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Online GRE Preparation – How to prepare for the GRE Examination?

by Anup chowdhury
GRE Preparation - Online GRE Preparation, GRE books, GRE practice test

GRE Preparation – Are you preparing for the GRE exam? Then you have come to the right place to be aware of what it all takes to prepare for the exam. Considered as the most popular entrance examination for abroad studies, GRE exam is divided into two parts namely GRE General Test and GRE Subject Test.  The candidates aspiring to join the top international universities to pursue post-graduate courses need to appear for this test. Whether you are attempting the test for the first time or second or third time, a detailed GRE preparation is essentially required. To begin the GRE preparation, you need to be well-versed with the syllabus and examination pattern.

What are the tips and strategies required for GRE preparation? When should a student start preparing for it? What are the topics to be covered in the preparation? Which study material you should refer to? Find the answers to all these questions in detail in this article. It highlights every significant detail related to GRE preparation such as important tips and strategies, study material to refer, GRE exam registration process, syllabus and more.Study Abroad College Admissions Login

GRE Preparation – About GRE

GRE – Graduate Record Examination, is a standardized test conducted by ETS (Educational Testing Services). The GRE scores are accepted by most of the top graduate level schools worldwide for admission to the Masters degree programme.  It basically comprises two test formats GRE General and GRE Subject test. While a GRE general test covers topics like verbal reasoning, analytical writing, and quantitative reasoning, the GRE subject test involves topics specific to the subject in which you want to pursue post-graduation. The students involved in GRE preparation will have to give equal importance to both the tests. Though the subject test has to be given after qualifying the general test, the preparation for both has to be started beforehand.

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GRE Preparation – Syllabus 

The GRE General Test measures verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills of the candidates. These skills have already been developed among the students. There are three segments in the GRE General test exam namely:

  1. Verbal Reasoning
  2. Quantitative Reasoning
  3. Analytical Writing

Here you will get to know a detailed description of all the segments of GRE general test.

Verbal Reasoning – The verbal reasoning section measures the ability to analyse and evaluate written material and extract information, analyse relationships among component parts of sentences and recognize relationship among words and concepts. The verbal reasoning section contains mainly three types of questions:

  1. Reading comprehensions
  2. Text completion
  3. Sentence equivalence

Quantitative Reasoning – The quantitative reasoning section of GRE General Test assesses:

  1. Mathematical skills
  2. Understanding of elementary mathematical concepts
  3. Ability to answer quantitatively to model and solve problems with quantitative methods

Analytical Writing – This measures critical thinking and analytical writing skills of the students. It assesses the applicants ability to articulate and support complex ideas, construct arguments and sustain focussed and coherent discussions. The analytical writing consists of two separately timed analytical writing tasks: Analyse an Issue (30 minutes) and Analyse an Argument (30 minutes). In the issue task, an opinion on the issue of general interest is tested.

Read in detail about the syllabus and exam pattern over here – GRE GRADUATE RECORD EXAMINATION (GENERAL TEST)

GRE Preparation – General Advice from ETS

Do you want to excel in the exam? Do you want to get enrolled in a top college or university abroad? If yes, you don’t really need to check out GRE preparation/study materials all over the internet, rather stick to the exceptional study materials or knowledge resources provided by the ETS. ETS offers the following general advice on the three segments of the GRE exam namely Reading Comprehension, Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence. Sticking to this advice can help you score well in the exam.

Reading Comprehension Questions

Comprehension questions are formed to test the abilities of students required to read and understand the kinds of prose commonly encountered in a graduate school.  There are certain skills that a candidate should possess while attempting this section of GRE that include:

  1. Meaning of individual words and sentences
  2. Meaning of paragraphs and the larger body of texts
  3. Distinguishing between minor and major points
  4. Passage summarization
  5. Drawing conclusions from the text of the information
  6. Reason from incomplete data to infer missing information
  7. Understanding the structure of a text in terms of how the parts relate to one another
  8. Identifying the author’s assumptions and perspectives
  9. Text analysis and reaching conclusions
  10. Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of a position
  11. Developing and considering alternative explanations

Important points to remember:

  1. The candidates should show active engagement with the text, asking questions, formulating and evaluating hypotheses and reflecting on the relationship of the particular text to other texts and information.
  2. Passages in the GRE exam are drawn from the subjects such as physical sciences, biological sciences, social sciences, business, arts, and humanities. Everyday topics are also asked and these passages are based on material found in books and periodicals, both academic and non-academic. The students should be well aware of the basic knowledge in these areas.
  3. Half of the questions on the test will be based on passages, and the number of questions based on a given passage can range from one to six which includes topics such as the meaning of words or assessing the evidence for strong or weaker points in the given passage.

