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New GRE Test Pattern and Strategies

If you have been applying for graduate schools in the United States, we understand how difficult it must be for you to keep up with all the revisions that have a tendency to come up exactly when you thought you know what to expect when you sit down for your examination.

What is the GRE?

The GRE refers to the Graduate Record Examinations, which is a standardized test that is a requirement of getting admission in most of the United States graduate school. The Educational Testing Service (ETS) owns and administers the GRE. It was first established by the Camegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1936.

Reason of taking GRE

As per the ETS, GRE is an important test as it measures the knowledge of the candidate. They basically use this test result to examine the knowledge of the candidate that he/she has acquired during the period of his/her education. GRE is important if the aspirant need to pursue your higher studies – Masters and PhD. Your test scores are valid for a period of 5 years.

The GRE test is basically conducted in two formats:-

  1. GRE General Test
  2. GRE Subject Test

What is the GRE exam syllabus for the GRE General Test?


1. Verbal Reasoning Ability – this section measures the ability of the candidate to

  • Analyze and draw conclusions
  • Understand the perspective of the author
  • Understand and summarize the structure of the text
  • Identify important points so as to be able to differentiate between relevant and irrelevant points.
  • Understand the relationships between the words and the contexts they are used in

This section is further divided into 3 parts –

a) Reading Comprehension – it accounts for about 50-55 % of the verbal section. The trick to ace this section is to prioritize the information given in the comprehension into unimportant and important information. And then use the information to answer the questions asked. Also, understanding the overall tone of the passage is important, as at least one question will directly pertain to it.

b) Text Completion – this section takes care of the candidate’s ability to grasp the meaning that is being inferred in the sentence and then fill in the missing words or phrases to complete the sentence and make the meaning evident and the sentence grammatically correct.

c) Sentence Equivalence – this section deals with the candidate’s hold over the language. The ability to produce two sentences which have similar meanings, having differently structured sentences but essentially inferring to the same meaning.


2. Analytic Writing Skills – this is a section that is supposed to test the candidate’s ability to analyze facts, dissect arguments, and judge the evidence that has been presented, and draw conclusions from them and present them in a well-structured manner.

  • Articulate complex ideas with clarity
  • Support statements with relevant arguments and examples
  • Maintain a coherent, well-argued discussion.

This section is divided into 2 parts –

a) Critical Issue – the candidate would have to write an essay on the given topic.

b) Logical Argument – the candidate would be expected to write an argument for or against the motion.


3. Quantitative reasoning –

  • understand and analyze quantitative information
  • use mathematical models to solve problems
  • Basic application of mathematical skills like Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Data interpretation.

To get through this section you need to have all your Mathematics formulas at your fingertips. Some of the areas that you should brush up are – Geometry, Probability, Set theory and Stats, Permutations and Combinations, Simple and Compound Interests, Profit and Loss, Percentage, Ratios and Percentages. Basically just practice all these kinds of questions. And then practice some more.


GRE Exam Syllabus for the GRE Subject Test?

This format aims to measure the expertise of the candidate in specific fields. It is available for any one of these 7 disciplines – Literature, Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Psychology. These are the pen and paper tests, and require a more nuanced understanding as compared to the GRE General Test. Whichever subject you sit for, make sure that you prepare for it in depth and are equipped to answer any question related to that particular subject.


What is the Experimental Section?

This is the most problematic part of the GRE test. The experimental section refers to the set of those 20 questions that are only a part of the question paper to mess with you. They are hidden in plain sight in either in the math or the verbal section. The problem is that since they are not marked, i.e. your score of those questions are not included in your total score. They are the ghost questions who are only there to trick you. The only thing they actually do is waste your time that you could have otherwise spent on other questions that could have fetch you actual marks.

There is no way to figure out which set of questions are the experimental questions. Solve all of them seriously. You never know which of those are contributing to your score and which aren’t.

To recap, the basic pattern and weightage of your GRE exam syllabus

  • Verbal Reasoning – Reading Comprehension + Text Completion + Sentence Equivalence

2 sections. 20 questions each in both of them. 30 minutes each to solve these two   sections.

  • Quantitative Reasoning – 2 sections. 20 questions each in both of them. 35 minutes each to solve these two sections.
  • Analytical Writing – Analyze an Issue + Analyze an Argument

2 tasks. 1 question each. 30 minutes each task.

How does the GRE scoring work?

The GRE is a multi-stage test, meaning that your computer would be super smart and it will play tricks on you. That is to say that the system will gauge your performance in the first section that you do, and use those statistics to determine the difficulty levels of the subsequent sections. Though when you are working within a section, you can skip questions and go through them as you wish, without having to worry about the next question hitting you harder than you can cope with. So, if you go through your first section like a boss, the next section will be so difficult that it would need you to answer like the boss’ boss. The objective is not to prank you. The idea is that the harder questions you answer, the higher you can score.

So, that’s all the information you need to prepare for your GRE exam. You know the GRE exam syllabus. You know the pattern of the paper. You have an idea of what the question paper would look like. What you need to do next, is try out some mock papers. There are ample sample papers available online. Go through those practice papers. There are more papers than you can possibly attempt, make a wise decision and choose the ones that have credible reviews.

Once you have selected the papers you will be practicing, clear out a schedule every week, or every 2 days, however frequently you want to practice, and sit down to do those. Create for yourself an examination room like atmosphere and get to work, with no distractions and timed brakes. After you are done, compare your answers with the answer sheets available along with the sample question papers.

This will tell you where you stand. You will get to know your strong sections to which you mostly got all the answers right. These are the sections that will get you through in your actual GRE paper. If needed, keep a day before your exam to skim through that section.

Now moving on to the section that you miserably failed in the practice paper, pay attention. These are your weak spots that you need to work on. Go through their study materials that you can easily find online, and spend as much time as you can on these sections before the final examination.

If you follow through everything that we talked about, you have high chances of passing the exam with a great score. And yet you don’t have to rigidly stick to what we suggested. Feel free to change them according to what you think is best for you. These are just the general guidelines that are the mere basic that you should do at the very least. Build on them, according to your own understanding. Play around with these ideas till you figure out something that works for you the best.

The only key to cracking an exam is thoroughly preparing the GRE Exam syllabus and keeping your cool while answering the paper. Believe in yourself, you will get yourself through.

You will do great. All the best!

Author: Superadmin

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