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Taking the GRE

GRE Test Information and Tips


The GRE (Graduate Record Examination) is a standardized test used by graduate schools and business schools. Submitting GRE scores is an admissions requirement at many U.S. schools as well as schools in other English-speaking countries.

GRE Test Content

The GRE is designed to test a student's ability to work and study at the graduate level. The exam consists of three sections:
  • Verbal Reasoning - This section of the GRE tests your ability to analyze written material, synthesize information, and recognize relationships among words, sentences, and concepts. Verbal Reasoning questions include reading comprehension, test completion, and sentence equivalence.
  • Quantitative Reasoning - The Quantitative Reasoning section tests your ability to understand math concepts and solve problems with quantitative methods. Topics that you will be tested on include arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. Some of the questions are multiple choice; others are comparison questions or numerical entry questions.
  • Analytical Writing - This section tests your ability to think critically and write analytically. You will be given two tasks: an issue task and an argument task. You are allotted 30 minutes for each task. For the issue task, you will be given an opinion on an issue of general interest along with instructions on how to respond. You must evaluate the issue, take a position, and develop an argument that supports your view. For the argument task, you will be presented with an argument. You must evaluate the argument/claim and the logic behind it.

GRE Test Format

The GRE can be taken at 700 different test centers in more than 160 countries. There are two versions of the GRE: a computer-based test and a paper-based test. Most people take the computer-based test, which is administered on a continuous basis throughout the year. However, the computer-based test is not available in all areas. Students who cannot take the computer-based test are administered the paper-based test in October, November, and February. Click on the links below to learn more about test centers and test availability. GRE Registration

You must register for the GRE before you can take it. If you live in the United States, you can register online, over the phone, or by mail. If you live outside the United States, you can register online, over the phone, by fax, or by mail. You should register early if you have a preferred test date or test center. A fee to take the test must be paid when you register. Fees vary by test format and location. There is an additional charge for scoring services. Read more about GRE fees.

Preparing for the GRE

You will need more than luck to do well on the GRE. This test requires serious preparation. Before taking the GRE, you should do your best to familiarize yourself with the test. Learn more about the types of questions you will be asked. More importantly, study areas outside your comfort zone. You can assess your abilities by taking a GRE practice test. This will help you determine what you need to work on.

GRE Prep Resources

If you need help preparing for the GRE, there are a number of courses that you can take. Tutoring services are also available. Both study options can be expensive. If you are on a budget, consider picking up a GRE study guide from the bookstore or library. You can also find many free GRE prep resources online. A few to try include:
  • Official GRE Prep Materials - Get free GRE prep resources from the makers of the test.
  • GRE Practice Questions - Practice math problem solving, math comparison, numerical entry, reading comprehension, sentence equivalence, and test completion.
  • GRE Flashcards - Prepare with thousands of free GRE flashcard sets from Quizlet.
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