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What is the GRE: the GRE Test Explained

When looking for a postgraduate course, ‘GRE’ appears quite often. In this article we take a look at what the GRE is, why you should take it and how much it costs.

What is the GRE?

The GRE is an admissions test that is required for many universities around the world. GRE stands for Graduate Record Examinations and was created by Educational Testing Service (ETS) in 1949 who score more than 50 million tests. The exam is computer-based and is designed to measure verbal reasoning, analytical writing and critical thinking skills. In 2011, ETS introduced the GRE revised General Test, in order to give students a better test experience and better demonstrate their skills and readiness for graduate-level work and included a new design and new questions. At the same time, the score scales were changed.

Why should I do it?

Many universities around the world require GRE results as part of their admissions process for postgraduate students. The results help to identify strong candidates, best suited to the course. Unlike other graduate tests, the way in which universities use the results of the GRE vary enormously, with some universities using it as a admissions formality, whilst other institutions use it as an important selection factor.

The GRE is the most widely accepted graduate admissions test worldwide and can help you to gain admission for postgraduate study.

How much does it cost?

Costs involved with taking the GRE vary depending on the country you take it in but you can expect to pay between USD$160 and USD$200. There are extra charges for rescheduling tests, changing your test centre and other administration tasks. Preparatory material and practice books are available free of charge however from the ETS website along with the complete fee list.

How can I prepare for the GRE?

The GRE can seem daunting at first, but there are many resources available to help you through the course. When you register, ETS provides software called PowerPrep to help you practice which includes two simulated tests of the computer-based GRE revised General Test. There are companies who provide course books and guides to the GRE, however ETS are the only source for official retired material as they do not license the use of past questions to any other companies. Kaplan recommend that by familiarizing yourself with the test’s timing and organisation, you can increase your GRE score.

There is no set amount of preparation time recommended, however ETS suggest that at a minimum, you should know the administrative procedures, types of questions and amount of time for each section before taking the computer-based GRE General Test.

You may wish to read our guide to the GMAT.

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