The GRE (which stands for Graduate Record Examination) is a standardized test for measuring the academic skills of prospective Masters and PhD students. It is particularly common in the USA. The test is organized by the US company Educational Testing Service (ETS). This specializes in the development and implementation of standardized admission and language tests.
At many US universities and graduate schools, the GRE result is a central component of the application for a master’s or doctoral degree. This is independent of the subject areas. International applicants also usually have to take the test if they want to get a place at the university.
Even if the GMAT is a subject-specific admission test for MBA courses, many business schools in the USA also accept the GRE as an alternative. The other way around, unfortunately, this is often not the case. If you want to apply for master’s courses at business schools as well as at other faculties, it is best to go straight for the GRE (Graduate Record Examination). In any case, it is advisable to check the admission requirements of the university of your choice before taking one of the two tests.
How import is your GRE score? Is your score good enough? Here we will discuss how to understand your GRE test results.
GRE Score Range
The candidates achieve between 0 (low) to 6 (high) points in the scientific writing part. The evaluation of the other two parts (linguistic and mathematical thinking) moves on a scale from 130 to 170 points.
The rating scale of the GRE Subject Tests ranges between 200 and 990 points. For the three subjects biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, biology and chemistry, there are additional partial scores (subscores) on a scale from 20 to 99 points. Here, too, the higher the number of points, the better the result.
It is possible to repeat the GRE and the GRE Subject Tests to improve the score achieved. The GRE paper version and the GRE Subject Tests can be repeated as often as required. The GRE computer version has a limitation: applicants can only take the exam once in 21 days and a maximum of five times within 12 months.
GRE Good Score
There is no so called “Good GRE Score” at all. Whether your GRE scores are good depends on which schools you are applying to. According to ETS – the test maker, the average score for all GRE test takers is 150 for Verbal section and 152 for Math section.
Each GRE score has two parts. One is the scaled score which ranges from 130 to 170. The other is a percentile rank, e.g. 96%.
GRE General Test and GRE Subject Tests
The GRE General Test examines the following three areas:
- Scientific writing (analytical writing)
- Linguistic reasoning (verbal reasoning)
- Mathematical reasoning (quantitative reasoning)
In addition to this general test, there are subject-specific GRE Subject Tests. These currently cover seven subjects:
- Cell and Molecular Biology
- English literature
The subject tests are often not a mandatory admission requirement. However, good results in the respective section often increase the chances of getting a place in the relevant area.
Special features of the GRE computer version
In contrast to the paper version of the GRE, the computer version may contain additional components. So it is possible that at some point in the course of the test an additional section appears that is not included in the evaluation. However, it is not clear to the examinee whether the test contains such a section and which section it is. In any case, he will work on each individual section as if he were counting for the rating.
For the purposes of research, the test may contain additional identified sections. These are always at the end of the GRE test. This section is also not included in the evaluation. These additional examination units serve ETS to test newly developed examination questions, to make different test versions comparable and to develop new examination approaches. Since the questions are not included in the evaluation, the examinee does not suffer any disadvantage.
Preparation for the GRE (Graduate Record Examination)
ETS itself offers various learning aids to prepare for the GRE. Interested parties have the opportunity to download some sample questions and an exercise book for paper and computer versions free of charge from the GRE website. ETS also offers paid offers such as a video collection or an online writing trainer.