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Student Preparing for GRE testGraduate Record Examination or GRE is a standardized test that is an admissions requirement for many graduate schools in English speaking countries. Created and administered by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the exam is primarily focused on testing abstract thinking skills in the areas of math, vocabulary, and analytical writing. It is required for admissions to most graduate programs other than Law, Business and Medicine. GRE today can get you into graduate school and help your chances of getting your scholarship in the Universities. GRE now is a computer-based exam and is offered all over India and can be taken any day one wishes.

The exam consists of three graded sections, plus a required experimental section that is not included in the reported score. The three graded sections are analytic writing, verbal, and quantitative. The analytic writing section will always appear first, while the verbal, quantitative, and experimental sections may appear in any order on the test. An additional non-scored and clearly-marked optional research section may also appear at end of the test. The entire test procedure takes about 3 hours.


Analytic Writing Section

The analytic writing section consists of two different essays, an "issue task" and an "argument task". The writing section is graded on a scale of 0-6, in half-point increments. The essays are written on a computer using a word processing program specifically designed by ETS. The program allows only basic computer functions and does not contain a spell-checker or other advanced features. Each essay is scored by at least two readers on a six-point holistic scale. If the two scores are within one point, the average of the scores is taken. If the two scores differ by more than a point, a third reader examines the response.

Issue Task

The test taker will be able to choose between two topics upon which to write an essay. The time allotted for this essay is 45 minutes.

Argument Task

The test taker will be given an "argument" and the test taker will be asked to write an essay that explains why one "side" of the argument is superior. The time allotted for this essay is 30 minutes.

Verbal Section

One graded multiple-choice section is always a verbal section, consisting of analogies, antonyms, sentence completion, and reading comprehension passages. Multiple-choice response sections are graded on a scale of 200-800, in 10 point increments. This section primarily tests vocabulary, and average scores in this section are substantially lower than those in the quantitative section. This section consists of 30 questions and 30 minutes are allotted to complete the section.

Quantitative Section

The quantitative section, the other multiple-choice section, consists of problem solving and quantitative comparison questions that test high-school level math. Multiple-choice response sections are graded on a scale of 200-800, in 10 point increments. This section consists of 28 questions, and test takers are given 45 minutes to complete the section.

Experimental Section

The experimental section will be either a verbal or a quantitative section that contains new questions that ETS is considering for future test editions. This section will not count towards the test-taker's score, however the section will appear identical to either the "actual" verbal or quantitative section and will likewise be a multiple-choice test with the same amount of questions and the same time allotment as the "real" verbal or quantitative section. The test taker will have no way of knowing which section is experimental, so the test taker is forced to complete this section.

Research Section

An additional research section may appear at the end of the test. Unlike the experimental section, this section will be clearly marked and will be completely optional. The test taker's participation or refusal to participate will not affect the reported score in any way.


The multiple-choice portions of the exam currently use computer-adaptive scoring methods that automatically change the difficulty of questions as the test taker proceeds with the exam, depending on the number of correct or incorrect answers that are given. The test taker is not allowed to go back and change the answers to previous questions, and some type of answer must be given before the next question is presented.

The first question that is given in a multiple-choice section is considered to be an "average level" question that half of the GRE test takers will answer correctly. If the question is answered correctly, then subsequent questions become more difficult. If the question is answered incorrectly, then subsequent questions become easier, until a question is answered correctly.

ETS claims that this method can effectively pinpoint a test taker's true score by offering questions that are just above and below the test taker's ability.

However, the score for getting each question correct is weighted by its level of difficulty, and the first five or so questions of the exam will determine the general range of the test taker's ability, while the subsequent questions will pinpoint that range in more exact terms. Therefore, it is in the best interest of the test taker to not only answer every question as correctly as possible, but to pay extra attention to the first 5 or so questions, as they will determine the general range of the final score.

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