All About the GRE Exam

All About the GRE Exam

Just when you thought you were off the hook for standardized testing… you might need to take one more. The GRE, or the Graduate Record Examination, is the test that you take before applying to grad schools. If you’re interested in applying to graduate school programs, like business or law, you might want to start thinking about this test.

Do I need it?

When applying to grad school, there is a pretty good chance that the university will ask you for your test scores (there are some exceptions to this, as some universities don’t require the test with your application). If you have a good idea of what schools you’re interested in, it would be valuable to look at what they require with the application in advance. You will also need to account for the price of the test, which is $205.

What's on it?

The test is intended to measure your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing skills. The idea is that the questions should be answerable by all students, no matter the major you choose in undergrad.

In the verbal reasoning section, you are expected to:

In the quantitative reasoning section, you are expected to:
In the critical thinking and analytical writing section, you are expected to:
You also have the opportunity to take the GRE subject tests; these include biology, chemistry, literature, mathematics, physics, and psychology. Students can take these to supplement their applications. Subject tests can help the people reviewing your applications to understand what your strong subjects are. The subject tests are available three times a year in – September, October, and April.
Test-taking tip: One benefit to this is that you can skip questions as you go and/or go back to previous sections and change answers, unlike most other admissions tests.

What do schools want?

Best Schools through the GRE Examination
As with all standardized tests, the scale of “good” or “bad” scores just depends on what grad programs you’re interested in. The current average for the test is 150 for verbal and 152 for math. The writing score, which ranges from 1-6, has an average between 3.5 and 4.0. With that being said, you should focus more on the material that applies to what you will be studying. For example, if your grad program has nothing to do with math, you can spend your time more wisely by focusing/studying on the other sections more.

How do I prepare?

Preparation time depends on the test-taker. It will be a lot easier for someone who is currently taking classes, and feeling fresh in the academic world, to take the test. Someone who has been out of practice for a bit might require more time. The best way to determine how much time you will need to study is to take a practice exam and plan accordingly. These practice exams can be found online, but you might also want to invest in some test-prep materials. These might include a list of essay prompts, practice books, and practice exams.

What if I don't do well?

You can take the GRE more than once. Similar to the ACT and SAT, that you’re most likely familiar with, it is not a one-and-done test. When it comes time to submit your score, the schools will take the highest one and consider that with the rest of your application. This will take the pressure off of you the first time around because you can reassure yourself that if the score is not to your liking, you will be able to take it a second time.
This information might feel a bit overwhelming, but remember, you’ve done it before! The GRE shouldn’t stress you out any more than the SAT/ACT. If you put in the proper amount of study time, you should be able to get the score you desire.

If you’re feeling like you need a bit of extra help, Miles Smart Tutoring is only a phone call away – (813) 238-3036. We offer nationwide online and in-person tutoring services for any student that needs a bit more support in their studies. If you’re interested in hearing more or would like to set up a tutoring consultation, you can visit or give us a call.