The GRE is conducted by the Educational Testing Service or ETS. It is a standardized test that is required for the admission into a graduate college. GRE testing brings uniformity and fairness in the entrance procedures. GRE testing provides a common scale for all the students who wish to pursue higher studies. The colleges, while granting admissions take into consideration a number of aspects, such as academic performances, co-curricular activities, performance in interviews, special talent, etc. GRE testing score is one of these aspects. The emphasis laid on the GRE testing score at the time of admission differs from college to college. Some colleges consider it the most important criterion for admissions, while others take into consideration the performance in GRE to choose one amongst the candidates equal in every other respect. For some colleges, the GRE testing score is just a formality. However, the usefulness of GRE testing cannot be questioned. It is as useful to students as it is to colleges.
FEATURES OF GRE TESTING
The characteristic features of GRE testing make it a unique testing method. Its features can be listed as follows.
1. Common Entrance Test - The GRE is a common entrance test that all students can appear for in order to take admission in a graduate course in a college.
2. Uniform Structure- The structure of GRE is uniform everywhere and its format is known beforehand. It does not differ from place to place.
3. Unbiased- The GRE does not recognize any differences amongst students on the basis of their socioeconomic backgrounds, personality traits etc. It gives equal opportunities to all students and judges them on same standards.
4. Universally Accepted GRE testing gains its importance from the fact that almost all colleges across the English speaking countries accept the GRE score.
5. Computer-based and Paper-based Test Students can take either the computer-based test or the paper-based test. For GRE testing locations, where technology does not permit the use of computers, it is conducted as a paper-based test.
WHY IS GRE TESTING REQUIRED?
GRE testing provides a common platform for students coming from different walks of life and having different socioeconomic backgrounds. The schools they have attended and the qualifying tests that they have appeared in are not comparable. Thus the need of a common standardized test is felt at the time of admission into colleges. Instead of appearing for separate admission tests of different colleges, the students can just appear in the GRE and send their scores to these colleges. It also helps the colleges to choose deserving students over the non-deserving ones. GRE testing caters to these needs because of its standardized format and its universal acceptability.
GRE TESTING FORMAT
GRE testing involves two tests, one being a compulsory general test and the other a subject-based optional test. The compulsory general test is a basic requirement of all the colleges, whereas the score in subject-based test is required by some colleges to test specific knowledge in a particular subject.
Broadly speaking, GRE refers to the GRE general test. Since it is a compulsory test, it is designed to test the students general skills like reasoning, critical thinking, expression, quantitative analysis etc. Such skills are considered universal for college education and most of them are taught in lower classes. That is why it is accepted by most of the colleges.
GRE testing consists of three scored sections and an un scored experimental section. The three sections are Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing Section. You receive separate scores in all the three sections, which add up in the final GRE score. A fourth section, called the Experimental Section is not scored. This section could either be the quantitative section or the verbal section. However, it is not known as to which section out of the four is the experimental section. The purpose of including an experimental section in GRE testing is to test new questions for future tests.
The verbal reasoning section is included in GRE testing in order to test the students for basic reasoning abilities, understanding of sentences and author’s perspective, relationships between words, vocabulary and language. For this purpose this section consists of 3 types of multiple-choice questions.
1. Reading Comprehension Passages - In these questions you are required to answer questions based on the given passages. The answers should be analytically thought over keeping in mind the information given in the passage.
2. Text Completion - In questions based on analogies you are given different pairs of words and are required to identify the relation between them and fill the blanks to form a complete meaningful text.
3. Sentence Equivalence - This section tests the student’s ability to draw and conclude on how a passage is completed based on partial information. These are filling in the blanks types of questions where a question sentence containing some blanks is given followed by different choices of groups of words as possible answers. You are required to analyze each choice in context of the question sentence and choose the most meaningful and grammatically correct answer.
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