All About GRE

“Knowledge opens the door to opportunity, achievement, success and wealth.” ~Dr. T.P.Chia
This article presents you with all aspects of GRE and related information.
In 1936, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching along with the deans of grad schools of four Ivy League universities started a test called the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). The first public university to ask its students to take GRE was the University of Wisconsin.
Well, that’s enough for the history part!Moving on to the current year, read on to know the main features of the upcoming exam.
What is GRE?
GRE is one of the most sought-after international entrance exams, taken by lakhs of aspirants every year. It makes way for admission to MBA/MS/JD and other master and doctoral degrees offered by institutes worldwide. Since 1948, the exam is administered by ETS (Educational Testing Service). GRE scores are accepted by thousands of grad schools (business/law) and fellowship sponsors globally. It is mainly opted by people who want to pursue higher education in the US, Canada, and other such countries. GRE is held at nearly 700 test centers across 160 countries in computer-based/paper-based mode.
From 2020, GRE is also being facilitated in remote-proctored online mode.
What is the structure of GRE?
GRE is available in two types of tests: General test and Subject test. The General Test is common for all applicants, but the Subject Tests are chosen only by those who seek admission to certain technical/ specialised programmes.
GRE General Test consists of objective and subjective questions; based on Analytical Writing, Verbal Reasoning, and Quantitative Reasoning. Both the reasoning parts are section-adaptive.The overall duration of the exam is 225 minutes, including a 10-minute break. There are six sections in GRE, with separate time limits for each section. GRE scores are computed individually for each of the three areas.
GRE Subject Tests are only for the following fields: Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Psychology. To appear in any of these tests, candidates must have experience or educational background in these fields. Accordingly, they can select the related master/doctorate courses via GRE application. There are no sectional divisions in GRE Subject Test and its time duration is 170 minutes.
NOTE: There is no negative marking in GRE.
Syllabus for GRE 2024
ETS specifies the types of questions that are asked from various areas of GRE exam. Here is a brief description of the topics that form part of GRE General Test sections:
Analytical Writing: In this part, you are given short passages on an issue and an argument, and you have to write an analysis as per the stated set of instructions.
Verbal Reasoning: This area comprises Reading Comprehension passages, sentence/paragraph completion, and fill-in-the-blanks.
Quantitative Reasoning: Here, questions are asked from the concepts of geometry, arithmetic, algebra, and data analysis. These questions feature in form of Data Interpretation sets and Numeric Entries.
For GRE Subject Tests, the syllabus is drawn from stream-specific subjects and includes more than basic knowledge. To know in detail, refer to the official site.
When is GRE held?
GRE is held on a fixed set of dates spread across the year. Typically, the test dates span from April to November. However, this is applicable for test-center based exam only. The remote-proctored GRE test is available all seven days of the week round the year. It is recommended that you schedule a test date at least 2-3 months prior to the application deadline.
Also, the Subject Tests can be taken in test-centers only. GRE date can be scheduled online, by phone or mail.
Who can appear in GRE?
GRE is taken by people of various nationalities and educational backgrounds. There are no mandatory qualifications for appearing in GRE. But, since the test is utilised for admission to master degree programmes, you will not be eligible for business/law school without a bachelor’s degree. So, you must have a bachelor’s course from a recognized institute before going for GRE.
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Further, the exam can also be taken in the final year of your graduation. However, several grad schools prefer applicants with professional experience or may have other such specific criteria, depending upon their degree programmes. For this information, you need to check the official websites of your dream universities/colleges.
Which Institutes accept GRE scores?
GRE scores are trusted by colleges/universities across the US, Canada, Australia, India, UK, China, and many other European and Asian countries. More than 1300 B-schools and 80 law schools accept GRE for admission to MBA, specialized business degree, JD (law),fellowships, and other master/doctorate courses. Here is the list of renowned foreign and Indian institutes that shortlist candidates based on GRE scores:
Top International Universities/Colleges
  • Stanford University
  • Wharton Business School
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Oxford University
  • Harvard University
  • University of Columbia
  • University of Chicago
  • Yale University
  • London School of Economics
  • Queen’s University
  • INSEAD
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Alberta
  • University of Toronto
  • New York University
Did You Know: Every year, GRE General Test is taken by 6-7 lakh people from 200+ countries.
Top Indian Universities/Colleges
  • BITSoM, BITS School of Management, Mumbai
  • Indian School of Business (ISB)
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Ahmedabad
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Bangalore
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Kozhikode
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Lucknow (Noida Campus)
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Udaipur
  • Indian Institute of Management (IIM), Visakhapatnam
  • Institute of Management Technology
  • S.P. Jain Institute of Management and Research
  • XLRI – Xavier School of Management
Selection Procedure of GRE-accepting Institutes
There is no one standard procedure for admissions in GRE-accepting colleges/universities. Depending upon their programmes and the related requirements, different grad schools have different selection processes. Generally, the candidates are shortlisted as per their GRE score, academic profile, work experience, IELTS/TOEFLscore, SOP/application essays, and similar other factors. The application essays are meant to give an overview of the goals, achievements, and skills of the candidate in a convincing way.
Some institutes also require recommendation letters from your workplace andpast academic institutions. Accordingly, you will be asked to attend the final admission round, which mostly includes a personal interview.
