Crack the GRE
More and more Indian aspirants are taking to the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) with every passing year for getting into business programmes of many graduate schools in the United States and in other English-speaking countries. The test is created by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), which aims to measure verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing and critical thinking skills of a test taker.
The GRE revised General Test, a computer-based examination, was introduced in August 2011 and is being administered by selected qualified testing centers across the world. Further, the revised test features a new design and new question types, therefore using test preparation for the prior version of the general test is not recommended.
Here comes some strategies and tips that will help you prepare for the GRE
revised general test:
The 'Analytical Writing' section measures your ability to sustain a well-focused and coherent discussion, articulate complex ideas clearly and effectively, support your ideas with relevant examples, and examine claims and accompanying evidence. There is one analytical writing section in the test, with two 30-minute separately timed tasks: 'Analyse an Issue' and 'Analyse an Argument'. The analytical writing score is reported on a 0-6 score scale, in half-point increments.
The 'Verbal Reasoning' section measures your ability to analyse and draw conclusions from discourse, understand multiple levels of meaning, select important points, and understand the meanings of sentences and entire texts. There are two 30-minute verbal reasoning sections in the test, each containing about 20 questions. The verbal reasoning score is reported on a 130-170 score scale, in 1point increments.
The 'Quantitative Reasoning' section measures your ability to interpret and analyse quantitative information and use mathematical skills such as arithmetic, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics to solve problems. There are two 35-minute quantitative reasoning sections in the test, each containing about 20 questions. The quantitative reasoning score is reported on a 130170 score scale, in 1-point increments.
Know the test format
The total time allowed for the computer-based GRE revised 'General Test' is three hours and 45 minutes, and has six sections with a 10-minute break after the third section. The directions at the beginning of each section specify the total number of questions in the section and the time allowed for the section. The analytical writing section is always the first section, while the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections can appear in any order. An unidentified unscored section that does not count toward a score may be included and may appear in any order. An identified research section that is not scored may be included, and it will always be at the end of the test.
The questions in the revised test have a variety of formats. Some require you to select a single answer choice, others require you to select one or more answer choices, and still others require you to enter a numeric answer. Therefore, before answering a question, make sure that you understand what type of response is required.
The revised test offers to the test takers a friendlier and technically advanced test pattern, which is designed to provide graduate and business schools with even more useful results. Its friendly design features because provide a better testing experience, as you not only have the freedom to move back and forth, edit or change answers, skip and return to questions, all within a section, but you also have the ability to use more of your own test-taking strategies. The on-screen calculator is an additional advantage. New questions emphasise real-world scenarios and there is less reliance on vocabulary out of context, adding to the appeal of the revised test. On the analytical writing measure, time management is important. Within 30minute time limit for each task, you'll need to allow sufficient time to think about the topic, plan a response and compose your essay. Save a few minutes at the end of each task to check for errors. Although an occasional typographical, spelling or grammatical error will not affect your score, but severe or persistent errors will detract from the overall effectiveness of your writing and lower your score.
Your verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning scores are determined by the number of questions you answer correctly. There is no negative marking for a wrong answer. Therefore, to maximise your scores on the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning measures, it is best to answer every question. Work as rapidly as you can without being careless. Since no question carries greater weight than any other, do not waste time pondering individual questions that you find extremely difficult or unfamiliar.
Go through each timed section rapidly first, stop only to answer questions that you can answer with certainty. Then go back and answer the questions that require greater thought, and conclude with the difficult questions, if you have time.
Plan your preparation
Preparation for the test depends on the amount of time you have available and your personal preferences for how to prepare. At a minimum, before you take the test, you should know what to expect from the test, including the administrative procedures, types of questions and directions, approximate number of questions and amount of time for each section.
The administrative procedures include registration and appointment scheduling, date, time, test center location, cost, score-reporting procedures and availability of special testing arrangements. Find out more by visiting www.ets.org/gre/revised_ge neral/prepare/tips/. Practise taking the test. Make use of the free materials that are available at www.takethegre.com/prep. Download the 'Powerprep 2' software to experience a simulated test-taking experience. Take a practice test, and become familiar with the test directions, question types, on-screen calculator, testing software and test design. Printed material is also available, such as The Official Guide to the GRE revised General Test from ETS, the makers of the test.
Remember your valid Photo ID, check the ETS website www.ets.org/gre/revised_ge neral/test_day/id/ to make sure that you have valid and acceptable identification. The name you used to register must exactly match the name on the ID documents that you will present at the test center.
Connect with other test takers by visiting the GRE page on Facebook and interact with them to exchange ideas. Sign up to get official test-taker updates at www.takethegre.com/signup . Pack anything that you may need such as water and a snack to have during the break. Pack your bag the night before and set an alarm. On test day, wear comfortable clothes and dress so that you can adapt to any room temperature. A good night's sleep will work wonders.