Some FAQs on the standardised test you have to take for admission into most graduate and business schools in the U.S.

“The number of graduate and business schools around the world using GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) tests today is at an all-time high,” says Christine Betaneli, spokesperson for the GRE programme at Educational Testing Service (ETS), emphasising its importance. It is all the more important when we realise its importance as a tool that provides graduate and business schools “an objective and common measure for evaluating and comparing the qualifications of applicants with differing educational and cultural backgrounds”.

What can the admission offices deduce from a candidate’s GRE score/ performance?

For more than 60 years, the graduate and business school community has trusted GRE test scores as a proven measure of applicants’ readiness for graduate-level work — and of their potential for success. The GRE revised General Test measures important skills for success at the graduate level, including verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing.

There has been a change in the GRE testing pattern since 2011. What prompted that change?

Some of the enhancements test-takers will notice include the following:

Less reliance on vocabulary out of context, more emphasis on reading — and no antonyms and analogies

New navigation features, including the ability to edit or change answers and skip questions and go back to them later.

New question types, like entering a number or selecting more than one answer choice when asked.

The introduction of an on-screen calculator for the Quantitative Reasoning section. (For those taking the paper-based GRE revised General Test, calculators are provided at the test centre for use during the test.)

Preparation tips…

Test takers can prepare for the GRE revised General Test using free tools available on the GRE website. Preparation tools include POWERPREP® II software. It includes two full-length practice tests as well as strategies, sample questions, a math Review and more. The GRE® Program also provides other official test preparation tools, including ScoreItNow!™ Online Writing Practice, the GRE® Success Starter video series, The GRE® revised General Test Official Guide, Second Edition and the Official GRE® Guide mobile app, which are available for purchase at www.TakeTheGRE.com/prep. All of this is made available by ETS, to help test takers familiarise themselves with the test and prepare to do their best on test day.

Did you know?

With the ScoreSelect option you can decide which scores to send to institutions. So, if you take the test once and feel you did your best, you can send scores from that test administration. But, if you feel you want to try again, you only need to send scores from the specific test administrations you want schools to see.

The test format…

The GRE revised general test has the following test features:

The analytical writing measure consists of two writing tasks and is always first on the test. Students have 30 minutes to write an essay response to an “Analyze an Issue” task and 30 minutes to write an essay response to an “Analyze an Argument” task.

The verbal reasoning measure also consists of two 30-minute sections. There are 20 questions in each section.

The quantitative reasoning measure has two 35-minute sections with 20 questions each. It assesses a student’s problem-solving ability, focusing on the basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis.

There is one additional unscored section: it may be unidentified or it may be a clearly marked research section at the end of the test.

The total time allowed for the computer-based GRE revised General Test is 3 hours and 45 minutes with a 10-minute break after the third section.

For more information about the test content and structure, visit www.ets.org/gre/revised_ general/about/content/cbt/.