What does the GRE test?
GRE measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills that are necessary for success in higher education. The GRE is composed of three sections – Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. ETS, who develops the GRE gives an overview of the syllabus covered in these three sections which helps us to understand the content and skills required for the GRE.
GRE Analytical Writing:
The analytical writing measure assesses test takers ability,
- In critical thinking and analytical writing skills
- To articulate and support complex ideas
- To construct and evaluate arguments
- To sustain a focused and coherent discussion
There are two tasks in this section:
- Analyze an Issue
- Analyze an Argument
The tasks come from a wide range of subjects – from the fine arts and humanities to the social and physical sciences – but no task requires specific content knowledge.
GRE Verbal Syllabus:
The Verbal section or Verbal Reasoning measure of the GRE assesses test takers ability to:
- analyze and evaluate written material in the form of sentences, paragraphs, and passages
- synthesize information obtained from this material
- analyze relationships among component parts of sentences, and
- recognize relationships among words and concepts.
The GRE tests the above ability via the following question types:
- Reading Comprehension
- Sentence Equivalence
- Text Completion
About half of the questions on the test are Reading comprehensions which are based on passages and the number of questions based on a given passage can range from one to six. Passages are taken from the physical sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, arts and humanities, everyday topics, based on material found in books and periodicals, both academic and non-academic.
These questions test the ability to reach a conclusion about how a passage should be completed on the basis of partial information. Sentence Equivalence questions consist of a single sentence with just one blank, and they ask to find two choices that both lead to a complete, coherent sentence and that produce sentences with the same meaning.
A skilled reader maintains a constant attitude of interpretation and evaluation, reasoning from what they have read so far to create a picture of the whole and revising that picture as they go. Text completion questions test this ability by omitting crucial words from short passages and asking the test taker to use the remaining information in the passage as a basis for selecting words or short phrases to fill the blanks and create a coherent and meaningful one.
Vocabulary is the highly required skill for answering the Sentence Equivalence and Text completion questions.
Concepts and skills required for the GRE Verbal section:
Test takers are expected to possess an extensive repertoire of words. Sentence Equivalence and Text Completion questions require students to choose the best word/words for the blank/blanks in a given sentence or paragraph. Learning an entire dictionary is definitely not recommended, students need access to a reliable list of frequently tested words on the GRE, and at the same time work on strategies required for these vocabulary based questions.
There are no prescribed books that a student can read to prepare for this test. While passages from different genres are given in this section, what matters is how carefully you read the passages and answer the questions based on what you have read. Consistent timed practice using reliable material and taking full-length tests are ways in which you can improve your scores. Just reading and comprehending do not get you points. Thus, the section actually turns out to be a test of your ability to answer the questions rather than just your ability to read and comprehend.
GRE Math Syllabus:
The Quantitative Reasoning measure of the GRE or the Quant section of the GRE assesses High school mathematics and statistics – basic mathematical skills, understanding of elementary mathematical concepts. It does not include trigonometry, calculus or other higher-level mathematics. The GRE allows the use of a calculator in the Math section, however not all questions require you to use the calculator.
Some of the quant questions are based on real-life scenarios while other questions are based on pure mathematical settings.
Topics that are tested on the GRE Quant section are:
- Arithmetic-topics include properties and types of integers, such as divisibility, factorization, prime numbers, remainders, and odd and even integers; arithmetic operations, exponents and roots; and concepts such as estimation, percent, ratio, rate, absolute value, the number line, decimal representation and sequences of numbers.
- Algebra-topics include operations with exponents; factoring and simplifying algebraic expressions; relations, functions, equations and inequalities; solving linear and quadratic equations and inequalities; solving simultaneous equations and inequalities; setting up equations to solve word problems; and coordinate geometry, including graphs of functions, equations, and inequalities, intercepts, and slopes of lines.
- Geometry-topics include parallel and perpendicular lines, circles, triangles, quadrilaterals, other polygons, congruent and similar figures, three-dimensional figures, area, and perimeter, volume, the Pythagorean Theorem and angle measurement in degrees.
- Data analysis-topics include descriptive statistics, such as mean, median, mode, range, standard deviation, inter-quartile range, quartiles, and percentiles; interpretation of data in tables and graphs, such as line graphs, bar graphs, circle graphs, box-plots, scatter-plots, and frequency distributions; elementary probability of compound events and independent events; random variables and probability distributions, including normal distributions; and counting methods such as combinations, permutations, and Venn diagram.
Understanding the basic math concepts of the topics mentioned above is the required skills for the GRE Quant section.
Very often on the GRE, a question is tricky rather than hard. Therefore, careful reading and a systematic approach with techniques & strategies can get you a great score.
Contact our counselors to know more about the GRE and take a free diagnostic test to get started on your GRE preparation.