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Certification: GRE
Certification Full Name: Graduate Record Examination
Certification Provider: Test Prep

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Preparing for the GRE

There are many tests that high school students can take to help evaluate their preparedness for college. The SAT is the most popular test but the GRE exam is a test that measures the verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and also analytical writing skills of a student that have been acquired over a long period of time. The GRE test is for these general skills - not any specific field of study.

These tests are designed to help colleges evaluate the readiness of a prospective student and they also serve as a good measure for the student of their progress. Read on to find out more about exactly what the GRE tests for and why you should take the GRE.

What Does the GRE Test For?

GRE scores tell you the undergraduate achievement in eight specific fields of study. The tests measure your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills. The verbal reasoning section measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it, analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize relationships between words and concepts.

The quantitative reasoning part of the test measures your skills and ability to understand basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis, reason quantitatively and solve problems in a quantitative setting. The analytical writing part of the test your ability to articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively, examine claims and accompanying evidence, support ideas with relevant reasons and examples, sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion and control the elements of standard written English.

Why Take the GRE?

Why would you want to take the GRE test? There are different reasons why someone would want to take it. Potential graduate applicants usually take the GRE test because the test scores are used by admission panels in addition to other undergraduate records you may already have to help determine your acceptance. The GRE score provides a common measure for comparing the qualifications of different applicants and also in evaluating grades and recommendations for the possible graduate.

Everything that the GRE tests for are skills and abilities that you need to have if you are to continue in your education and seek graduate school in a particular subject. No matter what your subject of choice, these skills will be needed to be sure you succeed. So you can see that the GRE is not only for entrance panels but also a great way for you to see your own progress and know your ability to reason and learn.

Where to Take the GRE?

Where can you take your GRE test? Have you decided you want to take the GRE test? It is typically offered year-round at different computer based centers throughout the United States, Canada and some other counties. If you are not in the vicinity of a computer based location, there are some paper-based locations for taking the GRE test as well. You can search the official website to find out what option is available to you and where the closest testing center is.

What to Expect on Your Test

What specific types of questions will you find on the test and how much time will you be given for completing them? This is an example of what you can expect from the computer test:

  • Analytical Writing - 1 Issue Task - 45 minutes
  • Analytical Writing - 1 Argument Task - 30 minutes
  • Verbal 30 questions - 30 minutes
  • Quantitative 28 questions- 45 minutes
  • Pretest - Varies - Varies
  • Research - Varies - Varies

The written test may be slightly different from the computer test but the goal is to determine the same skills and abilities. Here is a sample of the written version of the test:

Section Number of Questions Time
Analytical Writing 1 Issue Task* 45 minutes
Analytical Writing 1 Argument Task* 30 minutes
Verbal (2 sections) 38 per section 30 minutes per section
Quantitative (2 sections) 30 per section 30 minutes per section
Pretest** Varies 30 minutes

*For the Issue task, two essay topics are presented and you need to choose one. The Argument task does not present a choice of topics; instead, one topic will be presented.

**An unidentified verbal or quantitative pretest section may be included and may appear in any order after the analytical writing section. It is not counted as part of your score.

GRE Preparation

If you want to get ready for your GRE test, there are several GRE preparation courses that you can take. When you sign up for classes, you can study from GRE books, classes, practice tests and more all to help you prepare for the test. There are even free online GRE study guides that make it easier than ever to study for your GRE testing.

Planning GRE Dates

Do you know when your GRE test dates are? When you do your GRE registration, they should tell you when your test date will be. You can prepare for free GRE practice tests with a GRE study guide and GRE prep classes. There are also GRE preparation books and manuals that you can study. You can often find them in local book stores, college supply stores and even online. Use these to study and when you feel confident take a GRE practice test to see how you do. Free GRE assistance and tutoring is also available in some communities.

GRE scores will tell you how you do in each category that the test tests for. When you take free GRE practice tests, you can get a general idea for how you will do on your tests when you take them for real.

Understanding Your Score

Do you know what your GRE score means? When you take GRE exams, you will receive your score after the exam has been graded. When you take GRE practice tests, sometimes you can get your score back on the same day. If you have questions about your GRE test results, how your score was calculated or what your score means, you can contact testing officials for more information.

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