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An Overview of the GRE general test

The GRE General Test is a multiple-choice examination designed to measure the verbal, quantitative, and analytical skills you have developed in the course of your academic Career. Because there is a strong correlation between high GRE scores and the probability of success in graduate school, many graduate and professional schools require that their applicants take the GRE general test. (They may also require their applicants to take the appropriate GRE subjects test; these tests are offered in seventeen fields.)

There are seven sections on the paper and pencil GRE : two verbal sections, two quantitative sections, two sections testing analytical ability, and one experimental section is not counted in the scoring. The verbal sections measure your ability to use words as tools in reasoning ; you are tested not only on the extent of your vocabulary but also on your ability to discern the relationships that exist both within written passages and among individual groups of words . The quantitative sections measure your ability to use and reason with numbers or mathematical concepts; you are tested not on advanced mathematical theory, but on general concepts expected to be part of everyone's academic background. The analytical sections measure your ability to make rational assessments about unfamiliar, fictitious relationships and to think through arguments logically. You are given 30 minutes to answer the question in each section ; you may not go back to a section once the time for that section has elapsed.

There are three very important points you should be aware of :

1. Each question on the written exam is worth the same number of points. Whether it was easy or difficult, whether it took you 10 seconds or 2 minutes to answer, you get the same number of points for each question answered correctly.

2. In each group of questions, the questions tend to go from easy to more difficult. This means that the first analogy; question in a group will probably be easier that the seventh analogy; question in that group, and so on (An exception is the reading comprehension questions, which are not ordered by the level of difficulty.)

3. The GRE general Test does not penalize you for incorrect answers. Leave no questions unanswered . When uncertain about an answer, guess-and mark your guesses. You can always come back to them if you have time.

Keep these three points in mind as you learn more about what's on the test, and the tactics and strategies that will help you maximize your test score.


How does the GRE differ from other tests?

Most tests students take are achievement tests. They attempt to find out how much the student learned, usually in a specific subject, land how well he or she can apply that information. Without emphasis on memorized information, the GRE general test measures verbal, mathematical, and analytical reasoning ability that you have developed both in and out of school.

How can I Determine which is the Experimental Section?

Do not waste time in the examination room trying to identify the experimental section. Do your best on all seven sections. Some claim that most often the last section is the experimental part. Others claim that the section with unusual questions is the one that does not count. Ignore the claims: you have no sure way to; tell. If you do encounter a series of questions that seem strange, do you best. Either these are experimental and will not count, in which case you have no reasons to worry about them, or they will count ,in which case they probably will seem just as strange and troublesome to your fellow examinees.

Should I Guess?

Yes, definitely on the general test. Unlike the subject tests which may have a guessing penalty, the General Test simply gives credit for correct answers; if does not penalize ones that are incorrect. If you are running out of time, eliminate any answer choices you feel sure are wrong. Then go ahead an guess. On the General test guessing at an answer is ALWAYS better than not responding at all.

On the Written Test, Is it Advisable to Begin by Doing All the Easy Questions First?

Yes, but don't devote too much time to any one question, even if you think it should be an easy one for you. Usually the earlier questions of each type, except for the reading comprehension questions, are easier than the later ones. Most tests begin with "warm-up" questions. But what is easy for one person may be hard for another, so it is good advice not to get bogged down with any one question. Remember, on the written test all questions carry the same points value. After a reasonable amount of time, guess. Just make sure you make a note of your guesses in your test booklet, so that you can come back to them if you have time.

How Important is Scrap Work on the GRE? Scrap work on the GRE is important only to the degree that it is helpful to you. You may write in the test booklet as much as you choose. Don't hesitate to mark key words or phrases in the verbal and analytical sections. Do any necessary mathematical calculations on or near the problem. Since scrap work is not scored , keep it down to a minimum to save time. Be careful not to do any scrap work or leave any stray markings on your answer sheet. The machine that scores the test may mistake a stray mark for a second answer and give you no credit for a question. Use your test booklet as your guessing guide . Circle any questions to which you want to return. Cross out any answer choices you are sure are wrong, so that you don't spend time considering them again.

When and Where is the Test Given?

The GRE is given five times a year at test centres throughout the world. Tests fail on Saturdays in February, April. June, October and December. In June, only the General Test is given. On the other four dates, the General test is given in the morning and the Subject tests are given in the afternoon. Candidates whose religious convictions prohibit their tests on Saturday may arrange for Monday dates. In New York State, where public disclosure standardized tests is required by law, a curtailed testing schedule is in effect. Your college counseling office will have information about the exact test dates and should be able to provide you with a registration form. If a registration form is not available at your school, request one by mail from Graduate Record Examinations, Educational Testing Service, CN 6000, Princeton, NJ-08541-6000. You will receive with it a copy of the current GRE information Bulletin, a helpful booklet containing sample questions and informationís about services and fees.

How and When are GRE scores Reported?

The General Test raw score, the number of correct answers, is converted to a score on a scale of 200 to 800. With no correct answers at all, a student would still have a score of 200. With one or two unanswered or incorrectly answered questions, a student could still have a score of 800. Separate scores (from 200 to 800) are given for the verbal, quantitative, and analytical reasoning sections, your score report will include both your scaled scores and your percentile rank indicating the percent of examinees scoring below your scaled scores on the general test. You should receive your score report in the mail approximately six weeks after the test date

What is the Computerized GRE option Iíve Heard Mentioned?

In March 1992 the graduate Record Examination Board announced a new option for test-takers: the computerized GRE. In the not-too-distant future, virtually all GREs will be administered on-line, and students need guidance in handling this new format of the test. Refer to chapter 13 for a complete description of this test.

GRE Test Format

The following seven sections are on the written test. You will be given 30 minutes to complete each of them.
38-question verbal section
38-question verbal section
30-question quantitative section
30-question quantitative section
25-question analytical section
25-question analytical section

an experimental section (which can resemble in content any of the six sections described above)
These sections always appear on the GRE, but their order varies. The organization within each section does not vary greatly.

Verbal Section
1-7 sentences completion question
8-16 analogy questions
17-27 reading comprehension questions
28-38 antonym questions

Quantitative Section
1-15 quantitative comparison questions
16-20 discrete quantitative (standard multiple-choice questions)
21-25 data interpretation questions (tables/graphs)
26-30 discrete quantitative (standard multiple-choice-questions)

Analytical Section
1-5 analytical reasoning questions
6-8 logical reasoning questions
9-22 analytical reasoning questions
23-25 logical reasoning questions

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