GRE Blog – Test Prep Guide

The GRE is offered by Education Testing Service (ETS).
GRE Test Prep
Revised General Test is the most widely accepted by graduate schools around the world.

Revised GRE is offered from August 2011.

What is GRE?

Prospective graduate and business school students can take GRE. test. Schools require GRE test to evaluate applicants for Graduate school admission. GRE General Test provides a common measure for comparing candidates’ qualifications.

GRE scores are used by admissions committee members in addition to applicants academic profile – undergraduate records, recommendation letters, statement of essay and other requirements.

Test Content and Format

GRE Test content includes three different sections.

  • Verbal Reasoning
  • Quantitative Reasoning
  • Analytical Writing

Verbal Reasoning — Measures your ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it, analyze relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize relationships among words and concepts.

Quantitative Reasoning — Measures problem-solving ability, focusing on basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry and data analysis.

Analytical Writing — Measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills, specifically your ability to articulate and support complex ideas clearly and effectively.

GRE Test Content – Computer Based GRE

Section Number of Questions Time Score
Analytical Writing
(One section with two separately timed tasks)
One “Analyze an Issue” task and one “Analyze an Argument” task 30 minutes per task 0 to 6
Verbal Reasoning
(Two sections)
20 questions per section 30 minutes per section 130 to 170
Quantitative Reasoning
(Two sections)
20 questions per section 35 minutes per section 130 to 170
Unscored Varies Varies 130 to 170
Research Varies Varies Not Scored

 

Test Scores

GRE test scores are valid for five years after the testing year in which you tested (July 1–June 30). Currently, scores earned from July 1, 2007, to the present are available.

GRE Test Contents include 3 sections and GRE test taker will receive individual section score in the GRE score report.

GRE Test Scores

Section Scores
Verbal Reasoning 130–170, in 1 point increments
Quantitative Reasoning 130–170, in 1 point increments
Analytical Writing 0–6, in half point increments

If no questions are answered for a specific measure (e.g., Verbal Reasoning), then you will receive a No Score (NS) for that measure.

Old GRE Test Scores

Section Scores
Verbal Reasoning 200–800, in 10-point increments
Quantitative Reasoning 200–800, in 10-point increments
Analytical Writing 0–6, in half-point increments

If no questions are answered for a specific section (e.g., Verbal Reasoning), then you will receive a No Score (NS) for that section.

How is GRE Test Scored?

Revised GRE is Multi-Stage test where its section level adaptive.

GRE Test content includes 2 verbal and 2 quantitative sections. Then one unscored verbal or quantitative section.

Depending on the performance in section 1, the test taker is routed to one of several alternative second-stage tests, each of which consists of a fixed set of questions and differs on average difficulty.

Section 1 and Sections 2 will contain 3 levels of questions

  1. Easy
  2. Moderate
  3. Difficult

Moderately difficult level of questions will be given to test takers in Section 1. Based on your performance you will get one of 3 levels in section 2.

  • Score 165 in Section 1, then you will be routed to Difficult Level in Section 2.
  • If you score 135 then you will be routed to Easy Stage 2

Another variation can be

  • Stage 1: Moderately Difficult
  • Stage 2: Very Easy, Easy, Moderate, Difficult and Very Difficult

The GRE revised General Test is offered at 700 test centers in more than 160 countries.

Computer-based GRE test is available on a continuous basis throughout the year in most parts of the world.

In Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Korea, the computer-based test is available one to three times per month.

Where computer-based testing is not available, the test is offered in a paper-based format up to three times a year in October, November and February.

Consider the following factors before deciding to take GRE

  1. University deadlines
  2. You target GRE score
  3. Current GRE Score level
  4. Time commitment ( to prepare for GRE) to reach target GRE Scores

Best Time to Take GRE?

Best time to take GRE is based on 4 factors listed above.

You have to plan in advance about registering for GRE, then work backwards to test prep, time required to reach your target GRE score.

Best time to take GRE, is when you have enough time to apply to Universities for the semester you plan to apply as well.

There is myth about GRE Exam will be hard during months of November and December.

There is no truth to the above myth. GRE Exam will test your skills. It doesn’t mater when you take GRE, your scores will reflect your skill level.

