GRE Prep Guide
Expert ContributorRachael Tanner, MSW, M.Div, PhD student, Ohio University Rachael Tanner is a second-year PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition at Ohio University. Rachael received her B.A. in English from Lynchburg University in 2002, and subsequently earned a M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary in 2007, and a M.S.W. from Rutgers University in 2008. After spending several semesters teaching in the English Department at the Community College of Baltimore County, as well as gaining her LCSW-C in the State of Maryland, Rachael entered the PhD program at Ohio University in English. As a teaching assistant in the English Department, Rachael enjoys teaching first-year writing students the skills and strategies they needed to be successful academic writers.
What is the GRE?
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Do most data science programs require the GRE?As of January 2021, more than 55% of the graduate data science programs listed on the site require the GRE as part of the admissions process. At this time, 100% of the Ph.D. programs we have listed require the GRE. Some programs do not require it but heavily suggest you take the test – in that case it would be a good idea to sit for the exam.
Why take the GRE?The GRE is a standardized test that is found in addition to transcripts and letters of recommendations; providing graduate school admissions with insight on potential students’ levels of fundamental knowledge. The reasoning, critical thinking and analytical skills tested by the GRE offer schools the information they need to determine if student will succeed in graduate level classes.
Signing up for the TestIf you are currently working on an undergraduate program and want to move to your graduate career immediately after graduation, it is recommended that you sign up for the GRE during your Junior year. A majority of individuals take the GRE in October in order to comply with college application deadlines. If you are thinking of taking the GRE more than once, you should also consider this when making the decision to take the test. When is the best time to take the GRE? The most beneficial time to take the GRE is when you feel prepared. The GRE has a cost of $205; additional charges might apply.
Preparations NeededThe GRE is a very important test. Most experts recommend that test takers prepare at least 8-12 weeks in advance. There is a vast amount of resources that can help you prepare. The providers of the test (the Educational Testing Service (ETS)) have a lot of free and reasonably priced resources that should be taken advantage of by test takers. There are also many types of books, online sources, videos and test prep courses. You can save money when you buy older edition test prep books. Bear in mind that the GRE was revamped in 2011. Books published prior to 2011 should not be used, for the outdated material will prove irrelevant to your success. Regardless of what works best for you, the number one thing we recommend is that you truly get familiarized with the test. The phrase “practice makes perfect,” applies to the GRE. The more practice tests you take the closer you will be to reaching your ideal score. It is also important that you track your progress. If you are not getting the desired results, we strongly recommend that a one on one prep course or a tutor be considered. There is no shame in looking for the help of experts. You want to have all the tools that will prepare you to get the best possible score. The GRE will test you in more ways than you can imagine. We recommend that when you take practice tests, that you treat them as if you were taking the real exam. It is important to prepare for the material, but it is equally as important to conquer the psychological aspect of taking the real exam. There are many bright individuals who cannot deal with the pressure that comes when you enter the testing site and it ultimately takes a toll on their score. Be prepared mentally so you can truly focus on taking the exam. Relax.
Recommended Online Test Prep Resources:ETS Powerprep Tests Magoosh’s GRE Vocabulary Flashcards Khan Academy Quizlet Baron’s
Format of test:The test is administered via computer, and it will take approximately 3 hours and 45 minutes with breaks in between to complete. The GRE consists of three scored sections: Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative and an Analytical Writing section. Verbal Reasoning (60 minutes, 40 questions): The Verbal Reasoning Section assesses the reading comprehension and analyzation skills of potential graduate students. It tests the ability to identify the meaning of words, sentences, and content. It also tests your aptitude to understand written text and content. It exams your comprehension of sentence structure and ability to recognize the relationship between concepts and words. Understanding different kinds of meanings such as figurative meaning, literal meaning, and intended meaning, as well as determining the writer’s perspective or assumption from written content is a skill that will be tested throughout the section. This part of the test is divided into two, 20 question sections that are 30 minutes each. Types of Questions: Single, Multiple Choice, Numerical Scoring: 130-170, in 1 point increments Sample question:
1. Although it does contain some pioneering ideas, one would hardly characterize the work as __________.Expert Tips:
Answer: C and F
- Read plenty of texts, especially those which are complex. This improve your reading comprehension, and vocabulary, as well as develop your language skills.
- Practice answering different types of questions and get to know what kinds of choices are usually given. Become familiar with the format of questions and options so that you do not waste time doing it on the day of the test.
- Read the content carefully and understand it thoroughly, so you answer all the questions with a full understanding of what is going on. Many multiple-choice questions have similar-sounding answers. Read the entire question as well as all the answers to make the best decision.
Sample Question: John has more than twice the number of apples that David and Gerrard have together.Expert Tips:
The number of apples that John has
Three times the number that David and Gerrard have together.
The answer is D.
- The quantity on the left is greater
- The quantity on the right is greater
- Both are equal
- The relationship cannot be determined without further information
- Read the questions carefully. Double-check computations for errors.
- Being in a hurry and misinterpreting questions usually happens when you are anxious or running out of time. You can avoid this by taking practice tests which will help with time management and assist you to becoming more familiar with the test.
- Questions with multiple answers is very tricky. Take an extra moment to look through all the answers before choosing the right one.
- When writing the essay make sure it’s clear, concise, cogent and free of grammatical errors.
- Be clear in your arguments and ideas so that the reviewer will be able to fully comprehend what you are trying to convey.
- Slow down the process a bit. If you start writing in a hurry, you run the risk of missing the entire point of the argument, which will hurt your overall essay. Spend 5 minutes brainstorming and make sure you keep the thesis statement in mind throughout the essay.
Day of TestAs the exam approaches, it’s normal to feel nervous. You have done countless hours of studying and have most likely taken many practice tests. You have the knowledge in your mind but need to make sure you perform to the best of your ability on test day. Here are some tips for Test Day.
- Get a good night’s sleep: A tired mind makes more mistakes.
- Arrive early: 30 minutes early is ideal. You don’t want to be panicking when you are stuck in traffic. You will not be in the right mindset to take the test if you are frazzled.
- Dress comfortably and in layers. You cannot control the temperature of the room at the time of the test. Bring a photo ID and registration form. Do not bring in a phone.
- The GRE is on a computer: There will be a short tutorial to show you the technical part of answering the questions.
- Take a deep breath, relax and focus.