Getting into Graduate School is tough enough on its own, but in order to do so, there is one last test that you need to do well on if you want extra insurance on your application. That test is the GRE or Graduate Record Examination. Not related to, or testing a specific field of study, this test instead is to be a culmination of all of your learning up to this point. It is designed to test your analytical writing as well as your verbal and quantitative reasoning. Test locations are spread out across the United States which are called "Test Centers" and if there is specific information you need about the test, these are the people to contact. The test is also done on a computer, so it is easier to grade and to complete for the people taking it. Each year thousands of hopeful students take the GRE, all with the hope of scoring well and assisting their application process.
What is the Graduate Record Examination Comprised of?
When you are taking the GRE, there are 3 sections that you will be tested on, and there are specific reasons why you are being tested in those areas. With each section, different types of skills of the test-takers are required, and this gives the reviewer of the scores a general overview of the applicants intelligences in those 3 areas.
Analytical Writing Section:
This section measures each persons abilities to articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively, to examine claims and accompanying evidence, to support ideas with relevant reasons and examples, to sustain a well-focused, coherent discussion, and to control the elements of standard written English. The writing is expected to be well thought out, and to be concise in its arguments. Critical thinking and the analytical thought that goes into the writing is graded the most intensely, with only a little focus put on grammar or spelling. In this section there are two tasks for which you are to respond, and each of the tasks will weigh into your final score for this section. For the first part, which is the "Issue Task", two tasks are presented, and one is chosen to be answered. The second part is the "argument task", where an argument must be taken according to a scenario presented.
Verbal Reasoning Section:
In this section, the test-taker is tested on their ability to analyze and evaluate written material and synthesize information obtained from it as well as analyze relationships among component parts of sentences, and recognize relationships between words and concepts.
The verbal and quantitative scores will depend on the performance on the questions given, and on the number of questions answered in the time allotted.
Quantitative Reasoning Section:
For this final section, takers of the GRE are required to show their understanding basic concepts of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis, to show they are able to reason quantitatively, and solve problems in a quantitative setting.
Taking The Test:
When you sit down to take the exam, know that you are in for about 3 hours of work in this sitting. For the analytical section you will spend 45 minutes on the Issue Task, and then 30 minutes on the Argument Task before hitting the other sections. The Verbal Section is 30 questions with 30 minutes to answer them, and the Quantitative Section is 45 minutes with only 28 questions being asked. You can plan out just about how much time you can spend on each question by figuring out how many minutes on average you will be able to take. Knowing that before you jump into the exam can help you to pace yourself as you are taking it.
Each of the sections is scored a little differently, with the verbal and quantitative reasoning sections being scored between 200 and 800 points, with 10 point increments. The analytical section is the average of two reviewers, who award a score of 0-6 in 1/2 point increments to the essays. For the verbal and quantitative sections, the scores are of course based on the number of correct answers for the questions that were answered. Being computer based, the questions will rotate based on random selections, and the final scores will be based on the assigned difficulty of the questions given to a particular test taker. Your final score will then be based on a 1600 point scale, with an additional score between 0 and 6 for your analytical section.
Preparing and then Taking the GRE:
Knowing what is going to be asked is almost as important as showing up to the test itself, because it gives you plenty of time to prepare for the Graduate Record Examination. The national GRE site (www.ets.org) actually provides free information such as frequently asked questions, practice tests, and topics that the essays could possibly be on. By taking a quick look at those study materials a test taker can get ahead in the game, and go into the test with a clear mind of what to expect. Upon registering for the exam, each person is also sent software that can be studied from in their own homes. Registration is of course done online as well, and you pay up front for the privilege of getting to take the test. The importance of the GRE cannot be underscored for those people looking to attend a Graduate School, because it is simply that important. Taking the time to prepare, and taking the time to glean any knowledge you can about the test will only serve to benefit every test-taker in the end.
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