The Graduate Readiness Exam – Ready or Not

 

When it comes to taking the Graduate Readiness Exam (GRE), preparation and practice are essential if you are serious about getting into graduate school. The majority of graduate programs require applicants to take the GRE and achieve a predetermined score to be considered for admission. Score requirements vary depending on the school and program. Regardless, universities have no shortage of graduate applicants and the admission process is highly competitive. GRE scores are particularly important if an applicant’s grades and experience fall short of expectations. In addition to admission selection, universities also use GRE scores to ensure the candidate has the knowledge and aptitude to be successful in a graduate program.

Preparation and study can make a significant difference in GRE scores. Preparing for the GRE requires more than subject matter knowledge. Knowing how to take a test, which is a skill, can result in a higher score. Hundreds of books, classes, websites and seminars have been developed to assist graduate candidates in increasing their GRE scores. Any of these options would be a worthwhile investment. Be sure to research and invest in a quality program that has a history of positive results. Consider that you are purchasing a product, a better GRE score, and evaluate the options in that manner. In the case of GRE studies, the adage, “you get what you pay for,” doesn’t necessarily apply. A thousand dollar course and a twenty dollar book may produce similar results. A great deal depends on the individual. Before deciding on a course of GRE study, objectively consider your learning style and ability to self motivate.

While no “best” course of GRE preparation exists, there is be a course that best fits your needs, strengths and weaknesses. Ideally, students should begin GRE preparation in their second or third year of undergraduate studies. This gives students ample time to increase their subject matter knowledge while researching other courses of GRE studies. The GRE consists of three sections, verbal, quantitative, and analytical. The verbal section assesses reading comprehension, vocabulary usage and critical thinking. The quantitative section measures your mathematical knowledge and problem solving ability. The analytical section measures your writing ability in response to issues and arguments presented.
Taking a practice test during your GRE studies can be very helpful for two reasons. One, you will become familiar with the test and time restrictions. Two, the results can help you determine which areas need more preparation.

If you are considering a graduate education, enlist the advice of an academic adviser and start studying. It is never too soon to start. While high GRE scores alone are not enough to ensure your admission to graduate school, it may give you an edge over other equally qualified candidates.