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All you do need to know about the GRE Test - 2019 Edition

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All you do need to know about the GRE Test - 2019 Edition [#permalink] New post 03 Nov 2017, 13:05
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All you do need to know about the GRE Test - 2019 Edition

Episode 1 - What is the GRE Exam/Test

For those of who are unfamiliar with the acronym of this exam (quite difficult but possible), The Graduate Record Examination is a test to measure students’ readiness for graduate-level work.
GRE test scores are required or accepted as an alternative to the GMAT, for admission to MBA, specialized masters and other postgraduate business programmes.

The GRE revised General Test measures your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking and analytical writing skills: these develop over a long period of time and are not related to a specific field of study, but are important for all.

As a matter of fact, nowadays, the world is changing faster: new jobs come up and old one disappear in a limbo that soon will become history that future students will learn in books which one of the chapters could easily be called " history of management". Related to this, more important than not, new skills are required. Surveys of the key skills employers seek in graduates continue to place so-called “soft skills” – like verbal and written communication skills, the ability to work collaboratively in teams and to influence others – in the top ten. However, an interesting report 2016 found that other skills – such as critical thinking, problem-solving, attention to detail, and writing – top the list of missing skills among job-seekers. Under this light, would be fascinating the reading 7 Critical Skills for the Jobs of the Future.

As it turns out, critical thinking and problem solving are on top of that " The idea that a company’s senior leaders have all the answers and can solve problems by themselves has gone completely by the wayside…The person who’s close to the work has to have strong analytic skills. You have to be rigorous: test your assumptions, don’t take things at face value, don’t go in with preconceived ideas that you’re trying to prove. "

This very important premise shows clearly not that much what is GRE itself (we ware going to delve into it very soon) but what it represents and most important why Business Schools since years awhile are stressing heavily on this test as "keeper", most often in combination with other factors such as undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation, and personal statements, to evaluate the candidate’s admissions file.

Even though the direct and really strong competitor of the GRE, the GMAT, detains an important market share yet, without a shadow of the doubts GRE is on the rise.
In this well-crafted article by GMATNinja GRE vs. GMAT, part VII: has the GMAT lost its edge? he writes about how the number of GMAT test-takers took a dive in 2013, and it hasn’t recovered completely — particularly here in the United States. Yet, in this one by NYT On Trial: GRE v. LSAT a handful of prestigious law schools, for the first time this admissions cycle, are allowing applicants to submit GRE scores instead of LSAT scores.

Which is very important is to bear in mind when you wanna take the test I.E. when you are ready to go, first off. Secondly, it is not less important to reserve a slot at the nearest test center with a reasonable time in advance. The computerized version of the GRE can be taken throughout the year at official Prometric® testing centers. There are also non-Prometric test centers that offer computer GRE testing. You can only take the computer-based general GRE once every 21 days and up to five times in one 365-day period. This as a general rule with few exceptions. For instance, in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea, where the computer-based GRE is only offered one to three times per month and at non-Prometric centers. keep in mind that this post is conceived as a thorough guidance for the test takers. However, our idea is to help you to achieve the best score you can. All the rest of it - whether you do have plenty of time to study or just one week, how to Find Available Computer-Based GRE Test Dates, which best exam-date or test center - can be easily found in the always-up-to-date GRE information Bulletin or via the 360° FAQ at ETS Website (very impressive how they explain every aspect around the GRE) or our extensive GRE Study Guide - Complete FAQ.

Moreover, if you wanna a faster (but for this reason no less complete) snapshot for a quick overview of the test here is a .ppt presentation

Become Familiar with the GRE General test.ppt [1017 KiB]
Downloaded 45 times
To download please login or register as a user

Episode 2 - What Does the GRE Evaluate and Test?

You will receive three scores for the GRE exam, one for each of the sections:

These scores are generated by the following sections:

1 Analytical Writing Assessment section
2 Verbal Reasoning sections
2 Quantitative Reasoning sections

In addition, you will see one of the following sections:

  • Unscored (may be either Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning)
  • Research (used for ETS research purposes).

The Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning sections are each scored on a scale of 130 to 170. The mean score for Verbal Reasoning is 151, and the mean score for Quantitative Reasoning is 153. The Analytical Writing Assessment is scored from 0 to 6 in half-point increments, and the mean score is 4.0.