GRE Test Centers vary based on GRE test format

  • Computer Based GRE
  • Paper Based GRE

Computer Based GRE

  • The GRE® revised General Test is given year-round at computer-based test centers in most locations around the world. Appointments are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Score reports are mailed to you and the score recipients you designate approximately 10–15 days after your test date. You can view your scores online at My GRE approximately 10–15 days after your test date.
  • You can take the GRE revised General Test (computer-based and paper-based) only once every 30 days, and no more than five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period. This applies even if you canceled your scores on a test taken previously. If you take only the paper-based GRE revised General Test, you may take it as often as it is offered.

Paper-based GRE revised General Test

  • Paper-based GRE revised General Test administrations are offered in areas where computer-based testing is not available.
  • Not all test centers are open on all test dates. Download the Test Center List (PDF) for testing locations.
  • Be sure to check the score report mailing date when selecting a test date.
  • You can take the GRE revised General Test (computer-based and paper-based) only once every 30 days, and no more than five times within any continuous rolling 12-month period. This applies even if you canceled your scores on a test taken previously. If you only take the paper-based GRE revised General Test, you can take it as often as it is offered.

 

GRE Test Scoring : Raw Score to Equating

Understanding Revised GRE Test Scoring will help you prepare better for the Revised GRE test.

After attending ETS – Revised GRE Webinar, they gave interesting details on how Revised GRE Scoring works, which I didn’t find in ETS Revised GRE Site.

GRE Test Scoring Details

The Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning measures are section-level adaptive. This means the computer selects the second section difficulty is based on your performance on the first section.

Within each section, all questions contribute equally to the final score. For each of the two measures, a raw score is computed. The raw score is the number of questions you answered correctly.

The raw score is converted to a scaled score through a process known as equating.

The equating process accounts for minor variations in difficulty among the different test editions as well as the differences in difficulty introduced by the section-level adaptation.

Thus a given scale score reflects approximately the same level of performance regardless of which second section was selected and when the test was taken.

  • Raw New GRE Score = Number of Questions Correct
  • Raw GRE Scores is converted to Scaled Score by Equating
  • Scaled Score will be in Range 130 to 170

Revised GRE Scoring – Example

Will there be difference in GRE Test scoring if a student A and B got total of 15 questions right in following order

  • Student A
    • Section 1 – 5 Right
    • Section 2 – 10 Right
    • Total Correct – 15
  • Student B
    • Section 1 – 10 Right
    • Section 2 – 5 Right
    • Total Correct = 15

Based on Section-level New GRE Scoring, student A and B will not have the same scores.

This where you have to understand the process of Equating in Revised GRE Scoring.

After you complete section 1 (say Verbal), section 2 will be tougher than section 1. So, value per question in section 2 will be higher.

Within each section, all questions contribute equally to the final score.

Which means, score for each question between 2 sections is not the same.

Equating factor is multiplied with RAW Score to adjust for question toughness and question variations.

I’m not sure of Equating factor is available per question or section wise. But, unlike Old GRE scoring, where each question’s value is based on answers to your previous question.

But in section-level New GRE, difficulty level of questions in section 2 depends on your performance in section 1.

 

Cancelling GRE Scores

You will find answers to following questions answered in this article – Cancelling GRE Scores.

  • What is GRE Score Cancellation?
  • How to Cancel the GRE Score?
  • When to Cancel the GRE Scores?
  • Cancel GRE Scores after test?

What is GRE Score Cancellation?

ETS offers an option for GRE Test taker to cancel the GRE Test Score at end of the test, but before you can view the unofficial GRE test score in the computer monitor.

How to Cancel the GRE Score?

After you have completed all the GRE Test sections and before you can view the unofficial GRE scores, you will have an option to cancel the GRE Test score.

If you view your test scores at a computer-based revised GRE General Test, you cannot cancel them at a later date.

When to Cancel the GRE Scores?

Under what circumstances should I cancel the GRE test scores?

With new GRE ScoreSelect option, I don’t see a need for any GRE Test taker to cancel the GRE Test score.

Before ScoreSelect option was introduced, all the previous GRE test scores taken in last 5 years will be reported to the institutes.

Since, test takers now have an option to report  their best GRE test score, you don’t have to cancel the GRE scores.

If in case your score is below your target score, this experience should help you improve GRE Score in next attempt.

I know few  GRE test takers who cancelled their GRE score accidentally.

It is possible to reinstate cancelled GRE Scores by paying $30 to ETS within 60 days of the test date.

Cancelling GRE Scores after test?

It’s not possible to cancel your GRE test score after you have viewed the unofficial GRE Test score.

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