Comprehensive Guide to GRE (2021) - Prodigy Finance

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Prodigy Finance - October, 14 2021

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If you are a student specialising in any given field of study, you must have heard of GRE. But just in case you want to brush up on your knowledge, we have prepared a comprehensive guide with all the necessary details you might find useful for your GRE preparation.

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination is one of the preliminary steps in the application process for graduate or business schools. Conducted by ETS, the GRE is a fully computer-based standardised test that relies on multiple-choice questions to gauge your academic potential. Your GRE scores, along with your high school academic record and overall achievements, are taken into consideration during your admission to a business school or a graduate school.

Schools all around the world require a common standardised test to minimise bias and unfairness in the admission process, and that’s where the GRE comes in.

Simply put, if you manage to ace your GRE, it will increase your chances of getting into your dream school.

How is the GRE Conducted?

The GRE General Test is usually conducted at Prometric test centres all year round, although a few non-Prometric centres also offer the test.

If getting to a physical test centre is unfeasible, the GRE General Test is a computer-based test which can alternatively be taken at home. You can also sit the GRE home test at the comfort of your home, under the supervision of a human proctor. The GRE home test is identical to the tests conducted at test centres in terms of overall content, on-screen experience, and the general format.

How Many Times Can You Take the GRE?

You can write the GRE General Test up to five times in a year, but note that there must be a minimum of 21 days in between two attempts. This rule applies even if you have cancelled a previous test score in a year.

How to Register for the GRE

GRE registration can be done in 3 alternative ways:

  • Online

This option can only be availed if you are paying the GRE exam fees by credit or debit card. Register online at the GRE ETS site and print out your voucher for future reference. GRE online registration also allows you to check the seat availability in real time.

  • Phone

You can ring 1-800-GRE-CALL or 1-800-473-2255 to register for the GRE. The confirmation ID, test center, test date, and reporting time will be informed to you over a call. You can pay the GRE fees with an American Express, MasterCard, Discover, JCB, Visa credit, or debit card.

  • Mail

Fill out the Authorization Voucher Request Form in the GRE Information and Registration Bulletin. Sign the voucher request form and mail it along with the GRE fee in the envelope provided to the address mentioned on the voucher.

GRE Eligibility Criteria

Want to know if you are eligible to take the GRE? Here’s the great news:

The GRE has NO special eligibility criteria. The GRE has no age limit or educational qualification requisite, so you are at liberty to sit for the GRE any time you want. With the GRE exam eligibility guidelines being eased, all that counts is your preparation and intent to ace the test.

How to Prepare for GRE

Sitting to write your GRE paper might seem daunting, especially if it is your first time. To make your exam experience easier and less stressful, you can start sticking to a routine for your GRE preparation in the months ahead of your GRE examination. Here are a few ways in which you can ensure your best efforts at GRE preparation:

  • Keep solving previous years’ GRE papers as well as sample mock papers. Appearing for GRE mock tests can make you aware of your mistakes, in turn improving your chances of acing the GRE on the first attempt.

  • Pay attention to works of Analytical Non-Fiction, for the GRE has always seemed to favour liberal arts and philosophy students who are acquainted with analytical academic writing. This will help you improve your ability to comprehend reading passages. More than GRE books, reading works of non-fiction will help enhance your reading and writing skills, as well as your vocabulary.

  • Try to replicate the real-time GRE experience by appearing for practice tests in the same testing conditions, duration, and supervision. This will help root out the inherent fear of examinations, especially when it is one that decides your higher educational aspirations.

  • Work on enhancing your GRE vocabulary, as that would pay off in the reading, writing, as well as analytical sections. Inculcate a habit of reading newspapers, paperbacks, and magazines, and try to retain words that catch your eye.

  • Review your practice test results, and try to gauge your areas of weakness. Work extensively on those areas in limited time durations to acclimate yourself to the real-time testing conditions and the potential errors in judgement.

Many prefer to sit for multiple GREs before they send their final reports to the college admission committee. If you manage to ace the GREs with flying colours, your chances of getting into the best schools in the world becomes greater. So, try to allot a specific number of hours to your daily GRE preparation to be thorough with the possible challenges the paper can pose.

For more information on how to prepare for the GRE, you can check out the ETS Official Guide.

GRE Test Dates

If you are a prospective GRE examinee, make sure you are registered on the ETS website. Create your own ETS GRE account to be eligible to apply for the test. Keep checking the GRE exam dates to stay up to date about the upcoming tests.

  • When can you sit for the GRE?

You can sit for the GRE General Test anytime in a year, but note that it follows a first-come-first-serve policy, so fast-tracking your GRE slot booking is recommended.

  • When will you receive your GRE scores?

