GRE is a computer-delivered standardized test accepted for graduate and professional programs in the US, Canada and many other countries. As it is a standardized test, you can predict the types of questions you would face on the GRE. With systematic preparation, you too can ace the GRE! Here are our top tips to ace the GRE.
The GRE General Test tests your ability to write essays after analytically evaluating issues and arguments, verbal reasoning skills, critical thinking skills and quantitative abilities. The three test sections are the Analytical writing section, the Quantitative Reasoning section and the Verbal Reasoning section.
The Analytical Writing section requires you to write two essays: one essay about your opinion on an issue and another essay evaluating a logical argument. This section evaluates your ability to write a coherent and convincing essay in response to the given task. The Analytical Writing section requires you to identify evidence, evaluate the claims made and consider different perspectives on complex issues. You are also expected to provide examples to support your opinions and follow standards and conventions of written English.
The Verbal Reasoning section tests your ability to identify the important points, distinguish from minor points, draw conclusions, identify assumptions, summarize text, understand implicit and explicit meanings in the text and understand meanings of words, sentences and entire texts. These skills are tested using question formats such as sentence equivalence, text completion and reading comprehension. The passages in this section come from a wide variety of topics ranging including social sciences, natural sciences, physical sciences, humanities and everyday topics. The GRE syllabus does not require any prior knowledge of the subject matter; everything you need to answer a question is given in the question itself.
The GRE quantitative syllabus consists of simple math concepts in algebra, arithmetic, geometry and data analysis. The Quantitative section tests your ability to analyze and interpret quantitative information, apply basic math concepts and solve problems.
The total marks or your composite GRE score ranges from 260-340. The Verbal Reasoning score and the Quantitative score range between 130-170 each and contribute to your final GRE score. Your official GRE score also contains an Analytical Writing score reported on a 0-6 scale.
Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections are scored in a similar way and each of these measures has two scored sections each. Let’s look at the example of Verbal Reasoning – there are two verbal sections, and these are sectional adaptive. Let us understand what sectional adaptive means. The first section has questions of mixed difficulty. The computer selects the second section based on your performance in the first section. If you have performed well on the first verbal section, the second verbal section will be of higher difficulty. Else, the second section will be of similar or lower difficulty.
Within a section, all questions carry equal weightage irrespective of the difficulty level of each question. There are no negative marks for incorrect answers. The raw score (the number of correct responses) and the difficulty level of the second section are factors for calculating the scaled score (130-170) for verbal reasoning.
The argument and issue essays are evaluated separately on a 6 point scale, by an e-rater (computer) and a trained human evaluator. The scores on the two essays are then averaged and reported as a single 0–6 score.
The percentile rankings of your GRE score is one measure that universities use to evaluate your application. The tables below show the average GRE scores and the percentile ranks (i.e., the percentages of test-takers in a group who obtained scores lower than a specified score) in the GRE General Test. The tables are based on all individuals who tested between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2019.
Start your GRE preparation the right way by understanding your current level of GRE prep. The best way to do this is to take a strictly timed and full-length test. Manya Princeton Review offers a GRE mock test free (The Princeton Review).
You must use reliable and standardized GRE prep material. Reliable prep material covers the topics in the GRE exam syllabus. The types of questions and the level of skills tested should be a reflection of the actual GRE. A GRE prep class or individual tutoring for GRE may be good options for you to consider. Manya Princeton Review offers many online and offline options to prepare for the GRE.
Once you have selected the best prep option for you, you also need to use the GRE prep material and the time available to you in an effective manner.
There are 35 minutes to answer 20 questions (1 minute 45 seconds per question) in each quant section. However, you only have 30 minutes to answer 20 questions (1 minute 30 seconds per question) in each of the verbal sections. Some question types will need more time while others may need less. During practice, make sure you identify the topics and question types for which you take a lot of time and also the ones that you can complete quickly. This can help you manage time during the GRE exam. Timed practice questions can also help students to overcome the anxiety they feel during a timed exam.
Reviewing the answers to questions that you got incorrect or struggled with can help you identify your knowledge gaps. You can then work to understand the concepts or practice GRE questions that test those concepts. You can also understand any errors in exam behaviour (misreading, panicking, missing an important point, etc.) and work to avoid such behaviours going forward. It is equally important to identify whether you have used the best strategies and techniques to get the correct answer quickly. This can help you make effective use of time during the exam.
Taking GRE full-length mock tests is an essential part of GRE test prep. If you take GRE mock tests like the actual exam, taking full-length tests can make you better prepared for the actual GRE exam. Manya Princeton Review offers 8 full-length practise tests for the GRE with detailed and interactive score reports. The score reports provide correct answers, explanations, timing details, and also make recommendations about your strengths and weaknesses.
After taking a practice test, it is equally important to review your performance. This analysis can help you make better and more effective use of the time you have available. For example, if you make many mistakes on a particular topic you should review them using GRE books or other GRE online prep material. You should then practice more GRE-type questions from those topics.
Use the time that you have effectively and efficiently to turn an average GRE score into a high GRE score – a score that will get you into the program of your dreams!
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