5 Insanely Actionable Steps to Your MS Abroad [LIVE Webinar]
Learn action-by-action 5 steps for your MS abroad using our proven "5-Keys" Formula.
“I was hunting everywhere for scholarship. I couldn’t believe when I learnt about a well-defined process to get scholarship. It works because I got scholarship!”, - Jayanth Barman, Currently pursuing MS at John Hopkins University, USA
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#1 What is GRE exam?
The Graduate Record Examination, commonly referred to as GRE, is a required standardized test for students interested in gaining admission to Masters’ degree programs such as MS, MSc, MBA, etc. at foreign universities, especially universities in the US.
It is a standardized test conducted by ETS (Educational Testing Services). ETS GRE scores are accepted by most of the top graduate level schools for masters degree programs.
While there are Subject Tests and General GRE Tests, most universities usually require scores from the latter. The General GRE Test is designed to test the student’s ability to reason, with sections that include verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing.
Several students spend anywhere between one to three months preparing for this test, and some students even begin preparing for it sooner, so it goes without saying that this is a very competitive exam and you have your work cut out for you.
On the bright side, the exam can provide you with the opportunity to gain an edge over other students applying to the same program at the same universities.
On a side note, there are many top-tier universities outside the US, who don’t require students to provide GRE scores in order to apply for their Master’s Degree programs. So, if you are looking for admission to non-US countries, please conduct some research about whether you need to take the GRE.
To help get you started, we’ve put together some basics.
#2 Does GRE help in getting scholarships?
With a high GRE score, your chances to get scholarships significantly increase. If you are able to score above 160 in both Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning, and above 5 in Analytical Writing, you would have an excellent score. Hence, if you are interested in getting some scholarships, aim to score as high as you can.
Please be mindful that universities use many other factors such as your GPA in Bachelor’s, your research experience and other aspects of your profile to evaluate your scholarship application. Also, there are very few scholarships available for international students. Hence, competition is very tough for scholarships.
#3 How much GRE score is required for the top universities?
The average GRE score for top universities will vary across programs. As an international student, you should aim for over 160 in both Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections. This means, your target GRE score should be above 320 for a better chance at getting into top universities.
For Engineering programs, many universities consider only your Quantitative Reasoning score, which should be above 160 for a better chance at the top universities.
To give you an idea of the GRE score range at some of the top universities for Master’s in Computer Science program.
- Harvard University: GRE Quant (157-161); GRE Verbal (150-154)
- Stanford University: GRE Quant (162-166); GRE Verbal (152-156)
- MIT: GRE Quant (162-166); GRE Verbal (152-156)
- UC Berkeley: GRE Quant (162-166); GRE Verbal (152-156)
- Columbia University: GRE Quant (157-161); GRE Verbal (150-154)
- UCLA: GRE Quant (157-161); GRE Verbal (150-154)
#4 When should I take GRE test?
If you are aiming for the top schools, you should take the GRE around a year prior to your targeted program’s commencement date.
For example, if you want to start your studies in Fall of 2018 and you are aiming for a school among the top 20, you should take your GRE by August 2017. If you are targeting mid-tier schools, you may take your GRE by November 2017 or even later.
As an international student, you should aim to submit your application for early deadlines, typically by the end of November to mid-December. This would not only increase your chances of admission but also help with securing scholarships. You should also keep 1-2 months for writing essays, getting letters of recommendation, and procuring transcripts and other documents. To stick to this plan, you should be done with your GRE by August or September of the year (2017) before your start your studies (Fall 2018).
#5 How much does it cost to take the GRE?
The registration fee to take GRE is $205.
For Indian students, this translates to ₹13,400. In case you are from some other country, you check out the cost of GRE in your local currency at www.xe.com.
If you want to reschedule your GRE test or change your test center, you need to pay an additional fee of $50.
There are separate costs for official prep materials:
- PowerPrep Plus Online: You can also purchase two additional official practice tests, each containing a different set of never-before-published real test questions.
- Official Guide to GRE General Test: You can purchase this official guide for $40.
- Official Guide to GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions: You can purchase this official guide for verbal for $20.
- Official Guide to GRE Quantitative Reasoning Practice Questions: You can purchase this official guide for quant for $20.
#6 What is the eligibility criteria for GRE exam?
The GRE is a mandatory standardized test for students interested in admission to Master’s degree programs such as MS, MSc, MBA, etc., at foreign universities, especially universities in the US.
In order to gain admission to any graduate degree program, a Bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement. So, you need a Bachelor’s degree to take GRE. You should also be over 18 years of age.
You must have a valid passport to take the GRE test. At the GRE test center, you will have to produce your original passport as proof of your identity. So, if you don’t have a passport, and you plan to take the Graduate Record Examination in the near future, rush to get your passport!
#7 How do I take the GRE exam?
