The Graduate Record Examination or GRE is a commercially-run standardized test that is an admission requirement for many graduate schools, principally in the United States but also in other English-speaking countries. Created and administered by Educational Testing Service (or ETS) in 1949, the exam is primarily focused on testing abstract thinking skills in the areas of mathematics, vocabulary, and analytical writing.
The GRE is typically a computer-based exam that is administered by select qualified testing centers; however, paper-based exams are offered in areas of the world that lack the technological requirements.
In the graduate school admissions process, the level of emphasis that is placed upon GRE scores varies widely between schools and between departments within schools. The importance of a GRE score can range from being a mere admission formality to an important selection factor.
Critics of the GRE have argued that the exam format is so rigid that it effectively tests only how well a student can conform to a standardized test taking procedure. ETS responded by announcing plans in 2006 to radically redesign the test structure starting in the fall of 2016; however, the company has since announced, "Plans for launching an entirely new test all at once were dropped, and ETS decided to introduce new question types and improvements gradually over time." The new questions have been gradually introduced since November 2016.
In the United States and Canada, the cost of the general test is $150 as of September, 2016, although ETS will reduce the fee under certain circumstances. They are promoting financial aid to those GRE applicants who prove economic hardship. ETS erases all test records that are older than 5 years, although graduate program policies on the admittance of scores older than 5 years will vary.
GRE Score Format
Total score : Maximum marks allotted are 1600, Sectional scores (for verbal and quantitative sections) - Maximum marks allotted are 800 for each section.
Analytical writing assessment score : It is scored separately on a scale of 6 based on the overall impact of the essays written by a student.
% below : This represents the percentage of examinees that appeared in GRE exams in the most recent 3-year period and scored less than you.
On an average, the scores for the Verbal and Quantitative Sections generally fall in the range of 470 to 570. There are no standard measures for Analytical Writing Assessment. For computer-based GRE test, scores are mailed to you and the recipients you designated between 10 to 15 days after your test date. For paper-based GRE test, scores are mailed between 4 to 6 weeks after your test dates.
GRE Subject Tests
In addition to the General Test, there are also eight GRE Subject Tests testing knowledge in the specific areas of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. In the past, subject tests were also offered in the areas of Economics, Revised Education, Engineering, Geology, History, Music, Political Science, and Sociology. In April 1998, the Revised Education and Political Science exams were discontinued. In April 2000, the History and Sociology exams were discontinued, and the other four were discontinued in April 2001.