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GRE- Graduate Record Examinations(Revised)

Updated on August 20, 2021
SANJAY LAKHANPAL profile image

I have been a college teacher and journalist. As a freelance content writer, I research the subject to write without prejudice and malice.


Revised Graduate Record Examinations or rGRE score is an admission requirement for many graduate courses, professional and business schools in the US, Canada, UK and other English-speaking countries for English-taught programs. This test is also taken by students seeking admission to any foreign university for graduate and Masters or Ph.D. degrees.

The GRE has been created and administered in 1949, by Educational Testing Service (ETS) under the aegis of US College education board on behalf of Council of Graduate Schools and GRE Board.

The information about the rGRE test is provided free by "GRE Information Bulletin" and you can register yourself online from the GRE site.

ETS has changed the pattern of the GRE exam, to make it more student friendly and less complicated than other exams. This new computer-based examination pattern conducted worldwide checks the preparedness of students for graduate level work. It also helps the universities to properly evaluate the students and make the right choice to enroll the deserving candidates.

The new pattern is effective from August 2011.First come, first served, is the basis of rGRE General Test appointments. The rGRE scores are valid for five years, but most of the top universities do not consider the scores which are more than two years old.

The changes to the three sections of the rGRE test paper are in accord with acumen needed in graduate schools. The rGRE score is more reliable for the schools than the mark sheets. You have an option to cancel your previously test taken scores.

It is a multiple choice test to evaluate verbal reasoning, mathematical skills and writing abilities which not related to any specific field of study.

If you decide to apply to the graduate school later, then you'll already have rGRE scores to send to different schools, because the scores are good for five years. Soon after registration, the study materials is provided and the candidates always have enough time for preparation.

Versions of rGRE test:

The two versions of the rGRE test are the following.

The rGRE General test format evaluates verbal reasoning; quantitative reasoning; critical thinking and analytic writing skills. Applicants must submit their rGRE scores along with certain other documents as an important part of the overall process of admission to the desired graduate schools. This test is conducted every month and within any 12-month period, the limit of available chances to appear in the test are no more than five.

The rGRE subject test is compulsory for the students seeking Masters or Ph.D. degrees in most of the US universities. Some graduate schools also require this test. The test subjects are Literature in English, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Biochemistry, Biology, Cell and molecular biology, Computer Sciences and Psychology. The subject tests are held worldwide in April, October, nd November.

The candidate should check the score report mailing date when selecting a test date as per the needs.

Computer adaptive test

The duration of computer-based rGRE General Test is about three hours and 45 minutes. It has six sections with a 10-minute break following the third section.

Unit A -Analytic Writing (Section 1 "Analysis of an Issue" and Section 2 "Analysis of an Argument" with allotted time, 45 minutes and 30 minutes respectively)

Unit B -Verbal Reasoning (Section 3, 4, having 20 questions per section with allotted time 30 minutes per section)

Unit C -Quantitative Reasoning (Section 5, 6, having 20 questions per section with allotted time 35 minutes per section)

In computer adaptive multiple choice standardized test, the computer adapts the level of the questions to the ability of the student. First, the questions of medium difficulty level are administered. If the candidate answers these questions correctly,t hen more difficult questions are given, otherwise easier questions are administered. At every stage, the computer tailors the test to the level of the student. The score depends upon the number of questions attempted and the number of correct answers.

In verbal and quantitative ability sections of computer adaptive test, each question has five answer options, with one right choice, and only one question appears at a time. The quantitative comparison questions have only 4 answer choices.

Questions in verbal and quantitative sections are asked randomly, and not in groups or in any particular order. It cannot be predicted that what type of question will come next.

The candidate has to mark an answer to the question currently available on screen before moving to the next question. Unlike old pattern, the rGRE permits going back and forward in a particular section to modify or change the answers.

Ranging from easy to hard, the questions are graded into 5 categories of difficulty levels, and more points are given for the right answers to the harder questions. In the beginning of the test, every candidate is given question of difficulty level 2 or 3.

Candidates are penalized if they do not complete the test. The score depends on accuracy, the difficulty level of the questions attempted and the total number of questions solved.

The rGRE General test is more challenging, but friendlier and flexible. An on screen calculator is provided for quantitative reasoning section.

Paper based test

Paper-based rGRE General Test is also offered in areas of the world where computer-based technological requirements.are not available. All test centers are not open for all the dates of the test.

Like the computer-based test, the rGRE General Test is also conducted only once, per calendar month, and no more than five times within any 12-month period. This applies even if the candidate cancels the scores of the previous test. Use of computers is allowed for the Paper Based rGRE General test.

The duration of paper-based revised rGRE General Test is about three hours and 30 minutes. The test consists of six sections with a 10-minute break following the second section.

Unit A -Analytic Writing (Section 1"Analysis of an Issue" and Section 2"Analysis of an Argument" with allotted time, 30 minutes per section)

Unit B - Verbal Reasoning (Section 3,4 having 25 questions per section with allotted time,35 minutes per section)

Unit C - Quantitative Reasoning (Section 5, 6 shaving 25 questions per section with allotted time, 40 minutes per section)

The Analytic Writing sections always come first, while the other four sections may appear in any order.

Pattern of the rGRE

The exam pattern is objective with multiple-choice questions. After analytic writing section, an unidentified verbal or quantitative experimental section (not counted as part of score) may also be included and may appear in any order.

There is a one-minute break between all the six test sections with 10 minutes break in the middle of the testing session, which is informed by an on-screen message. Section timing does not stop if a candidate takes an unscheduled break.