It can take 10 to 15 days for your GRE results to reach your school’s admission committee, so make sure you write the GRE early on. Your prospective graduate or business school’s admission committee should receive the scores within the application deadline.

Check out the test dates, test centres, and seat availability in the location of your preference.

GRE Syllabus 2021

The GRE exam syllabus for the verbal reasoning section is divided into 3 parts:

  • Reading Comprehension
  • Sentence Equivalence
  • Text Completion

The GRE General Test includes a Verbal Reasoning section that focuses on the following topics:

  • Idioms and Idiomatic expressions
  • Nouns, Adjectives, Pronouns
  • Verb tense
  • Subject-Verb Agreement
  • Pronoun Agreement
  • Modifiers and Parallelism

Here’s how the syllabus for the GRE Quantitative Reasoning looks:

Arithmetic

Geometry

Data Analysis

Algebra

Arithmetic

Property and types of integer

Geometry

Lines and angles

Data Analysis

Descriptive statistics: Median, Mean, Range, Mode, Percentiles, and so on

Algebra

Exponents

Arithmetic

Power and roots

Geometry

Circles

Data Analysis

Interpretation of data based on graphs, circle graphs, scatter plots, etc

Algebra

Algebraic Expressions – Factoring and Simplifying

Arithmetic

Statistics

Geometry

Triangles

Data Analysis

Probability

Algebra

Equations and inequalities

Arithmetic

Estimation

Geometry

Quadrilaterals

Data Analysis

Permutation and Combination

Algebra

Linear and Quadratic inequalities

Arithmetic

Number properties

Geometry

Polygons

Data Analysis

Sets theory

Algebra

Linear Equations

Arithmetic

Percentage

Geometry

Three-dimensional figures

Data Analysis

Venn diagrams

Algebra

Quadratic equations

Arithmetic

Exponents and Roots

Geometry

Area, volume, perimeter

Data Analysis

Algebra

Word Problems

Arithmetic

Ratio and proportions

Geometry

Angle measurements

Data Analysis

Algebra

Speed, distance, and Time

Arithmetic

Simple and Compound Interest

Geometry

Data Analysis

Algebra

Profit and loss

Arithmetic

Arithmetic Operations

Geometry

Data Analysis

Algebra

Coordinate geometry

The GRE General Test’s Analytical Writing section is divided into 2 parts:

  • Analyse and Argument: You will be required to accurately analyse, interpret, and argue against or in favour of the topic as provided on the paper.
  • Analyze and Issue: You will be required to offer an option on the issue of general interest.

Note: Make sure you follow the instructions properly before starting to write the Analytical Writing section.

Here’s an idea of the GRE subject test syllabus:

Chemistry

Biology

English Literature

Mathematics

Physics

Psychology

Chemistry

Analytical chemistry (15%)

Biology

Cellular and Molecular Biology (33-34%)

English Literature

Literary analysis (40-55%)

Mathematics

Calculus (50%)

Physics

Classical mechanics (20%)

Psychology

Biological (17-21%)

Chemistry

Inorganic chemistry (25%)

Biology

Organismal Biology (33-34%)

English Literature

Identification(15-20%)

Mathematics

Algebra (25%)

Physics

Electromagnetism (18%)

Psychology

Cognitive (17-24%)

Chemistry

Organic chemistry (30%)

Biology

Ecology and evolution (33-34%)

English Literature

Cultural and historical context (20-25%)

Mathematics

Additional Topics (25%)

Physics

Optics and wave phenomena (9%)

Psychology

Social (12-14%)

Chemistry

Physical Chemistry (30%)

Biology

English Literature

Mathematics

Physics

Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics (10%)

Psychology

Developmental (12-14%)

Chemistry

Biology

English Literature

Mathematics

Physics

Quantum mechanics (12%)

Psychology

Clinical (15-19%)

Chemistry

Biology

English Literature

Mathematics

Physics

Atomic Physics (10%)

Psychology

Measurement/methodology/other (15-19%)

Chemistry

Biology

English Literature

Mathematics

Physics

Special Relativity (6%)

Psychology

Chemistry

Biology

English Literature

Mathematics

Physics

Laboratory methods (6%)

Psychology

Chemistry

Biology

English Literature

Mathematics

Physics

Specialized topics (9%)

Psychology

Make sure you are thorough with all the topics before sitting for the test. As far as the GRE is concerned, preparation is key.

GRE Exam Pattern

Here is the basic structure of the GRE General Test:

GRE General Test

Computer-based GRE

Paper-based GRE

GRE General Test

DURATION

Computer-based GRE

3 hours 45 minutes

Paper-based GRE

3 hours 30 minutes

GRE General Test

NUMBER OF SECTIONS

Computer-based GRE

7

Paper-based GRE

6

GRE General Test

NUMBER OF QUESTIONS

Computer-based GRE

82

Paper-based GRE

102

You can write the GRE Subject Tests in 6 subjects: Chemistry, Psychology, English Literature, Physics, Biology, Mathematics. Familiarise yourself with the GRE pattern through previous years GRE question papers and repeated mock tests to increase your chances of performing well.