GRE_Breakdown.png [ 7.86 KiB | Viewed 4438 times ]

Another alternative structure of the exam you might cope during your exam is the follow

GRE+Test+Overview+Old+Scale_+200+-+800+New+Scale_+130+-+170.jpg [ 97.24 KiB | Viewed 3805 times ]

At this point, the student wonders which is which, I.E. which is the exact sequence of the quant and verbal sections he/she might face during the exam; the answer is impossible to answer up-front.

The only sequence we are sure about is:

1. The Analytical Writing section always comes first (before all other test sections). (see above for the time allotted to the overall sAWA section, and the split between the two; actually, you do have 30 minutes per task)

2. The five Quantitative and Verbal sections, including the unscored section, can appear in any sequence.. For instance: Quant >>> Verbal >>> Quant >>> Verbal OR the other way around.

3. A 10-minute rest break is provided after the third section. Always st this stage.

4. Unscored Verbal or Quantitative section (30 or 35 minutes, approx. 20 questions). This section, according to the table above, will pop-ups in front of you but the tricky part is that it could be even the first verbal section or quant one just after the AWA. So you do not know precisely if the section is the "true" section or the experimental that is not scored. (ETS and GMAC during the GMAT insert these for future exams; I.E. they use the student as "guinea pig". Of course, all this is made to improve the test and the only way possible out is this. it is a good reason :roll: ).

5. Unscored Research section (Time and number of questions vary). This is a roulette-russa section, in the sense that it might or not appear at all. Either way, you should not be concerned about: it, if any, will appear to you at the end of the exam. As such, you will certainly know that is the research section and you will answer in a relaxing mode-on.

For The Analytical Writing Section, I remind you right away to my in-depth analysis at this post GREPREPClub Guide to AWA - The clear-cut.

For The Verbal Reasoning sections AND The Quantitative Reasoning sections, I strongly suggest you to read our FAQ for a fully deepening:

Episode 3 - GRE vs GMAT

In recent years even more Business Schools are accepting the GRE exam as default psychometric test in their application process.

Here there are a series of very interesting articles to read about:

When a comprehensive confrontation between the two exams come into the picture, several opinions or thoughts could be discerned in favor or against one of the exams. Trying to stick out for not getting lost into a maze, we can summarize them as follow:

  • More than five hundred thousand (500,000 ) students take the GRE exam vs more than 2 hundred thousand (200,000) students take the GMAT.
    The very first consideration we might say is that in the past years several shares market has been eroded by GRE to the detriment of the GMAT, this for several reasons such as: aggressive strategy , a cheaper exam, a very handful website and easy to register-process (with relative outstanding assistance) among others by ETS. Yet, of course, nothing is far perfect in the GRE land: in my opinion one of the weakest point of this exam is far fewer questions provided to the students (both free and on charge) for practicing. Pleanty of GMAT's resources outstrip in numbers those provided for the GRE exam.

  • The GRE is suitable for Master's Degrees AND for Business Schools vs GMAT mainly for Business Schools.
    Under this light, GRE certainly has an advantage to the GMAT. However, we do know that for the application in BS' the GMAT is universally accepted ( more than 6,000 business programs and 2,1000 Institutions) but the other way around is not true I.E. GRE is away far from this stage. Nonetheless, a duopoly is better than a monopoly.

  • The GRE is cheaper than GMAT
    We do have a substantial difference in price between the two: GRE $ 205 vs GMAT $ 250. This is not a minuscule difference in price for students. Regarding when(all over the year), where (in a test center in which you do have a controlled environment) and how (via computer) the tests could be taken, they are similar aside the fact the GMAT is only via computer and GRE is also provided up to 3 times per year in a paper-based format.

  • The way to go
    If you are stronger in math than verbal go for GMAT. If you are stronger in verbal than math go for GRE. If you are strong at both go for GMAT. This is a rule of thumb. As for the score: GRE the combined score ranges from 260-340 and GMAT from 200-800. GRE Total time 3 hours and 45 minutes vs GMAT 3 hours and 40 minutes. A well-combined score is for GRE 327 and for the GMAT 700

Gre-vs-GMAT-b.png [ 139.51 KiB | Viewed 4356 times ]

This is a marvellous infographic, updated until the end of 2017, by

Here is the link if you wanna see or download GMAT vs GRE

A preview

GREvsGMAT.png [ 132.21 KiB | Viewed 3956 times ]

Episode 4 - What is a good GRE score

This question is more complex than you think for several reasons:

  • It depends on your background such as your degree (you engineer rather than an English teacher), your level of competence, your mental flexibility, your strategy and so forth
  • It depends on your purpose. Submitting your score to Harvard Business School requires a different score (and higher) rather than apply to University of Montana
    School of Business. The first one is far more competitive.
  • It depends on how many time you do need to achieve the best score you are looking for. I.E. your study plan is set up on one-week study plan, one month, or one year.
  • Others "random" variables come into play the day of the exam: anxiety, confidence, good strategy to tackle every question and so on.

