The GRE consists of three main parts: the Analytical Writing section, the Verbal Reasoning section and the Quantitative Reasoning section. Each are designed to test your handle on skills that are integral to a successful graduate educational experience. The test lasts 3 hours and 45 minutes. Directions indicated at the start of each section lay out the number of questions in it and the time allotted.
The GRE is one of two standardized achievement examinations for business school admissions in the United States, as well as for various graduate studies programs. It was first administered in 1949 by Educational Testing Service (ETS). In 2011, the test was revamped and extended in length. The Educational Testing Service (“ETS”), which administers the GRE, claims the changes are the “largest revisions” in the GRE history. Check with your graduate program or business school to find out whether you should take the GRE.
Over the years, the test has been redesigned to render it less intimidating and frustrating. Presently, you are allowed to amend your answers or skip questions and return to them later on within a given section, allowing you to utilize any personal strategies you have developed to approach standardized tests. Moreover, in order to reduce unnecessary, time-consuming arithmetic, a calculator is supplied for the Quantitative Reasoning section.
Though there are still a couple places in the world where the GRE is administered on paper, in the United States, Canada and most other international locations, the test is computer-based and formatted as such. It has six sections:
|Section||Questions||Section Time||Section Topics||Scoring|
|GRE Analytical Writing Assessment||2 separately timed writing tasks||30 min per task||1 30-minute essay: Analysis of an Argument; 1 30-minute essay: Analysis of an Issue; 2 Essays in total||0-6, half-point increments|
|GRE Verbal Reasoning||About 20 questions per section||30 min per section||Reading Comprehension; Text Completion; Sentence Equivalence; 2 Sections in total||130-170 score scale, 1-point increments|
|GRE Quantitative Reasoning||About 20 questions per section||35 min per section||Quantitative Comparisons; Multiple-choice questions (select 1 answer choice); Multiple-choice questions (select 1 or more answer choices); Numeric entry questions; 2 Sections in total||130-170 score scale, 1-point increments|
|Experimental (Unscored)||About 20 questions||30-35 min section||An unidentified verbal or quantitative pretest section may be included and appear in ANY order after the AWA section. Not counted as part of the score||Not Counted|
|Research||Varies||Varies||An unidentified section may be there at the end of the test. Not counted as part of the score||Not Counted|
|Total Time||3 hours 45 minutes (including unscored section)||260 - 340 total; Analytical writing from 0-6.|
In the Analytical Writing section, you are instructed to write concise responses to open-ended questions. High scores result from an answer that is well-organized, logical and strategic in the manner that the question is addressed. Scorers prefer responses that directly answer the question, and note carefully any wavering, deviating or rambling in the response.
You may also find an identified research section during the test. This section furthers the Educational Testing Service's research and will not be included in your test score. The purpose of the unscored section is to evaluate new questions for future use and also to ensure continuity in scores from one version of the test to the next.
The Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and unscored sections may be presented in any order, and you are not made aware which section is the unscored one. You need to treat each section as if it is scored.
For the Analytical Writing section, each essay is reviewed by two readers, who grade them on a scale of 0-6. The readers will grade the essay as a whole, taking into account its organization, succinctness and the general quality of argument put forth by the writer. Then, the two readers' scores are combined and averaged. The average is rounded up to the nearest half-point decimal and the result is the single score the test-taker receives. The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections of the GRE are adaptive which makes the scoring process slightly different.
Depending on your performance in the first part of either section, you will receive either easier or more difficult questions in the next. First, the raw score, that is, the number of questions answered correctly against the number of questions, will be computed. Then, this score will be recomputed in consideration of the level of difficulty of the questions you answered. The process also considers minor fluctuations from test to test.
This scaled score is the final score the test-taker will receive and will fall within a score range of 130 to 170, in 1-point increments, for both the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections.
The content on the GRE revised General Test better mirrors the types of reasoning, critical thinking and analysis students will face in graduate and business schools, to more closely align with the skills your candidates need to succeed.
The verbal section eliminates all questions on antonyms and analogies. It places more emphasis on higher-level cognitive skills making it a truer, deeper assessment of their ability to understand what they read and how they apply their reasoning skills. Test takers encounter more complex reasoning and no vocabulary out of context.
Emphasizes the data interpretation and real-life scenarios test takers will encounter to better gauge their skills. To reduce the emphasis on computation, calculators are available to test takers. Computer-based test takers have an on-screen calculator and paper-based test takers are provided calculators at the test center. More focus on coordinate geometry and statistics.
Did not change dramatically, but new topics were introduced that require more focused responses, reducing the possibility of reliance on memorized materials, so test takers can more accurately demonstrate their skill in directly responding to the task presented.
The GRE is about 4 hours (the old GRE: 3 hours) and can be taken at any one of many test centers in the United States at any time and around the world 5 or 6 times a year.
The GRE composite score ranges from 260 to 340 with each section on a 130-170 score scale in 1-point increments. The two multiple-choice sections are Quantitative and Verbal. There are two sub-sections within Verbal or Quantitative section. The writing section does not get factored into the composite score, but has its own, unrelated score. The old GRE composite score ranges from 400 to 1600 with each section on a 200-800 score scale measured in 10-point increments. There is just one section, not two within Verbal or Quantitative section.
Why the score change? The new GRE scores will be more accurate to the abilities of the test taker and no longer overstate small differences between examinees.
If you have taken the GRE multiple times, all scores will be evaluated by the admissions officers for your chosen programs. Some programs will put greater weight on the higher score and be more impressed by a significant increase in score than two similar scores. Other programs will choose to judge applicants by the highest scores in each section. Averaging scores is uncommon.
The national mean new GRE score is to be determined. The old GRE has a mean of about 462 in Verbal, 584 in Quantitative and 4 for the writing assessment.
The regular score reporting date is 10-15 after the test. However, there is a 2-3 month delay for test takers in August and September of 2011.