About GRE Exam
The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is administered by the ETS (Educational Testing Service) in various GRE center across the US. The GRE scores are accepted by a number of graduate schools across the US, Canada and many other countries as one of the criteria for assessing your suitability for admissions to programs of study offered by them. A majority of these schools utilize the GRE scores while considering you for merit based grants, fellowships and financial aids for carrying out further studies.
The official web site of the ETS, www.ets.org contains links to the GRE exam web site that contains authentic information on the GRE exam format. You can also gain access to a wide range of GRE exam preparation materials from this web site. You should ideally initiate your preparation for the GRE exam by going through this web site in detail.
GRE Exam Structure
The GRE exam consists of three scored sections i.e. the Verbal Reasoning section, the Quantitative Reasoning section and the Analytical Writing section. In addition to the scored sections, there may be a section containing trial questions for use in future GRE administrations. Your answers to these questions do not count towards your GRE scores.
The GRE exam is generally administered as a computerized test in most of the GRE test centers. However, the paper based GRE exam is offered in areas where it is not possible to conduct the computer based GRE exam. The overall structure of both the versions of the GRE exam is by and large the same. The only variation is in the number of questions asked in Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative sections and the time allotted for completing each of these sections. The number of questions asked and the time allotted for Analytical Writing section is the same for both the versions of the GRE exam.
A brief description of each of the GRE exam sections is given in the succeeding paragraphs.
Analytical Writing Section
This section of the GRE exam is a test of your ability to express complicated thoughts in a clear, concise and effective manner. This section of the GRE exam requires you to possess critical reasoning skills in addition to analytical writing skills. The analytical writing section of the GRE exam does not test your knowledge of any particular subject except your command over the English language. The student is expected to provide his responses with clarity and objectivity and avoid writing generalized responses. The section consists of two writing tasks: Issue task and Argument task.
For the issue task, you will be presented with two topics and you will have to choose one of them and write an essay in response to the question accompanying it. You will be given 30 minutes to write this essay. The topic presented to you will state an opinion on an issue of general interest. You will be required to write an essay that addresses the issue from your point of view. You are expected to include relevant reasons and examples in support of your views expressed in the essay.
You are not given a choice for the argument task in this section of the GRE exam. You will be presented with a topic and you have to critically analyze the statement made therein. You are expected to write an essay that analyzes the line of reasoning adopted by the writer of the statement. Your essay should not present your views on the argument; rather you have to critically analyze the views of the writer. You will be given 30 minutes to write this essay.
Verbal Reasoning Section
This section of the GRE exam is a test of the student’s vocabulary, as he will be required to analyze relationships between the components of sentences. You will also have to recognize and interpret the relationships between words and the underlying meanings. The questions presented to you in the verbal reasoning section of the GRE exam will include passages on a variety of subjects from the fields of Humanities, Natural Sciences, and Social Sciences. The questions following the passages will test your ability to comprehend and analyze the content given in the passages.
The verbal reasoning section of the computer based GRE exam consists of two sections. Each section has 20 questions that have to be answered within 30 minutes. The paper based version of the GRE exam consists of two sub sections in the verbal reasoning section with 20 questions asked in each section. You will have 30 minutes to answer each of these sections.
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