What Is The GRE?


The GRE® General Test is a standardized exam taken by prospective applicants hoping to join graduate school. For those who wish to earn an MBA, the GRE is an increasingly popular alternative to the GMAT® Exam. It is owned and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS).

What Does The GRE Consist Of?

The GRE consists of six sections: the analytical writing section, which is always administered at the beginning, is broken up by timed issue and argument tasks. This is followed by two separate verbal reasoning sections, two quantitative sections, and either a experimental section at the end that consists of either math or verbal questions. After the analytical writing section, the following sections five may appear in any order.

The GRE is considered a multi-stage exam, where the performance of the test-taker determines the difficulty of the following sections. The entire exam is three hours and 30 minutes long on paper, or, three hours and 45 minutes long on a computer, with separate one minute breaks after each section except for after the third section, which is 10 minutes in length.

Should I Take The GRE or GMAT?

Taking either the GRE or GMAT examination is usually a requirement for entry in all business schools. Compared to the GMAT, those who take the GRE generally agree that the math portion is easier, with test-takers allowed to use a calculator. Students that excel more at verbal, written portions may argue the GMAT is a preferable option.

For those who wish to obtain multiple degrees that are not exclusively business-center, the GRE may be a better option. There are six subject-specific GRE exams, with topics in biology, chemistry, English literature, math, physics, and psychology.

The GRE examination is also slightly cheaper ($195 USD) than the GMAT ($250). You can read more about the differences here.

How Are GRE Scores Calculated Compared to the GMAT?

The GRE gives you a score based on your essay (0-6), your verbal section (130-170) and your math section (130-170). The GMAT gives you a score based on your essay (0-6), an Integrated Reasoning subscore (1-8), a math subscore (0-60), a verbal subscore (0-60), and a total score (200-800) based on your verbal and math subscores. Because the metrics vary considerably, the best way to find out the score you should be aiming for is to simply call the admissions office at the schools of your choice and ask.

Where Can I Take The GRE?

According to the Educational Testing Service, “The GRE General Test is available at more than 1,000 test centers in more than 160 countries. In most regions of the world, the computer-delivered test is available on a continuous basis throughout the year. In Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, the computer-delivered test is available up to three times per month. In areas of the world where computer-delivered testing is not available, the paper-delivered test is available up to three times a year in October, November and February.”

You can register with ETS here.

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