With the start of every new semester, students move closer to graduation and their future plans. Some have known what they’ve wanted to do since they were five, many have only discovered recently, and still more remain unsure.
Regardless of your plans or lack of plans, consider taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). The GRE is a standardized test required for admission into many graduate programs. It is intended to measure general verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, analytical writing and critical thinking skills and therefore gauge your level of preparedness for graduate level schoolwork.
As The Study’s GRE Prep Course Coordinator Jennifer Cook said, “The GRE is just one of the tools admissions committees use to make decisions about graduate school applicants. However, having a great GRE score is one way to help you stand out against other students that may have a similar GPA or work experience. “
Reasons to take the GRE:
- The scores are good for 5 years.
- You may not plan on going to graduate school right now, but you never know what the future holds. Taking the test while you’re still in school and are used to studying and test-taking will likely yield much better results than if you decided to take it 3 years after graduating.
- “Since getting tests scores back can take a while to receive and send to schools, it is great to have that done in case you decide later in a year that you'd like to apply to grad school.
- So what kind of score should GRE takers aim for? Cook explained that score goals would vary from student to student and section to section. Those wishing to pursue a graduate degree in math, for example, will want a higher math score.
- The key number: 150 is the middle range for each subject score, so a good minimum score goal is usually an average between math and verbal of 300.
- Cook’s recommendations for setting a reasonable score goal:
- Start by taking a free online practice test and seeing what range you score falls.
- Then go to the website of schools you want to apply to and find out what their admissions standards are (some will give you no information, some will tell you minimum scores, and some will tell you the average score people who were accepted made; if you can find out the average score of people accepted that is the best).
- Then, using your knowledge of your practice score and the scores of the schools you are interested in, set something reasonable for both sections.
- More and more schools are accepting it.
- Unlike more specific tests, the GRE is accepted by thousands of graduate and business schools. Whether you’re pursing a Master’s, MBA, or Ph.D., or applying for a fellowship, GRE scores are often part of the process. “Though some schools or departments may also accept other tests, the GRE is very widely accepted and typically the most popular test used for graduate admissions,” Cook said.
- The things you learn while studying for the GRE can benefit you elsewhere.
- “I [don’t] remember all the words I studied preparing for the verbal part of the GRE, but I definitely improved my vocabulary and it has helped me in work and school,” Cook said.
- It’s not very expensive.
- Though $160 is not cheap, it is significantly less expensive than many post-graduate admission exams. The MCAT and GMAT, for example, are each more than $200.
Spend a little time to take the GRE now, and save yourself a potential headache in the future. For more information or to register, visit the GRE website.
Other Common Graduate School Admission Tests and Abbreviations:
- GMAT: Graduate Management Admission Test
- Students that want to pursue an MBA or other management program may take this exam. However, the GRE is becoming more widely accepted and many of the schools that used to require GMAT scores now accept GRE scores.
- LSAT: Law School Admission Test
- MCAT: Medical College Admission Test
- DAT: Dental Admission Test
- OAT: Optometry Admission Test
Decided to take the GRE and keep your options open for the future? Take a GRE Prep Course at The Study! We offer one course for the math section and one course for the verbal section, for just $100 per class. For more information or to register, visit our GRE Prep Course page or contact Jennifer Cook by phone at 859.257.1356 or email at Jcook514@gmail.com.