Text Completion Questions

Text completion questions test the ability of the test taker to use the remaining information in a passage (in which crucial words from short passages are omitted) as a basis for selecting words or short phrases to fill the blanks and create a coherent meaning as a whole. The structure of the questions contain the following: passage containing 1-5 lines with one or three blanks, three answer choices per blank, answer choices for these blanks function independently, and single correct answer containing one choice for each blank.

Important points to remember:

  1. The candidates have to go through passages to get overall sense out of it.
  2. Identify words or phrases that seem particularly significant, either because they emphasize the structure of the passage or because they are central to understanding what the passage is about.
  3. Try to fill in the blanks with words or phrases that seem to complete the sentence, then see if similar words are offered among the answer choices.
  4. The applicants should not assume that the first blank is the one that should be filled first and perhaps the other blanks could be easier to fill first.

Sentence Equivalence

It tests the ability of the applicants how well they conclude a passage given only partial information.  It consists of single sentences with just one blank and the applicants are asked to find out two choices that lead to a complete coherent sentence. The question structure is as follows: single sentence, one blank and six answer choices. No credit is made for partially correct answers.

Important points to remember:

  1. The candidates are advised to read the sentences fully to get overall meaning.
  2. Identify words or phrases that seem significant because it emphasizes sentence structure or they are central to the meaning of the sentences.
  3. The candidates have to fill blanks with options that seem appropriate and see if two similar options are offered among answer choices. When the candidates have selected a pair of answer choices, they would need to make sure that each one produces a logical sentence that is grammatically coherent.

GRE Preparation – GRE General Test 

GRE General Test is one of the most competitive exams in the world which is taken to pursue higher studies in top international colleges or universities. The candidates really need to work hard and make a good plan to study all the relevant syllabus prior to the exam. Before you begin your GRE preparation, make sure that you get to know about the authentic study preps for GRE General/Subject Test. Given below is the list of prep and study material options offered by the ETS for the aspirants. It offers two types of GRE preparation material for the students namely free prep material and official test prep (paid). These free and low-cost tools help the students in GRE preparation. The students willing to take any of the study material or preparation material can buy it online through the official website of ETS.

Below image, is a quick tips and strategies for GRE preparation 2020.

GRE General Test Prep Material – Free

  • Powerprep for computer-delivered GRE General Test – It includes two free practice tests (like the actual test)  that acquaint you with the features of the actual test. Some of the features include moving back and forth between questions, changing answers within a section and the on-screen calculator.
  • GRE Math review – A great guide to brush up your basic math skills. Its free 100-page review covers the concepts which applicants will see when they take the real GRE General Test.
  • GRE Diagnostic Services – Candidates, who are planning to retake the test, can use GRE diagnostic services which could help them understand their performance on questions in the verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning sections of the test they took.
  • Paper-delivered GRE General Prep Test book, Second Edition – In this book, the students will get the following: one full-length paper-delivered practice test along with scoring keys, test-taking strategies, sample verbal reasoning and quantitative reasoning questions with explanations, sample analytical writing topics, scored analytical writing responses and reader commentary and information on how the test is scored.

GRE General Test Prep Material – Official

  1. Official Guide to GRE General Test, 3rd Edition – It provides access to four practice tests – two in the book and two simulated, computer-delivered POWERPREP online practice tests on the GRE website with hundreds of authentic GRE test questions, explanations for many answers, test-taking strategies, quantitative reasoning problem-solving steps and strategies, and sample essay responses with reader commentaries.
  2. Official GRE Verbal Reasoning Practice Questions Volume 1, Second Edition – It contains 150 verbal reasoning questions direct from the test maker which are never published before along with complete explanations and valuable hints/tips and new practice for the GRE analytical writing section.