First you need to register for GRE. Check the answer below about registering for GRE.
#8 How often can paper-delivered GRE tests be taken?
Tests can be taken as often as they are offered.
#9 How long are the GRE test scores valid for?
Scores are valid for five years.
#10 Where are the test centers for paper-delivered GRE in India:
Given below are the test centers across India for paper-based GRE test:
- Ahmedabad: Ahmedabad International School
- Bangalore: St. Josephs College of Commerce
- Coimbatore: The South India Textile Research Association
- Kolkata: Indian Institute of Psychometry
- Mumbai: Bombay Teachers’ Training College
- New Delhi: St. Michael’s Senior Secondary School
- Pilani: Birla Institute of Technology and Science
#11 How often can computer-delivered tests be taken?
Tests can be taken five times, each after a period of 21 days.
#12 How many universities can you send your GRE test scores to?
When you register with ETS to take their GRE general test, they will provide you with the option of selecting four universities.
ETS lets you select these universities whenever you wish, so you can either select them prior to taking the test or after completing it. ETS will share your scores with these four universities at no extra cost around 10-15 days after your test date.
Later, you can send your score to as many universities as you want to apply to. For each of these additional universities, you need to pay a fee of $27.
To avoid spending money on sending your GRE scores to universities that may not suit your needs, you should prepare a shortlist of the universities that do. The list should contain ‘reach’, ‘match’ and ‘safe’ universities that cater to your needs.
These universities should ideally offer programs you are interested in, that are within your budget and aligned with your career goals. Another point to keep in mind while making your list is to look into whether these universities offer scholarships or part-time opportunities.
Many of our students select universities such as Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Stanford. However, as scores can often fluctuate, this is very unwise. Our counselors advise students to select their four universities after completing their exam, so they can select universities they have a better chance of getting into, thereby saving students the additional expense of having their scores sent to more universities than necessary.
#13 What are the test centers for computer-delivered GRE in India?
These are the test centers across India for online GRE test:
- Ahmedabad: Prometric Testing Private Limited; EducationUSA Advising Center
- Bangalore: iDomain Technologies; Prometric Testing
- Chennai: Prometric Testing Center;
- Hyderabad: Prometric Test Center
- Kolkata: Prometric Testing Private Limited
- Mumbai: Prometric ETS Testing Center
- New Delhi: Shiksha Overseas; GRIHA Council – Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment; Mohyal Educational & Research Institute of Technology; CPS Global
- Pune: Grad-Dreams Education Consulting Private Limited; Vishwakarma Institute of Technology; The Lexicon International School
#14 How do I register for the GRE?
There are three ways to register for the GRE test in India:
#14.1 Online Registration
Visit the ETS website (www.ets.org/gre/revised_general/register) to create an account. It shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to fill in your details. After registering, you will proceed to the payment section, where you can pay the fees via credit or debit card.
#14.2 Mail Registration
If you would like to register via snail mail, you can download the registration form and mail it along with the payment to ETS-GRE, PO Box 6000, Princeton, NJ 08541-6000, USA (If paying by credit or debit card) or ETS-GRE, Box 382013, Pittsburgh, PA 15251-8013, USA (if paying by money order or paper check). Keep in mind that ETS will need at least four months to process this.
#14.3 Phone Registration
In order to register by phone, call 91-124-4147700. Payment for the GRE test can be made using American Express, Discover, JCB, MasterCard, Visa credit/debit card. E-checks drawn against US bank accounts are also accepted. In order to make payments with a money order or paper check, you will need to request a GRE General Test Authorization Voucher by mail.
Similar options are available to register for the GRE in other countries as well. Please check the ETS website for more information.
#15 Where do I login for GRE?
To register for GRE, you need to create an ETS Account. In addition to using your account to register for a test, you’ll also use it to:
- View your scores
- View, change or cancel your registration
- Order Additional Score Reports
- Access the free GRE Diagnostic Service
- Purchase test preparation materials
- Choose to receive important notifications concerning your test and scores through text messages in addition to email
Visit ETA website to create your GRE login.
#16 Can I reschedule or cancel my GRE registration?
You can reschedule or cancel your registration at any time. To avoid forfeiting your test fee, you must do so no later than four days before your test date. For example, the deadline to reschedule a Saturday appointment at a testing location in India is Tuesday.
You will be charged a fee for rescheduling your GRE test date. If you cancel your GRE registration, you will receive half of the original test fee.
#17 What is the use of GRE?
At most of universities in the US and other countries, students apply from all over the world. These students have gone through various undergraduate course curricula and grading systems.
For example, Indian students go through very different grading systems at IITs, NITs and universities. At some places grading could be based on percentage scale, whereas in others, it could be based on the cumulative grade point average on a scale of 1-9 or even the alphabetical grading system. It’s very difficult to assess equivalency between these different grading systems.
