The GRE test is accepted by a growing number of schools and is a reliable yardstick when it comes to measuring the skills that are important for success at the graduate level.
But what are the distinguishing features of the GRE? Maria Victoria Calabrese is best suited to answer this question. She is Academic and Government Relations Director at ETS Global, part of the company that administers the GRE exam. She talks about the difference between the GRE General Test and the GRE Subject Tests, the difference between the GRE and the GMAT, and the value of the GRE beyond the application for admission, among other things.
What is the GRE General Test and what is its value to prospective Master’s degree applicants worldwide?
The GRE General Test is the world’s most widely accepted admission test for graduate and business school. No matter what advanced degree a test taker is considering, they will have more opportunities for success with the GRE General Test. In addition to the thousands of graduate schools around the world, more than 1,300 business schools worldwide accept GRE scores for admission to MBA, specialised Master’s and other graduate business programmes. The test measures the skills that are important for success at the graduate level: verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, and analytical writing.
When should applicants consider a GRE Subject Test instead of the GRE General Test?
The GRE Subject Tests measure knowledge of a particular field of study and can help students stand out from other applicants by emphasising their knowledge and skill level in a specific area. There are six Subject Tests: Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology. Each Subject Test is intended for students who have an undergraduate major or extensive background in that discipline.
It is important to note that GRE Subject Tests are generally taken to supplement GRE General Test scores. They are not taken instead of the GRE General Test, but in addition to it.
How does the GRE differ from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and the Law School Admission Test (LSAT), and when is it better to opt for the GRE instead of a more subject-specific test?
Both the GRE General Test and the GMAT tests measure skills. However, the GRE General Test is the only admission test that is accepted by graduate and business school programmes worldwide, giving test takers more opportunities for success. The test features a flexible, test-taker-friendly design that gives test takers the freedom to use more of their own personal test-taking styles and strategies. They can preview questions, skip questions and go back to them, change their answers, and more, all within a section. The GRE General Test also features the ScoreSelect® option which lets test takers decide which scores to send, so if they sit the test more than once, they can send only those scores they want schools to see. Compared to the LSAT, the GRE test assesses a broader knowledge base, which offers unique added value for law schools looking to admit high-calibre law students with a well-rounded skill set.
As admissions requirements vary by institution, the best thing for students to do is to check all the details and requirements directly with the programmes in which they are interested.
There are an increasing number of business schools and law schools that accept the GRE along with the GMAT or LSAT. Why?
For both types of school, the GRE General Test can open more pathways, increasing the diversity of applicants and making it easier for students to pursue joint degrees. Moreover, the results from our separate validity studies demonstrated that the GRE General Test reliably predicts both law school and business school success.
Check out: Why Consider MBA Dual Degree Programmes
How long before applying should applicants take the GRE and how long does it take to prepare for it?
Admissions requirements and score submission deadlines vary by institution, so the best thing for students to do is to check directly with the programmes in which they are interested.
As for test preparation, the amount of time needed to prepare will differ between test takers. A good way to gauge the amount of preparation needed is to take one of our POWERPREP practice tests in timed mode. This allows students to see their unofficial scores for the Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning sections and will help them get an idea of the areas to focus on. These free practice tests can be found at www.takethegre.com.
Why do universities require an English language proficiency test, such as the TOEFL, in addition to the GRE or GMAT?
Schools and universities require reliable information about candidates’ English-language proficiency to help them select high-quality candidates. They need to know that international students have the English language proficiency needed to be able to understand their instructors, lectures, and coursework.
What is the value of the GRE beyond the application for admission?
GRE scores are sometimes a requirement for both scholarships and/or financial aid, so applicants should contact the programmes to which they are applying to find out what is required.
In addition, students can opt in to the GRE Search Service for free when creating their ETS account or registering for a GRE test. Graduate and business school recruiters can then send information about their programmes, fellowships, and even scholarships to test takers who meet their criteria. This is a great way to help schools find students, and yet another way for candidates to demonstrate their potential.
Lastly, while the GRE test does not directly prepare students for their studies, it is a valid predictor of student success beyond the first year of graduate study.