The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is a standard test run by a company called the Educational Testing Service (ETS) which administers the exams. The test is a requirement for admission to many graduate schools in most commonwealth countries and the United States.
In many countries, the GRE general test is available as a computer based exam administered at selected testing centres. Paper based exams are only used in those parts of the world where computer based exams are unavailable.

The cost of the test is 160 dollars in the United States and Canada. However the ETS can reduce the fee on account of proven economic hardship.

The exam is meant to measure critical thinking, verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing skills acquired over many years of study and are not related to any field of study.

The exam is made up of four sections. The first section is a writing section unlike the other three which have multiple choices. Among the multiple choices sections, one section will test verbal skills, another will test quantitative skills while the final is an experimental section which is not included in the final score. Candidates don't know which section is an experimental question so they are forced to attempt all questions. The entire test takes four hours.

The verbal section comprise of analogies, sentence completion and reading of comprehension passages. Multiple choice sections are graded on a scale of 200-800 in increments of 10 points. The section tests vocabulary and the mean scores are lower than those in the quantitative section. The section has 30 questions to be completed in a maximum of 30 minutes.

There are two essays in the analytical writing section, one is an issue task while the other is an argument task. A special program designed by ETS is used to write the essays .The section is graded on a scale of 6 with half point increments.

The issue task allows the student to choose one of the two topics provided and write an essay about. Test takers are provided with an argument and asked to consider the logic in the argument and make proposals on how to improve the logic in that argument. The time allowed is 30 minutes.

The quantitative section entails solving problems and quantitative comparisons testing high school level of mathematics. The multiple choice sections are graded on a scale of 200 -800 with increments of 10 points. 45 minutes are allotted for this section which has 14 quantitative comparison questions, 10 discrete multiple choice questions and 4 data interpretation questions.

The experimental section can either be quantitative, analytic or verbal with many questions that ETS is considering for use in the future.

Computer Adaptive Testing (CAT) is used in the common multiple choice portions of the test. This allows the candidate to revisit questions and change the answer.

ETS provides a preparation software called Powerprep which has practice tests of past questions as well as practice questions and review materials. Subject tests are done in many undergraduate institutions but the computers based test is taken at test centres with the appropriate technological facilities. Students in major US cities have a good number of approved test centres in different states.

About Author / Additional Info: