Preparing For the GRE

 

More and more people are using practice exams to prepare for taking the GRE. GRE is an an acronym that stands for Graduate Record Examination. Many graduate schools in the United States require an applicant to submit their GRE scores as part of the admissions process. Increasingly international schools are doing so as well.

First created in 1949 by Educational Testing Service, the GRE has been updated throughout the subsequent decades. It has been designed to measure a person’s competence over a wide range of academic skills rather than focusing on any one specific discipline or knowledge area. Different sections of the exam focus on different skills, such as verbal and quantitative reasoning.

The test is available at testing centers throughout the country. In its current form, the GRE is a standardized computer-based test. While almost all students will have acquired basic computer competency during their undergraduate careers, it is important for those taking the test to know that using a mouse and keyboard will be required aspects of the exam.

Taking a GRE practice exam can be helpful in preparing the student for all aspects of the test. The experience of working through a similar test in a low-pressure, experimental context can help individuals develop confidence and comfort with the GRE’s format. The results of practice tests can also give a student useful feedback regarding their strengths and weaknesses, and can be used as indicators to guide which areas to focus on when studying.

GRE practice exams are generally designed to mimic the actual test in terms of structure, length and types of questions. As such, they are divided into six sections. The sequence of the sections differs from test to test, as it does in the actual GRE.

All tests begin with an analytical writing section. In this section, a student is required to write two essays. One must be focused on an issue, while the other is argumentative in nature. Both must be written without the aid of spellcheck or other automated features.

The rest of the exam includes two quantitative reasoning sections, two verbal reasoning sections and either a research or experimental section. The quantitative reasoning sections assess an individual’s skill in basic arithmetic, algebra and logic. They consist of problem solving and multiple choice questions. The verbal reasoning sections assess an individual’s skill in vocabulary and reading comprehension through sentence completion and critical reading questions.