Note: GRE Subject Tests are offered only in paper-delivered formats, and the total duration is 2 hours 50 minutes.

The GRE General Test consists of 5 sections:

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing
  • Research
  • Unscored

While the Verbal and Quantitative Reasoning sections feature 2 sections each with 20 questions, the Analytical Writing section contains only one section with 2 questions.

Here’s how much time you can allot to each section of the GRE Computer-based General Test:

  • Verbal Reasoning: 30 minutes
  • Quantitative Reasoning: 35 minutes
  • Analytical Writing: 60 minutes

GRE Fees

The GRE fees is subject to change, so make sure you keep checking the ETS official website to be informed about any modifications. It is inclusive of all value-added taxes that ETS is liable to pay.
Here’s what the GRE fees looks like:

Country

Fees

Country

Australia

Fees

$230

Country

China

Fees

$231.30

Country

India

Fees

$213

Country

Nigeria

Fees

$226

Country

Turkey

Fees

$255

Country

All other areas of the world

Fees

$205

You have to pay a nominal additional amount for special handling requests. Here’s what you have to pay if you want to reschedule the test or change your test centre:

Special Requests

Fees

Special Requests

Rescheduling fee (China)

Fees

$53.90

Special Requests

Rescheduling fee (rest of the world)

Fees

$50

Special Requests

Changing the test center

Fees

$50

Here’s a list of additional privileges such as reviews and analysis of your test paper that you can avail for a fixed fee. Some of the services in this category are as follows:

Additional Privileges

Fees

Additional Privileges

Additional Score Reports (ASR) — per recipient

Fees

$27

Additional Privileges

Question-and-Answer review service — Verbal Reasoning & Quantitative Reasoning sections only (New York State residents only)

Fees

$50

Additional Privileges

Score Review for Analytical Writing measure

Fees

$60

Additional Privileges

Score Reinstatement Fee

Fees

$50

What is a Good GRE Score?

GRE Total Score

The GRE total marks depend on whether you are sitting for the General Tests or the Subject Tests. Here’s the score breakup of the GRE tests:

Section

Minimum Score

Maximum Score

Section

Analytical Writing

Minimum Score

0

Maximum Score

6

Section

Verbal Reasoning

Minimum Score

130

Maximum Score

170

Section

Quantitative Reasoning

Minimum Score

130

Maximum Score

170

Section

Total Score

Minimum Score

260 + 0

Maximum Score

340 + 6

For your GRE subject tests, you will be marked on a 200 to 990 scale, featuring 10 point increments.

The highest score you can have in the GRE is 340, which would include 170 each in both Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning, and a 6 in the Analytical Writing section. However, it is important to note that the GRE scores are usually viewed separately, unlike ACTs and SATs, where scores for each section are clubbed into a cumulative score.

Graduate schools often want to see the scores of specific sections related to the course you are applying to. Hence, keeping the scores separate helps your admission committee gauge your potential in specific areas of speciality.

GRE Score Percentiles

Scaled Score

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

Scaled Score

170

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

99

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

96

Scaled Score

169

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

99

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

95

Scaled Score

168

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

98

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

93

Scaled Score

167

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

98

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

90

Scaled Score

166

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

97

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

89

Scaled Score

165

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

96

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

86

Scaled Score

164

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

94

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

84

Scaled Score

163

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

93

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

82

Scaled Score

162

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

90

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

79

Scaled Score

161

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

88

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

76

Scaled Score

160

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

86

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

73

Scaled Score

159

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

83

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

70

Scaled Score

158

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

80

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

67

Scaled Score

157

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

76

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

64

Scaled Score

156

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

73

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

60

Scaled Score

155

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

68

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

56

Scaled Score

154

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

64

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

53

Scaled Score

153

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

60

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

49

Scaled Score

152

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

54

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

45

Scaled Score

151

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

51

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

41

Scaled Score

150

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

46

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

37

Scaled Score

149

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

41

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

34

Scaled Score

148

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

37

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

30

Scaled Score

147

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

33

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

26

Scaled Score

146

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

29

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

23

Scaled Score

145

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

26

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

19

Scaled Score

144

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

22

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

16

Scaled Score

143

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

19

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

13

Scaled Score

142

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

16

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

11

Scaled Score

141

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

14

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

9

Scaled Score

140

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

11

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

7

Scaled Score

139

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

9

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

6

Scaled Score

138

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

8

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

4

Scaled Score

137

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

6

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

3

Scaled Score

136

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

4

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

2

Scaled Score

135

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

3

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

1

Scaled Score

134

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

2

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

1

Scaled Score

133

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

2

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

1

Scaled Score

132

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

1

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

1

Scaled Score

131

Verbal Reasoning Percentile Rank

1

Quantitative Reasoning Percentile Rank

1

For the Analytical Writing section, check the percentile scores in the table below:

