Preparing for the GRE

Preparing for the GRE

Preparing for the GREs

If you are interested in getting a graduate degree in America, you will most likely need to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The GRE is a standardised test for admissions into most graduate schools in the United states. This post is going to offer a little background into the GRE, what to expect when preparing for the tests and some studying tips.

The GRE is a set of general and subject tests that measure your aptitude and assists the admissions department in your chosen programme. The GRE is divided into 4 sections that measure your verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing and critical thinking skills. The test is a computer-adaptive exam offered in testing centres.

Verbal Reasoning

This section seeks to test your ability to understand and analyse high-level prose through multiple choice questions, reading comprehension, sentence completion. The test taker has two 30 minute periods to answer 20 questions.

Quantitative Reasoning

The second section of the test is quantitative reasoning, which is also the longest and most important portion of the exam. Quantitative Reasoning tests your mathematical and numerical abilities. The section analyses 4 skills; arithmetic, geometry, algebra and data analysis. This section gives the test-taker two sets of 20 quantitative reasoning questions with 35 minutes to answer each set.

Analytical Writing

The final section of the GRE exam is the analytical writing assessment (AWA). The AWA is an essay section that tests your ability to write analytically and think critically. Here, you are expected to answer two essays and given 30 minutes per question.


Proper planning prevents poor performance. If you want to take the GRE consider that phrase your new mantra. You need to have a full study plan and enough time to follow it through before the exam date. The GRE is not easy, nor is it something you can do last minute. You need to spread your time out wisely between the sections, each section requires distinctly different preparation. When taking the practice and real test do not get weighed down by a single question, mark it and come back to save time. When it comes to the GRE details matters, and ignoring this may cost you your seat at a Graduate School as well as the $205.00 you spent on your exam paper.


Go back to school

It may have been a long time since some of you had to solve for anything, so we suggest catching up on algebra, geometry and Pythagoras’s other teachings. This is not to discourage you but many GRE test takers are far removed from school, making it natural for them to revisit the past and rebuild their mathematical knowledge for the quantitative reasoning section of the test.


Read more, watch less. During your GRE preparation it is important to build your vocabulary and grammar skills. The verbal section is not to be taken lightly! We highly recommend that you take an intense English language course, it is not enough in the GRE to be able to string together a sentence in English.

Take the practice test

Practice! Practice! Practice! We cannot say it enough but you need to practice! It is important to know your starting score in order to know how far you need to go. This helps shape your study sessions and allows you to focus your attention on the areas that need it the most.

Make a schedule

Be realistic. Make a timetable. Be diligent. Don’t lie to yourself.

Take Prep-Course

Taking the GRE is already overwhelming and not everyone has the discipline to tackle this alone. Taking a course does not take away all the stress nor does it stop you from putting in the hours but it will help you focus and hone in on your problem areas and perfect your strengths.

The GRE is one of the worlds most popular standardised tests, it is also one of the hardest where a little mistake can be dire. We don’t want you to get bogged down if you plan to take the test. We want to remind potential test-takers that the level of emphasis placed on exams varies between schools and their departments and more importantly, if you do not get your desired grade you can TAKE IT AGAIN! Tortoise Tuition offers….

We will be posting a next week on healthy ways to reduce stress and keep focused during exams!