Scores on the GRE are among many factors used to assess graduate school applicants. No matter which you take, you'll want to excel on the test.
Here are some steps we recommend to make sure you get the score you need for admission.
Understand the Test
The GRE is comprised of three sections — verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing.
- Verbal Reasoning
- Reading comprehension questions will ask you to assess short passages on both academic and nonacademic topics.
- Text completion questions will ask you to fill in multiple blanks with appropriate words from a list of options.
- Sentence equivalence questions will ask you to choose two words that could be used to produce completed sentences that are alike in meaning.
- Quantitative Reasoning
- These questions assess basic mathematical skills and understanding of elementary mathematical concepts.
- Content of questions includes arithmetic, basic algebra, basic geometry, and data analysis.
- Some questions are multiple-choice format while others require entry of a numeric answer.
- Analytical Writing
- This section includes two compositions, with 30 minutes provided to write each one.
- In critical reasoning questions, you will be asked to construct and evaluate arguments.
- In sentence-correction questions, you will be asked to evaluate sentences for proper grammar, structure, and diction.
Study in Advance
The GRE includes question types that will only become familiar with practice. It’s worth noting that questions will change in difficulty level depending on your performance.
There are many study guides and programs promising results on the GRE, many of which charge a fee — UNCG offers a discount on The Princeton Review test prep. Investing in a well-reviewed test prep program can pay dividends, but you don't have to part with cash to get prepared. Free study software is available for the GRE and you can download it here.
Understand the Question
The verbal and quantitative reasoning sections have some questions that require a single answer choice, while others ask for multiple answers and then others require you to enter a numeric answer. Make sure you know what’s expected.
Skip Difficult Questions
The testing software has a “mark and review” feature that enables you to mark questions you would like to revisit during the time provided for that section. The software also allows you to review all the answers you’ve marked in that section, with the option to go back and change answers within the allotted time.
Answer Every Question
The number of questions you answer correctly will determine your scores on the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections. There is no penalty for getting a question wrong, so don’t leave any answers blank.
Mind the Time
No question carries greater weight than any other, so don’t waste time pondering questions you find extremely difficult. Start with the easier questions you can answer quickly, then go back to thinking about the difficult questions if you have time.
Manage Time During Analytical Writing
You only have 30 minutes for each writing task. It’s important to budget time not just for writing, but also for thinking about the issue, planning a response, and checking for errors at the end.
Find the Right Testing Center
If you don’t mind driving, there are many options for taking the GRE. When considering where you want to take the GRE, don’t forget to pick a day and time where you’ll be able to focus on the test with the least distractions. You likely don’t want to drive for hours to reach your testing site, but you don’t want to rush to get there right after work either.
You can check the availability of nearby testing centers online here.