If you plan on attending grad school, you’ll most likely have to take the GRE. Use this as an opportunity! If you practice and prepare, your score on the GRE can show schools that you are an exceptional graduate school candidate. The number of students taking the GRE grows each year, and many MBA programs now let applicants choose between the GRE and the GMAT. Therefore, proper preparation is more important than ever. Whether you need GRE tutoring in New York, GRE tutoring in Chicago, or GRE tutoring in Los Angeles, working one-on-one with an expert may be just the boost your studies need.
Before you dive into the tested material, you must understand the structure and purpose of the test. The GRE is used to evaluate each applicant’s aptitude and ability to succeed in any graduate program. Therefore, it does not require a specific undergraduate course of study. Don’t panic if you haven’t taken a math class since high school! Perhaps, instead, you love math, but haven’t written an essay in years; that’s ok too. Every test taker has a different skill set, and the test makers specifically create the test with that in mind. Varsity Tutors also offers resources like a free GRE diagnostic tests to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider a GRE tutor.
If you take the GRE in the United States, your test will likely be computer-based. You’ll have access to pencils and scratch paper, as well as an on-screen calculator. The test is adaptive by section, meaning that if you score well on a Verbal section, you will face a harder Verbal section next than you otherwise would have received if you had answered more questions wrong on the first Verbal section. You can also flag questions that you would like to return to later on.
The first section of the revised GRE is Analytical Writing. This consists of two thirty-minute essays. The Issue essay will give you a prompt with a specific issue; you are expected to take a stance on this issue and discuss its complexities. The Argument essay will present you with a short argument to evaluate, asking you to point out and discuss any logical fallacies you find. Keep in mind that you you won’t have any type of spell check or grammar check available. It’s very important to practice writing essays under timed conditions, so don’t skip this section when you review!
The next two sections of the test are Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning. These can appear in any order after the Analytical Writing section, but every test taker is guaranteed to get two thirty-minute Verbal Reasoning sections and two thirty-five-minute Quantitative Reasoning sections. All four of these sections contain twenty questions each. It is also possible to see an additional Research section or an additional Verbal Reasoning or Quantitative Reasoning section; if you are asked to complete one of these additional sections, it will not be scored, but you may not be able to tell which of your Verbal or Quantitative sections will not be graded, so it is best to treat each section with which you are presented them as potentially determining your test scores.
Verbal Reasoning consists of Reading Comprehension, Text Completion, and Sentence Equivalence questions. Reading Comprehension questions will give you a passage to read, and then one to six questions will follow. In total, you will see about ten passages. Text Completion questions ask you to choose words that best complete a blank in a sentence. Sentence Equivalence questions are very similar to Text Completion questions, except that you must choose two answer choices for each blank in a sentence, selecting the two words that complete the sentence in the same manner.
The Quantitative Reasoning section covers arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and data analysis. Notice that pre-calculus and calculus are not tested! Every tested concept is at a high-school level or below, so the key to performing well on this section is lots and lots of practice. As daunting as it might first appear, you really have learned this material before; be patient with yourself when you work through your first problems. It really will get easier!
Varsity Tutor’s free GRE flashcards are perfect for this type of review. You can focus on a single section or the whole test, both on your computer and on the Varsity Tutors mobile apps! If a specific topic is giving you trouble, then work through some GRE flashcards on that material. Don’t forget to create a free Learning Tools account to track your progress, ensuring you target the areas that need improvement and reinforce your strengths. In addition to the GRE help section and GRE tutoring, you may also want to consider taking some of our GRE practice tests. At the end of all this practice, you’ll feel confident and prepared on test day!