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The GRE is a 4-hour computerized exam required for admission to graduate school. The maximum score on the GRE, which is a combination of the Quantitative and Verbal sections, is 340.
The multi-stage format presents questions according to each individual’s ability level. These questions are chosen from a pool of test questions categorized by content and difficulty. The MST GRE will adapt on the section level rather than on the question level. In other words, the computer will select the next section (not question) based on how you did on the previous section. You will be able to skip a question or go back to change it later by using a new mark and review feature. A key part in preparing for the GRE is to understand the MST format and how your score is determined.
The GRE has three sections – a Verbal Section, a Quantitative Section and an Analytical Writing Section. The Quantitative and Verbal Sections are each out of 170 points making the highest possible score on the GRE a 340. The Analytical Writing Section is scored on an independent scale where a student gets a score from 0 to 6, with 6 being the highest. The Analytical Writing Score does not affect the overall score out of 340 points.
There are three sections to the GRE: the Analytical Writing Section, the Quantitative Section, and the Verbal Section. The Analytical Writing Section consists of two writing tasks: Argument Task (30 minutes allotted), and Issue Task (30 minutes allotted). The Quantitative Section contains approximately 40 questions (2 sections of 30 minutes each). The Verbal portion contains 2 sections containing approximately 20 questions (35 minutes allotted per section). An unidentified Verbal or Quantitative pretest section may be included and may appear in any order after the Analytical Writing Section. It is not counted as part of your score. An identified research section that is not scored may be included and it will always be at the end of the test.
The GRE is administered year-round in testing centers all across the country. The only restriction on taking the test is that you may not take the GRE more than one time in any calendar month, even if you have taken the test and canceled your scores. When you should take the GRE depends on the application deadline of the school to which you are applying to and if you think you may need to take it more than once. For students taking the GRE in August or September 2011, scores will not be available until November. Consult the admissions offices of your prospective schools about their schedule.
To register online, visit www.ets.org
To register by phone, call (800)-GRE-CALL (473-2255).
To register by mail, obtain the GRE Authorization Voucher Form here; you can use this method only if you are paying with fee waiver or options other than a credit card. You can then send your form to:
P.O. Box 371859
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7859
The General Test will cost $160 for individuals testing in the United States, U.S. Territories, and Puerto Rico, and $190 for individuals testing in all other locations. A limited number of GRE fee waivers are available for college seniors and non-enrolled college graduates who meet the eligibility requirements. Waivers may be used for one General Test and/or one Subject test and/or one Writing Assessment. Contact your financial aid office to see if you qualify.
The only chance you have to cancel your score is immediately after you finish the exam but before you see your scores. After they have been reported to you, they cannot be canceled. If you cancel your scores, they cannot be reinstated, and you will not be eligible for a refund.
You may take the GRE no more than once in any calendar month. If you take the GRE multiple times, some graduate schools may average your scores. You should call the schools to which you are applying to find out their policy and then plan your strategy accordingly. If you repeat the test, your scores from the latest test date and the two most recent test administrations in the last five years will be reported to the institutions you designate as recipients.
The average student scores around a 150 on both the GRE Verbal and Quantitative sections and a 4 on the Analytical Writing Section. A good score might be considered anything above 155 on the Verbal section and above 160 on the Quantitative section. However, what constitutes a good score will vary by school and by program. You will likely need a higher score to be admitted to a prestigious graduate program. Also consider that programs in mathematics and sciences will place more emphasis on Quantitative scores, while Verbal section scores are more important for programs in the humanities. To determine your specific goal, research the admissions requirements for the school and program you are interested in. This table represents information compiled from the websites of individual programs. It is subject to change and should be verified with the school.
In addition to the GRE, admission officers generally look at your transcript, prior work experience, recommendations, and your essays in your application packet. While the GRE is not the only criterion used for admissions, it can have a big impact on whether or not you are accepted to the graduate school of your choice. While admission requirements vary widely among schools and among programs within a school, most graduate programs require scores for the GRE General Test or a GRE Subject Test or both.
The choice of school depends on financial factors, overall academic rank, specialty degree areas, locality, and more. Generally speaking, it is best to get into the highest ranked school for your targeted specialty area that you can; otherwise, pick your nearest best option that leverages your personal situation.
Before deciding on a part-time or full-time program, check with each individual school in which you are interested in to find out the advantages and disadvantages of their programs.