The Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) is used as a screening tool for students vying for admissions to graduate schools across the US. The GRE scores provide a common platform for evaluating the suitability of applicants for admissions to graduate programs of study and for grant of fellowships. These scores play an important role in determining the amount of financial aid that you are likely to receive during the course of your higher studies.

This test is an assessment of the verbal reasoning skills, quantitative reasoning skills, and analytical writing skills of an individual. The test has three graded sections; the Verbal Reasoning, Quantitative Reasoning and Analytical Writing sections. The exam is generally administered by computer, but you have the option of taking the test on paper if you live in an area where the exam cannot be administered by computer.

Practice Test

As the GRE is a test of various skills essential for carrying out higher studies, you should have mastered these skills before you take the test. Developing these skills is the only way for scoring high in the test. These skills can be mastered by adequate practice in solving problems specific to the test format. The practice tests are sample tests designed on the lines of the actual test. The test is administered as a computerized test in a majority of test centers; therefore it becomes mandatory for you to familiarize yourself with the test format if you want to do well in the test.

Each section of the test is timed i.e. you are given a fixed amount of time to answer all the questions presented to you in each section. The practice tests can be effectively utilized for developing the time management skills required for completing each  section within the time limit laid down for it. This will also help you gain confidence in yourself as you will be quite familiar with the types of questions asked in the test and you will know what to expect when you take the test.

Utility of a free practice test

The key to your success in the GRE lies in hours and hours of practice provided you are practicing solving problems specific to the test format. The good news is that free practice tests are easily available on the internet. You can take these free tests as many times as you want. Make optimum use of these practice tests during your preparation for the test. However, you should always keep in mind that the questions contained in them should not be repeated. It is advisable to practice solving a new set of questions every time or else the whole purpose of taking a free test will be defeated.

Initiate your preparation schedule with a  practice test. This initial practice test will help you evaluate the amount and level of preparation that you will require for taking the test. The scores of the practice test will shed light on the  scores that you are likely to achieve. The scores of the practice test may not be very accurate but they will definitely help in predicting the level of your knowledge and skills with respect to the content tested.

After your initial assessment, you should get down to executing a detailed preparation plan which takes into account the results of your initial practice test. You can work out a schedule that allocates more study time for subjects in which you need improvement. Be regular with your study and keep taking  practice tests at regular intervals. With each such test you will be able to gauge whether your preparation  is proceeding in the right direction or not. If you feel that you are not making as much progress as you ideally should, then you can alter your  plan accordingly.

The initial time spent in preparing for the test should be dedicated to review of the content tested in it. It is essential that you are clear about the fundamentals, rules and conventions of Math and English before you get down to solving problems related to these subjects. Once you have built up your knowledge bank you will find it relatively easy to answer questions based on the format.

As you approach the test date, the frequency of taking practice tests should increase so that you are completely at ease when you sit down to take the test. Taking practice tests in the final stages of your preparation will help you in fine tuning the skills that you would have acquired or improved upon during your preparation. An adequate number of  practice tests succeeds in giving you a hang of what is to be expected when you take the actual test. Such a test can be termed as a trial run of the GRE and we all know that trial runs have always been effective in preparing you for the final race.

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