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Graduate School Admissions Tests
What is the GRE test?
The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is a computer-administered test used by many graduate programs to assess potential applicants.
The GRE takes roughly 3 hours and 45 minutes to complete. There are three sections to the GRE:
- Analytical writing
- Verbal reasoning and
- Quantitative reasoning.
Is the GRE test hard?
Compared to the ACT and the SAT, the GRE is usually considered more difficult because, even though the math tested on the GRE is a lower level than the math tested on the SAT and ACT, the GRE has more challenging vocabulary and reading passages.
The math problems also have more difficult wording or require higher-level understanding reasoning.
How long should I study for the GRE?
However, most people spend around one to three months studying a few hours a week for the GRE.
This means the amount of studying for the GRE could range roughly from eight hours (studying two hours a week for four weeks) to 120 hours (studying ten hours a week for 12 weeks).
How do I take the GRE?
You must register online to take the GRE in advance of your test date; walk-in GRE registration at test centers is not accepted.
The GRE costs $205 in most locations.
How many times can I retake the GRE test?
Candidates can appear for the GRE General Test once every 21 days, up to five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period.
How is the GRE scored?
GRE test-takers will receive three separate scores, one for each section.
Math and Verbal GRE scores fall on a scale of 130–170. Analytical Writing scores range from 0–6.
Some candidates will also see an additional experimental math or verbal section, which will not be included in the final score.
How long is my GRE score valid for?
Your GRE score remains valid for five years.
How important is my GRE score?
Schools differ in how they use your GRE score.
Some grad school programs weight GRE scores very heavily or have a minimum score for applicants, while other programs consider scores more of a formality.
We suggest asking your prospective grad school programs about the unique role the GRE test plays in their admissions and financial aid decisions.
What other standardized admissions tests might I have to take?
Depending on which subject you are applying for at grad school, you may also have to sit the:
Which grad school admissions test is easiest?
Many students will say the GRE test is the easiest to sit, with the MCAT being the hardest.
However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't prepare for the GRE - you still need to know how to answer the questions and do lots of practice if you are going to be successful.
Please see our GRE guide for tips and advice on how to prepare.