The rGRE which is the largest revision in the history of GRE has the following changes which are carried out in paper-based test too.

Unlike the old pattern the rGRE permits to go back and forward in a particular section and modify or make changes in the answers.

Analytic writing section has no major changes except more emphasis on focused responses instead of generalizations.

The new verbal section has maximum changes with more complex reasoning and no questions on vocabulary, antonyms and analogies will be asked.

The quantitative reasoning allows the use of a calculator and instead of arithmetic calculations, puts more emphasis on reasoning ability, data interpretation and real life scenarios.

Due to changes in the verbal and quantitative sections, the new score range is 130-170, with 1 point increments, instead of previous 200-800 and 10 points increment. The scale for analytic section is the same as 0 to 6 with increment of 0.5 point.

The GRE and its official website has made the new preparation material and practice papers available for the aspirants to make familiarize them with the new format of exam.

Analytical writing section

This section requires two short essays to be written. They are, Analysis of an Issue (45 minutes duration)and Analysis of an Argument (30 minutes). In the first one you evaluate a logical argument from the given issue, and in the second you have to express your views on a critical issue.

In the first task, you have to choose 1 out of 2 essay topics selected by the computer from the pool of topics. The second essay requires your expression the subject which does not offer the choice of topics, but the computer here comes with a single topic selected randomly from the stock of topic pool.

This section measures critical thinking and analytic writing skills together with your ability to articulate and support complex ideas clearly and effectively, to examine claims with accompanying evidences, to sustain well-focused and coherent discussion, to construct and evaluate arguments in favor or in opposition to the given idea, to support ideas with relevant reasons and examples, to control the elements of standard written English.and to sustain a focused, clear and coherent discussion without cynicism and strong opinions. It is not to evaluate any specific or content knowledge.

In both the essays, the emphasis is on the analytic and not on writing skills that are a concise essay with well-reasoned points written in simple English is better than an essay without introspective elements and may be excellent writing skills.

The computer gives you the option to take10 minutes break after both essays or you can move directly to the next section. Despite your finishing the essays before the stipulated time, the break will still be of the same duration.It is an opportunity to use this break by gearing up for the next tougher sections.

Verbal Section

It has two sections containing 30 questions in 30 minutes duration for each section with 200-800 as the score range.

This section measures the ability to analyze and evaluate written material and to synthesize the information obtained, to analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and to recognize the relationships between words and concepts. It also checks the reading comprehension, verbal and analogical reasoning and focuses on the ability to analyze and evaluate written material.

The section requires basic skills of grammatically correct English, good vocabulary, excellent reasoning and appropriate analysis.

The questions are related to analogies, antonyms, reading comprehension, and completion of sentence, with no fixed sequence or fixed number for each type.

The three types of questions are about sentence equivalence, text completion and reading comprehension.

Sentence equivalence measures, what you conclude from the sentence completion, on account of your understanding of the meaning of the sentence.

Text completion requires an ability to evaluate, interpret and reason from the reading of the text.

The reading comprehension evaluates your ability to draw conclusions and to analyze from the given passage with summarizing the text.

Quantitative Section

There are two sections in this part, each containing 25 questions on mathematics to be completed in 40 minutes duration for each and Score range: 200 – 800.28 questions in 45 mins.

The test measures the ability to understand basic arithmetic, geometry, algebra, problem-solving, data Interpretation, quantitative reasoning and mathematical skills up to the level of high-school.

The questions are related to Percentages, Number Systems, Fractions & Decimals, Algebra with Quadratic Equations, Geometry with Basic Coordinate Geometry, Area and Volume of 2-D and 3-D figures, Ratio and Proportions and Probability. This list is not complete and the questions from beyond these topics may also be there. But the emphasis is given to real life problems and interpretation of data.

There are multiple choice questions with more than one correct answer which require the selection of all of the correct answers from the given choices. The numeric entry questions require an entry in boxes provided for answers.

Test fee

The rGRE test fee is as follows.

For students taking the test in US or US Territories and Puerto Rico is $140.

For students taking the test in China (including Hong Kong), Korea, and Taiwan is $195.

For students taking the test in all other locations is $170.

The above fee structure is subject to change without any notice. The above amount does not include the taxes which are to be paid along with the above-quoted amounts.

Test fees include reporting the scores to 4 universities of your choice. If on your test day, you want to report your scores to additional universities, or you do not want to report your scores to any university and would like to do so later then the fee is US$20 per university.

How to prepare for the test

Many resources are available for rGRE preparation. The ETS provides the preparation software(Power Prep), containing two practice tests of retired questions, other practice questions and review material, after your registration for the test. The software can be useful to predict the actual score of the student because it contains both the test format and the type of questions used.

Various online companies provide books, course material and other preparation materials for practice. The best course to crack the rGRE is a judicious mix of different resources.

Remember the following tips to crack the rGRE test.

1.The student must become familiar with the overall questions and test formats.

2.Take advantage of free resources on the internet.

3. Become familiar with two sections for each of the three areas, and an extra un-scored section and its contents which will vary.

4. Remember the directions for each section of the test because by skipping the directions during the test will save your time.

5.Take as many practice tests as possible. The more you practice, the more familiar, comfortable and expert you become with the test format.

6.To make your study interesting, solve some logic puzzles and mathematical games to prepare for the math portion.

7. Remember the time limits for each section.

© 2013 Sanjay Sharma


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