ROI of Programmes offered by GRE-accepting Institutes
GRE is usually taken by people who wish to pursue MS/MBA from a top grad school of India or abroad. However, before you opt for admission into any university/institute, you must affirm about its quality of education, reputation, placement records and associated facts. Considering the high cost of master degree/ doctorate programmes, it is a must to be aware of the overall ROI if you want to make it big professionally.
Undoubtedly, a master degree from a top-ranked B-school or law school paves the way to the Wall Street finance industry or a reputed law firm. Glance through the placement statistics and salary packages achieved by graduates of top universities/institutes:
  • The management graduates of the top foreign B-schools earn an average salary of $172,265.
  • At U.S. law firms, the first-year associates get an average compensation of$180,000.
  • Both the law grads and management grads of top universities receive several bonuses right from the entry-level positions.
  • At ISB, PGP batch of 2021 got 1195 offers, with the highest package being Rs. 72 LPA and the average being Rs. 27.13 LPA. The income increase for the students after graduating was above100%.
  • In 2021, PGPX batch of IIM-A bagged the highest package of Rs. 82 LPA and the average package of Rs. 30 LPA.
  • The Executive MBA programmes at IIMs fetch the average placement package of Rs. 25 LPA or above.
NOTE: The exact salary package of MBA/law grads varies as per the particular sector you venture into. Besides, most grad schools, especially the international ones, do not extend on-campus placements. However, these provide valuable assistance regarding networking opportunities and other support services for career growth.
Preparation Tips for GRE 2024
GRE aspirants usually spend 2-6 months in preparation, depending upon their daily schedule. Owing to its difficulty level and tough competition, GRE calls for a sharp focus and smart work. Inculcate the following tips while preparing for GRE General Test:
Plan: To nail GRE with a high score, it is important that you follow a well-disciplined study schedule. Firstly, make sure that you are completely familiar with the syllabus and exam structure of the exam. Experts recommend that you prepare for GRE in a phased manner, beginning with strengthening your conceptual knowledge and moving on to regular practice sessions.
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Read: The verbal section of GRE is perceived to be quite trickier compared to other entrance tests. Its reading passages (RCs)entail skills of a diverse reader and are usually drawn from liberal arts, philosophy, and similar subjects. So, it can work to your great advantage if you daily invest some amount of time reading and analysing texts from different areas.
Learn: Apart from brushing up the fundamentals of mathematics and reasoning, you need to learn certain shortcuts and approximation techniques that will help you save time in lengthy questions. This will also prove useful in the case of data interpretation and reasoning sets. For the verbal section, you are expected to have a good vocabulary and a proper know-how of the grammatical rules and conventions. 
Practice and Reflect: Finally, you need to check your progress and take practice tests periodically. You can begin with topic-wise tests, then proceed to section-wise tests, and eventually take up full-length mock tests. For analytical writing practice, you can choose to write on the latest issues within the time frame of 30 minutes.
Further, you can avail of the practice resources available at the official site. These are free and paid digital practice books for GRE General Test as well as Subject Tests.
FAQs Regarding GRE 2024
  1. Is GRE General Test less difficult than GMAT? What are the major differences between the two?
  2. GRE and GMAT are nearly equal in difficulty level. Overall, the verbal section of GRE is slightly tougher than that of GMAT, whereas the quant section of GRE is easier compared to GMAT. The major difference between the two is that GRE has a wider acceptance in terms of courses while GMAT is for admission to B-schools only. In terms of exam structure, GRE is section-adaptive and GMAT follows a question-wise adaptive format.
  3. What is the benefit of taking GRE Subject Tests?
  4. Since GRE Subject Tests check your expertise in certain specified subjects, they let you prove your prowess in a distinguished manner and make you stand out from other applicants. This is especially beneficial, if you are looking to specialise in a particular field of study.
  5. Is GRE General Test more difficult than Subject Test?
  6. The General Test and Subject Test are absolutely different in purpose and content. While the General test is common for all applicants and requires the use of strategy more than content knowledge, the Subject Test solely evaluates content-based knowledge. So, GRE General test is perceived as more difficult than the Subject Test.
  7. What is the validity of GRE score?
  8. GRE scores are valid for five years following your exam date.
  9. When can I access my GRE scores?
  10. After 10-15 days of your exam date, you will receive an email from ETS regarding your test scores. Thereafter, you can access your score report from your ETS account.
  11. How many score recipients can I choose during GRE registration?
  12. You can select up to four score recipients (institutions) during registration. Once your scores are released, ETS will send your score reports to these chosen colleges/universities/fellowship sponsors.
  13. When can I retake GRE General Test?
  14. You can take GRE after every 21 days of your test date.
  15. What is the limit on the number of attempts for GRE?
  16. There is no lifetime limit on the number of attempts for GRE. However, in one rolling year, you can appear for GRE up to a maximum of five times.
  17. What am I required to take to the GRE test center?
  18. For GRE, you need to take your application confirmation email (printout) and photo identification ID to the test center. Pens/pencils are also allowed. But devices like calculators are forbidden.
  19. What is the fee for GRE General Test registration in India?
  20. GRE General Test fee is $213 for Indian candidates.

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