What is the GRE test?

What is the GRE test? GRE stands for Graduate Record Examinations. This is a general test to gauge the analytical, verbal and quantitative abilities of a person interested in attending graduate school. Anyone considering the pursuit of a master’s degree or a Ph.D. must take the GREs before applying to schools. GRE test results are reviewed by graduate schools when considering applicants.

The Educational Testing Service (ETS) administers the GRE test several times a year in locations across the United States. There is a three-hour time limit for taking the test.

The GRE test is divided into three parts: analytical, verbal and quantitative, with a certain amount of questions given per section. In the analytical section of the GRE, the test taker is asked to show his or her ability to understand and relate complex ideas, conduct research and support conclusions through reasoning and factual information. This involves critiquing a given argument as well as presenting an argument based on one of two provided issues.

The verbal section of the GRE test measures a test taker’s ability to retain and evaluate information within sentences and to determine logical connections between concepts and words. Reading comprehension, sentence completion, analogies and antonyms comprise the verbal section. Finally, the quantitative, or mathematical, portion of the GRE revolves around arithmetic, geometry and algebra problems.

The GRE test is graded based on the number of correctly answered questions; however, the value of each correct answer is determined by the difficulty of the individual question. Each portion of the test–analytical, verbal and quantitative–is scored individually. Verbal and quantitative scores range from 200-800, while the analytical portion is scored on a scale of 0-6.

The GRE is a general test to gauge a test taker’s overall understanding of three basic areas of thinking. Some graduate schools require potential students to take a GRE subject-specific test, which is offered in the areas of mathematics, literature, chemistry, biochemistry, biology, physics, psychology and computer science.

When reviewing applications, a graduate school review panel typically looks at a candidate’s GRE scores as well as his or her undergraduate GPA and personal recommendations. While the GRE is a standard test, it is considered to be highly respected by those who review applications and select students for graduate school programs. That’s what the GRE test is all about.

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