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GRE General Test: Benefits of Taking the Test

GRE General Test

What is GRE?

The Graduate Record Examination abbreviated as GRE – is a multiple-choice, computer-based, standardized exam that is most times required for admission to graduate programs and graduate business programs in countries like the United States and Canada. Thus, making it a very important step in graduate school or business school applications.

The GRE was established in 1936 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and is owned and developed by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

The GRE general test is used to provide graduates and business schools with common measures for comparing the qualification level and evaluate how prepared the applicants are for graduate level academic work. This means that, graduate and business school admissions committee look at your GRE score, alongside your academic record and other supporting documents to determine your preparedness for the rigidity and demands of graduate school.

The GRE general test is not just some tool that is only used to measure how prepared applicants are for grad school, this test is designed to also predict how successful you are likely to be as a grad student.

To qualify for participation in the GRE test, you must be very fluent in English language and must be a bachelor’s degree holder or an undergraduate student who is about to graduate college.

The GRE general test measures your knowledge on basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis. It also tests how conversant you are in the field of basic college-level vocabulary. GRE is most important in measuring accurately, your ability to analyze and evaluate written material. Also, GRE measures your ability to think critically and solve problems.

The exam lasts a duration of 3hours 45minutes which includes; a 1minute break after each session and a 10-minute break after the 3rd session. The GRE score or grade has a validity period of 5 years.

The 3 sections contained in the GRE are;

Verbal reasoning: This section measures accurately your vocabulary (the words you know and if you use them in the right context) and your ability to comprehend or understand materials.

Quantitative reasoning: This section measures your ability to solve problems and your basic or fundamental knowledge in arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis.

Analytical writing: Your ability to construct a cogent essay with the use of clear evidence and correct grammar including spelling, punctuation and capitalization is measured in this section.

The computer-based GRE test can only be taken once after 21 days from the day of the exam in every year. This also applies in situations where candidates cancel scores on a test taken previously.  Whereas, the paper-based GRE test can be taken as often as it is offered. You should know that the paper-based test is offered only in countries or areas where computer-based testing is not available.

There are about over GRE test centers in more than 160 countries.

Why takes GRE?

You should consider taking a GRE if…

Any of your programs require GRE scores

If any of your programs require that you must have GRE scores, then you would need to sit for the exam. You cannot apply for that program without a GRE score and if you decide not to sit for the exam, it means that you wouldn’t be studying for that program.

Any of your programs recommend GRE scores

None of your programs may require GRE scores but might recommend it. it’s a good idea to just go ahead and take the test because, it will create for you an extra component to the application you would be submitting for the program you want to participate in. This can in fact boost your chances of getting into the program, especially if your GRE scores are solid.

You want to be considered for merit-based funding

In addition to undergraduate CGPAs, faculty and departmental recommendations and other factors of application, many grad schools use GRE scores to determine an applicant’s eligibility in order to be granted merit-based funding. If you intend applying for programs that are not fully funded but offer merit-based grants, I recommend that you take a GRE.

Admission committees use it as a way to cut down applicants

Admission committees will juxtapose your GRE scores with those of other applicants or maybe previous applicants that are now students. By doing this, they determine what GRE score would be used as a pass mark to gain entry into the school. Once they have gotten the minimum GRE score, all applicants that fall below that score are therefore disqualified and denied entry into the school. The stronger your GRE score is, the higher your chance to getting into a grad school is.

You intend applying to any grad school within the next 5 years

If your dream is obtaining a PhD or a master’s degree, then be sure that within the next 5 years you would be applying to a grad school in order to get one or both of those degrees. As long as you have intentions of going to grad school, you should take a GRE. You should consider taking the test when there is no rush. You can even decide to retake the test if your GRE score is not as solid as you want it to be.

You want to make up for a weak spot in your application

If you have an unavoidable weakness in your application such as, a low GPA or mediocre letters of recommendation. Taking a GRE is the next best thing to do in order to make up for your weak spot.

Presently, thousands of master’s and doctoral programs accept GRE scores, this includes more than 1,200 business schools of which several are top-ranked MBA programs. GRE are also accepted by many fellowship sponsors. This therefore leaves us with the interpretation that- at least, one of the programs you are applying to will require GRE scores. Especially if you intend applying for a Ph.D. program. So, it is advisable that you take the GRE as long as you intend going to grad school. Having a GRE score will give you a more competitive advantage over other applicants that are applying to the same school.