Is grad school in your future?

If you are exploring graduate or business school as your next step after graduation, you may have seen a reference to the Graduate Record Exam or GRE. But do you know what it is, why it is necessary, or how to begin the testing process? Although we have tried to cover all the bases with the information included below, we have also included links at the end of the article to assist you with further research.

The Graduate Record Exam (GRE) is a four-hour computerized exam required for admission to graduate school. It is the most commonly required admission test for graduate school. The test is an assessment of your critical thinking, analytical writing, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning skills.

 The purpose of the test is to help graduate schools assess whether you are a good fit for their program. Admission officers usually look at your transcript, work experience, recommendations, and your essays in addition to your GRE scores. However, keep in mind that although the GRE is not the only criterion used for admissions, it can have a big impact on whether you are accepted to the school of your choice. Specific test and score requirements vary between schools. So, be sure to check the requirements at each school to which you are applying.

 The General Test will cost $160 if you are testing in the United States and its territories, and $190 if you are testing in any other location. There are a limited number of GRE fee waivers available for one test if you meet eligibility requirements. Contact your financial aid office for information regarding your eligibility.

The test is administered in a multi-stage format that presents questions according to each individual’s ability level. The computer will select the next section based on how you did on a previous section. You are able to skip a question or go back to change it later. A paper version is also available for testing centers that are not equipped to administer the computer-adaptive version.

The three sections of the test are analytical writing, verbal, quantitative.

The maximum score on the GRE, which is a combination of the quantitative and verbal sections, is 340. The analytical writing section is scored separately. An average score is around 150 for both the verbal and quantitative sections and a 4 on the analytical writing section.

When planning your test-taking strategy, keep in mind that some graduate schools average your scores. If you choose to repeat the test, your scores from the last three tests, within 5 years, will be sent to the schools you request.

The GRE is offered year-round in testing centers all across the country. You may take the test as many times as you like, as long as you do not take it twice in any calendar month. Your testing date will depend on the application deadline of the school to which you are applying. For instance, if you test in August or September, your scores will be ready in November.

There are about 700 test centers in more than 160 countries.

Local centers for the computer-adaptive or paper test are located in Beckley, Charleston, Huntington, and Morgantown. Alternatively, you may take the paper test in Buckhannon at West Virginia Wesleyan.

You may sign up at a private nonprofit Educational Testing Service that administers test sponsored by the College Board. You may also register by phone at 800-GRE-CALL (800-473-2255) or use the the register by mail option.

The following links will give you additional information about the GRE, GRE test preparation, and the graduate school admission process:



Stanford GRE prep

Deciphering the GRE




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