Of all these mentioned reasons, most of them are under your control but others do not (in particular the Schools requirement). Keep in mind in your preparation.

The first step to take off is to look at your school/s(your ball-park) and to see which is the minimum score requirement at that/those school/s you’re applying for.For comparison, the average score for all GRE test takers is currently a 150 for Verbal and a 152 for Math. 2017/18 Interpreting your GRE Score is an official resource at which you should always take a look.

At the end of the day: which is, specifically, a good GRE score ?? and when we consider this score universally good or enough for every kind of Business School do I wanna to apply for ??
Well, the answer are: we do have a range to the first answer and yes to the second one.

GRE Top Score
Verbal Quantitative AWA
163 - 170165 - 1705.0 - 6.0
GRE Competitive Score
Verbal Quantitative AWA
158 - 162159 - 164
GRE Average Score
Verbal Quantitative AWA
152 - 158153 - 1584.0
GRE Insufficient Score
Verbal Quantitative AWA
151 or <152 or <3.5 - <

Here is an example of a scorecard about a competitive score; the split.

new-revised-gre-test-format.jpg [ 24.88 KiB | Viewed 4350 times ]

Until now we have talked about the GRE score. It is the corner stone and the result of all our efforts in terms of money, study, will, lucky and all the rest of it. At the same time is pivotal to keep in mind that the score is only ONE piece of the puzzle. Of course, it is like our business card when we are going to have a job interview. However, who says is the only factor that counts in your whole-package application says the FAKE.
The reality is that good GRE scores are just one of the factors that can affect your admission chances. Grad and business schools are looking for the whole package, including:

  • Standardized test scores
  • your GPA
  • professional and hands-on experience
  • letters of recommendation
  • statement of purpose, etc.

keep in mind.

Episode 5 - YOUR Preparation

Your score depends on only and solely one key factor: YOU.
That says, there are key factors to take into account in your preparation as corollaries:

  • The GMAT is more difficult than GRE - half true

    The GMAT is a very daunting exam that relies heavily on quant skills (but after all they are more or less the same to overcome the quant section of the GRE) and that makes the verbal part a maze (obscure grammar rules, tricky proposition or displaced modifiers). Who does not in depth one or both of the exams thinks that GRE is easier. Well, it depends on you, your preparation, your skills, and your previous background. Moreover, there is a common myth the verbal part is difficult more on the GMAT. The answer is no. Why ?? because on the low/mid-mid/upper level the GMAT is a game. You can answer to an SC for instance only knowing an idiom or whether you know that before the beginning of the underlined part you need an infinitive to match the previous NON underlined one. It is a sort of Tetris. On the other hand, on the GRE exam, you can certainly memorize some vocabulary word but is impossible to retain in mind a long list of words and honesty is also a waste of time. Instead, even if you do not know exactly the meaning of that word you must concentrate on the meaning of the entire sentence and what it is trying to convey you. This is true only on the upper-level GMAT questions. As you can see GRE is difficult, not an easy game.

  • Practice makes you perfect - half true

    This is another common myth strictly related to the preparation for the GRE (GMAT as well if we wanna always stay in line with a sort of comparison)
    You can do 1000 questions and you always pick that question wrong whether you do not have strong fundamental (both quant and verbal). If you do not fix that notion, doing 1000 problems will not fix that error. On the contrary, it will cement your behavior. On the other hand, you really understand, for instance, compound exponents, doing 10 exercises will be enough to solve every kind on that question during the exam in a faster way.

  • How long should I study for the test?

    Even in this scenario, it depends.Take a diagnostic test and see where you stand. From then, move forward.More importantly, you need to be realistic about how much time you have to know how much you’ll be able to accomplish. Moreover, it is up to you the way to study: books, classes, a tutor, or online prep.Each of these has pro and negative side. They are a self-evaluation. For sure, here on our board, we do have plenty of study material, both on the theory side and on the practice side. We do have, also, a very strong FREE test to practice

  • Keep a thoroughly study plan and error long.