GRE Preparation – GRE Subject Test

GRE Subject Test is an achievement test that measures the knowledge of the students in a particular field of study. The students should have an undergraduate major in one of the six disciplines namely, Biology, Chemistry, Literature, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. This test score is used by colleges or fellowship panels to supplement undergraduate records, recommendation letters, and other qualifications. The test is a paper-delivered format which can be taken worldwide 3 times a year in the month of September, October, and April.

In India, there are 7 centres available for this test in the following cities: Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Coimbatore, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pilani. There are more than 50 colleges in India which accept GRE subject test scores apart from colleges abroad in the US, UK etc.

Each Subject Test practice book contains a full-length test and answer key, test-taking strategies, and information to help you understand how the test is scored. Check out the subject-wise test prep material here.


GRE Preparation – Exam Registration

Firstly, the applicants need to create an ETS account to further register for the GRE General Test. The names of the candidates and their spellings must match exactly with the names printed on their identification documents which they shall present on the day of the GRE test. The students need to review the acceptable forms of ID on the ETS website.

Follow the steps below to create the ETS account:

  1. Visit the web page here and select the ETS account button on the upper right corner of the page.
  2. On the ETS account login page, click the Create an Account button.
  3. Creating the account will allow you to register for the GRE General Test, apply for testing accommodations, view, change or cancel the registration, purchase test prep materials, view scores, access free GRE diagnostic test, etc.
  4. Provide information like name, date of birth, gender, email ID, address, phone number, communication preferences, etc.
  5. Create a password and a security question and proceed to the next step.
  6. Submit the form to create the account.

Now the applicants can proceed to register:

  1. After the creation of the ETS account, the applicants are required to register for the test.
  2. If they have any kind of disability or health-related needs, they need to visit the web link here to check for testing accommodations.
  3. On the ETS account page, enter username and password to enter into the ETS account.
  4. The applicants can see their name and ETS ID on the right corner of the page.
  5. They can find register/find test centres, dates button and continue.
  6. Select the type of GRE test from the drop-down menu and find the test centre in the near-by location.
  7. Choose test dates within the two months period.
  8. Choose Find available test centres and dates.
  9. Now select the test dates and distance from “date and distance” tab on the top left.
  10. Once the applicants have selected date and distance, they will see available test centres and time and a register button on the side. Click register to choose a test centre and date and confirm it.
  11. Finally, review the test information and continue to the next step.
  12. The applicants will be asked to participate in GRE search service where GRE can follow up with new opportunities with GRE Exam and future prospects.
  13. Provide background information and also check out for POWERPREP services available which can help in GRE preparation. The applicants can include them in their payment cart.
  14. Now, proceed to checkout with GRE General Test registration by selecting the bank specified payment methods to pay for it.
  15. After finishing the last step, the applicant’s order will be placed and they will be able to take the test.

GRE Preparation – FAQ

Q1. Why should I take the GRE General Test?

A. Its the only admission test which is accepted for both graduate and business degree program at universities/institutions worldwide. The GRE scores are valid for 5 years.

Q2. How often can I take the GRE general test?

A. The computer-delivered GRE general test can be taken in every 21 days and up to 5 times within a continuous 12-month period.

Q3. What is covered in the test and how much time does a student get to take the test?

A. The computer-delivered GRE test takes 3 hours 45 minutes and consists of three sections: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing. Similarly, the paper delivered GRE test takes up to 3 hours 30 minutes and consist of the same sections with a slight difference in the time sessions.

Q4. How do I register for the GRE General/Subject Test?

A. GRE General Test can be taken online or paper-based format and one can register for it either online or by mail. Similarly, to apply for the GRE Subject Test, the applicants can follow the same procedure as for the general test. We have covered in detail the GRE registration process in this article.

Q5. Whats the best way to prepare for the GRE General/Subject Test?

A. We have covered in detail about the free and official prep material for both types of the exam in this article.

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