Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standardized test administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) for admission to graduate programs in United States of America and other English speaking countries. This test has a mandatory general subtest commonly called GRE general test and an optional subject test. The subject tests are available in eight areas- Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Literature in English, Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Computer Science and Psychology. The GRE general test examines verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing ability of a test taker.
GRE scores are considered as one of the criteria to get admission into graduate programs. An applicant therefore, must have completed an undergraduate program. GRE exam tests common aptitude gained through undergraduate education which is not associated with any specialized area of study. It is the reason that its test scores are taken into consideration by many business schools world wide equivalent to GMAT or in place of GMAT.
GRE general test has four sections- verbal, quantitative, analytical writing and experimental. The verbal section examines language skills, vocabulary and understanding of sentences and passages. There are questions based on reading comprehension followed by passages, sentence completion and fill in the blank type questions. The quantitative section is derived from high school mathematics. It consists of multiple choice questions which might be solved using mathematical formula, general mathematical ability and use of graphs. In the analytical writing section, one has to write two essays, one on two of the given topics and other on an argument. The essay on given topic verifies candidate’s ability to arrange thoughts and present them in a logical manner while other essay is based on analysis of given argument and presenting one’s opinion in favor and opposition of it. The experimental section is not scored and may appear in any of the three sections. There can be a possibility that the experimental section may be absent in a set or appear as a distinct section in the last.
The verbal section consists of 30 items that are to be solved in 30 minutes while the quantitative section has 28 items with allotted time of 45 minutes. The essay on issued task in the analytical writing section is given 45 minutes and second essay, on argument task 30 minutes.
GRE is a computer based and computer-adaptive test. It is taken on paper only in those regions where computer based test is not possible due to technological limitations. It was question-wise computer adaptive prior to 1st August 2011, but is now section wise computer adaptive. The difficulty level of questions increases as a test taker answers the questions correctly while decreases as the questions are answered incorrectly. The score of a section is evaluated according to number of questions attempted, questions answered correctly, questions answered incorrectly and difficulty level of the questions attempted. The scores of verbal and quantitative sections are scaled in a range of 200 to 800 in 10 point increments. The score of analytical writing section is scaled in a range of 0 to 6 points in half point increments. The score of analytical writing is an average of scores awarded by two examiners. If there is a difference of more than one point between the scores awarded by two examiners, essays are checked by a third examiner.
There are authorized testing centers for GRE throughout United States and other countries. An applicant has to register and take the test on an allotted date and time. The registrations can be done on official website of Educational Testing Service (ETS), by phone or via email. Appropriate exam fees must be paid whether registration is done any way. A registration confirmation number is given on registration through website or phone. A voucher request form is mailed to the bulletin address, in case, registration is done through mail. Moreover, all authorized information about registration is available in GRE test bulletin at the official website of ETS.
GRE exam fees vary from country to country. It can range from US $130 to $210. There can be relaxation in fees for economically backward applicants.