    They are, in my opinion, pivotal factors to achieve not only the best score but also actualize it in a consistent manner, without wasting time.

Episode 6 - The GRE AWA Section

Please refer to our guide for a complete understanding how to tackle the very first section of the test

GREPREPClub Guide to AWA - The clear-cut

Episode 7 - The GRE Quantitative Section

The quantitative reasoning part of the test can be backbreaker mainly for two reasons:

  • The concept tested are not difficult but tricky enough. After all the concepts used are the same used in your high school

    • Basic geometric properties (circles, triangles, quadrilaterals, etc.)
    • Integer properties
    • Exponents and roots
    • Word problems
    • Basic statistic

  • Your math is rusty

GRE_Quant_question_types.jpg [ 30.23 KiB | Viewed 4318 times ]

The questions even though are in different format, precisely four, (see Quant GRE Question types? (syllabus and format) for a full grasp of these four types of questions we are talking) they can be clutered into two main categories: Problem Solving and Quantitative Comparison.
The first category is composed of

The second category is a unique format of the GRE test. It can be very very tricky due to the fact that you could have two quantities to compare even without the guidance of a brief stem before.

Let's take a look at one QC hard from the official software

The list price of a certain tool is x dollars. In Store A the original selling price of the tool was $50 less than the list price, and the current selling price is 10 percent less than the original selling price. In Store B the original selling price of the tool was 10 percent less than the list price, and the current selling price is $50 less than the original selling price.

Quantity A
Quantity B
The current selling price of the tool in Store A
The current selling price of the tool in Store B

A) Quantity A is greater.
B) Quantity B is greater.
C) The two quantities are equal.
D) The relationship cannot be determined from the information given.

Solution can be found here

As you can see, the question is wording, tricky and to solve it in about one minute (on average) is not an easy task. Remember that The Quantitative Reasoning Section is split into two sections, each 35 minutes long, with 20 questions per section.

Episode 8 - The GRE Verbal Section

The Verbal Section of the test relies massively on vocabulary. It is certainly true that memorize lot of words will come in handy during the exam but keep in mind that this exam test vocabulary in context.
See Verbal GRE Question types?(syllabus and format) for an in-depth overview of the 3 question types you will face off:

RC and TC are pretty standard in their approach to solving. Instead, SE is an unique future crafted by ETS. Let's take a look

Once White stepped down from a political platform, where his daring, _________ speeches provoked baying applause from audiences, he was courteous and considerate even to politicians he had just slandered in the speech.

❑ florid
❑ defamatory
❑ calumnious
❑ inveigling
❑ timorous
❑ diffident

For the correct solution see here

For a very well done explanation of the number of these different questions type and their relative split (I.E the way they will appear and the possible sequence), during the two sections see GRE Verbal Section: Question type breakdown.

Episode 9 - Resources

Here on grepreclub we do have a bunch of resources to help you to smash test at the highest level. See them in any stage of your preparation and over:


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Last edited by Carcass on 04 Mar 2019, 14:22, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: The GRE Test [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2018, 11:49
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I believe there is an error in the "GRE Revised Test Structure" chart. The optional 10 minute break comes after the third section. According to the ETS website, the two essays at the beginning of the test is consider as one section. So the optional break occurs at about two hours into the test when the test taker completes both essays and two sections.
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Re: The GRE Test [#permalink] New post 14 Jan 2018, 12:04
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Fixed :)

Many thanks to pointing out that small but important detail. I had missed it.


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Re: All you do need to know about the GRE Test - 2019 Edition [#permalink] New post 22 Feb 2019, 10:56
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@Update the first post.


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Re: All you do need to know about the GRE Test - 2019 Edition [#permalink] New post 15 Mar 2019, 20:36
Many thanks for sharing such important information.
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Re: All you do need to know about the GRE Test - 2019 Edition [#permalink] New post 22 Mar 2019, 22:24
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I liked the way you explained why it is necessary to take GRE test.
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Re: All you do need to know about the GRE Test - 2019 Edition [#permalink] New post 24 Mar 2019, 15:41
Thanks for this. Good to know what's considered good/ average scores. Might need to up my game. :)
Re: All you do need to know about the GRE Test - 2019 Edition   [#permalink] 24 Mar 2019, 15:41
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All you do need to know about the GRE Test - 2019 Edition

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