of 130-170 with one point increment. One of the five sections, either a quantitative section or a verbal section, is experimental and unscored.

You can check the detailed examination pattern on the official page.

What is an experimental section?

An experimental section is included in the exam by the ETS to prepare a pool of future questions. The section judges the comfort level of students in answering the questions (by recording the time taken in answering and the option chosen) and accordingly sets the level of the question as easy, moderate or difficult. This helps ETS to keep up the ‘adaptive-ness’ of GRE. It does not count towards your score. However, the experimental section can appear any time during the test; it does not follow any order. For example, a student might get his/her first section as an experimental one while another would get the third or the last. Anyway, there is no method to distinguish a scored section from an experimental one. So there is no point in expending energy to find out which is the experimental one.

What are the steps and the costs to apply?

First, make an account in the official website of ETS. Log in using it and fill up the details. Then you need to schedule your examination date and finally confirm it by paying. Check the location of your examination center and plan your schedule in advance.

Registering for GRE costs 195 USD. You can find costs of various things related to GRE on the official website.

You could also check the video on YouTube for detailed explanation.

What next?

So, you know what is GRE, the whole exam pattern, the costs related to it and all other information. Now you need to plunge into your preparation materials and study hard. But wait! Given the nature of the pattern and syllabus, you could certainly use a guide and a few tips. Read this article for 6 steps to crack the GRE.

Meanwhile, we have in store for you an awesome article on everything you need to know about studying abroad. Check it out Studying Abroad – everything you need to know.

Still not sure if you want to go to a foreign land to study? Do an internship abroad and decide for yourself. Check out the enticing international internships at Internshala.

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