Score

Percentile Rank

Score

6.0

Percentile Rank

99

Score

5.5

Percentile Rank

98

Score

5

Percentile Rank

92

Score

4.5

Percentile Rank

80

Score

4

Percentile Rank

55

Score

3.5

Percentile Rank

38

Score

3.0

Percentile Rank

14

Score

2.5

Percentile Rank

6

Score

2.0

Percentile Rank

1

Score

1.5

Percentile Rank

0

Score

1.0

Percentile Rank

0

Score

0.5

Percentile Rank

0

Score

0

Percentile Rank

0

Average GRE Scores

Here’s a list of section-specific average scores that will give you a fair idea about the potential scores you need to achieve to get into the school of your choice:

Section

Average Score

Section

Verbal Reasoning

Average Score

149.97

Section

Quantitative Reasoning

Average Score

152.57

Section

Analytical Writing

Average Score

3.48

Check the table below to know the section-specific score requirements for students of different majors. For more information on MS Engineering GRE scores, click here:

Intended Graduate Major

VERBAL REASONING

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

ANALYTICAL WRITING

Intended Graduate Major

Arts & Humanities

VERBAL REASONING

156

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

150

ANALYTICAL WRITING

4.1

Intended Graduate Major

Business

VERBAL REASONING

150

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

153

ANALYTICAL WRITING

3.5

Intended Graduate Major

Education

VERBAL REASONING

151

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

149

ANALYTICAL WRITING

3.8

Intended Graduate Major

Engineering

VERBAL REASONING

149

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

159

ANALYTICAL WRITING

3.3

Intended Graduate Major

Life Sciences

VERBAL REASONING

151

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

151

ANALYTICAL WRITING

3.8

Intended Graduate Major

Physical Sciences

VERBAL REASONING

150

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

158

ANALYTICAL WRITING

3.4

Intended Graduate Major

Social Sciences

VERBAL REASONING

153

QUANTITATIVE REASONING

151

ANALYTICAL WRITING

3.9

GRE Score Validity

  • If you have taken your GRE on or after July 1, 2016, your scores would be valid for 5 years following your test date.
  • If you have taken your GRE before July 1, 2016, your scores are valid for 5 years following your test year
  • If you sat for your GRE prior to July 2015, your test scores are no longer reportable.

GRE Practice Tests and Sample Papers

Before any examination, preparation is integral to your chances of success. Keep solving sample papers and sit for GRE preparation tests. You can go through the official ETS Preparation Tests page to view some practise materials.

Here are a few renowned sites that have arrangements for sample papers and mock GREs:

Kaplan Test Preparation
Princeton Review
Magoosh Free GRE Practice Tests

GRE VS GMAT

Differences

GMAT

GRE

Differences

When to take GMAT or GRE?

GMAT

If you want to attend business school graduate programs

GRE

If you are undecided about the graduate program of your choice

Differences

Test fee

GMAT

$250

GRE

$205

Differences

Test Validity

GMAT

5 years

GRE

5 years

Differences

Test dates

GMAT

All-year

GRE

All-year

Differences

Test mode

GMAT

Computer-based

GRE

Computer-based and paper-based alternative

Differences

Number of sections

GMAT

4

GRE

6 (including 1 unscored research section)

Differences

Test duration

GMAT

3 hours 7 minutes

GRE

3 hours 45 minutes

Differences

Analytical Writing section

GMAT

1 essay: 30 minutes

GRE

2 essays: 60 minutes

Differences

IR section

GMAT

12 questions: 30 minutes

GRE

N/A

Differences

Quantitative Section

GMAT

1 section of 31 questions: 62 minutes

GRE

20 questions each in 2 sections: 70 minutes

Differences

Verbal Section

GMAT

1 section of 36 questions: 65 minutes

GRE

20 questions each in 2 sections: 60 minutes

Differences

Score range

GMAT

200 – 800 (in 10-point increment)

GRE

260 – 340 ( in 1-point increment)

Differences

Quantitative score

GMAT

6 – 51 (scaled score)

GRE

130 – 170

Differences

Verbal score range

GMAT

6 – 51 (scaled score)

GRE

130 – 170

Differences

IR score

GMAT

1 – 8

GRE

N/A

Differences

AWA score

GMAT

0 – 6

GRE

0 – 6

Keep practising mock papers and sample questions to know more about the question patterns and topics. Be on the lookout for preparation tests in real-time test centres and register for preparation test reviews.

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