This is where your GRE score can make a world of difference. It gives universities a common measure to compare the academic qualifications of students applying for the same Master’s degree.
Of course, in addition to the GRE score, universities also use other parameters to evaluate students. These parameters include research experience, GPA, internships and extracurricular activities, among others.
#18 What is the pattern of the GRE exam?
The GRE (general) test comprises 5 sections, of which, one section is for analytical writing, two sections are for verbal reasoning and two sections are for quantitative reasoning.
The analytical writing section involves analyzing and writing about an issue as well as an argument.
In the computer-delivered test, there is an additional section, which contains questions pertaining to either verbal or quantitative reasoning. This section is experimental in nature and is neither timed nor scored.
GRE tests are also available for different subjects. However, most universities do not require these tests to be taken. If you would like to know more about these tests, you can find more information on the ETS website.
#19 How long does it take to take the GRE?
The duration of the GRE test varies depending on whether you have opted for the paper-delivered test or the computer-delivered test.
The computer-delivered test lasts for 3 hours and 45 minutes. You will be allotted specific time slots to complete each section, as detailed below:
- In the analytical writing section, you will be given 30 minutes to analyze and write about an issue and 30 minutes to analyze an argument and write about it.
- For the 2 verbal reasoning sections, you will be given 30 minutes to complete each.
- For the quantitative reasoning sections, you will have 35 minutes to complete each.
- The remaining time can be used to attempt the experimental section.
The paper-delivered test lasts for 3 hours and 30 minutes, as detailed below.
- As was the case with computer-delivered tests, you will be given 30 minutes each for the two parts of the analytical writing section.
- For the verbal reasoning section and the quantitative reasoning section, you will be given an additional five minutes for each part.
- You will be given 35 minutes each to answer the two verbal reasoning questions, and 40 minutes each to answer the quantitative reasoning questions.
#20 What is the pattern of GRE Verbal Reasoning section?
The GRE Verbal Reasoning section basically tests your comfort level in terms of understanding text and grammar.
It tests your ability to analyze and evaluate information, and distinguish between concepts and words. It also assesses your ability to analyze the relationship between different parts of sentences.
Questions in this section are of three types – reading comprehension, text completion and sentence equivalence.
- Reading comprehension will focus not only on your ability to understand paragraphs, but your ability to hone in on the important points, infer information from the paragraphs that can either be found in the body or those that aren’t written but implied. When you finish reading the passage, you should have figured out the author’s position in the piece as well as his or her opinion on the topic. These passages can be drawn from a vast field of subjects that range from the humanities to the sciences to business topics.
- In terms of text completion, there will be incomplete sentences and you will need to fill in the necessary words according to the context.
- For sentence equivalence, you will be required to fill in the blanks with the most appropriate option from the six choices provided to you. In addition to figuring out which word best suits the context, you will also have to select the two top options among all the choices provided.
#21 What is the pattern of GRE Quantitative Reasoning?
GRE Quantitative Reasoning section basically assesses your ability to understand quantitative information and apply your mathematical skills and the concepts of arithmetic, geometry, algebra and data interpretation to solve problems.
As was the case with verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning has different types of questions.
- Two of these are multiple choice questions – multiple choice questions with more than one correct answer and multiple choice questions with only one correct answer.
- Some multiple choice questions will test your quantitative comparison skills. You will also have to work on computational problems, where you enter a numeric answer after solving the problem.
- If you take the paper-delivered test, you will receive a handheld calculator, and if you opt for the computer-delivered test instead, you will have an on-screen calculator.
#23 What is the pattern of GRE Analytical Writing?
The GRE Analytical Writing section measures your ability to critically analyze an argument as well as in issue.
In addition to your ability to analyze the passage, this section is also designed to test your ability to represent your ideas in a logical and clear manner.
If you choose to take the computer-delivered test, you will receive no advantages over a paper-delivered test taker. This is because you will have access to only a basic word processor with no spell-check.
#24 How the GRE test is scored:
Each of the three sections of GRE is scored differently, as detailed below:
- Verbal reasoning: 130-170 in 1-point increments
- Quantitative reasoning: 130-170 in 1-point increments
- Analytical writing: 0-6 in half-point increments
#25 What is percentile in GRE test?
When you finish your GRE test, along with your GRE score you will also get a percentile score in your score report. The GRE percentile score is a relative score, measuring your score against other test takers.
For example, if you have scored 160 in Verbal Reasoning and your percentile score is 85, this means your score is better than scores of 85% of all test takers. Similarly, if you have scored 160 in Quantitative Reasoning and your percentile score is 78, this means your score is better than scores of 78% of all test takers.
#26 Can you give me free GRE practice questions?
We have curated free GRE practice questions to help you get started with your GRE prep.